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Chargers Broncos Playoff Preview

San Diego @ Denver (-10)   Chargers Playoff Preview:   They’re one of few teams to play the Broncos well – actually defeating them in Denver just a month ago.   Philip Rivers has played some of his best football this year and was remarkably efficient in beating the Bengals in a downpour last week, completing 12 of 16 for 128 yards and a touchdown in horrible conditions.  He completed a career-high 70% of his passes in 2013, not bad for someone whose career was supposed to be on the decline.  Denver can be thrown on, especially with pass rush specialist Von Miller out, so expect Rivers to stay hot and exploit the questionable pass defense.   The pass defense ‘held’ Peyton Manning to just 277 yards  and locked down his top receiving threats, keeping Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in check to the tune of only 6 catches for 87 yards combined in their road win, and completely demoralized the Bengals offense last week. They are opportunistic and athletic, more-so than their stats may say.  Containing the Bronco offense a second time may not be an easy task, but they’ve proven able to do it in Denver before and anything can happen in playoff football.   Recent Trends:   4-1          ATS in their last five games 8-3-1      ATS in their last 12 road games 7-3          ATS in their last 10 against teams with a winning record   Broncos Playoff Preview:   They have Peyton Manning. Enough said.   They are rested and know that they won’t be back on the road until the Super Bowl. Manning had yet...

49ers Panthers Playoff Preview

San Francisco (-1.5) @ Carolina   49ers Preview:   They’ve been resilient road warriors over the past 4 weeks and have beaten some stiff competition.   Despite logging a slew of frequent flyer miles, they’ve been able to beat Tampa, Arizona, and Green Bay on the road in 3 of the past 4 weeks, and haven’t lost as the visitor since dropping a close one to the Saints in November. The addition of Michael Crabtree to the offense added a much-needed dimension and option for Colin Kaepernick, who struggled at times having to rely solely on Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin. He also frees up the read-option for Frank Gore and Kaepernick to use their legs to rip defenses.   Defensively, they haven’t been as dominant in the past three weeks but they’ve done enough to keep the team in games, making the big play when needed.  They should be able to contain the inconsistent Carolina rushing attack, forcing the Panthers to rely heavier on Cam Newton throwing the ball to a banged-up receiving corps. There’s no reason to think that they can’t force a turnover or two from Newton as he is forced to test the stellar secondary of the Niners. Don’t discount Phil Dawson’s leg in this one either, as he has won his share of tight games with clutch kicks.   Recent Trends:   6-1-1      ATS on the road in 2013 4-1          ATS in their last 5 Divisional Playoff games 23-7-3   ATS in their last 33 games following an ATS loss   Colts Preview:   Their defense is outstanding, and has held some stellar offenses to...

Saints Seahawks Playoff Preview

New Orleans @ Seattle (-7.5)   Saints Playoff Preview:   This defense is really quite good and has done a nice job of bailing out the offense on the road this year.   The potent Philly passing attack was held at bay until CB Keenan Lewis left the game with a slight concussion last week.  He’ll be back this week – so expect them to do what many teams have done this year: hold the Seattle passing game at bay (they passed for only 202 YPG in 2013). In order to avoid Russell Wilson’s ability to pick a defense apart, Rob Ryan will have to come up with some disguised blitz and coverage schemes – look for a shadow on him at all times, perhaps LB Junior Galette, who had a dozen sacks on the year.   The Saints will have to run the ball as they did against Philly, and we may have finally seen Mark Ingram’s coming out last week.  They gashed Philly’s outstanding rush defense for 185 yards, but they aren’t Seattle’s run defense. Drew Brees is going to have to utilize play action to keep the active front seven at bay if they are going to produce like they did last week. Darren Sproules will be relied upon heavily. If Seattle can account for him, it could be a long day for the Saints offense.   Recent Trends:   2-7          ATS in road games this season 1-3          ATS as a road underdog this season 23-11     ATS in their last 34 games on artificial turf   Seahawks Playoff Preview:   Well, for starters they pummeled the...

Colts Patriots Playoff Preview

Indianapolis @ New England (-7.5)   Colts Preview:   They are most certainly on a killer high after that comeback against Kansas City, and teams on a roll like theirs tend to see it continue in the postseason.   Andrew Luck and TY Hilton are on the biggest roll of all. When it has mattered the most – the past two games – they’ve hooked up a whopping 24 times for 379 yards and two scores. Kansas City’s above average secondary couldn’t cover Hilton with a tarp and the Pats will have to decide whether to leave Aqib Talib to cover him alone or to double up on him. Go for the latter and Luck will pick the defense apart with mid-range darts to the underrated Coby Fleener.  Expect yet another aerial assault.   On defense, they were able to make some wicked adjustments at halftime of the comeback and frustrate the Chiefs offense into mistakes – and that’s saying a lot as KC took care of the ball better than most teams. The Pats have been susceptible to putting the ball on the ground, as both Steven Ridley and LeGarrette Blount have ridden the pines after fumbling issues.  Expect another big game from Robert Mathis.   Recent Trends:   4-0          ATS in their last four games 23-11-2 ATS against teams with a winning record in their last 36 games 9-0          ATS in their last 9 games after allowing 30+ points in the previous game Patriots Playoff Preview:   They’re the Patriots. At home.  In January. Stop us if you’ve heard this before.   And these aren’t the Pats...

49ers Packers NFC Wildcard Playoff Preview

San Francisco 49ers(-2.5, O/U: 46.5) @ Green Bay Packers   San Francisco 49ers Playoff Preview:   They run the ball – frequently and very, very well.   Whether it’s Frank Gore pounding the ball up the gut, Colin Kaepernick escaping the pocket on the read-option, or Kendall Hunter giving Gore a blow, there is no reason to think that the Niners won’t gash the Pack’s 25th ranked rush defense. And don’t be fooled by their 30th ranked pass offense. The Niners threw the ball less than any other team in the league this year. When he does toss it, Kaepernick has been very productive and has reduced his errors: only nine INTs and one lost fumble all season.   Don’t expect the Pack’s potent running game to thrive, as SF allows a mere 96 YPG on the ground.  The linebacking tandem of Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman has been playing extremely well of late and should have no problem containing Eddie Lacy and keeping Aaron Rodgers from getting too far out of the pocket and finding downfield receivers.  Add the pressure that the Smiths (Justin & Aldon) will bring from the line and Rodgers could be in for a long day, especially if lockdown CB Carlos Rogers is OK to play.   Recent Trends:   12-4  ATS on the road over the past 2 seasons 3-0    ATS against Green Bay over the past 3 seasons 4-0    ATS as a road favorite this season   Green Bay Packers Playoff Preview:   It’s always tough to bet against Aaron Rodgers. At home. In January.   Add to it that he’s well...