Welcome to the divisional round! It's our last weekend of football with more than 2 games, so enjoy it. I ended up struggling last week, I had every favorite covering and none of them did. I went 2-2 in just picks, though. Let's hope I can have some better luck this week.
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) - I feel bad for the Eagles. They were the best team in the league before Carson Wentz tore his ACL in a game against the Rams. Nick Foles hasn't exactly led them to wild offensive success. Outside of Nick, they've got power backs, a solid receiving core, and a defense allowing less than 4 YPC and under 250 passing yards per game on the season. However, a lot of things are working in their favor tonight. I saw from @spreadinvestor on Twitter that Atlanta is 1-5 in road playoff games on the East coast. Also, since 1990, NFC #1 seeds are 22-5. It's also cold and windy in Philly which helps them to slow the pace down. Personally, I think this game could go either way. I have the Falcons winning but the Eagles covering 21-20.
Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots (-13.5) - Prior to learning a couple interesting statistics, I didn't think that New England could cover. However, here's what I found: Since 2001, New England is 23-8-2 in chances to cover when they're -13.5 or more. Also, in 8 games, not including playoffs, against a Dick Lebeau defense, Brady averages 312 passing yards per game and 2.4 touchdowns per game. That pretty much explains everything you need to know. New England takes this one 34-17.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.0) - I just can't imagine a scenario where the Jaguars are ever in this game. Let's think about something for a second. Blake Bortles has played football in Florida his entire life. Leonard Fournette was born in New Orleans and played football at LSU. The high in Pittsburgh tomorrow is 19 degrees, and the low is 5. Last night, Heinz Field got 6 inches of snow. If Bortles wasn't bad enough in perfect weather, he's going to be even worse in the snow. Also, just because Jacksonville won earlier doesn't mean they're going to blow Pittsburgh out of the water. No QB is hotter than Ben Roethlisberger right now. Pittsburgh wins and covers 23-13.
New Orleans Saints @ Minnesota Vikings (-5.5) - The Vikings are a good team. Everywhere I look, everyone thinks the Saints are going to win easily. The Vikings are 13-3 on the year. They lost 26-9 to Pittsburgh, but they had to hand the reigns to Case Keenum after Sam Bradford was declared out just hours before the game. Their next loss was 14-7 against Detroit. Dalvin Cook went down mid-game. Their only other loss was by a touchdown to Carolina. Diggs and Thielen keep the offense churning, and Rhodes, Smith, Griffen, and Kendricks head an elite defense. The Saints are good too, don't get me wrong. But with the Super Bowl in Minnesota, I've got an awesome feeling about Minnesota. Minnesota wins 27-24 but doesn't cover.