The NFL regular season is in the books and the playoff teams are set. I went 1-1 with my spread picks in the final week of the season, which brings my regular season record to rest at 26-13-2 against the spread.
The regular season record is in the books, but the playoff record is just beginning and we are treated to four solid wildcard games this weekend. Just like the regular season I’ve given my favourite two picks against the spread below.
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Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks
- Detroit +7.5
- Seattle -7.5
The Lions definitely backed their way into the playoffs losing their past three games, but let’s not forget that they ended the season with a very tough schedule with road games against the Giants and Cowboys, followed by a home game against the surging Packers. I’m not ready to count out this Lions team. Matthew Stafford has the arm to put up points against any defense in the league and with a variety of options including Tate, Marvin Jones, Boldin and Ebron, I do think Stafford will be able to find a way to move the ball against this solid Seahawks defense. The loss of Earl Thomas back in early December really affected the Seahawks passing defense with the amount of points per game allowed jumping from 15.6 with Thomas to 24.5 without him. I do think his loss will be a main factor in why the Lions are able to move the ball and keep pace with the Seahawks on Saturday.
I also do think that the Lions defense can bounce back after a couple of poor games. They went on a 7 game stretch in the middle of the season where they allowed less than 20 points per game and if they can contain Russell Wilson in the pocket, I’m not convinced that Thomas Rawls is playing well enough to do damage on the ground. If the Lions defense can rediscover the spark and tenacity they had in the middle of the season this could be a tough night for the Seattle offense.
I do still give a slight edge to the Seahawks to win this game, but I think the odds are there to take the Lions straight up in this game and I am happy to take over a touchdown all day long.
Play: Lions +7.5
New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers
- New York +4.5
- Green Bay -4.5
The Packers have looked very good on this 6 game winning streak they put together to win the NFC North, but they can’t take their foot off the pedal now against probably the best defense in these playoffs. The Giants have kept their opponents to 23 or fewer points in all but one game this season (a loss to the Redskins in week 3) which is a feat that has them second to the Pats in points against this season. The Packers have been able to move the ball very effectively down the stretch putting up 30+ points in their last four games, but I simply don’t think they will be able to find quite as much success in Sunday Nights game against the Giants.
Add in the fact that of all the QB’s remaining in the playoffs not named Tom Brady, Eli Manning is surely the most experienced and the most knowledgeable of how to win games in the post season. He’s been able to ride his defense to an 11-5 record, often doing just enough to win games, but that in itself is a valuable skill, especially against an opposing QB like Aaron Rodgers who can quickly capitalise on any turnovers or short drives.
I’m concerned that the Packers may let up a little bit in this game after playing in must-win games for the past 6 weeks. I also am of the belief that defense wins championships and I’m banking on a great defense derailing a surging offense in this one.
Play: Giants +4.5
In the other games, I simply think there are two many question marks surrounding the starting QB’s of both the Raiders and Texans to get a solid read on that game, and although I do think the Steelers win and likely win big over the Dolphins, 10 points is just too much for me to give up with any confidence.
Check out our football betting page for more information about the various wagers you can make on any of these NFL playoff games.