(CBSLA) — The NFL strikes on to the Divisional spherical of the playoffs. The NFC options one considerably unlikely matchup and one other everybody noticed coming. The Los Angeles Rams managed to get by the Seattle Seahawks, regardless of seeing their inexperienced quarterback and greatest defensive participant go down. Their reward is a visit to Inexperienced Bay, the place the top-seeded Packers, contemporary off a bye, await them. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers overwhelmed the Washington Soccer Staff, and the New Orleans Saints subdued the Chicago Bears to arrange the second divisional matchup.
Kenny White, SportsLine‘s the Wizard of Odds, seems to be at matchups for the NFC Divisional spherical.
All occasions listed are Japanese.
Los Angeles Rams @ Inexperienced Bay Packers, Saturday, January 16, 4:35 p.m. (FOX)
The Rams boast one of many league’s greatest defenses, and possibly its greatest defensive participant. The unit gave up 281.9 yards and 18.5 factors per recreation in the course of the common season, each tops within the NFL. These averages mainly held up within the Wild Card spherical. Russell Wilson was restricted to 174 yards passing, and the Seahawks’ floor recreation managed simply 136 yards. Defensive deal with Aaron Donald sacked Wilson twice earlier than leaving within the third quarter with torn rib cartilage.
Wilson, who often shines within the highlight, didn’t actually have an opportunity towards the Rams protection. Aaron Rodgers shall be a fair harder problem for the Rams. Rodgers completed the season taking part in in addition to any quarterback within the NFL. He tossed 4 landing passes in Week 17 en path to the Packers’ 35-16 rout of the Bears. His 48 TD passes and 121.5 ranking each led the league.
Rodgers additionally delivers towards the unfold. In line with White, “we all the time discuss in regards to the quarterback being an important participant on the sector, and Aaron Rodgers is likely one of the greatest. In Aaron Rodgers’ profession, in the entire video games he’s performed in, he’s coated the purpose unfold 59 p.c of the time. Should you wager $100 on each recreation that Aaron Rodgers has performed. You’re up $2,700.”
And that’s not even the entire story. “And let’s make it a little bit bit stronger,” White continues. “When he’s taking part in at house, he’s coated 64 p.c of the time… superb. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t lose. He’s 61-35 ATS in his house video games.”
If any protection can comprise Rodgers, it’s the Rams. Donald is at present listed as day-to-day, although he’s anticipated to play. Ought to he be unable to go, the matchup tilts extra in favor of the Packers. Donald stays the linchpin of this unit.
“That is actually power versus power,” says White. “Proper now the Inexperienced Bay Packers, primary offense within the NFL, in keeping with adjusted defensive and offensive scores to their opponent. And the Rams primary defensive workforce. I feel the sport comes all the way down to which unit operates higher, whether or not it’s the Packers offense, or it’s the Rams protection. That’s going to make the distinction on this soccer recreation.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints, , Sunday, January 17, 6:40 p.m. (FOX)
As divisional foes, the Bucs and Saints have already met twice this season. The Saints gained their Week 1 matchup, 34-23, as Tom Brady was picked off twice. New Orleans dominated Tampa Bay, 38-3, in Week 9, intercepting Brady three extra occasions. For reference, Brady had 12 interceptions whole within the common season. Do the Saints simply have the Bucs’ quantity this season, or will the third time be a appeal?
“Within the first pattern with Aaron Rodgers being at house, the house crowd shouldn’t be going to be the identical because it was in all these video games,” says White. “And the identical factor right here for the workforce that gained the primary two video games. This has occurred 21 occasions since 1970, that groups will play for the third time that one workforce has gained the primary two video games. Out of these 21 occasions that workforce that gained the primary two, 14 occasions they gained recreation three. Solely seven occasions they lose. A 67 p.c likelihood to win. However keep in mind, there’s no house crowd, and that is Tom Brady getting factors.”
It’s exhausting to wager towards Brady within the playoffs, given his monitor file. Even at 43 years previous, he put up 289.6 yards passing per recreation and tossed 40 TDs on the season. He’s hardly displaying his age within the Bucs passing assault. Brees, nevertheless, had a way more subdued season. He averaged 245.2 yards per recreation and managed 24 TD passes. The longtime Saints starter additionally missed a month recovering from 11 damaged ribs and solely returned to motion just a few weeks in the past.
At 41 years previous, Brees can also be nearing the tip of his profession. And a few recommend that finish could be nearer than we expect. In line with White, “what I’m listening to, although, from the media is there’s a lot speak about it that possibly that is it. Possibly Drew has sort of hinted that that is his final 12 months, and he’ll be within the sales space subsequent 12 months, being the following Tony Romo, speaking in regards to the recreation as performs occur. So I’m going to make it a favourite that he’s going to retire after this season, all the things that I’m listening to.”
However the Saints have at the very least yet one more recreation to play this season. Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray and Michael Thomas all returned final week, giving Brees his full complement of weapons. One benefit they gained’t have is a sold-out Tremendous Dome crowd. Solely about 3,000 followers had been allowed inside for the Wild Card recreation towards the Bears. How a lot of a home-field benefit does that basically imply?
“That is solely the one out of the 4 video games that’s going to be performed indoors,” White factors out. “And indoor playoff video games are 29-13 to the over. That’s 69 p.c of the time indoor playoff video games go over. After which let’s take a look at Drew Brees taking part in on the Mercedes Benz Superdome. His video games are 71-52, 58 p.c over. And the 2 coaches going face to face, Sean Payton and Bruce Arians, they’ve coached seven occasions towards one another. 5 of these seven video games have gone over. I feel it’s going to be a enjoyable recreation to observe. I’m going to wager it over.”
Which picks are you able to make with confidence in the course of the Divisional Spherical? And which underdog wins outright? Go to SportsLine to see which NFL groups are protecting in additional than 50 p.c of simulations, all from the mannequin that’s up practically $7,900 on its top-rated picks.