When Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury in Week 15, the Philadelphia Eagles knew the road to the Super Bowl wouldn’t be easy. But ahead of their divisional round matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles are in uncharted gambling territory.
As strange as it sounds, Las Vegas Bookmakers opened the top-seeded Eagles as 2.5-point home underdogs with a total of 41. That makes Philadelphia the first No. 1 seed in NFL history to be an underdog in the divisional round. Since 1975, only six previous home teams have been underdogs in the round, but all of them occupied the second seed. The last time it happened was in 2013 when the wild-card San Francisco 49ers were favored by a point over the Carolina Panthers.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons +3
Saints at Vikings
This is a tough game to call, after watching what the Rams did in their first playoff game of their new regime, I’m slightly gun shy to pull the trigger on picking Minnesota here with a Vikings team that is playing a quarterback who is making his first postseason start. I’ve said for most of the season that I think Minnesota is the most complete team in the NFC, and I’ll stick by that this week. (For the record, if the Saints somehow went to the Super Bowl, they would have played 3 road games in Minnesota in one season. That’s a neat stat.)
Pick: New Orleans Saints +200 Moneyline
Jaguars at Steelers
The Jaguars went to Pittsburgh in week 5 and won 30-9 and were outscored 23-3 in the second half. The more stunning numbers though came from individuals: Ben Roethlisberger went 33-55, 318 yards and 5 interceptions. Keep in mind, that Jags quarterback Blake Bortles only went 8-14 for 95 yards. Not only did Bortles only complete 3 more passes to Jacksonville than Roethlisberger did, but if you add up the return yardage on those 5 interceptions, Big Ben threw for 103 yards to the Jacksonville defense and Bortles only threw 95 yards to the Jacksonville offense. ALSO, two of the 5 interceptions were returned for touch downs, which is stunning when you realize that neither QB threw a touchdown to their own team!
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -7
Titans at Patriots
Offered without comment, come on, Tom Brady and the Patriots at home versus the Titans is easy money!
N.E. Patriots -11.5
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