With a wild wild card weekend wrapped up, the tickets have been punched, and the betting odds have been set for the AFC divisional games.
Baltimore upset Pittsburgh and now travel to New England on Saturday to take on the number one seeded team in the AFC. On Sunday, second seeded Denver battles Indianapolis.
The Divisional Playoffs are set! SAT: -BAL at NE (435pm ET) -CAR at SEA (815pm ET) SUN: -DAL at GB (105pm ET) -IND at DEN (440pm ET)
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 5, 2015
Can Baltimore upset a team on the road for the second straight week? Will Indianapolis find a way to hush the crowd at Mile High Stadium on Sunday?
A Closer Look At The AFC Divisional Round Playoff Odds, My Free Picks & TV Schedule
Matchup: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Date: Jan. 10, 2015
Start Time: 4:35 p.m. ET
Location: Foxboro, Massachusetts
Stadium: Gillette Stadium
TV Info: NBC
Radio: BaltimoreVs New England
Point Spread: Patriots -8.5
Game Total: 47.5
Analysis: That was one heck of a win over Pittsburgh this past Saturday night. The Ravens dominated the line of scrimmage. The defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger 5 times and it forced Ben into 2 interceptions. Almost as importantly, Baltimore’s offensive line yielded only a single sack to Pittsburgh’s defense.
Baltimore should find the going much tougher against New England this Saturday at Foxborough. The Patriots have two excellent cornerbacks, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, who should be able to cover both Torrey Smith and Steve Smith one on one. That will leave New England’s free safety available to either help in run support or roam the back end while the Patriots’ strong safety covers Baltimore’s tight-ends or keys on the Ravens’ running backs.
— FOX Sports NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 5, 2015
Offensively, Tom Brady should be sharp like he almost always is at home. Gronkowski is impossible to guard in the passing game, it might take two Baltimore defenders to do so, meaning that Brady and wide-receiver Julian Edelman should find a couple of holes in the Ravens’ pass defense.
Baltimore is 6 and 0 against the spread in their last 6 playoff games, but New England is 4 and 1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 8 and 0 against the spread in their last 8 home games versus a team with a winning road record. New England is the pick in this AFC divisional round playoff matchup.
Pick: New England -7
Matchup: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Date: Jan. 11, 2015
Start Time: 4:40 p.m. ET
Location: Denver, Colorado
Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
TV Info: CBS
Radio: Indianapolis Vs Denver
Point Spread: Broncos -7
Game Total: 54
Analysis: By any measure, this is a tough game to handicap. Denver appears more balanced on offense in the AFC, the Broncos average 111.6 yards per game on the ground now that C.J. Anderson is starting at running back and 291.3 yards per game through the air, but Indianapolis has a deadly passing attack.
Andrew Luck averages a ridiculous 305.9 yards per game through the air. Luck has a ton of weapons including T.Y. Hilton who appeared sluggish against Cincinnati, but should regain his top form versus Denver. Reggie Wayne is a future Hall-of-Famer that still has some of the best hands in the business. Luck might also get some help from the Colts’ rushing attack, which blitzed the Bengals for 114 yards and is better with Dan Herron and Zurlon Tipton running the ball than it was with Trent Richardson.
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 5, 2015
The real key in this game comes down to Denver’s offensive line. When the Broncos are forced to pass, opponents have been teeing off on Peyton Manning or forcing Manning to make bad throws. For example, Cincinnati sacked Manning twice. Buffalo didn’t sack Peyton, but it did force Peyton into 2 interceptions.
If the Colts can stop the run and pressure Manning into a turnover or two, they have a good shot of winning this AFC divisional round playoff game straight up. They should cover the spread in any case.