Given how predictable NFL playoff games have become, I figured I should take a leaf out of Bill Simmons's book (his picks here
) and make my picks against the Vegas line. (For those who don't know what it means, a margin of victory is predicted by the oddsmakers for every game and you get to bet on whether the margin will be larger or smaller. So, if I do better than 50-50 on my bets, I get to make money!)Seahawks (-9.5) over Redskins:
The end of the road for the offensively-challenged Washington squad. Seattle is going to trample all over them, winning by at least two touchdowns.Broncos (-3) over Patriots:
This is a close call, given Denver's history of playoff collapses and the Patriots' impeccable record, but I'm siding with the home team. Denver's unstoppable running game is going to dictate play and leave New England's already depleted secondary even more vulnerable to the play-action pass.Colts (-9.5) over Steelers:
This one is more a pick against the masses than anything else. Everyone has been overpraising Pittsburgh the past few weeks and overconcerned about Indy's finish. (Aside: What's the deal with resting players for the playoffs anyway? My theory is that it causes much more harm than good, taking players out of the winning rhythm that they had worked so hard to build up over the first 15 weeks of the season. How often have we seen the hot wild-card team ride its streak deep into the playoffs? If Indy gets off to a slow start, I would be vindicated.) So, I'll make the safe assumption that the line is a little too generous to Pittsburgh and go with Indy.Panthers (+3) over Bears:
I'm picking the Panthers to cover. Why?
(1) Carolina played their worst game of the season the last time they were down in Chicago and I just don't see them playing that badly twice in a row. Even though they played well last week and usually blow hot-and-cold with breathtaking periodicity.
(2) What are the odds on Chicago scoring more than 13? A 3-point spread against such an anemic offense seems like a lot.
(3) Bill Simmons has gotten every pick involving Carolina wrong for the last 3 months, and he's picking against them this week.