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NFL 2011 Divisional Round Playoffs Gambling Preview

NFL Divisional Round Weekend Playoff Previews

It’s Divisional Playoff Round of the 2010-11 NFL playoffs begins this Saturday with four great games on tap. Here I take a look a quick look at each of the match ups, giving you some early insight that will help make your NFL wagers winners.

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SAT, JAN 15 TIME (ET)

Baltimore at Pittsburgh 4:30 PM CBS –These two are no strangers to each other as they prepare to battle in the weekend’s first game of the second round of the AFC Playoffs.

Pittsburgh, who sat out the postseason just one year ago after winning the Super Bowl two years back, split the regular season series, winning at Baltimore late in the season, earning the number two seed and a bye in last week’s first round. There were a lot of questions surrounding the team early in the season with many wondering if the Steelers could win without Ben Roethlisberger.

They did lose in that stretch without Big Ben, one of them a loss to the Ravens, but they managed to hang tough and finish with an identical record as Baltimore, winning the AFC North on a tiebreaker. As for Ravens, they started out slow in their first round playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but after trailing early, the Ravens took the lead before the half en route to a win and another chance at the Steelers.

This should be a great game as these teams play each other so often that they are very familiar with one another and they bitter enemies.

There were a total of 23 points scored last time these two met and 31 the time before. I expect the Steelers to win this one and the UNDER on a late drive, edging out the Ravens by three.

Green Bay at Atlanta 8:00 PM FOX –The Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers close out day one of the second round of the NFL Playoffs as they meet under the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons had a monster year finishing the regular season with the best record in the NFC which gives them home field advantage throughout the postseason. Head Coach Mike Smith has done a good job resurrecting the franchise after the departure a couple of years of internal turmoil.

Meanwhile, Green Bay went into Philadelphia on Sunday and beat the Eagles to secure the last playoff spot in the Divisional Playoff round of the NFL playoffs. The Pack has suffered through some huge injuries all season long including a few knocks to QB Aaron Rodgers who  had a spectacular year, and he stepped up again last week in Philly completing 66.7 percent of his passes including three touchdowns and numerous big third down conversions. These two teams just met at the end of November in a tight game won by the Falcons 20-17. betED

While both teams have solid defenses, they can also put the ball in the end zone with two high-powered offenses. Look for a fast start as this one turns into a track meet with Atlanta edging out another win and the OVER.

SAT, JAN 16 TIME (ET)

Seattle at Chicago 1:00 PM FOX – The Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks will do battle in Chi Town for a chance to go to the NFC Championship game. The Bears finished with the second best record in the NFL and won the NFC North, earning a first round bye, while many thought they would never even make the postseason.  

Bringing on Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz to run the offense has paid dividends. Martz’s offense seems to be a better fit for Jay Cutler making the entire team that much more effective. As for the Seahawks, they pulled off probably the biggest upset this postseason, knocking off the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

The Seahawks trailed early, but rallied to erase a 10-point deficit and never looked back. Matt Hasselbeck was outstanding, passing for 272 yards and four touchdowns while throwing just one interception and getting sacked just one time. These two teams played earlier this season and Seattle won 23-20 in a game that ended up being much closer on the scoreboard than it really was on the field. It will be interesting to see if Julius Peppers can rattle Hasslebeck forcing him into some critical mistakes. I expect this one to go OVER while the Seahawks Cinderella dance ends in the Windy City.

New York at New England 4:30 PM CBS– This will mark the third time these two teams have met this season, as the New York Jets and New England Patriots meet in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Pats should be confident after thumping the Jets 45-3 the last time these two met on their way to a top seed in the AFC East, as well as home field advantage for as long as they remain in the playoffs.

Once again, Tom Brady has been outstanding and has passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns to just four interceptions this year. As for the Jets, they haven’t been to a super Bowl in 42 years and they are just two games away from finally getting back.

They need to forget about losing by 42 to this same Patriot team in this same stadium just a few weeks back, and focus on the ways they beat the Pats by two touchdowns earlier this year. The Jets will rely on QB Mark Sanchez who had a mediocre season with a few clutch moments sprinkled with some questionable ones. Sanchez led the charge last week as New York edged out the Colts on a field goal in the waning seconds to advance to this week’s bout.  

This will be a thrilling game to watch and considering the season split, should be evenly matched. Both defenses have been playing better of late, but they have proved to be vulnerable this year. With the total set at 44.5, the OVER is the play here with New England coming out on top.

Matt Martz is a freelance writer located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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