NFL Games of the Week: NFC Divisional Playoffs

The NFC playoff picture has finally cleared, leaving the four best teams from the conference remaining. Seattle will travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the Georgia Dome finale, while Dallas hosts the surging Green Bay Packers. These could very well be the best games of the weekend, and we're here to tell you where to lean.

Seattle Seahawks (11-5-1) vs. Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
Saturday, January 14th --- Georgia Dome --- 4:35 pm EST
NFL Betting Line: Atlanta -4.5 (51.5)

Manny Dimon (17-9-1):

The Seattle Seahawks appeared to rediscover their rushing attack against the Lions in last week's Wild Card game win. Rushing rings around Detroit is one thing. Taking down Atlanta's suddenly tough defense is another altogether. The Falcons have improved big time on defense since their bye week. More importantly, there's no way that Seattle stops Matt Ryan from passing for over 300 yards and throwing at least 3 TD passes without Earl Thomas in Seattle's secondary. Atlanta rolls to an easy win.

Tim Furious (10-5-1):

The Seahawks made short work of the Detroit Lions by running right through a tough defence, and they looked top notch while doing so. It's been a very slow burn for Seattle throughout the year, but they're poised to victimize a hapless Atlanta Falcons defence that rates as the worst remaining in the playoffs. Seattle will have plenty of work to do against an Atlanta team that went 10-6 ATS this season, but I would be remiss to encourage a bet on Matt Ryan in the playoffs. The Falcons are just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home playoff games and 1-4 ATS when playing in this particular round of the playoffs.

Liam Banks (16-9-1):

Flip a coin for this one because this is going to be one of the tightest games of the week. An elite offense collides with an elite defense and I truly don't know who to take in this one. If this was in Seattle, there would be zero doubt in my mind. But this is Matty Ice in his little dome and he finally has a running game and a solid defense. Then again, Doug Baldwin (even when he's not stealing touchdowns) is in some sort of weird mind-meld with Russell Wilson. And Seattle still boasts one of the nastiest, most experienced defenses in the league. I'm riding with the Legion of Boom. Richard Sherman picks off Ryan and Kam Chancellor shuts down Atlanta's two-headed monster of a running game. Give me those points and ride the Seattle Seahawks (+4.5)

BetUS Editor (9-8-1):

It's very difficult to get a handle on the Seahawks. One week they crush the Eagles, the next week they score five and lose against Tampa Bay, the next week they put 40 on Carolina. Seattle has been as inconsistent as a good team could be this season.

I came across a trend a few weeks ago that's too consistent to ignore, so I'm sticking with it. The Falcons are 9-21 ATS in their last 30 games as home favorites. This season, they're 2-5 as home favorites. I'm not betting against that, no matter how inconsistent Seattle is.

The Over is 7-0 this season when Atlanta is a home favorite. They've scored 24 points or more every time they play at home. This one a is a bit tougher to gauge considering Seattle's solid defense. I'll stick with what's been consistent. Seattle +4.5 and Over is the pick.


Green Bay Packers (11-6) vs. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
Sunday, January 15th --- AT&T Stadium --- 4:40 pm EST
NFL Betting Line: Dallas -4.5 (52)

Manny Dimon (17-9-1):

Dallas earned home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Only one team beat the Cowboys this year. That team, the NY Giants, are no longer in the playoffs. That means that Dallas has a walk-through on Sunday versus the Green Bay Packers, right?  Not so fast. The biggest difference in this game will be the most important position on the field: the quarterback position. Dallas QB Dak Prescott is a rookie. He's played great as a rookie, but he's still a rookie. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay's QB this Sunday, is a future hall of fame QB who has a 12-0 TD-to-INT ratio in Green Bay's last three games. I just don't see Dallas doing enough on offense to win this game outright.

Tim Furious (10-5-1):

Even without Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers looked unstoppable on Sunday afternoon against the New York Giants. But I still have qualms about this defence, which wasn't rightfully tested by Eli Manning and his offence. The Cowboys are coming off a week of rest and will have more than enough in the tank to brutalize a Packers defence that requires turnovers to be effective. Dallas doesn't make too many mistakes, and I believe that their 5-2 ATS home record is evidence enough that they can step up to the biggest game of their season even with two rookies leading the way.

Liam Banks (16-9-1):

Dallas has the best offensive line in the league. Period. It may even be the best offensive line the league has seen in the last 15 years. They have covered up a lot of hidden mistakes made by the Cowboys' rookie RB & QB. Don't get me wrong, these kids are alright. But this is the playoffs we're talking about. Can I trust two rookies against the hottest team in the NFL, albeit a banged up one, led by a Super Bowl-winning QB? The answer is no. I have to admit, I believed in the Giants, but the Packers demonstrated why they might just win out and take home the Lombardi Trophy. Clay Matthews is a man possessed and Rodgers looks like he could throw for 300 against anyone. Don't get me wrong, you don't get to 13-3 without an all-around solid team. But, again, I can't turn down the Packers and the points. Give me the Green Bay Packers (+4.5).

BetUS Editor (9-8-1):

Dallas has had a rough time against Green Bay over the past few years. Since 2009, the Cowboys are 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS against the NFC powerhouse. The good news for Dallas backers is that their last outing against the Packers resulted a 30-16 win at Lambeau. How will that translate to a must-win playoff game in Dallas? We'll have to wait and see.

Dallas kicked off the season on an absolute tear. After dropping the season-opener by one point to the Giants, the Cowboys went 9-0 SU and ATS over the next nine weeks. It's been a different story since then, however. Dallas is 4-2 SU in their last six, but they're also 1-5 ATS in that span.

This is a bad sign when Green Bay has gone 6-1 ATS and 7-0 SU in their last 7 with five of those going Over.

What does this mean? Do you ride with the veteran, Super Bowl-winning QB in the playoffs or the gritty rookies seeing their first pro postseason action? Logic tells me to go with Green Bay, but there's just something about this Dallas team that feels special. I'm taking the Cowboys to win this straight up and get one step closer to the Super Bowl.