Jimmy McGinty previews Saturday's playoff games between the Seahwaks and the Falcons and the Patriots against the Texans.
Playoff Weekend Recap
A terrible weekend for playoff football. Four poor games that went the way of the favourites. I regret getting involved at all. There were just far too many bad teams in the playoffs this season and four of them lost out in convincing fashion. The Raiders deserved their playoff spot but with Derek Carr out injured they had no chance. Detroit, Miami and NY Giants are marginally above average but well below the level of the teams they faced. It showed.
Excluding the Texans it does look like the best seven teams in the League are left so we should have some terrific games this weekend. The best teams and four live games over two days – possibly the best weekend of the NFL. I’m really looking forward to it.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons
Against the Lions last week the Seahawks led only 10-6 after three quarters. Again their offensive line struggled a little early on. The Falcons have been good at getting to the QB all season so they should relish this matchup up front. The Seahawks receivers bailed out Wilson with a few extraordinary catches whilst the Lions receivers did nothing bar drop the ball or commit personal fouls. I’m far from convinced there was as much between these teams as the scoreboard suggested. Seattle will need to improve quickly as the Falcons are much better than the Lions, especially at home. Seattle haven’t been great on the road this season.
Seattle will limit the run, as per usual, and with Richard Sherman following Julio Jones it’ll be up to Matt Ryan to find his other receiving targets. With Earl Thomas out that should be do-able. On the otherside I expect Doug Baldwin to have a big outing. Atlanta have coped since losing top cornerback Desmond Trufant but they haven’t faced many top offenses or receivers (Rams, 49ers, Panthers). That changes on Saturday.
A weak-point for Atlanta is allowing catches and receiving yards to running backs (league’s worst) but Seattle’s lead back Thomas Rawls is traditionally not good through the air. A bullet dodged.
I’m (and Betswot followers should be) on the Falcons outright at 66/1 so not pushed about getting involved here but it looks a good matchup for the Falcons.
2pts win Falcons -5pts
0.5pt win Mohammed Sanu anytime TD 9/4
0.5pt win Tyler Gabriel anytime TD 15/8
Houston Texans at New England Patriots
The most unappealing game of the four on this weekend. Anything but a convincing Pats win would be surprising. Last week the Texans battled the least experienced/worst QB in the league. This week facing Tom Brady it’s quite the opposite.
With the Texans possessing a potent pass-rush (and a decent corner-back) I’d expect Brady to play quite a cautious short game, especially late on which means LeGarrette Blount will get lots of carries. He had 18 TDs in the regular season! Dion Lewis will be used when spreading the field more often early in the game.
Despite being the vastly inferior team the Texans strengths don’t even match up well against the Patriots. Malcolm Butler will clamp down DeAndre Hopkins and the Pats are very strong against the run so Lamar Miller won’t enjoy his evening either.
It’s a big spread but I want to be on the Patriots side.
2pts win New England Patriots -15pts
1pt win Dion Lewis first TD
2pts win LeGarrette Blount anytime TD
Regular Season Recap Part 1 – AFC
3pts @ 5/4 Jets under 7.5 wins, 1pt worst record – the Jets got off to a bad start and tailed off by mid-way. Finished with 5 wins. It could be even less next year, terrible squad. +2.8pts
4pts @ 6/4 Raiders to make playoffs, 1pt outright 40/1 – with a 12-4 season the Raiders easily made the playoffs. Unfortunately for them that’s as far as it went with Carr out injured. +5pts
Bengals 3pts @ 10/11 to make playoffs – injuries to Eifert, Green and Bernard didn’t help but the Bengals had a poor year. -3pts
Antonio Brown receiving yards 4pts @ 9/2 – Could finish only 5th as TY and Julio had big seasons. -4pts
3pts @ 4/5 AJ Green receiving yards over 1300. Poor Bengals and injuries meant he didn’t even break the 1000 barrier. -3pts
LeSean McCoy rushing yards – Shady had a terrific season, finishing 6th, despite missing a few games but it wasn’t enough. -1.5pts
Andrew Luck – passing yards – finished only 8th. Brees won from Matt Ryan. -2pts
NFC recap makes for much better reading thankfully.