The divisional round of the NFL Playoffs is often host to the best slate of games of the NFL season with what seem to be the best eight teams in the NFL squaring off. This slate of games is relatively lopsided for this time of year, with three of the four games featuring a favorite of at least seven points.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (-7)
The 49ers are the pick in this game for a bunch of reasons for me, but I think that they are a team that should benefit from the week of rest. There is always a lot of talk about having a bye week vs. playing in the Wild Card round to keep momentum, but that is always something that is basically impossible to quantify.
What I do know is that the 49ers finished the season with Green Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans, Atlanta, the Los Angeles Rams, and Seattle. That is one of the toughest stretches a team could have late in the season, and they have been fighting for this seed all season long. I expect them to take advantage of the week off.
The Vikings are not a great football team, but they did pull a rabbit out of their hat in the outright win in the Superdome last week. I think that was a very emotional game for the Vikings, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out really flat here.
The Vikings haven’t shown a great ability to stop this kind of rushing attack, and I think that the 49ers will control the pace of the game early and often. I expect a safe win from the Niners here.
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Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens (Under 47.5)
I understand this line, but I just think that more often than not, we see a very slow game here with the playstyles. Both teams have been involved in high-scoring games more often than we would have expected to begin the season, but I think that the playstyles together will likely limit scoring.
Both the Titans and the Ravens understand that their opponent wants to take control of the ground game and dominate time of possession, and I do believe that this game could get out of hand for the Titans, which would be the worst possible situation for this line. I think that both teams will be relatively efficient on offense, but I expect the drive times and plays to be limited due to pace, making this total too high.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (Over 51)
This is probably my favorite play in this game from a mainstream perspective, but I will also be dabbling in Patrick Mahomes passing yard overs and Chiefs team total overs as well.
The Chiefs have had two weeks to prepare for a defense that lacks the very thing that the Chiefs entire offense is built around: Speed. The Chiefs are likely the fastest team in the NFL and probably one of the faster offensive skill groups in NFL history.
These two teams met early in the season, and I would venture to say that it resulted in one of the worst Mahomes performances in his young career. He wasn’t horrible, but he has never really been horrible.
This is a spot that sets up perfectly for multiple 50-yard TDs, and that is all you need to get to the over here. Quick-hitting, big plays are the recipe to a great over play, and I can see them happening on both sides in this matchup.
I also really do want to keep an eye out for Will Fuller updates. He is always hurt but was practicing early last week, so I would think that there is at least a decent chance that he plays in this game.
In Week 6, Fuller only had five for 44 yards, but he dropped three different 40-yard TD passes and was in line for a monster game. The presence of Fuller makes me feel less confident in the Chiefs and more confident in the over.