The 2017 NFL playoffs wrapped up the wild card round this weekend, and we can only hope the divisional round is more interesting. All four wild card teams saw the four home favorites cover the spread with relative ease. The Giants-Packers and Lions-Seahawks both looked interesting in the third quarter, but the Packers and Seahawks took care of business, closing strong.
As we move into the divisional round, I thought we'd take an early look at odds. I've posted the full schedule below, with each line, and my early leanings. I went 2-2 ATS last week. I lost on the Raiders and Dolphins.
The Seahawks pulled away in the fourth quarter against Detroit, although it felt like they were dominated most of the game, even when it was close. They travel to face the Falcons in round two. Detroit was handicapped by Matthew Stafford’s finger injury. The Falcons will not have that issue, particularly with Julio Jones likely getting plenty of rest for his previously injured toe. The Seahawks edged out the Falcons 26-24 earlier this year, thanks in part to Richard Sherman getting away with defensive pass interference on Julio Jones. I think Thomas Rawls could have a big game, but I also think the Falcons offense will be too much for the Seahawks.
This is the biggest playoff line in something like 18 years from what I was seeing on Twitter. The Texans lucked out against the Raiders thanks to Derek Carr and Donald Penn both being sidelined. They will not be quite so lucky this weekend against New England. Even with Rob Gronkowski sidelined, the Patriots are in relatively good shape. That being said, that’s a whole lot of points to be laying. If the line comes down a little I might consider the Patriots, but as is, the logical play would be taking the points.
The Steelers had no trouble with the Miami Dolphins, but they might have made a mistake letting Ben Roethlisberger play in the fourth quarter. They had a big lead, and he ended up hurting his ankle near the end of the game. He left in a walking boot. He will play on Sunday, but one has to wonder if he’ll be slowed. I picked the Steelers to win this game in our pre-playoff predictions. It was probably my least confident pick, and I am feeling more inclined to take the Chiefs.
The Giants dominated the first 27 minutes of the first half against the Packers, but only lead 6-0. It felt like the Giants left too many opportunities on the field, and when the Packers got on the board with 2:53 left in the second quarter, it felt like a sizable change. The Packers added a Hail Mary touchdown at the end of the half to take a 14-6 lead. The Giants scored in the third quarter to cut the lead to 14-13, but 24 unanswered Packers points resulted in a 38-13 Packers win. Early money is on the Packers, and I am not surprised. The recency bias could be strong with this one, and you’ve got a rookie quarterback and running back making his playoff debut. I’m still tempted by the Cowboys, but let’s see how this line moves in the coming week.