Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys – NFL Divisional Playoffs

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay PackersDallas Cowboys will host Green Bay Packers in NFL Divisional Playoff

The Green Bay Packers are the hottest team in the NFL and are coming off of a convincing home win that saw them beat the New York Giants, 38-13 at Lambeau Field.  The Packers are red hot right now, and are assuredly a different team than the Cowboys faced in Week 6. It would be hard to bet against quarterback Aaron Rodgers and what he’s done to carry the Packers to the postseason. The Dallas Cowboys will be entering the game fresh off a first-round bye.  The Dallas Cowboys will be led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.  He’s only started 16 games in his NFL career, and won 13 of them.  The Divisional Round playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys is scheduled to take place on Sunday, January 15, 2017, at 4:40 p.m. ET at ATT Stadium.

The Green Bay Packers are a hot team and opened the playoffs with their seventh consecutive win while going 6-1 ATS during that span. The Packer defense will face a much tougher offense than what it played against in the Wild Card game, and that will put more pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In the Wildcard game against New York, the Packers did nothing offensively and ended their first five drives with four first downs and five punts. The Green Bay Packers will need to get a better start against Dallas or the game could be over quickly. The Packers stayed close against the Giants by playing great defense of their own. They allowed nearly 200 yards in the first half, but limited New York to just two field goals. That was enough time to give the Packers offense to get in gear.

The Dallas Cowboys are a more balanced club and gave the Packers fits when they met in Week 6. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is well rested and behind that offensive line, he should have little problem duplicating his 157-yard effort. Elliott and Dak Prescott haven’t experienced playoff football and that could be a concern. However, they led the Dallas Cowboys to the best record in the NFC. The two played like poised veterans and will run the ball behind the best line in football.  Also Prescott will take his shots against a beat up secondary. Rodgers will keep the Packers in this one, but in the end there will be too much Elliott for the Pack to contend with. We expect this one to be closer and give a slight edge to the Cowboys.

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Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders – Week 11

Nov 17, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater (80) makes a reception during the third quarter as Houston Texans defensive back Brandon Harris (26) defends at Reliant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Texans 28-23. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Oakland Raiders travel to Mexico City this week to take on the Houston Texans in Monday Night Football bout at Estadio Azteca

The Oakland Raiders are off to their best start since 2001 and haven’t lost a road game this season. The Oakland Raiders are favored in this game and will travel south of the border to face the Houston Texans in Mexico City. The Houston Texans will go for a third straight win in this Week 11 game. The game between the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans is scheduled to take place on Monday, November 21, 2016, at 8:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

The Houston Texans could use this win to improve their standing in the AFC South. The Houston Texans leads their division which is probably the weakest in the NFL. The Texans needs their quarterback Brock Osweiler to grow into his role as the starter and a win over a quality opponent like the Raiders.  The Texans have a problem this season of keeping up on score against the better teams. In their three losses, all against quality opponents, the Texans have been outscored 85-22. The Houston Texans defense is ranked 26 in the NFL against the run, surrendering 120.7 yards per game. They also rank 27 with just eight turnovers forced in nine games. The Texans are showing signs of improvement in both areas. Without defensive player of the year J.J. Watt, the Texans haven’t had as much success getting to the opposing quarterback. The Texans have a total of 10 sacks over the past seven games. For Houston to have success slowing down the Raiders offense, getting after Carr is priority. Look for defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus to try and bring the pressure to disrupt Carr.

The Oakland Raiders have won six of its last seven games and is coming off its biggest victory of the season. Running back Latavius Murray scored three rushing touchdowns and the Raiders stunned Denver’s defense to win 30-20. Murray had a season high 114 yards out of the team’s 218 total. The Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw for 184 yards. The previous week Garr set a new team record of passing for 513 yards. This showed that the Raiders offense is capable of adapting to opponents. Through nine games Carr has completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 2,505 yards and 17 touchdowns. More importantly,  Carr has thrown only three interceptions in his 354 attempts. The Raiders defense is doing a good job with keeping Carr outof trouble. The Raiders have allowed 11 sacks, the fewest in the league, and Carr has rarely been pressured. When given time Carr has proven to be deadly. We believe Houston will keep the game close with a defensive effort, but they don’t have enough firepower to overcome the Raiders.

