Colts vs. Chiefs (-5.5):
This game is destined to be a shootout based on what these teams bring to the game. Basically no defense has been able to shut down the Chiefs’ offense, and I expect nothing different here. There is an interesting video going around about how well the Colts are disguising coverages. They are moving guys around pre-snap like it is man-to-man defense and then getting into a zone once the ball is snapped. This can cause confusion for a team like the Chiefs that has a young QB and uses a ton of pre-snap motion to determine what type of coverage the defense is in. That being said, I think they give the Colts’ defense fits athletically that they cannot overcome. The Colts struggle to defend the TEs, and I think that Travis Kelce will just have way too much room to roam unless they give up space somewhere else. The Chiefs have been elite at attacking what the defense gives them, so I am not too worried ability to win and cover here.
Cowboys (+7) vs. Rams:
This game will likely be determined on one side of the ball, but I am not sure what side of the ball that will be. I think that either side of the ball has a lot of factors and any one factor can swing the game. The Rams’ offense has been incredibly dynamic all season long. I expect them to continue to call a strong game from a play-calling standpoint. However, their offense has struggled without Cooper Kupp in the lineup. This has forced them to use more 12 formation, which is something they really never did. The Rams were the heaviest 11 personnel offense in football pre-Cooper Kupp injury. If they do use more TE play this week, I think that may be slightly worse for them. The Rams are great at creating matchup advantages, and I don’t see one that Gerald Everett can really exploit vs. the Cowboys. I also think that the Cowboys’ offense has a chance to stomp on the Rams in the running game. The Rams’ D-Line is elite as a pass-rush, but they are significantly worse against the run, which is where the Cowboys would like to attack them.
Chargers vs. Patriots (-4):
This game is incredibly intriguing. All over the sports world, everyone is talking about how the Chargers are a significantly better football team than the Patriots. The pass rush of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram is elite and should rattle Tom Brady. The secondary of the Charger with Desmond King, Casey Hayward, and Derwin James is elite. Their RB and WR groups are also incredibly talented. I say all of this, and then I take the Patriots. Why? I trust the Patriots to do everything right. The Patriots are one of the smartest franchises in sports, and I just love them coming off of a bye at home. They’ve had time to watch the tape and figure out every little advantage they can find. I think they find a few holes in the defense, like the lack of LB depth and take advantage of it and win this one by 7-10.
Eagles vs. Saints (-8):
It ends now. The Eagles are toast. This is the spot I have waited for in the playoffs. A smart coach and a good QB taking on a bad secondary who is traveling to a dome. The Saints are going to throw all over the Eagles, and they will not be able to catch up. The Saints secondary schemes have been incredibly impressive, and I expect Nick Foles to throw a pick early on a deflected pass and the Saints run away with it from there. I love the Saints ML despite the juice on that side, and I still like them -8.