The Line: Analyzing The Lines And Picking NFL Divisional Round Winners

The Line: Analyzing The Lines And Picking NFL Divisional Round Winners

The Pats and Steelers are solid favorites to win their home contests, setting up what would be a titanic clash in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs should've had that advantage against the Titans, but it was Andy Reid and Alex Smith that fell flat and blew a 21-3 lead against Tennessee.

This week's rematch is one of the most anticipated of the weekend, featuring the Saints' red-hot offense and underrated defense against the Vikings, who went 7-1 at home this season.

Of course the Patriots are still the far superior team, and given time to adjust over the course of the game, Bill Belichick vs. Mike Mularkey presents a colossal mismatch.

The defending NFC champs looked like anything but a team who needed to win their regular season finale to get into the playoffs.

Lastly, a ticket on Tennessee represents a free roll in a sense, as Brady's health two months removed from an Achilles injury remains a major question mark.

If you just woke up from last Sunday's coma enduring win by the Jaguars over the Buffalo Bills, there is a certain segment that thinks one of two things are going to happen here - the Steelers win big to avenge their regular season loss or the Jags get another win because Pittsburgh will be looking toward New England the following weekend. The Saints have won three of their last four meetings against the Vikings. Jacksonville is a team that can play with anyone.

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Something's gotta give, and if it's any indication DVOA's #1 defense has only been an underdog of a touchdown or more twice in this decade. The Steelers are favored by many to win this game but lets not forget that the Jaguars beat the Steelers 30 to 9 on October 8th. And for good measure, the low total of 41 increases the relative value of each point. The Vikings defense continued to improve all season and ended the year as the best defense in the NFL.

When a best bet involves one quarterback making his ninth playoff start, including the preceding Super Bowl, against a backup quarterback whose only previous playoff start came four years ago, it would seem obvious which side gets the nod.

The Falcons are unsafe because they're experienced, unlike the Rams or this week's opponents in Philadelphia. And Atlanta managed 26 points - a number it hadn't reached since November. The Jaguars ranked first stopping the pass but 21st against the run. "This is the freshest I've ever been going into the playoffs so we'll see how it goes". The Falcons are 2.5-point road favorites over the top-seeded Eagles on Saturday afternoon. Yes, Ryan and the Falcons have looked impressive the last two weeks. Nick Foles had a great game against the Giants the week after he had to step in for the injured Carson Wentz but he was a disaster on Christmas night when the Eagles squeaked by the Raiders. But just like every fan, the oddsmakers know this, which explains why the Eagles are the first #1 seed in National Football League history to be an underdog in the Divisional Round. Four teams are well rested after a bye as they prepare to host a hungry wild card team. And the New Orleans defense didn't come to fruition until Week 3. Atlanta's win will propel them into the Divisional Round to play the Carson Wentz-less Philadelphia Eagles.

For instance, Philadelphia surrendered 7.7 fewer points per game than expected based on the down, distance and field position of each opposing play against. For reference, 10 points is on the high end of the gap Las Vegas pegged between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley when Rodgers broke his collarbone earlier this season.

This brings the theme of the week full circle.

After a insane Wild Card weekend, we enter into the NFL's Divisional round match-ups! That seems to be the case Saturday in Philadelphia, which makes it time to strike.

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