Sunday, January 18, 2015

NFL Picks: Championship Round

Photo courtesy of AOL
Last week I took four underdogs, and against the spread I went 3-1, with my only loss coming at the hands of a rather unnecessary Kam Chancellor pick six. Straight up, I whiffed on both Sunday games, picking the Cowboys and the Broncos.

Yes, that was a catch.

And of course Peyton Manning is hurt, it's felt that way for about a month and now we have confirmation. Hopefully this isn't the end for him.

While I went with all dogs last week, expect a slightly different strategy this time around.

UPSET ALERT next to games in which I think the underdog will win outright, not just cover. Home team in CAPS. 

SEAHAWKS (-8) over Packers.  Based on my pick last week, and now this, it may seem like I don't respect the Packers and what they have accomplished this season, but that's not the case. They're a great team, and at their best they can hang with just about anyone.

But this is a terrible matchup for them.

It all begins and ends with Aaron Rodgers's mobility. He didn't look that great last week against Dallas, and that was against a Cowboys pass rush that hasn't done much of anything all year.

On the other hand, the Seahawks pass rush has been great for most of the year, after a bit of scuffling to begin the season. They're able to consistently get pressure while only rushing four guys, which makes their defense nearly impenetrable.

On a normal day, I think the Packers would have a better chance to win, but if Aaron Rodgers is going to be pocket bound all game long, it's not going to be pretty.

Seahawks 24, Packers 14. 

PATRIOTS (-7) over Andrew Luck. The only way that the Colts can win this game is if Andrew Luck is really, really good. Last week was the first time in a while that the Colts played a full team game. And they dominated because a lot of the Broncos' holes were on display. The Colts were able to exploit the few weaknesses that Denver had throughout the year.

The difference this week is, Indianapolis doesn't have the ability to take advantage of where the Pats are lacking. We're all aware by now that the way to attack Tom Brady is by rushing him all day long without leaving too many holes in the secondary. And unless Bjoern Werner turns into Robert Mathis, there's no way that's happening this evening. I like Werner, but he's not good enough to single-handedly carry the pass rush enough to disrupt Brady.

And for that reason, this matchup is going to be between the offenses. I expect a shootout, but the overall better team should win. And that team is the Patriots. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Andrew Luck saying "no," and winning the game on his own, but I won't count on it.

Patriots 35, Colts 27.

Last Week: 3-1

Playoffs: 4-4

Season: 117-135-4

Overall: 121-139-4

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