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2016 NFL playoffs picks against the spread: Divisional round edition

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The divisional round is at hand, which should make for some interesting football. Here are my picks against the spread for the second round of the playoffs.

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The 2016 NFL playoffs are into the second week, following a wild card round that saw all four road teams win. Last weekend, I went 2-2 ATS, and 3-1 SU. My two losses were Steelers -3 and Washington -1. In a contest I'm involved in I got the Steelers +1, so I won that one, but the wild end could not cover the larger field goal spread. As for Washington? I really thought they'd win that one, but Aaron Rodgers and that Packers offense finally showed up.

We're back to take a look at divisional round games against the spread, and see if we can improve on last week. This week, all four home teams are favored, which is not surprising considering the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are back in action following the first round bye. The lines have settled in fairly well. The Steelers-Broncos line is the only one to change considerably since it opened, but the rest have remained fairly steady.

Chiefs @ Patriots
Line: Patriots -5
Pick: Chiefs - The Chiefs face a significant step up in competition from last week, but this Kansas City team is rolling, having won 11 straight, and covered five straight road games. The Patriots expect to welcome back Julian Edelman. Rob Gronkowski is banged up, missing Thursday's practice. I think this ends up a tight one. I don't know if the Chiefs will pull out the upset, but I think they can cover the spread.

Steelers @ Broncos
Line: Broncos -7.5
Pick: Steelers - The Steelers are incredibly banged up, with WR Antonio Brown (concussion) and RB DeAngelo Williams (foot) out, and Ben Roethlisberger expected to play through a separated shoulder. In my contest, I got the Broncos at -2.5, but the line has quickly climbed over a touchdown. If it was 6.5 or maybe 7, I would consider Denver, but the hook on the touchdown is a little too much. I just have a feeling this game ends up a wild one that is closer than expected.

Seahawks @ Panthers
Line: Panthers -1.5
Pick: Panthers - The Seahawks barely escaped Minnesota with a win, and I don't think Carolina gives it away quite as easily. The Seahawks are hoping to have Marshawn Lynch back, as he is listed as probable. However, Carolina will welcome back RB Jonathan Stewart and WR Ted Ginn. It should be enough for this offense to get the win and cover.

Packers @ Cardinals
Line: Cardinals -7
Pick: Packers - The Cardinals pummeled the Packers 38-8 back in Week 16. They followed that by getting pummeled by Seattle in Week 17. I think this one ends up being a lot more competitive than the Week 16 matchup. Green Bay's offense was struggling much of the season, but finally showed some serious life against Washington. They lost Davante Adams to injury in the wild card win, but I think they have enough weapons to make this interesting. I could see this one being the highest scoring of the four divisional games.