|Its This Guy's Time|
It seems that I'm one of the only believers in Atlanta. I've been saying for weeks now, that I just think this is the year they get the monkey off their back, and as much love as Seattle picked up nationwide last weekend, for the kneet-down they gave Washington, I do believe their time is up.
Seattle is playing great, no doubt. Following a first quarter last week that resembled a hot knife (Washington) going thru butter (Seattle), Seattle's defense then shut the Redskins down completely for the final 3 quarters. Now some of that was an injured RG3, but most of it was a defense that just settled in and became very stingy in all areas.
However, barring a 1st quarter injury to Matt Ryan, I think Seattle's sh*t talking corners are going to have their hands full with Roddy White and Julio Jones. And although Atlanta's run game isn't anything to write home about, I'm predicting Michael Turner to go north of 100 yards against a Seattle run D that has been suspect at times. Don't be surprised, because of the wide out threats on either side, if Pete Carroll and the Seahawks forget about the Falcons running game.
I think this game, relative to the point spread and the moment of being a divisional playoff round, could borderline on blowout. I think the back and forth travel across country catches up with Seattle. I also think we're done seeing a rookie QB this weekend, play like a 10 year vet on this stage (See Colin K. last night), and I think the injury to Seattle's Chris Clemons is kind of a big deal. You know, he only led Seattle in team sacks.
Matt Ryan's numbers over the final month of the season were stellar. 10 touchdowns, to just 1 pick over the final four games, completing a staggering 71% of his passes. Its his time to shine here. Atlanta went 7-1 SU at home this year, with just the one loss in their final (meaningless) tilt against Tampa. And this line essentially is asking a team who went 3-5 on the road this year (Seattle), to win back to back games on the road (on the East Coast, no less). It's just not happening. But if it does, Pete Carroll will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy in 3 weeks. 30-17 Falcons.
Houston (+9.5) at New England
|Its Going to Be an UGGly Day For This Looker|
The Patriots absolutely pollaxed Houston the second week in December, 42-14. I'm not going to put too much stock in that loss against Houston, as we saw what happened in Denver yesterday. In the NFL, its very hard to beat a team two and three times in the same season, let alone do it twice in blowout (-9.5) fashion. The Broncos manhandled the Ravens up in Baltimore 4 weeks ago, and then yesterday just laid an egg against the very same team.
I'd also go back to a game I used in yesterday's post, when I made a case for the 49ers (big fat winner); the Frisco/New England game 4 weeks ago.
In that game, the Patsys got absolutely worked. The Patsys gave up 41 points, 180 yards on the ground, and turned the ball over 4 times. And other than the before mentioned Houston game, it was the only game NE played down the stretch, against an opponent who was worth a shit. Their other 3 games were against awful Miami (twice) and embarrassingly bad Jacksonville.
Keep this in mind, Texans haters. The Texans were 12-2 going into the final two weeks of the season, and had the lock on the AFC home field. I think that's important to remember here. They lost their final two games of the year, virtually falling off everyone's radar. But to their credit, it was against a surging and playoff bound Vikings team, and playoff bound Indy.
I think the Texans could actually win here. If Arian Foster gets going early, the Patsys are in some deep doo-doo. Houston is 6-2 ATS on the road against a team who has a winning home record. Also, the last time the New England Patsys hosted a divisional playoff game against a team whose ass they had just kicked a month earlier in the same venue (2010), they got bounced by the Jets. In fact, New England has been bounced from the first round in two of their last three post season dances. 36-31 Texans.