Ravens vs. Broncos – In the first game of this round of the postseason, two things stand out for NFL betting. One is the difference in the defenses. Denver was second in the NFL in yards allowed, compared to Baltimore coming in at 17th in yards permitted. Last week Indianapolis, gained 419 yards against the Ravens defense, yet tallied only nine points. Hard to imagine Peyton Manning wasting those same kind of opportunities especially at home.
The other is the quarterback differential, Manning vs. Joe Flacco. At home, the Broncos average 32.5 PPG, while Baltimore falls off the cliff on the road to 18.0 PPG (30.9 PPG on home turf). Manning has a 9-2 lifetime record against Baltimore, when they had significantly better defenses than this current group. Flacco continues to be plagued by up and down performances and with Denver’s defense; it would seem the Edgar Allan Poe’s season could be – never more.
Packers vs. 49ers – Some of the people behind Sports-Watch are of the opinion the winner of this divisional conflict will be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. If Green Bay is to upset San Francisco, they cannot give up on the run, even if success is lacking. The magic number for the Packers is 26 rush attempts, since they are 11-1 (10-2 ATS) when they meet or exceed this figure this season. Defensively, the return of Charles Woodson is ultra-important, as he makes sure everyone lines up properly in the secondary and is a disruptive force against the run or pass playing along the line of scrimmage.
With Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, there are positives and negative for the 49ers. His lack of experience could show up at any moment, especially give the circumstances. However, his running ability could be a vexing issue for Green Bay and assuredly, coach Jim Harbaugh will have a couple of new wrinkles. Kaepernick is also better at pushing the ball down the field with a stronger arm than Alex Smith and has formed a strong connection with Michael Crabtree. If the Niners defensive ends have a big game, it will be a very long day for Aaron Rodgers.
Seahawks vs. Falcons – On paper, Seattle would seem to have edges over Atlanta. The Seahawks were second in the NFL in rushing, with the Falcons conceding 4.8 yards per carry on the ground, leaving only three teams worse. Atlanta did not run the ball well either, finishing 29th in the league, opening the door to the possibility Seattle’s outstanding defense could make them one dimensional. Nonetheless, Matt Ryan is arguably the best passer in the NFL between the numbers and tight ends have caused a Seahawks conundrum and Ryan’s top option is the ageless Tony Gonzalez.
Seattle has won six in a row (5-1 ATS) and as our Power Ratings show, a case can be made they are the better team in this encounter. Pete Carroll’s squad is in a potentially challenging situation, having to make consecutive West Coast to East Coast trips which can take a toll. Last week, the Seahawks were somewhat fortunate RG3 was injured, which allowed them to get back and later take over the game. A rested Atlanta club would seem unlikely to let Seattle off the hook if they are not prepared from the start. The Falcons no doubt are tuned into the fact Russell Wilson has been sacked 11 times the last two games and aware the Hawks have lost their top pass rusher Chris Clemens.
Texans vs. Patriots – Houston was hammered in the previous meeting between these teams and will have to play flawlessly to advance to AFC title tilt. Offensively, the offensive line has to create big gaps for Arian Foster to run through and keep oncoming rushers away from Matt Schaub. The Texans quarterback has to “plant” the pigskin on his receivers to generate more yards after the catch and be extremely effective in the red zone. On defense, J.J. Watt and Conner Barwin have to manufacture huge games and Houston has to disguise blitzes as best they can to make Tom Brady less sure.
With Rob Gronkowski back, New England can use their base offense of two wide receivers, two tight ends and one running back, to create favorable matchups against Houston. The Texans secondary has been shaky at best and the Patriots typical brilliant schemes set up for Brady to have another spectacular day. The two most important Pats defenders are DT Vince Wilfork and CB Aqib Talib. Wilfork can singlehandedly destroy a team’s inside run game and gets exceptional push in collapsing the pocket with his strength as a pass rusher. Bill Belichick’s defense has improved since acquiring Talib, as his ability to play man coverage (he’s also allowed the other members of the secondary to play more to their skill level) on the opposing team’s best receiver, sets up New England to blitz more without negative repercussions.
Sports-Watch monitored handicappers Indian Cowboy and Northcoast Sports both started out red-hot in the NFL postseason with 3-0 records. Right behind them are JB Sports and Z-Play at 2-0, followed very closely by Robert Ferringo and Hammer The Book at 3-1. Special K Sports, Handicapper Sports and Jason Sharp were more selective and they nailed their lone selections. Make certain to check out any of these handicappers today!
Sports-Watch NFL Power Ratings Plays
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