Brad is back from a profitable wild card round with two more bets for the divisional round.
We went 1-1 last week, although the 2 unit BANGER hit to give us a little bit of profit for and take us to -1.54 units for the year. I would add that we backed the Eagles at 2.11 with a #wrongteamfavoured klaxon and they duly went off at 1.9 and then got their QB concussed in the first quarter You love to see it.
ANYWAY, onto the Divisional Round, the best weekend of the year, although they have stiffed us European folk and put the start times back. Rude.
This week’s NAP is the Seattle Seahawks +4 in Green Bay.
Given the extra rest, this line says the Packers are a half point better than Seattle but Massey Peabody has it flipped, with the Hawks 1.3 points better.
The key here is the predictive power of offense over defense. Seattle’s offense has been 17% better than league average this year per Football Outsiders, compared to just 6.5% for Green Bay.
It sounds strange to say, but the Packers have a real disadvantage at QB here, with Rodgers ranked 20th in QBR on the season and Wilson 6th.
The defenses are broadly equally by DVOA (18th for SEA, 15th for GB), with Seattle sneaky healthy here, with Clowney, safety Quandre Diggs and pass rusher Shaq Griffin all expected to play.
That means we’d need a matchup edge to justify the price. Is there one? I can’t see it.
In fact, the Seahawks should get LT Duane Brown and RG Mike Iupati back this week, helping to nullify the real strength of the GB defense, the pass rush. If they can protect, and Russ can create some time for himself, the Seahawks receivers should eat.
In particular, watch out for another big game for DK Metcalf who usually lines up on the left side of the formation, and will face GB right corner Kevin King. King allows 1.71 yards per snap to receivers in his coverage, the worst mark of any CB left in the playoffs and could get cooked repeatedly by Metcalf and Russel’s #sexydeepball.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Packers go up early with a good script, but that just means the Seahawks will have to set Russ loose, and I will be backing them in-play as well if we get some fancy spreads and moneyline prices.
Crunch time for Captain Kirk
Next up is a game where my thinking has changed as the week has gone on.
The one thing I feel confident about in San Francisco is that the Vikings offense will struggle.
Aside from the fact that the two key receivers are banged up (they are both expected to play), I don’t think the Vikings will be able to protect the relatively immobile Kirk Cousins. The Vikes rank 25th in the NFL in pass blocking grade per PFF and face the 3rd-ranked pass rush here.
That 49ers pass rush will be fresh after a week off and bolstered by the return of Dee Ford. Even if he’s just on the field for just pass-rushing downs, he could have a big impact. Per Rich Hribar, the 49ers defense has posted a 16.2% sack rate with Ford on the field, as opposed to a 5.4% sack rate with him.
Behind that pass rush, key linebacker Kwon Alexander and safety Jaquiski Tartt return to pair with a set of corners that rank 2nd in PFF coverage grade.
If the Vikes outside receivers don’t win QUICK, then Kirk is going to get killed.
Well, Diggs has an illness, Thielen has a bum ankle and they’re going against an elite set of corners.
I do not like the Viking’s chances.
So the question is whether the 49ers will score?
I’m not sure, to be honest. The weakness of the Vikes D is the corners. Their best CB ranks 67th in the NFL by PFF and he’s on IR. That forces safety Andrew Sendejo into the slot corner role where I suspect he will be picked on by Kyle Shanahan. But, the real weakness against deep balls might not be exploited, the same way it wasnt really exploited by New Orleans.
Jimmy G is only throwing deep on 6% of passes this year, one of the lowest marks in the NFL. Instead, the Niners attack opposing safeties and linebackers in the intermediate part of the field, but that is exactly where the Vikings are strongest.
It’s also worth noting quarterbacks making their first postseason start tend to struggle, going 14-30 straight up and 12-31-1 ATS since 2002. The under is also a strong bet in those games. Throw it all together and there’s too much uncertainty for me, so we will stick to a Vikings team total under. Best of luck friends!
- Seahawks + 4: 1.5 units @2.0
- Vikings TT under 19.5: 1.11 units @ 1.85