Breaking Vegas With Garrett Thornton – Divisional Round

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Come playoff time, I usually have a very good read on these teams. Last year I was able to go 100% on my pick in 2 of the 3 weeks of the playoffs. This year didn’t get off to the start that I had hoped.

My biggest problem last week was that I put too much faith in a terrible quarterback (Connor Cook) and a tanking defense (Detroit). I won’t fall into that trap this weekend!

Isn’t this the best time of year? The only teams that are left are the best-of-the-best.

No more Cleveland Browns.

No more San Francisco 49ers.

No more Chicago Bears.

It’s time to enjoy some high quality football. Buckle up and enjoy this weekend’s slate of games!

Seattle Seahawks +5 @ Atlanta Falcons

The Dallas-Green Bay matchup is getting all of the press leading up to this weekend, but this might be the best game. These two teams met earlier in the year which was a heated and controversial matchup. The Seahawks won at home by the final score of 26-24. In the waning moments of the 4th quarter, Richard Sherman got away with an obvious pass interference penalty on Julio Jones which helped decide the game.

Atlanta now hosts, and the stakes are even higher. The Falcons will be ready. Newfound pass rush, led by Vic Beasley, will be a challenge for the terrible offensive line of Seattle.

When it’s all said and done, I think Atlanta wins this game. Seattle has more Playoff experience and a more clutch quarterback which will lead to them keeping it close, but Atlanta is the superior team.

Falcons 31 – Seahawks 28

Houston Texans +15 @ New England Patriots

Houston is the worst team left in the Playoffs, there isn’t much question about that. Add to that the fact that the Patriots trounced the Texans 27-0 in September and this game could be an ugly one.

Let me make the case for the Texans to cover the spread.

Although they have underachieved this year, that offense has weapons. Brock Osweiler, while wildly overpaid and incredibly terrible this year, has the tools to put it all together. Lamar Miller was the most sought after running back this past summer. DeAndre Hopkins has been one of the best receivers in the league the past few years.

On the other side of the ball, the defense is incredible. It took them a while to get it all together and the loss of J.J. Watt hurt, but as we sit in January, this is probably the best defense in the league.

We all know what the Patriots bring to the table. But I don’t think any team is 15 points better than their opponent this time of year.

Patriots 27 – Texans 14

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs -1.5

Traditionally, home field advantage is worth 3 points in Vegas. This line tells me that Vegas thinks that the Steelers are the better team in this matchup, and that might be true.

Pittsburgh absolutely trounced the Chiefs in Pittsburgh by the score of 43-14. The Steelers then went on to win a game, lose 4 in a row, and now are on a 8 game winning streak.

My head wants me to pick the Steelers, but there is just something that makes me want to pick the Chiefs at home.

I think most of that is because I trust Andy Reid more than I do Mike Tomlin. Add to that the fact that Alex Smith is 100% healthy, while Ben Roethlisberger left the stadium in a walking boot last week.

This will be a good game, but I think home field advantage is the difference.

Chiefs 24 – Steelers 21

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys -4.5

The NFL’s crown jewel of the weekend!

There is no question that the NFL was sweating earlier in the season when their television ratings were down. That is going to be remedied by the last few weeks of these Playoffs. The Cowboys and Packers are two of America’s beloved teams. The ratings numbers will be huge. Add to that the fact that the Super Bowl may be Patriots-Cowboys or Brady-Rodgers, and the NFL is licking their chops.

Back to the game…

These two teams met in Week 6 in Green Bay. The Cowboys took it to the Packers and won 30-16.The rookie duo of Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott were phenomenal in that game. The Dallas defense forced 4 turnovers. The Cowboys dominated.

That was a different Packers team. After the Cowboys game they went 1-4 before reeling off 7 straight wins. Aaron Rodgers has never played better and the team is starting to find their identity. Ty Montgomery is a legit running threat. That defense is as good as they have been all year.

The Cowboys are also a different team. They are 100% healthy coming into this game. What other Playoff team has no contributing player on IR or out? No other team. Cornerback Mo Claiborne will return this week, Tyron Smith is as healthy as he’s been, their defensive line is all practicing and on track to play.

Keep in mind, the last time these two teams played, Prescott was only starting his 6th game as a pro. In that game he had a quarterback rating of 117.4. He has only gotten better and more accustomed to the Cowboys’ offense and the NFL game.

The Packers are going to miss injured wide receiver Jordy Nelson more than they think and the Cowboys will continue on this magical ride that this season has been.

Cowboys 30 – Packers 24

Wins Losses Push Percentage
Week One 1 3 1 30%
Week Two 1 4 0 20%
Week Three 2 3 0 40%
Week Four 2 3 0 40%
Week Five 3 2 0 60%
Week Six 2 2 1 50%
Week Seven 3 2 0 60%
Week Eight 2 3 0 40%
Week Nine 3 1 1 70%
Week Ten 3 2 0 60%
Week Eleven 3 2 0 60%
Week Twelve 2 2 1 50%
Week Thirteen 1 4 0 20%
Week Fourteen 3 2 0 60%
Week Fifteen 4 1 0 80%
Week Sixteen 3 2 0 60%
Week Seventeen 3 2 0 60%
Wild Card 2 2 0 50%
OVERALL 43 42 4 50.6%

 

*All betting lines provided by Bovada.LV on the Thursday preceding particular NFL week.

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About Author

Garrett Thornton

Garrett has been a Senior Writer for Oregon Sports News for 4 years. In that time Garrett has primarily covered the Portland Trail Blazers. He has also started his series “Breaking Vegas with Garrett Thornton”, picking NFL games against the spread. Along with his coverage of the Blazers and NFL, Garrett covers Oregon Ducks football. 

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