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Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants – Week 9

Oct 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (43) runs past New York Giants defensive end Damontre Moore (98) on a 15-yard touchdown during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports Philadelphia Eagles take on the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday

The NFC East this season has become the toughest division in football. The play of young quarterbacks has led to the turnaround, but the division still has one of the longest tenured quarterback in Eli Manning for the New York Giants. Youth will collide against experience when quarterback Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles play their second straight inter-division contest against the New York Giants. The matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants is scheduled to start on Sunday, November 6, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium.

The Philadelphia Eagles (4-3) are coming from a 29-23 OT loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8. Carson Wentz completed 23 of 43 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown to lead the Eagles. Offensively, the Eagles are averaging 25.5 points and 317.7 total yards (208.3 in passing and 109.4 in rushing) per game. The Eagles are good on defense and coordinator Jim Schwartz has done a great job. Defensively, the Eagles are yielding 16.7 points and 328.9 total yards (214.1 in passing and 114.7 in rushing) per game against the opposing teams.

The New York Giants (4-3) have a winning record and come off their bye with a two-game winning streak, but they’ve been less than dominating so far this season. The Giants are dead last in the NFL in running the football and the loss of running back Rashad Jennings for a few games have made it even worse. Offensively, the Giants are averaging 19.0 points and 345.3 total yards (275.0 in passing and 70.3 yards) per game.  The Giants are ranked 17th in total defense and 10th in scoring defense, both are vast improvements over last season. Defensively, the New York Giants are yielding 20.1 points and 361.0 total yards (267.4 in passing and 93.6 in rushing) per game against the opposing teams. If New York can’t run the ball, they’ll find it difficult to penetrate the Philadelphia Eagles defense. Manning will have problems moving the football consistently, so we give the win to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins – Week 6

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Miami DolphinsPittsburgh Steelers take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in Miami Gardens, Florida

The Pittsburgh Steelers got beat by the Eagles a few weeks back but has responded by winning its past two opponents and looks to be on a path to the Super Bowl.  The Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) are coming from a 31-13 win over the New York Jets in Week 5. The Steelers are sure to be tough against the (1-4) Miami Dolphins in this Week 6 matchup. The game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins will take place on Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 1 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Pittsburgh Steelers might have the most potent offense in football. Ben Roethlisberger has many weapons to use with Le’Veon Bell out of the backfield and Sammie Coates in the passing game.  Pittsburgh beat up on the Jets last week and Ben Roethlisberger was his supreme self. Also wide receivers Sammie Coates and Antonio Brown just shows how many weapons Big Ben has.  The Steelers offense are averaging 27.8 points and 386.2 yards (284.2 in passing and 102.0 in rushing) per game. The Steelers defense are yielding 18.6 points and 379.0 yards (302.0 in passing and 77.0 in rushing) per game against the opposing teams.

The Miami Dolphins secondary seems to be always in flux this year. The defensive line that failed to disrupt the Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota last week could make for a good day for Big Ben. It’s been hard to pinpoint any one area where the Dolphins have been good this season. They got lucky to beat a bad Cleveland team. The Dolphins offense are averaging 17.6 points and 303.8 total yards (231.4 in passing and 72.4 in rushing) per game. The Miami defense are yielding 23.8 points and 401.0 yards (250.2 in passing and 150.8 in rushing) per game against the opposing teams. The Steelers are poised to beat the a Dolphins team that has no identity.

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New England Patriots at Denver Broncos – AFC Championship Game

Patriots-BroncosNew England Patriots travel to Denver Broncos for AFC Championship game

The New England Patriots advanced to their fifth straight AFC championship game. This will be the second time the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos will meet this season. The AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos will be played on Sunday, January 24, 2016, at 3:05 p.m. ET at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The matchup will be televised on CBS.

The Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been struggling this year with just nine touchdown passes against 17 interceptions as he plays through a foot injury. He is completing just 59.8 percent of his throws and showing little arm strength. The Patriots can keep everything in front of them knowing that Manning can’t throw the ball 40 yards down the field like the good old days. The Broncos have the best defense in the NFL and that could be an issue for the undersized New England receivers who tend to have trouble getting off of the line of scrimmage. The Broncos running backs are good and Anderson rushed 15 times for 72 yards and Hillman 16 times for 38 yards last Sunday. Anderson had a huge day in the first Patriots-Broncos matchup , rushing 15 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

The New England Patriots traveled to Denver on Nov. 29 this season and lost, 30-24 in overtime in a Sunday Night Football game. The Patriots quarterback Tom Brady needs to get the ball out of his hands quickly for the AFC Championship game. If he’s forced to stand in the pocket for more than two seconds, outside linebacker Demarcus Ware and his mates are sure to be right on his back. Sebastian Vollmer might be back, but the offensive line is still awfully patchwork at the moment. Without even trying the ground game, New England is going to be reliant on its passing attack  to win this one. Now that wide receivers Edelman and Amendola are back, and Gronk is back, the Patriots will likely try to spread out the defense with four and five wide, and also use the quick pass for the run game to neutralize the Broncos’ pass rush.

