MARLBORO, NY – Last week’s opening round of the NFL Playoffs was a wacky one, where all four underdogs beat the spread and two (Atlanta and Tennessee) won outright. There was a little bit of everything last weekend; a large blown lead by the
Chefs Chiefs… a low-scoring snoozer between Buffalo and Jacksonville… a back-door cover that almost turned into a Carolina victory… and a Super Bowl loser looking to make amends for their failure in Atlanta. On paper, today’s games look appealing and hopefully we’ll be on the mark with today’s Cheesy Bruin’s Free NFL Playoffs Picks.
PITTSBURGH -7 (41) vs. Jacksonville
The line and total in this game is almost identical to those of the regular season meeting between these teams. If you’ll remember Ben Roethlisberger threw a million interceptions in the home thrashing at the hands of the Jaguars secondary and Leonard Fournette ran over, around, and through the Steelers in the 30-9 romp. I’m trying not to overreact in what I saw from Blake Bortles last week, where he ran for more yards than he passed, but my eyes nearly bled. It appears it will take another yeoman’s effort by the defense – and Fournette again – for the Jags to have a prayer today as they just don’t have enough play-making skill position players to keep pace. As of this writing, Antonio Brown is said to be ready to play but is still listed as questionable on the official injury report. How effective he will be after the late-season calf injury is anybody’s guess and against this defense he might be at a disadvantage. I’ve got a feeling that there are many doubters that Jacksonville can repeat the regular season win. Don’t be one of them!
Prediction? PITTSBURGH 27, Jacksonville 21
The Picks? Jacksonville +7 AND OVER 41
MINNESOTA -5.5 (46.5) vs. New Orleans
Well, this game will have Angry Ward and a legion of pessimistic Minnesota Vikings fans on the edge of their seats. They’re at home. They’re favored. They’re well rested – or is it well-rusted? Momentum in sports is important to the psyche of a team. In this case, a team with haunting losses in the playoffs – dating back decades ago – as Angry Ward well-chronicled this past week. Will the bye week stop the Vikings locomotive that saw them finish the year at 13-3? Not this week. Not by a long-shot. Minnesota gets to slay one of those playoff dragons and gets revenge from the Bret Favre loss to the Saints a few years ago. It is then onward and upward to Philadelphia, a team they can certainly beat even on the road. But first things first and the order of business is the Saints who are 1-4 as underdogs and tells us all we need to know about them–they are frontrunners and won’t beat a team when they aren’t expected. A huge grin on the Purple People Eaters faces as they repeat the opening week win against the same saints squad.
Prediction? MINNESOTA 27, New Orleans 19
The Picks? MINNESOTA -5.5 AND UNDER 46.5
And hats off to Buddy Diaz, whose Eagles somehow beat the Falcons.
That’s it. Feel free to comment below and come back tomorrow for DJ Eberle. – who may still be wearing black for his Buffalo Bills…