Well last week was a dud! 0-4 straight up and 1-3 against the spread. Not to cry over spilt milk but the Buffalo pick was still the right decision. After all, the Bills were up 16-0 midway through the 3rd quarter and had a chance in overtime to win the game only to see Deshaun Watson perform his typical late game heroics which most football fans witnessed while he was the QB for Clemson. The Vikings cover was our only correct call since that game was close and the Vikings defensive front won the war in the trenches. We just didn't expect the Saints to lose, but, again it was close with the Saints losing in OT. They seem to have a penchant for losing playoff games in the final minute (2011 to SF, 2017 to Minnesota, and 2018 to LA Rams). Definitely we were way off with New England. No excuses there. Tom Brady should retire. Finally, our models actually liked Seattle but personally we hate Seattle and are sick and tired of them.
By the way, our models did predict the Tennessee point total exactly, Houston was off by 1, and Minnesota was off by 3. Our winners just didn't come through.
Now that I have explained myself, we simply dust ourselves off and try again. We had the courage to stick our necks out during Wild Card Weekend and we are not going to give up now. Here are all of the details for the awesome games this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers
Saturday, January 11 1:35 PM PT on NBC
SF -7, O/U 44.5
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
Saturday, January 11 5:15 PM PT on CBS
BAL -10, O/U 47
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, January 12 12:05 PM PT on CBS
KC -10, O/U 51
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
Sunday, January 12 3:40 PM PT on FOX
GB -4.5, O/U 46.5
Here are the scores our model spit out (yes, these are accurate and we will stick with Seattle winning much to our displeasure!).
San Francisco 25
Kansas City 33
Green Bay 25
Before we get into our reasons for our picks, it is important to note that about 75% of bye teams win their divisional round games since the NFL adopted the current playoff format in 1990 (two bye teams with four teams playing during wild card weekend). Also, about 80% of the Super Bowl teams since 1990 had a bye week. However, it is rare for all four bye teams to win during the divisional round. That has happened just four times in the last 29 seasons. The fact that our model likes exactly 3 of the home teams this weekend fits right in line with these trends.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers defense is finally healthy and have simply been a better team than Minnesota all year. The win in Seattle could be the catalyst this team needs to get to the promised land. Still, Minnesota is a tough out and proved they can dominate the line of scrimmage in the Big Easy last Sunday. The 49ers rarely cover when favored by a TD or more so we like San Francisco to win but not cover. Prediction: San Francisco 25 - Minnesota 21.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens. Here we have a 9-7 team playing on the roada against a well rested 14-2 team which happens to have the best football player, period. Need I say more? Well I can. The Titans are built to run and keep the game close. The Ravens like to jump out to early leads. Should Baltimore get its way, this game is over by halftime. More proof that Baltimore dominates: Ravens have a top 4 pass defense according to Football Outsiders while Tennessee ranks dead last in pass protection. This one is too easy. Prediction: Baltimore 33 - Tennessee 21.
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs. This game should have the best scoring environment out of all playoff games this weekend. Great weather. Low ranked defenses. Dynamic playmakers for both offenses. In a matchup like this, take the well rested team that has proven it can win big games. QB Patrick Mahomes will continue to shine and even though Deshaun Watson is a great QB too, the KC defense has been playing a tad better than Houston's. Also, the Chiefs have won their last 6 games so whatever issues that needed to be worked out, have been worked out. Prediction: Kansas City 33 - Houston 20.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers. We must have one upset and here it is. Yes, we are all aware of Russell Wilson's struggles in Green Bay. The game will be very cold which should favor the Packers. The issue here is that Green Bay cannot defend the run. Wilson can move. Lynch is back. Even Travis Homer is a big play threat (true to his last name). The Packers looked terrible during their Week 17 affair with Detroit and Seattle seems poised for a rubber match with their rivals in the Bay Area. Prediction: Seattle 27 - Green Bay 25.
No more monkey business. We will go 3-1 or 4-0 this weekend. Then time to make money on the conference championships. Go Niners and enjoy the games!