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Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers – NFC Divisional Round

Seahawks Panthers FootballSeattle Seahawks ready to renew rivalry with Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers (15-1) has lost only once since its season ending defeat to the Seattle Seahawks (11-6) last year. The Seattle Seahawks stumbled early and sneaked into the playoffs as the No. 6 seed. Seattle reached the divisional round because of a missed field goal by Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh in the Wild Card Round. The Panthers have won 11 straight at home and defeated the Seahawks on the road earlier this season. The matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers will take place on Sunday, January 17, 2016, at 1:05 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium. The game will be televised on FOX.

The Carolina Panthers received the hardest playoff draw possible for a 15-1 team that has home field advantage against  the Seahawks. The two teams met at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field earlier this season, a contest that Carolina won, 27-23. They are 8-0 at home this season with an average margin of victory by a score of 33-17. Quarterback Cam Newton has a passer rating of 104.6 at home compared to 94.5 on the road with five more touchdown passes on his home turf than on the road. Securing home field is why coach Ron Rivera played his starters into the fourth quarter of the regular season finale.

The Seattle Seahawks and Carolina have struck up quite a rivalry in recent years, with the Seahawks knocking the Panthers out of the playoffs last season. This will be the seventh time since 2010 that the Panthers and Seahawks have played, with the Panthers victory in Seattle in October breaking a five-game Seahawks winning streak. During last weeks Wild Card game the Seahawks defense was stifling in Minnesota. They also caught a break when the potential game-winning 27 yard field goal went wide left. Seattle has to make another long trip for this one but come playoff time good teams overcome those minor obstacles. The road teams swept the Wild Card round and Seattle is playing good football, particularly on defense. The Seahawks should be putting pressure on Cam Newton this time around and make it more difficult for him.

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Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, Week 17

 Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers – NFC North Championship Game

The 10-5 Minnesota Vikings clinched a spot in the playoffs after their 49-17 win over the Giants Sunday night. They now have their sights set on beating their division rivals in Green Bay to top the NFC North division and secure home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The 10 -5 Green Bay Packers have faltered a second time with a 38-8 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. The stakes for both teams remain high.  If you win you have won your division. If you lose,  you go on the road perhaps in just six days. The game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers is scheduled to take place Sunday, January 3, 2016, at 8:25 p.m. ET at Lambeau Field. The game will be broadcast on NBC.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has averaged 244.7 passing yards per game and has thrown six touchdowns over the last three games. Bridgewater is ranked No. 5 in the NFL with a 102.7 passer rating in December over the past two seasons. Bridgewater will be on the road in the biggest game of his career which isn’t the ideal situation to make the throws necessary to beat the Packers. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with 1,418 rushing yards this season. Peterson recorded his seventh 100-plus-yard rushing game of the season Sunday against the Giants. Also, the Vikings defense are healthy now and are at full strength after missing linebacker Anthony Barr, nose tackle Linval Joseph and safety Harrison Smith for two games in December.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off a loss to Arizona in which he was sacked eight times. This December, Rodgers has averaged 211.5 yards per game and has recorded six passing touchdowns and three interceptions. Aaron Rodgers is likely the best deep ball thrower in the league, however there is no aerial threat up the seam or down the sidelines like when Jordy Nelson is healthy. Nelson is out for the season with a knee injury. The Packers receiver threats are Randall Cobb and James Jones, who have 792 and 788 total yards, respectively. The Packers running back Eddie Lacy is No. 18 in the NFL for rushing yards, and he recorded 100 yards against Minnesota on Nov. 22.  However, in his last two games Lacy had a total of just 83 yards on 23 carries. The Cardinals sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers nine times last week, and if that type of pressure is going to get to him on Sunday, Green Bay will have a tough time scoring.

