We are down to the last eight clubs in the NFL, call it the Division Round or quarterfinals, here is where we are. Looking at the NFL odds below, oddsmakers number seem to indicate those with byes will advance, but as we know, what appears right and reality can be two separate occurrences.
Let's break it down into groups and you should know all the odds are courtesy of Intertops.
The New Orleans Saints are back in action and no reason not to like them at this point unless you are an Eagles fan. The Saints were No.2 in run defense and Philadelphia has gained 57 or less rushing yards in three of their last five contests. Though Philly found a way at Chicago, Drew Brees and Sean Peyton will be far more aggressive in going after the Eagles secondary to build a quick lead. If that happens, that subjects Nick Foles to just throwing with no running game.
The uncertainty surrounding Todd Gurley is cause for concern if you are thinking about backing the L.A. Rams to win the Super Bowl for NFL picks. Gurley is the foundation of the offense and is going up against a stout Dallas defense. The Rams will need him in the run and passing game to win. The same would be true of all future assignments for Sean McVay's squad.
These Clubs Have a Shot
You are probably wondering why Kansas City Chiefs is not in the top group? It starts with having to face Indianapolis Colts, which arguably is the best visitor on the board this weekend. The Chiefs offense is dynamic and they tied for first place in sacks (Steelers), but they have allowed 31.6 PPG against teams who had winning record this season. While it is true the Andy Reid's team has no fear in winning games 50-49 if you are placing a bet on a team like K.C. to allow that many or more points and win three times, you are not comfortable.
The New England Patriots have a shot, but their first game will not an easy one. As of Tuesday morning this week, the Patriots were only a four-point home favorite over the L.A. Chargers, which is the lowest opening playoff game spread on the Pats since two dudes named Belichick and Brady got together. Betting against New England at home is seldom a wise bet and if they win and the Chiefs are upset, that would another home game for the Patriots next week. But this is the weakest Pats all-around playoff team maybe ever under Belichick.
The Los Angeles Chargers did the job at Baltimore, but you don't kick field goals at New England and expect to come away with a victory. At 8-1 on the road this season, the Bolts are undaunted heading East again and they know they have a team good enough to beat the Patriots and whoever they would face next if they can engineer the upset. Nice long shot play.
Dallas - The Cowboys do not have a bad matchup with the Rams this week, with Ezekiel Elliott able to run the ball on the Rams below average run defense and having an outstanding defensive front seven. If Dallas can win, beating New Orleans a second time will not be so easy on the road.
Indianapolis - The Colts are unlikely to reach the Super Bowl, but they are no fun to play now on a 10-1 run. There offensive and defensive lines are playing tremendous football and Andrew Luck and RB Marlon Mack are in the zone. Can Indianapolis ultimately win four road games in a row to reach the Super Bowl? Unlikely, but they will not go away easily either.
Philadelphia - Forget Fitz-Magic, Foles Magic actually accomplishes something! Philadelphia and Foles are like Rocky Balboa, somebody is going to have to knock them out to defeat them.