NFL Playoffs: Divisional Weekend

Wildcard Weekend 2-1

Reg Season ATS 60-42

I found this a tough weekend to handicap, Divisional weekend is my favorite football weekend of the year but this years games have such interesting matchups that for the most part I felt the lines were pretty good and whenever I lfelt I had a good read on one side, I would see something to make me like the other. Overall I do like 3 plays as of now including 2 totals.

Game 1 Bal @ NE Under 48

Bet % Over 63% Under 37%

Most of the week I liked Bal +7 but as the week went on and I read more and more people picking Bal as the team most likely to pull the upset I began wondering if maybe everyone, including me,was putting too much stock on the previous playoff games between the two teams. I also wondered that since it had been about 3 weeks since NE played a game they had to show up for maybe we were forgetting just how good they have been the 2nd half of the season.

In the end what I trust most about Baltimore is their defense, if they win this game it wil be because their pass rush will overwhelm the Patriots, similar to what we saw KC do on that MNF game. Ravens are the #6 DVOA defense overall, they are dominant vs the run giving up just 3.6 yards/rush 3rd best and should be able to make NE a one dimensional offense in this game. Where Baltimore has struggled is defending the deep passing game but NE doesn’t really have the type of speed to get behind them so I don’t see that being a major issue here.

On the flip side NE brings the 11th best DVOA defense to face the Ravens 9th ranked offense, they are 9th in opp passer rating and at home should be able to cause problems for Flacco. There are a couple of numbers I really like when betting unders, the first is yards per point against and here we have the 4th and 5th best teams by that metric, Bal gives up a point for every 18.1 yards while NE gives up a point for every 17.6. It should be mentioned that by that NE is #1 in yards per point on offense at 12.5 yards/pt which is one of the reasons I didn’t like Bal +7. The Other number I like is TD% against in the Redzone and both tehse teams hold offenses under 50%, Bal holds teams to TD’s 42% and NE does it 47.8%.

If Bal wins I thin their defense dominates the game and the offense does just enough and it comes under the total but I also think this is a game the defense could play well and still lost by double digits 24-13 or something. What I don;t see is both these offenses getting off and playing in the high 20’s.

Game 2 Car @ Sea -11

Bet% Car 45% Sea 55%

This obviously feels like a very square play,laying double digits in the playoffs with the reigning Super Bowl champs but as I have dug into this game I find it very difficult to see how the Panthers score enough points in this game to be competitive.

This game is a real mismatch between the Panthers offense and Seahawks defense. The Panthers offense ranks #18 in offensive DVOA, 19th in avg passer rating (86), 21st in yards/pt (16.2) and 21st in yards/Play (5.2) Seattle ranks # in defensive DVOA, 5th in opponents avg passer rating (80.4), #9 in opp yards per point (16.8), #1 in opp yards/play (3.9). Even more impressive for Seattle is that almost all of their key defensive metrics are much better in their last 4 games than their already impressive season long numbers. Also one of biggest strengths of Seattle is they give up the fewest he fewest trips to the redzone in the entire league at 2.3, Carolina has had issues all year getting into the redzone averaging just 2.9 trips per game.

There is no question that Carolina has been riding a very hot defense, they dominated the Cardinals and Ryan Lindly in the wild card game last week and have been very good over the last quarter of the season. That being said they ended the regular season ranked 15th in defensive DVOA , 26th in yards per point against (14.1) and maybe most importantly for this game they were 27th vs run this season giving up 4.4 yards per attempt. The Seattle offense which ranked 5th in DVOA on offense is the #1 rushing offense with 5.3 yards per attempt should be able to have a lot of success on the ground in this game and put up mor than enough points to win this game by more than 2 TDs.

Game 3 Dal @ GB Over 51.5

Bet% Over 59 Under 41

We have two of the best offense playing in this game vs middling defenses and even with a high total above 50, I think we are getting some value here based on the Aaron Rodgers injury questions, he ARod was 100% I think we would see a total of 55/56.

GB finished #1 in offensive DVOA, # 2 in avg passer rating (109.9), #2 in yards per point (12.7), #1 in yards.play (6.2) tied #1 in yards/pass (7.9) and 9th in yards/rush at 4.4. Dallas finished 4th in offense, 1st in passer rating (111.1), 3rd in yards/pt (13.1), 4th in yards/play (6.0) tied wth GB for 1st in yards/pass and were 4th in yards per rush (4.6).

The defense for these teams ranked 16th (GB) and 22nd (Dal) in defensive DVOA and the fact that both teams are poor vs the run, GB gives up 4.3/rush & Dal gives up 4.2, should mean that both teams should be able to keep drives going and use play action to open up big plays in the passing game.

The big question in this game is about the health of Aaron Rodgers but he should be much better than he was 2 weeks ago in Det and in that game he went 17/22 for 226 yards 2TDs and a 139.6 passer rating. Grantland.com had a great article that discussed ho the Packers used the pistol the last 3 games for about 50 plays after not using it all season. Using the pistol means that Rodgers dos not have to take a drop back which should limit the issues with the calf. I think GB will win a high scoring game here but I think both offense will have plenty of success scoring.

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