NFL Playoff Lines: Divisional Round

By Jamie Wianecki

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Atlanta Falcons (-155) at Philadelphia Eagles (+135) (+3/41.5)

This Falcons team is getting a lot of comparisons to the 2010 Green Bay Packers team, which I find ridiculous. 2017/18 Matt Ryan isn’t 2010/11 Aaron Rodgers. Atlanta’s defense is ranked 22nd in DVOA (5.6% where lower the better and 0 is league average), while the 2010 Green Bay defense was ranked 2nd (-13.9%). Don’t compare this Falcons team to Green Bay just because they are playing well. Carson Wentz went down, but he wasn’t the sole reason the Eagles were the top seed in the NFC. Philly’s defense finished 5th in defensive DVOA.

I like the Eagles to cover and win, 20-13.

Tennessee Titans (+650) at New England Patriots (-1000) (-13.5/48)

The Titans were the second worst playoff team and Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were recently criticized in an ESPN article. I don’t have the calculations, but the Pats cover more often than not after they are insulted, suspended or publicly criticized. Not to mention, they are the far better team and are at home. You are fucking NUTS if you bet on Tennessee.

I like the Pats to cover, 40-10.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+280) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-360) (-7.5/41)

I’m riding the Jags all the way to the Super Bowl...unless of course they lose this game. But I like their defense to take advantage of this inconsistent Pittsburgh offense. When these teams played in week 5 at Pittsburgh, the Steelers closed as 7.5-point favorites and the Jags picked off Roethlisberger 5 times in route to a 30-9 win. The Steelers were 3-5 against the spread as a touchdown or more favorites.

I like the Jags to cover and win, 23-17.

New Orleans Saints (+185) at Minnesota Vikings (-220) (-5/46.5)

The Vikings were an impressive team this season. They were 13-3 straight up, 11-5 against the closing line, which was tied with the Pats for best. They were 5th in offensive DVOA and 2nd in defensive DVOA. To go along with their impressive DVOA, they ranked 3rd in opposing defense DVOA and 11th in opposing offense DVOA. But this is the worst matchup for the Vikings. The Saints are just as well-rounded as Minnesota (2nd if offensive DVOA and 8th in defensive DVOA) plus have an experienced quarterback.

I like the Saints to cover and win, 27-13.