- ATL -4.5 (5u) W
The Falcons are my Super Bowl pick and I have a lot of faith in them to take care of business at home today. They face a Seattle team traveling East, which has been well documented to hurt the West coast team due to the time difference, and face a hot Atlanta team that won their last 4 games of the season by an average of 19.8 PPG. The Seahawks are not a good road team at all, going just 3-4-1 on the year despite winning the NFC West, and the absence of Earl Thomas is a huge liability in their secondary against the highest scoring offense in the NFL. Matty Ice has a reputation for not living up to expectations with his 1-4 playoff record but his only win came against the Seahawks in 2013, and he'll look to avenge their last minute loss to the Seahawks earlier in the season. Vic Beasley led the NFL in sacks this season and should have no trouble getting to Wilson against one of the worst offensive lines in the league to disrupt the flow of Seattle's offense. Julio Jones should also see some reps at slot receiver to free himself from being shadowed by Sherman and find plenty of open field to operate. My money is on the best offense in the league to make a statement win at home against a Seattle team that struggles on the road in a potential shootout.
- HOU +15.5 (2u) L
The Texans' offense might not inspire a lot of confidence but they still boast an elite defense that ranks 2nd in the league in pass yards allowed. The Patriots have been the best team against the spread this year but there's not much value in laying over 2 TD's in a playoff game, even a mismatched one as this game. I'll grab the points here and hope for a 4th quarter garbage time score from Osweiler.
- DAL -5 (4u) L
The red hot Packers take their 7 game winning streak into Dallas to face the Cowboys who had a week off to rest. Rodgers has been the hottest quarterback in the league with his 12:0 TD:INT ratio in the last 3 weeks but will be without his top receiver in Nelson. The Packers are dangerously thin in their secondary depth even with Randall healthy, while the Dallas defense is underrated and the Cowboys will get Claiborne back from injury today. Dallas loves to stack the box and should put plenty of pressure on Rodgers to slow down their offense and win comfortably at home.
- KC -2.5 (4u) L
The Steelers have turned this season around and are going into Kansas City on an impressive winning streak, rattling off 8 consecutive wins after a 4 week losing streak. The Chiefs are a solid team all around with no real deficiencies in any facet of their game. On the defensive side, they boast a tough front 7 led by Houston who should be healthy, and a solid secondary led by Peters who has yet to allow a TD this season. Alex Smith should continue his solid high-floor play against an above average Steelers defense and the recent usage of Hill as an offensive weapon has added another facet to their usual checkdown game. Big Ben has not done well on the road this season, where his completion rate drops nearly 10% (!) from 68.5% to 58.9%, and will face an extremely tough test against a stout defense at Arrowhead, which boasts one of the top home field advantages in the NFL. This should be a hard fought game but Kansas City should keep up their underrated solid level of play to win by a field goal at home.