Josh Katzowitz's Divisional Round NFL Picks
It’s not hard to believe the Falcons beat the Rams on the road last week (I picked that!). It is hard to believe, however, that the Chiefs were upset by the Titans (I did NOT pick that!). Just like in the regular season, the playoffs have quickly proven that you can make an amazing pick and then immediately be humbled by a defeat you never saw coming.
Now, it’s the second week of the playoffs, so let’s get right to the predictions. As usual, check out Pickwatch’s John Halpin’s full slate of playoff picks. Now, here are a few of mine (If I’m right, make sure to congratulate me @jkatzo on Twitter).
1)Bet your life savings on this game*
Titans at Patriots
Yes, we got this category wrong last week, as Kansas City managed to cough up its game and its season at home to a Titans team that I’m still not convinced is much better than mediocre. But I’m positive about this game. New England, which hasn’t lost to the Titans since 2002, will romp against Tennessee, and the Patriots will return to the AFC conference finals. Before the playoffs begin, I’m asked all the time who will go to the Super Bowl. I have no idea about the NFC, but in the AFC, I always say the same thing: It’ll be the Patriots.
Straight up: Patriots
Against the Spread: Patriots -13.5
2017 record for the “Bet your life savings” game: 13-5 S/U and 8-10 ATS
2)This game scares the hell out of me
Saints at Vikings
It’s difficult to know what to think about this game. The Vikings have performed so well at a high level because of their top-rated defense and because Case Keenum has played better than almost anybody could have expected. But the Saints had one of the best offenses in the league this year, and they’ll be a big test for Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Saints in Week 1, but that was so long ago, we shouldn’t even mention it (Sam Bradford was the starter for Minnesota, and Adrian Peterson was still suiting up for New Orleans). In the end, I think the Vikings defense will hold back Saints running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram just enough to take the victory. But am I confident about that? Not particularly.
Straight up: Vikings
Against the Spread: Vikings -3.5
2017 record for the “Scares the hell out of me” game: 9-9 S/U and 9-8-1 ATS
3) Fun game of the week
Falcons at Eagles
Like I said last week, momentum is vital heading into the playoffs, and Atlanta certainly has it, winning four of its last six games and seven of its last nine. Meanwhile, the Eagles have Nick Foles starting at quarterback. It’s interesting the Eagles, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, are the underdog in this divisional round game—the first time those odds have happened since 1970—and I think the spread is completely justified. The Falcons have the look of a Super Bowl contender, and they’ll prove it by winning on the road for the second-straight week.
Straight up: Falcons
Against the Spread: Falcons -3
2017 record for “Fun game of the week”: 13-5 S/U and 10-7-1 ATS
2017 record for every game picked in this column: 35-19 S/U and 27-25-2 ATS
ATL over PHI ATL -3
NE over TEN NE -13.5
PIT over JAC PIT -7.5
MIN over NO MIN -3.5
*Don’t really bet your life savings. Please.