Divisional Round Weekend – The best weekend of the year! (Saturday games)

I actually thought I had a far better weekend than it turned out to be in the end, finished up 2.5 points or so over the weekend, but after 4 out of 6 on the Colts game it seemed like it should have gone a lot better and in the end Dallas Goedert earnt us some money at 8/1 on Sunday night.

And I finally finished off the spreadsheet for the regular season, finishing 60 points up (BUT I lost week 5 which I’m assuming was a loss, so I figure it was probably around 50 points profit) on the season in the end. Amazing seeing as at one point I was considerably down. The second half of the season was very impressive! – Profit/Loss spreadsheet

It was a good weekend of football though, some cracking games, and a lot of road teams advancing! – All 3 of the first time QBs lost their games… Will that continue this week with Patrick Mahomes playing his first?

Colts (+5) @ Chiefs: 57

I doubt I’ll go as in-depth on the teams who played last week as I don’t want to repeat myself too much on them, but will try and include how the teams matchup.

According to the great Chris Wessling on twitter – Since week 7 the Colts rank #1 in Point differential, sacks allowed, points allowed and 3rd down percentage.

The Colts are far and away the form team, after starting 1-5 they’ve won 9 of 10 and blew away the Texans last week in the first half. They once again didn’t allow a sack and in fairness hardly a pressure on Andrew Luck, who incidentally has been running the ball a little more recently (maybe a line to look for, I’ll get a request in at Redzone – Finished on 29 yards from 8 attempts last week) He finished the game with a satisfying 222 and 2. I think he’ll probably top 300 this week in what I expect to be a pretty high scoring game, and the Chiefs secondary hasn’t been great this year.

He hit Ebron and Inman for the TDs last week, Ebron winning us a bet early in the game, and I was frustratingly close from 150/1 on Ebron 1st and Inman last as that Keke TD was very close to not being allowed! Because they got up so early they didn’t have to throw the ball too much, TY Hilton (88.5 PP) got 63 of his 85 yards on the first drive alone. Inman (40.5 PP)  topped 50, Chester Rogers nearly 50 so he spread the ball around to the average guys he’s got to throw to. It really is a credit to Luck that he’s got this roster this far frankly. I believe the Chiefs are poor in the slot, so that means probably Ebron (46.5 PP) or Rogers (27.5 PP) will probably get a few yards in the middle of the field. The lines mentioned are the lowest available, there are higher lines if you wanted the unders. For the record I lean under on TY, over on Rogers. The other two I haven’t really got much opinion at the moment. – In fact Rogers will be a bet so a little more background – He’s topped 28 in 5 of the last 6 games he’s played. My man Big Mo did get free when Luck targeted Ebron in the end zone, a pass which was ripped out of his hands, but I don’t think he was actually targeted. The Chiefs aren’t great against the TE either, but the price on Mo isn’t the best, 7/1 the highest available at PP.

Marlon Mack has been great in recent weeks, since week 7 – 1st in rushing first downs, second in carries, yards and rushing TDs. The big lead last week allowed them to give him 24 carries for 148 and a TD. 50-60 of those came at the end of the game when it was over, but he looked good with the ball and has gone over 100 in 3 of the last 4. Now the caveat is that they were big wins where they were able to do that. I’m not entirely sure that will be the case this weekend against the highest scoring team in the regular season. He has scored at least one in each of the last 5 games though, and the Chiefs are one of the worst teams defending the run this year so I wouldn’t bet against him scoring again. He’s set at 74.5 everywhere by the look of it. 4/5 anytime (RZ). I didn’t actually mention Nyheim Hines but should do now, he’s the pass catching back and in games that they need him he’s shown up well, if this is high scoring as I expect then they’ll likely use a pass catching back more often, so 31.5 rush and rec yards on 365 for him seems quite low, in fact, the more I think about it, the more I think he could be involved, maybe I’m just chasing the price but he’s 12/1 to score 2 on PP, 33/1 on 365 and 66/1 on Skybet. I’ll get a quid or two on at Skybet.

I think the Colts are more than good enough to put up points against the lowest ranked defense left in contention for the Superbowl.

So, on to the Chiefs. Andy Reid is fantastic coming off a bye, but historically not great in playoff matches… – 21-3 all time coming off a bye and 4-1 after first round playoff byes, the loss coming to the Steelers in that random field goal game a couple of years back, the Chiefs home playoff record however, stinks.

The Chiefs as a whole have looked a little out of sorts since releasing Kareem Hunt for being a prick at the start of December, that’s not really much of a surprise and losing the heir apparent to him for most of the month as well would have hampered them even more.

Patrick Mahomes is arguably the most exciting player in the league to watch, you seem to get a lot more “what the fuck” moments from him per game than anyone else in the league anyway, even rival QBs admire him: See Philip Rivers in Chargers v Chiefs 1st qtr… He can throw the ball seemingly to anywhere on the field, from anywhere, off any platform, and that no-look pass a few weeks back was just ridiculous. He’s had the figures to back up his awesome-ness too, 5,097 yards and 50 TDs in his first full season as the QB. Amazing. He’s thrown TDs to 13 different players as well, so it’s not all going to one trusted target.

