NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

NFC Divisional Playoffs
Kickoff: Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET
Line: Seattle -9.5, Total: 43

The Saints look for double payback when they visit the top-seeded Seahawks in the NFC Divisional playoff round on Saturday.

Not only did New Orleans lose its only playoff trip to Seattle, 41-36 three seasons ago, but it was clobbered 34-7 at CenturyLink Field on Dec. 2. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw 3 TD passes and totaled 357 yards in that win, which was nearly double the 188 total yards the Saints gained that night. Although New Orleans compiled 434 total yards, including 185 on the ground, in last week’s road win at Philadelphia, Seattle allows just 254 total YPG (4.4 per play) at home this season, where it is 7-1 SU (5-3 ATS) and outscores visitors by an average score of 29 to 14. The Seahawks are also 11-0 ATS versus good passing teams (7+ YPA), and 15-3 ATS (83%) coming off a home win in the past three seasons. But the Saints have also thrived versus good offenses (24+ PPG), going 19-7 ATS (73%) against such teams under head coach Sean Payton. And since 2011, they are 15-6 ATS (71%) after gaining 6.5+ yards per play in their previous game. Seattle is in great shape injury-wise after the week off, with WR Percy Harvin (hip) expected to play for the first time since Nov. 17. New Orleans is concerned about two players who are both considered questionable for Saturday. RB Pierre Thomas missed the win over the Eagles because of a chest injury, while CB Keenan Lewis suffered a head injury in that victory.

The Saints have averaged 25.9 PPG and 402 total YPG this season, but those numbers drop considerably on the road where they score just 18.7 PPG with 364 total YPG. This includes a pathetic 2.6 yards per carry and 3.9 yards per pass attempt when they visited Seattle in Week 13. But New Orleans was outstanding in all facets on offense in last week's win at Philadelphia, scoring 26 points with 5.1 yards per carry and 8.3 yards per pass attempt. QB Drew Brees finished with 250 passing yards and 1 TD, but was picked off twice. The interceptions were quite out of character considering he is 6-4 in his playoff career where he's thrown for 3,230 yards (7.7 YPA), 23 TD and only 6 INT in these 421 pass attempts. These numbers also include going 39-for-60 for 404 yards (6.7 YPA), 2 TD and 0 INT in the playoff loss in Seattle after the 2010 season. The key to the passing offense is TE Jimmy Graham, who gained 1,215 yards and 16 TD in the regular season, but caught just three passes for 44 yards in last week's win. The Seahawks did a nice job containing him on Dec. 2, limiting him to three catches for 42 yards, but Graham did score the lone touchdown for his team. But the three main running backs -- Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles -- could go nowhere against the talented Seahawks front seven in that Week 13 meeting, as the trio combined for 33 yards on 15 carries (2.2 YPC). It was a much different story last week when Ingram rumbled for 97 yards on just 18 carries (5.4 YPC) and a touchdown versus Philly, while Sproles gained 7.2 YPC and finished with 60 total yards from scrimmage. The Saints will need to sustain some long drives to stay in this game, and that is something they have done well all season, ranking fourth in the NFL in first downs (22.4 per game) and third in the league in third-down conversions (44%), leading to a 32:40 time of possession (3rd in NFL). The New Orleans defense hasn't been too bad on the road this year, allowing 22.6 PPG and 332 total YPG, but the run defense has surrendered 124 rushing YPG on 4.4 YPC away from home, while opposing passers are completing 65% of their throws for 208 YPG (7.1 YPA) in these road tilts. The Saints have also been unable to create turnovers, tallying a mere four takeaways in their past 10 games combined. However, they did post 49 sacks this season, good for fourth in the NFL. If they fail to rattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, he will pick them apart like he did last month when he was sacked only once.

