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Divisional Round Picks

January 10th, 2020

Maybe I should feel some kind of weird pride over having fared better against the spread than straight up in the wild card round.

But I don’t. Because all it means is that I knew the Patriots and Saints weren’t covering 5- and 7.5-point spreads even though I felt confident both would win.

So I landed at 3-1 with the points, whereas I only managed 2-2 straight up.

How exciting for me.

I expect to turn those results around this week. Because road teams by and large don’t win in the divisional round. So I should be able to back into at least three correct picks straight up unless something goes completely haywire. Against the spread, I’m doomed. They all look both too big and not quite big enough to me, which makes 0-4 a distinct possibility.

Here’s what not to expect.

Minnesota (+7) at San Francisco
I don’t think it’s completely crazy to believe the Vikings could pull off a second straight upset road win. The 49ers have been one of the best teams in the league all season, but they had a few rough games down the stretch, and it could happen again. And it’s reasonable to expect the Minnesota D will find a way to keep this one close enough to be decided by an unexpected bounce of the ball late. But I can’t pick that result. San Francisco’s had a couple of weeks to rest and prepare. They may get off to a slow start, but I think they get it together before halftime and hold on for the win. Niners by six.

Tennessee (+9.5) at Baltimore
I think we all know the Titans have overachieved this season. And, you know, every now and again you get one of those teams that just keeps on winning well past the point where it should stop. But the Ravens are just way too complete a team to give this one up. It might still be a game at the start of the second half, but it won’t be by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. Ravens by 17.

Houston (+9.5) at Kansas City
The Texans beat the Chiefs back in week six. And it wouldn’t exactly shock me if they found a way to repeat that success. In fact, if Houston can find a way to keep this game on on the ground, Kansas City could be in real trouble. In the end, though, it’s just really hard to overcome home field in this round. And I expect the Texans’ questionable pass D to be their undoing. Kansas City by four.

Seattle (+4.5) at Green Bay
The Packers would have annihilated the Saints. They’ll hold off the Seahawks. Green Bay by three.

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