He does of course have his favourite guys, Travis Kelce (84.5) for 30 brief minutes held the record receiving yards in a season for a tight end, finishing on 1,336 for the season from 103 receptions. He’s averaged about 9 targets per game with just over 6 catches per, over the season. He’s the most reliable guy in the passing game, and him vs Darius Leonard and the Colts linebackers will be an interesting match up. I believe that the Chiefs will have an advantage in Tyreek Hill (79.5) against whoever he is up against though, although he’s far better on the road for some reason he’s still been good at home and the bye week would have allowed him to heal the heel injury he picked up in the game against the Ravens, he needed that final game against Raiders was badly needed as he recorded his first TDs in 5 games. Frankly outside of these two it’s a bit murky at WR. It looks like Sammy Watkins will return but probably not fully fit, Chris Conley gets a little action when he plays, about 5 targets per game in general, but very tough to get on a go day. Demarcus Robinson scores occasionally, Kelvin Benjamin is basically another tight end for them. Basically I’m flummoxed. Mainly so I could use that word, but I can’t actually figure out any value really. It shows in the lines at the bookies really they’ve only given props on Kelce, Hill and Damien Williams in the passing game. As for scorers, I guess Kelce at 10/11 would be the only one I’d really consider, I’m sure one of the bigger priced guys will score, but at a big of 7/1 for Kelvin Benjamin it’s not a place I’m looking at.

Running back is interesting with Spencer Ware likely back for this week, he missed most of December but was deputised pretty well by Damien Williams who has scored 6 in the last 4 games, the best thing for the Chiefs is that he’s done it through the air and on the ground, the bad part for him? He’s only had a maximum of 11 rush attempts, so I think… It will be Ware for 1st down work then Williams for 3rd down work. Ware is 23/17 anytime, Williams, Evens. I won’t be touching the rushing yards on either of them with the confusion there. You can get Damien Williams o30.5 rec. yards on 365 which is a tad more interesting. He’s set at 47.5 rush yards, no line on Spencer any…ware yet.

So yeah, their defense isn’t great, the Colts will be able to score. But Chris Jones has 15.5 sacks on the season, at least 1 in 11 consecutive games which is a league record, he and Justin Houston have been putting opposing QBs under all sorts of pressure all season.

I have no idea. I think the Chiefs are more explosive, but are they the better team? QBs are similar, I think I’d lean to the Chiefs for pass catchers, Kelce and Hill trump Hilton and Ebron for me, the run game, Mack beats Williams/Ware at the moment, the Colts win on defense. Coaching? Probably fairly similar although Reid off a bye arguably wins out. Much like the Colts game last week this will likely be won and lost in the trenches. If the Colts can once again stop anyone getting near Luck then who knows.

The Chiefs home record in playoff matches is shocking though. I think I’ve got to lean to the Colts especially on the spread, the total? Could depend on the weather, expected to be cold although not too windy so probably won’t affect it. I’d lean to the overs.

  • Chester Rogers o27.5 rec. yards – 10/11 (PP) – 2 points
  • Nyheim Hines o31.5 combined yards – 4/5 (365) – 2 points
  • Nyheim Hines to score 2+ – 66/1 (Skybet) – 1pt
  • Colts to score every qtr – 2/1 (365) – 2 points

Cowboys (+7) @ Rams: 49.5

So, the Cowboys did what they do and won a close game last week, mainly due to Ezekiel Elliott being amazing.

Dak did all right, and came up clutch, apparently he’s had more game winning drives than any QB in the league since he came in, I’d imagine that’s mainly because they never seem to win or lose by more than 6 points, so by rights they’re always in games until the end. In fact he’s actually got brilliant stats compared to others in their first 2 years. His run on 3rd and 14 last week sealed the game for them. Fair play to him. It was the highest rush number he’s had in a month as well. He’s 9/4 anytime, 16.5 rush yards is exactly where I’d expect it.

So Zeke cost me a bet last week not having a catch in the second half meant he was a couple of yards until the line I took, annoying. But he finished with 30 touches on the week, 26 rush attempts for 137 yards and a touch, 5 catches. The Rams aren’t bad against the run, and you’ve got to think with extra time to prepare that Wade Phillips and the Rams defense will have a plan to stop him. It still might be enough as no-one else seems to have figured it out. Best price of 8/11 on Victor, 94.5 if you want to take the overs on him, not for me at that line despite the fact he may well get there. Olawale?! 33/1 again…