Wilson has been outstanding this season (3,357 pass yards, 8.3 YPA, 26 TD, 9 INT), especially at home where he has a 103.8 passer rating with 8.4 YPA, 14 TD and 5 INT. But despite their 26.1 PPG (T-8th in NFL), the Seahawks rank only 26th in the league in passing offense (202 YPG). The probable return of WR Percy Harvin should give the air attack a boost, as his versatility creates huge mismatches. Wilson did not have Harvin for his huge Monday night game against New Orleans though, as he completed 4+ passes each to TE Zach Miller and WRs Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. While these players are all capable receivers, this Seattle team leans most heavily on its ground game (137 rushing YPG, 4th in NFL), which Wilson contributes greatly to with 539 rushing yards on 5.6 YPC. RB Marshawn Lynch has done the most damage with 1,257 rushing yards on 4.2 YPC and 12 touchdowns. Although Lynch found little running room against the Saints in Week 13, finishing with just 45 yards on 16 carries (2.8 YPC), he had a monster game when the teams last met in the playoffs in January 2011. That day he rushed for 131 yards on just 19 carries (6.9 YPC) including an unbelievable 67-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Seattle's defense has been relentless this year, as the unit leads the NFL in total defense (274 total YPG, 4.4 yards per play), scoring defense (14.4 PPG), passing defense (172 YPG, 5.8 YPA) and red-zone defense (36% TD rate). In addition to all the gaudy yardage numbers, the Seahawks do a tremendous job of creating turnovers. They have racked up multiple takeaways in 12 of 16 games this season, forcing 39 turnovers overall (21 at home). This has been accomplished because of a lock-down secondary (CB Richard Sherman leads the league with 8 INT) and a pass rush generating 44 sacks (T-8th in NFL).

Weather looks like monsoon and you may think it would favor Seattle, but I think the experience of Brees will be the difference here.

The play: SAINTS +9.5

BOWL LOCK OF THE YEAR

Duke Blue Devils vs. Texas A&M Aggies (-13.5, 75)

Game played at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia.

CHICK FIL-A BOWL STORYLINES

1. Johnny Manziel could play his final collegiate game when Texas A&M meets Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve in Atlanta. Manziel, who burst onto the scene to become the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012, finished fifth in the voting this season and said he will seek feedback from the NFL before declaring for the draft prior to the Jan. 15 deadline. If Manziel learns he may not be selected in the first round, he said he would probably return to Texas A&M.

2. Duke coach Dave Cutcliffe continues to turn around the program, which is making its second straight bowl appearance for the first time in school history. Most of the current Blue Devils got their feet wet in the postseason with a 48-34 loss to Cincinnati in the 2012 Belk Bowl, but sharing the stage with the Aggies is a far bigger step.

3. It is expected to be a high-scoring affair with the total betting line set at 73.5. Texas A&M is sixth in the nation in scoring at 43.6 points but 88th among the 123 FBS teams at 30.9 points allowed. Duke averages 31.6 points scored and 24.7 against, but struggled to stop the No. 2 scoring offense in its 45-7 loss to top-ranked Florida State in the ACC championship game on Dec. 7.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

TRENDS:

* Blue Devils are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall.
* Aggies are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Bowl games.
* Over is 18-8-1 in Blue Devils' last 27 non-conference games.
* Under is 4-1 in Aggies' last five bowl games.

ABOUT DUKE (10-3, 6-2 ACC, 10-3 ATS): The Blue Devils won the Coastal Division crown - their first championship of any kind since sharing the ACC title with Virginia in 1989 - by winning their final six regular-season conference contests before having their eight-game win streak halted by the Seminoles. Cutcliffe has enjoyed the luxury of a two-quarterback system featuring juniors Brandon Connette (62.1 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions), who has a team-leading 13 rushing touchdowns, and Anthony Boone (63.9, 10, 11, with four rushing TDs). Wide receiver Jamison Crowder (96 catches, 1,197 yards, seven touchdowns) was joined by linebacker Kelby Brown (second in the conference at 9.2 tackles per game), safety Jeremy Cash and cornerback Ross Cockrell on the All-ACC first team.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M (8-4, 4-4 SEC, 5-7 ATS): Manziel recorded another strong season statistically by completing 69.1 percent of his passes with 33 touchdowns against 13 interceptions, but wasn't able to lead the Aggies to a victory over their four toughest opponents - Auburn, Alabama, Missouri or LSU. Manziel also rushed for a team-leading 686 yards and eight touchdowns, but did most of his damage throwing the ball to Mike Evans (65 catches, 1,322 yards, 12 touchdowns). The Aggies are 15-19 in bowl games after their 41-19 victory over Oklahoma in last season's Cotton Bowl and are making their fifth consecutive bowl appearance.