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New England Patriots at New York Jets, Week 16

Patriots_JetsNew York Jets need upset over New England Patriots to keep playoff hopes alive

The New England Patriots (12-2) have already clinched a first-round bye and they need a win to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The New York Jets (9-5) need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Jets is scheduled to take place Sunday, December 27, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

The New England Patriots continue to produce, even with their beat up roster. As long as the Patriots have Tom Brady as quarterback, you can’t count them out of any game. He will be limited once again in the passing game with wide receiver Danny Amendola out with a left knee injury. The Patriots figure to be without receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Tight end Rob Gronkowski might be limited after showing signs that his right knee was still an issue last Sunday. Also, Steven Jackson will be slowly integrated after signing with the team this week. But in the end, we’ll ride with Tom Brady.

The New York Jets have won their last four games. They are surging for a wild card spot behind their efficient quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and an elite defensive line led by defensive end Mo Wilkerson. The Jets learned some important lessons from their 30-23 loss in New England when the two teams last met in Week 7. It will be close as the last five meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer. The Jets have been playing very well, and they won’t go down without a fight. With an offense of New England’s caliber, New York may have trouble keeping up.  Look for the Jets to pull off an upset and stay alive for another week.

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Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos, Week 16

Denver+Broncos+v+Cincinnati+BengalsThe Bengals and Broncos are battling for a bye in the playoffs

The (11-3) Cincinnati Bengals and (10-4) Denver Broncos are fighting for a first round bye in the playoffs. A victory for the Bengals would assure them of no worse than the #2 seed in the playoffs. While a victory for the Broncos would give them the tiebreaker over the Bengals for that first round bye, and likely push the Bengals into the #3 seed vs #6 seed Wild Card game. The game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos is scheduled for Monday, December 28, 2015 at 8:25 p.m. ET at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Denver Broncos offense are 18th in the league in rushing and average just under 100 yards per game as a team. Hillman is the team’s leading rusher with 711 yards. He has three 100-yard games on the season but hasn’t been very effective of late, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry on 59 carries  with 183 yards over his last four games. Broncos back-up quarterback Brock Osweiler has his moments but has a shoulder problem and hasn’t been totally effective. Demaryius Thomas remains the No. 1 receiving threat for the Broncos, even with the change to Osweiler at quarterback, but Sanders is averaging more yards per catch than Thomas since the change. Sanders remains a big-play threat, with 10 plays of 20 yards or more. The Broncos are still the No. 1 defense in the NFL, allowing just 279.9 total yards per game.

The Cincinnati Bengals will likely be starting back-up quarterback AJ McCarron again this week. McCarron has done a good job and it helps that he has targets like A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, and Mohamed Sanu to throw the ball to. A.J. Green is still one of the best in the league at locating the ball in the air and going and getting it. Running back Jeremy Hill has 635 yards and running back Giovani Bernard has 680 yards, but Hill is the scorer as he has 10 touchdowns compared to two for Bernard. The Bengals are a team that knows how to rush the passer, as they have four players with five or more sacks and two in double digits. The Bengals have 19 interceptions as a team with Reggie Nelson leading the pack with eight.

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Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts, Week 15

Houston_Texans_indianapolis_coltsTexans vs Colts, Clash of the 6-7 co-division leaders

The battle of the backup quarterbacks will likely decide the AFC South when Houston visits Indianapolis. The Houston Texans has never won in Indianapolis since entering the league in 2002 and are 0-13 all-time on the Colts home field. If the Colts come away with another win at home they would have the inside track to win the division. The game between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts is scheduled for Sunday, December 20, 2015, at 1 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

The Indianapolis Colts will be without Andrew Luck, who has missed a total of six games and the last four after suffering a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle. The second quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is dealing with a rib injury, so Charlie Whitehurst has gotten some looks in practice. Coach Chuck Pagano hopes Hasselbeck, who won his first four starts in place of Luck, can practice this week and be ready to go Sunday. If Hasselbeck can’t play, the Colts would likely start Charlie Whitehurst with Alex Tanney serving as his backup.

The Houston Texans are in a similar situation with their backup quarterback Yates ready to take snaps in the most important game of the season. Yates is in a similar situation as Whitehurst. He was third-string when the Texans where toying with Ryan Mallet and Hoyer at quarterback. The Texans have a better defense and J.J. Watt and Co. will get after Whitehurst if Houston finally gets a win in Indianapolis. Houston Texans DeAndre Hopkins has emerged as one of the elite receivers in the NFL. Hopkins, who had a career-high 11 catches and season-best 169 yards in the first meeting with the Colts, is expecting to see plenty of double teams from a defense that ranks 29th overall, against the pass and in yards per completion (12.59). If the Texans can’t get the use of Hopkins, their most dynamic weapon, the entire offense suffers.

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