Throughout the regular season, my NFL picks were part of the PodcastOne “Sportsnet Challenge.” Under their rules, we picked winners with the money line. I finished the regular season with a 57-28 record.
Now that the “Sportsnet Challenge” is over, I’m back to making my picks against the spread. In the Wild Card round, I went 2-1-1. My only loss was Houston (-1.5) over Indianapolis. We all know how that ended. The Colts went into Houston and embarrassed the Texans. I still came out of the weekend on top, but I’m looking to be better in the Divisional round.
We only have eight teams left in the NFL Playoffs. Let’s get to it:
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-5.5) over Indianapolis Colts
-The Divisional round will open with a No. 6 seed vs a No. 1 seed on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. If you’re just looking at the seeding though, that will be deceiving. Sure, the Colts are the No. 6 seed, and the odds are stacked against them having to go into Kansas City to play the No. 1 team in the AFC. But if you’ve watched Indy over the last month, then you’ll know they have just as good a chance as anyone in the NFL to pull off this upset. The Colts are coming off a Wild Card win over the No. 3 seed Texans in Houston, which was their fifth straight win. The Chiefs are coming off the first-round bye and lost two of their last three regular-season games. Given my pick here — Kansas City — I obviously don’t think that an upset will happen, but I hope I’m wrong. This will be one of those rare instances where I root against my bet. I want the Colts to win, because if that happens and then the Patriots — if they beat the Chargers — would get home field advantage in the AFC Championship. And for the Pats, that would be a whole lot better than having to go into Kansas City. But you should never bet with your heart. So my brain is telling me that the Chiefs will take care of business at home and beat Indianapolis by at least a touchdown. So I’ll take Kansas City, while rooting for the Colts to prove me wrong.
DALLAS COWBOYS (+7) over Los Angeles Rams
-It’s too bad that the No. 4 seed Cowboys have to go on the road, because they are such a dangerous defensive team in Dallas, where they beat the No. 5 seed Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round. No, they go to LA on Saturday night to take on the No. 2 seed Rams who are coming off the first-round bye. I don’t think the Cowboys have what it takes to knock off the Rams in Los Angeles, but I think Dallas’ defense is good enough to at least make it a ball game and keep it close throughout. I’m picking the Rams to win, but I’m willing to bet the Cowboys can at least cover the spread. I’ll take the points here.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-4) over Los Angeles Chargers
-The No. 2 seed Patriots will have their work cut out for them against the No. 5 seed Chargers Sunday at 1 at Gillette Stadium. The Chargers were one regular-season win away from being the No. 1 seed in the AFC but had to fall to a Wild Card spot with a 12-4 record because the Chiefs won their division. Also, the Chargers are 8-1 on the road this year, which includes a Wild Card win in Baltimore last weekend. But the Patriots are 8-0 at home and are coming off the first-round bye. I expect the Patriots to pull this one out with a few late scores, but make no mistake, I would feel differently if this game were not in Foxboro. It’s all about home field for these Patriots, and they’ll prove that on Sunday with a nine-point win.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-8) over Philadelphia Eagles
-This is the only Divisional round game that’s a rematch of the regular season. And back in mid-November, the Saints smashed the Eagles, 48-7, in New Orleans. Carson Wentz threw three interceptions, while Drew Brees threw four touchdowns. Nick Foles is now the quarterback for Philly, but I don’t see how the No. 6 seed Eagles can escape New Orleans with a win against the No. 1 seed Saints. Philly is coming off an impressive win in Chicago in the Wild Card round, but the Saints — coming off the bye — are on a different planet, offensively, than the Bears. New Orleans is going to be rocking, and I expect the Saints to roll on the Eagles once again.
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