Duke had a nice season...storybook like and all. But they got blowed out in ACC championship game and I expect no different here!

The Play: TEXAS A&M -13½

ARMY / NAVY ~ Tradition

Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen (-13, 52)

Game will be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia

One of the oldest rivalries in college football has been a one-sided affair of late - and the early line suggests more of the same is in order as the Army Black Knights visit the Navy Midshipmen in the 114th edition of the Army-Navy game. Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field is the site of the latest battle between the two storied military schools. Navy comes in having won the last 11 matchups, squeaking out a 17-13 decision last year to improve to 57-49-7 in the series.

While the story off the field has been Army's inability to solve the Midshipmen, the focus on the field will be on which team can establish a more robust ground game. The Midshipmen struggled on defense but boasts the second-best rush attack in the nation, averaging more than 323 yards per game. Navy is right behind them at 320 rushing yards per contest, and is led by sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds and his mind-boggling 26 rushing touchdowns.

TV: 3 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE: Navy enters as a 13-point fave, with the over/under set at 52.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-30s with a 90 percent chance of rain and/or snow. Wind will blow across the width of the field at 6 mph.

ABOUT ARMY (3-8): The Midshipmen were set to challenge for their first .500 season since 2010, but dropped four straight games heading into its finale to fall to 8-27 over the past three years. As good as the rushing game has been - eight different players have recorded at least one score on the ground - the passing game averages just 80 yards per outing while generating just four touchdowns in 11 games. Running back Terry Baggett leads the team with 1,072 rushing yards, while quarterback Angel Santiago actually has more yards on the ground (553) than through the air (542).

ABOUT NAVY (7-4): Reynolds had his share of impressive games in 2013 - scoring three or more touchdowns five times heading into mid-November - but saved his best work for the Midshipmen's thrilling 58-52 triple-overtime victory over San Jose State. The Antioch, Tenn., native exploded for 240 yards and seven rushing scores, leaving him one TD shy of the single-season record for a quarterback shared by Ricky Dobbs and Collin Klein. Ten different Navy players scored a rushing touchdown, while the Midshipmen racked up 43 scores on the ground compared to eight through the air.

TRENDS:

* Black Knights are 6-21 ATS in their last 27 games following a bye week.
* Midshipmen are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following an SU win.
* Under is 10-1 in Army's last 11 neutral-site games.
* Under is 7-0 in the last seven meetings.

Only fitting this game is the only play in town so it can get the attention it seriously deserves.

The play NAVY -13 and
7 point Teaser (ties reduce at 5Dimes)

12/14/2013 3:00 PM College Football 304 Navy* -6 vs Army
12/14/2013 3:00 PM College Football 303 Army/Navy* Under 58½

Risking $100.00 To Win $83.33

NFL ~ 12/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-7, 41)

Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has blossomed since taking over the starting job and has thrown for 10 touchdowns and one interception in the past six games. Running back Bobby Rainey also has injected life into the offense with 243 rushing yards and four TDs (three rushing, one receiving) in the past three games. The defense has been solid against the run but susceptible against the pass.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (379 yards, 5 TDs) and No. 1 running back DeAngelo Williams (610 yards, 2 TDs) lead a strong ground game and Newton has been efficient when forced to throw the ball. While Newton's maturation has grabbed much of the attention, Carolina's defense has been a force, ranking first in the league in scoring (13.7) and third in total yards (297.5).

LINE: The Panthers opened -9.5 but have been bet down to -7
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s under partly cloudy skies.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Tampa Bay (+3.5) + Carolina (-5.0) + home field (-3.0) = Panthers -11.5
TRENDS:

* Buccaneers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games vs. teams with winning records.
* Panthers are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games vs. teams with losing records.
* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings.

The Play: PANTHERS -7

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Pk, 49)

Chicago's recent struggles can't be pinned on quarterback Jake McCown, who has passed for seven touchdowns with only one interception and boasts a 100.8 rating. Matt Forte didn't practice Wednesday, but coach Marc Trestman told reporters he is optimistic about the running back's status for Sunday. The Bears already have the league's worst run defense and they'll likely be without three defensive starters - including linebacker Lance Briggs.

