• Max Carlson

Max against the Spread | Divisional Round Weekend

Image Credit: Kansas City Star


Wildcard weekend lived up to its name. Between Seattle’s insane backdoor cover (or push, in my case), and the blocked kick that silenced the Soldier Field crowd, it was an absolutely wild weekend. I finished 2-1-1 on the slate, with my loan beat being the Bears (who were coincidentally, the only favorite I chose.) I took the underdogs in the three other contests and finished at 2-0-1, thanks to Seattle’s successful, head-scratching 2-point conversion at the end of their game.

Now we’re onto what is personally my favorite weekend of playoff football: The Divisional Round. It’s time for the top seeds to show that they’re for real against the hungry teams that escaped Wildcard Weekend.

Let’s dive in!

Saturday Games:

Colts @ Chiefs (-5.5)

“I think the Colts are going to make some serious noise in the stacked AFC bracket, and that noise-making will start in Houston.”

That’s what I said at the beginning of my Indy/Houston prediction last week, and that’s what happened. The Colts are the hottest team in the league right now, having won 10 of their last 11 games. Their slow start prevented them from winning the division, but their stellar play down the stretch has left them alone as the only team standing from the AFC South.

The fierce Indy defense faces a huge test on the road against the likely MVP of the league, but I think they’re up to it.

And it’s not just the defense. With this new-look offensive line keeping Andrew Luck upright, we’re seeing the Andrew Luck that lit up the league as a newcomer (much like his opponent this week.)

Couple the momentum that Indy is riding on with the insane pressure on KC to put an end to the “choking” narrative, and you’ve got a recipe for an upset. Take the points here, because even if Mahomes comes out on top, I think Andrew Luck is going to keep his team in it until the final whistle.

The pick: Colts (+5.5)

Cowboys @ Rams (-7)

With every coachless team scrambling to find the next Sean McVay, the McVay-led Rams will get a second crack at their first playoff win. This is my favorite matchup of the weekend, as I really believe Dallas matches up extremely well against the Rams. We all know Goff has played poorly as of late, so seeing how he looks coming off a bye week is something I’ll have my eye on. While the Rams’ defense hasn’t been the elite powerhouse everyone thought they’d be, they’re still loaded with playmaking talent, and it won’t be easy for Dak Prescott. If the Cowboys want to win this game, they’re going to need to feed Zeke and control the tempo of this game. If the young front seven can pressure Goff into a couple of mistakes, this could be upset city. I like Dallas with the seven point spot in this “road” game that should feature a very large contingency of Cowboys fans.

The pick: Cowboys (+7)

Sunday Games:

Chargers @ Patriots (-4)

After last week’s big win in Baltimore, the Chargers are a league-best 8-1 against the spread on the road. Take the 4 points here. They’re the better team this year, and they’re going to keep this one extremely close. I’m actually taking them to win this one outright, and I look forward to an offseason of “Is the New England dynasty over?”

There’s just something about this team that screams “destiny” and I am all for it.

The pick: Chargers (+4)

Eagles @ Saints (-8)

Once again, I head into the final Sunday game after having picked three underdogs, and once again, I’m going to take the favorite in the final game of the round. What Nick Foles and the Eagles are doing is absolutely baffling, but it’s all coming to an end. They are not going to New Orleans and beating Drew Brees. Their secondary will get exposed, and I think this one is going to get ugly fairly quickly. Eight points is a lot to lay on the table in a playoff game, but I’m rolling with it here, and I’m doing so with absolute confidence.

If you’re on the fence about this one (which you shouldn’t be), just take a look at my two-step guide to betting this game:

1. Click this link

2. Bet your mortgage on the Saints

The pick: Saints (-8)

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