IF they manage to slow down Zeke then what are the options in the passing attack? Er… Limited. Amari Cooper has definitely improved things since he joined and topped 100 yards last week against the Seahawks after a bit of a lull in his numbers. I can pretty much guarantee he’ll do better than he did when he faced the Rams with the Raiders in the opener this season (1 for 9 yards) but other than that I’m not sure. He’ll probably get double digit targets again. Outside of him you’re looking at Michael Gallup who has been better since Cooper turned up, but 2 for 18 last week isn’t exactly enticing. Allen Hurns was WR3 for them but he won’t be playing for a while, Cole Beasley is nursing an injury as well, not practising on Thursday isn’t good although he “upgraded” to questionable on Friday. So you’re looking at Noah Brown or… REVENGE GAME – Tavon Austin to help out. Brown seemed to be targeted a lot later in the game last week, although 1 catch from his 4 targets isn’t great, but he could be the one to look at he’s 9/1 (Skybet) and Austin is 20/1 on the same site. Looking at the tight ends could prove fruitful as well, it looks very much like Blake “3 TDs” Jarwin could miss out, meaning you’re probably looking at Dalton Schultz 14/1 on Ladbrokes at the moment. I do still have a thing for Rico Gathers though, he can’t block but he’s massive. 20/1 for him on Skybet. (I’ll be honest I may well back him at the odds but won’t be properly recommending it, I’m already being stupid by recommending Tavon…)

The Cowboys strength on defense is stopping the run as proven by them neutralising the Seahawks to a large extent last week. Their linebackers are playing at a high level, LVE and Jaylon Smith have formed a very good partnership in the middle of the field and have the pace and anticipation to get to the edge before rushers at times and Demarcus Lawrence has been a menace in the pass rush all season

The Rams have had the free week to prepare for this one, and as I alluded to above you’ve got to think that Wade Phillips will have figured a way to stop Zeke and Cooper, do that and the game is pretty much won, and this McVay kid is meant to be pretty good at coaching too.

Jared Goff. Jared. Goff… I don’t know, is he good? He made some brilliant throws early in the season and McVay is the best in the league at getting his WRs open for Goff to throw to, but much like a lot of others in the league I’m not sure he can put the team on his back and get them through without help. It is definitely worth noting that 22 of his 32 TDs this year came at home with only 3 INTs. He bottled it in the playoffs last year but that would have given him vital experience for this game.

Todd Gurley has had a month now to heal up from his knee injury and he’s off the injury report now after being a full participant on Thursday. In fact the Rams as a whole are pretty much entirely injury free. But anyway, Todd Gurley was the best RB in the league before his injury, he’ll need to be on his game especially in the passing game this week with the Cowboys being so good at restricting the run. I get the feeling CJ Anderson might get mixed in a bit after his performances in recent weeks as well although there’s by no means any guarantee of that.

The passing game has slowed since Cooper Kupp went down, he was a release valve for Goff and he’s just not as good without him. But they have continued to play 11 personnel the most of any team in the league meaning that Woods, Cooks and now Josh Reynolds will more than likely play the vast majority of snaps. Woods (74.5) is pretty much guaranteed to hit between 65 and 85 yards in a game, although picking him for a TD is risky, Cooks (64.5) is the downfield threat, although a high of 62 yards in the last 5 games isn’t great. On to Josh Reynolds, he’s probably the guy I’ll be targeting for a prop line, he’s still not entirely known to the books so if more reasonably priced at 41.5 yards and you can actually get over 2/1 on him still, 9/4 at Unibet. Given that Cooks and Woods are both 11/8 he’s definitely the most tempting. Tight ends are tough to give a mention to as they barely target them and don’t often employ multiple tight ends on a play. Everett would be the more likely to put up offensive numbers, 24.5 his yards, and 15.5 for Higbee.

The Rams have the defensive MVP in Aaron Donald, he’s an absolute beast. They have Talib back and healthy in the secondary but along with a lot of others I think that Peters is a bit of a liability. The secondary as a whole had a great game against the 49ers a fortnight ago which will have given them confidence though.

I have to take the Rams in this one, but I doubt I can take them against the spread. I’d lean towards the total staying under 50, The Cowboys will want to have long slow drives to keep the ball which will restrict the number of plays available to each team.

  • Josh Reynolds o41.5 rec. yards – 10/11 (365) – 3 points
  • Tavon Austin anytime – 20/1 (Skybet) – 1 point

So that’s the Saturday games sorted.

Draftkings league – https://www.draftkings.co.uk/draft/contest/67815787

Good Luck with whatever you follow, thank you for reading! Last week was quite considerably the highest readership of the season, so thanks for that, gives me reason to be awake and expecting 6 hours sleep before work the next day!

Oh, and if you haven’t already, check on Marc and Hail Mary Hits on facebook, he raises funds for BAFA teams by doing raffles, a few quid for tickets to win signed mini-helmets, jerseys etc… last year they gave £1,000 to Etoile to buy equipment and they’re currently working on raising funds for a Scottish team. I know one particular bloke has won himself three bloody helmets through the raffles the lucky sod.

Also, if you win from these, or just enjoy reading them in general then – For the record it takes me about 3 hours or so to look through and find lines I like from the main bookies to put these together each week, and while I do it for myself as much as anything I’m not too proud to accept beer tokens – paypal.me/touchdowntips if you ever felt like showing your appreciation 😉

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