The Vikings let one get away last week, blowing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter of their 26-26 tie with the Packers. Christian Ponder is back in the driver's seat of the team's quarterback carousel and passed for 233 yards and a touchdown last week. Peterson is still the force that drives the offense, though, and he averages 107.7 yards and has 14 touchdowns in 11 career games against Chicago

WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Chicago (-1.0) + Minnesota (+5.5) - home field (-3.0) = Bears -3.5
TRENDS:

* Bears are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games vs. NFC foes.
* Vikings are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games on fieldturf.
* The home team is 16-6 ATS in the last 22 meetings.

The Play: VIKINGS Pk

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 48.5)

After defeating three of the league's worst teams (Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville), Arizona notched an impressive 40-11 victory over AFC South-leading Indianapolis last week. Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games and has a 110.8 quarterback rating during the four-game winning streak. As usual, Larry Fitzgerald is the focal point of the Cardinals' offense, hauling in two touchdowns last week.

The Eagles' Chip Kelly, coming off a bye week for the first time as an NFL coach, needed the extra time to improve a defense that ranks last in the league in passing yards allowed. That said, the Eagles' defense has surrendered 21 points or fewer in seven straight games, including their most recent contest - a 24-16 triumph over Washington in which Trent Cole had two of the team's four sacks.

WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-40s with partly cloudy skies.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Arizona (-2.5) - Philadelphia (-1.0) - home field (-3.0) = Eagles -1.5
TRENDS:

* Cardinals are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games on grass.
* Eagles are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games following a bye week.
* Over is 13-5 in the last 18 meetings.

The Play: CARDS +3

NFL ~ 11/10

Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (+1, 47)

Eagles quarterback Foles, who threw for an NFL record-tying seven touchdowns last week, has 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season. LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with 777 rushing yards, but he has run for 60 yards or fewer in four of his last five games. The Eagles’ defense has recovered from a rough start to the season, as Philadelphia has yielded 21 points or fewer in five straight games.

A collarbone injury has shelved Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers for at least four weeks. Fortunately, the Packers finally have a running game they can depend on. Rookie bruiser Eddie Lacy has rushed for 545 yards since Oct. 1 – the highest total in the NFL - including a career-high 150 yards last week. Green Bay expects to have Clay Matthews back on Sunday after the All-Pro linebacker missed the last four games with a thumb injury, adding to a staunch but underrated defense.

LINE: Green Bay opened as a 2.5-point fave, but the line has moved to +1. The total has slipped from 48 to 47.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s with wind blowing diagonally out of the NW at 9 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Philadelphia (+1.5) + Green Bay (-1.0) + home field (-3.0) = Packers -5.5
TRENDS:

* Eagles are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games on grass.
* Packers are 5-0 ATS against teams with losing records.
* Under is 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings.

The Play: Packers +1

St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts (-9, 44)

The Colts posted their second consecutive victory in stirring fashion, overcoming an 18-point third-quarter deficit to post a 27-24 triumph over Houston last week. T.Y. Hilton made his presence known with veteran wideout Reggie Wayne sidelined with a torn ACL by reeling in a career-best seven catches for 121 yards and franchise-tying three receiving touchdowns against the Texans.

Indianapolis leads the AFC South by two games over Tennessee, which handed St. Louis its third straight loss last week and faces the Colts on Thursday. With quarterback Sam Bradford's season also felled by a torn ACL, the Rams have shifted their focus toward Zac Stacy. The rookie followed up his 134-yard performance in a 14-9 loss to Seattle on Oct. 28 by rushing for his first two career touchdowns to highlight his 27-carry, 127-yard effort versus the Titans.

LINE: Indy opened -10.5 and is now -9. The total opened at 43 and is up to 44.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: St. Louis (+6.0) + Indianapolis (-4.0) + home field (-3.0) = Colts -13
TRENDS:

* Rams are 8-2 ATS vs. teams with winning records.
* Colts are 14-6 ATS in their last 20 games on fieldturf.
* Over is 7-3 in St. Louis' last 10 games following an SU loss.

The Play: Colts -9

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (+4, 45)

Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch is excelling after racking up a season-high 125 yards against Tampa Bay to move up to second in the NFL with 726 rushing yards. Quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown multiple touchdown passes in four of the past five games and is also doing damage with his feet (375 rushing yards). Cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions. Despite the Seahawks' strong start to the season, they are just 1-4 ATS in the last five games.

