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2014 NFL Divisional Playoff Round against the spread preview & handicapping tips

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Capperspicks NFC & AFC Divisional Round ATS Angles

We hit on three of four last week – only the Bengals ruined a perfect week – figures! This week the Elite Eight play for the right to play for their respective Conference Championships and for a trip to New Jersey and the Super Bowl January 2.

All four road teams (except for the pick ‘em between the Niners and the Panthers) are underdogs this week – quite large ones to boot. Is it justified? Let’s break all the action down and give you a glimpse into all four games in the Divisional Round.

Saints at Seahawks (-7.5) Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints return to the scene of the crime that started a tailspin that saw them fall out of the NFC South race. New Orleans lost 34-7, were outgained 429-188 and were totally overmatched by the Seahawks and the crowd in Seattle. Can things change in a month?

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Seattle’s two year home winning streak is over – they are not invincible at home anymore, the Saints recorded their first road playoff win last week and New Orleans as a whole seems to be playing with a little urgency – something that was missing in the teams’ earlier meeting this season.

So the answer is “Yes” – things can change. But will they have changed enough? Probably not – the Saints are the same team and the Hawks are the same team as well. The Hawks are an absolute matchup nightmare for the Saints on offense and on defense. Watch for the home crowd and the Seattle squad to dominate once again.

Colts at Patriots (-9) Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET, CBS

Anybody that saw Indy’s game against Kansas City on Saturday knows that this team is never, ever out of a game. Now with an insane amount of confidence and momentum behind them, the Colts head to Foxborough to take on the Pats.

The Colts had a difficult time on the road in the playoffs last year losing 24-9 in Baltimore while the Pats covered a 9.5 point spread against Houston in the postseason a year ago. But the Colts have grown up since an unflattering stretch in the middle of the season. Robert Mathis is the best Defensive Player of the Year and Andrew Luck has an ability to will his team to victory.

Do I think the Colts are going to upset Tom Brady and the boys? No. Do I think Indianapolis keeps it interesting – absolutely.
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49ers at Panthers (pick ‘em) Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

Two of the top defenses in the league meet in Carolina Sunday. These two teams have already squared off this season – a 19-9 win for Carolina in San Francisco in Week 9 but the Niners have won seven straight since. San Francisco is the hottest team in the NFL right now and cannot be discounted after winning a character-building game in Green Bay last week.

But beating Carolina at home has been tough – they are 6-1-1 ATS this year and their only loss came in Week 1.

You have to love the way that Carolina has played this year but to me, they look like they are still a year away. The 49ers look very much like the team to beat in the NFL and they proved that they can win under any circumstance last week.

Carolina caught San Francisco at the right time in Week 9 – this time they have caught the 49ers at precisely the wrong time. It looks like a 49ers/Seahawks NFC final to me – just like most thought back in the preseason.

Chargers at Broncos (-10.5) Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Somehow the Chargers won the last meeting of the two teams – 27-20 in Week 14 in Denver! Since that time the Chargers qualified for the playoffs thanks to a blown call, they almost lost to a bunch backups in Week 17 and they beat a turnover-prone Cincinnati team last week.

Am I impressed by San Diego? Not really – it’s pretty hard to be. But the Broncos did lose as a 9.5 point favorite at this time last year against Baltimore and they were 10 point faves in the earlier meeting between the teams this year.

But… and that’s a big BUT the Broncos look to be a team of destiny. Not only did Peyton break the record for most TD passes in a season, the team as a whole became the highest scoring squad ever.

There is no way that Denver takes San Diego lightly again. The Broncos score at will and set up a date with New England in the AFC Championship game. Look for Denver to easily cover the 10.5

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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