Standout receiver Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) could be back after a three-game absence to help alleviate Ryan’s troubles. White has just 14 receptions for 129 yards in an injury-prone campaign after six consecutive seasons of more than 80 catches and 1,200 yards. Atlanta could use some help from a defense that has allowed at least 23 points in each game. Matt Ryan been picked off seven times for the Falcons in the last two games and the Seahawks are tied for the league lead in interceptions with 13.

LINE: Seattle opened as a 5.5-point fave and is now -4. The total opened 44 and is up to 45.
WEATHER: N/A
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Seattle (-6.0) + Atlanta (+4.0) - home field (-3.0) = Seahawks -7
TRENDS:

* Seahawks are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games following an ATS loss.
* Falcons are 14-2 ATS in their last 16 games after scoring fewer than 15 points in their previous outing.
* Under is 10-1 in Atlanta's last 11 games in November.

The Play: Seahawks -4

Oakland Raiders at New York Giants (-7, 43)

Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor leads the team in rushing with 485 yards and is 45 yards shy of passing Rich Gannon for the club record for a quarterback. Where Pryor struggles is in the passing game, with four interceptions and no touchdowns in the past two contests, and he could have his running attempts limited due to a knee sprain. Darren McFadden has been ruled out for the Raiders this week and therefore the Giants defense should punish Pryor today.

One of the reasons the New York defense was able to be so effective the last two games is because Eli Manning and the offense weren’t putting it into bad positions with turnovers. The former Super Bowl MVP threw 15 interceptions in the first six weeks but was not picked off in either of the two victories while focusing on shorter passing attempts.

LINE: New York has held firm as a 7-point fave, with the total down half a point to 43.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-50s with cloudy skies and wind blowing across the width of the field at 9 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Oakland (+6.0) - New York (+2.5) + home field (-3.0) = Giants -6.5
TRENDS:

* Raiders are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games following a bye week.
* Giants are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games in Week 10.
* The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.

The Play: Giants -7

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-11.5, 41.5)

Jacksonville comes out of its bye week with little room for optimism. The offense averages a pitiful 10.8 points per game, and what small glimmer of success the Jaguars have enjoyed was wiped out when receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The defense hasn't been much better and ranks last in the league against the run, allowing 161.8 yards per game.

Tennessee struggled through a three-game losing streak against tough competition in October, but two of those defeats came with quarterback Jake Locker on the shelf. Locker has been solid when healthy, completing 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,232 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. The Titans have been strong against the pass but have a tough time stopping the run, so grabbing an early lead will be key.

Both teams score a combined 32.4 points per game and the under is 5-1-1 in the last seven meetings. The total is currently at 41.

LINE: Tennessee opened -13. The total has remained at 41.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-50s with wind blowing across the length of the field at 6 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Jacksonville (+10.0) - Tennessee (0) + home field (-3.0) = Titans -13
TRENDS:

* Jaguars are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games.
* Titans are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. AFC foes.
* Under is 10-2-1 in Jacksonville's last 13 games against the AFC South.

The Play: Titans -11.5 and UNDER 41

Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, 43)

Buffalo is in last place in the AFC East after falling to Kansas City 23-13 last week. The Bills held a surprising 10-3 lead at the half but surrendered a pair of back-breaking defensive scores after the break. Rookie Jeff Tuel was picked off in the end zone and Sean Smith returned the interception 100 yards to tie the game and the Bills lost a contest that they had totally dominated statistically. EJ Manuel will be back at QB and the Bills are 3-2 ATS with Manuel under center this season.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is on pace to throw for the most yards of his career but that's a testament to a team that has been playing from behind all season. The once-proud Steeler defense allowed New England's Tom Brady to break out of a major slump to throw for 432 yards and four touchdowns last week. Pittsburgh has also been gouged on the ground all season long allowing 131.3 yards a game which ranks 31st in the league.

LINE: The Steelers opened -3.5 and are now -3. The total opened at 43 and is up to 43.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-40s with wind blowing across the width of the field at 10 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Buffalo (+4.5) - Pittsburgh (+4.5) + home field (-3.0) = Steelers -3
TRENDS:

* Bills are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an SU loss.
* Steelers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss.
* Under is 10-2 in Pittsburgh's last 12 home games vs. teams with losing road records.

The Play: Bills +3

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