NFC Wild Card Predictions: Can Lions Or Giants Get Road Upset At Seattle And Green Bay?
Will Matthew Stafford and the struggling Detroit Lions offer any resistance in their NFC wild card matchup against Russell Wilson and a Seattle Seahawks team that has been virtually unbeatable at home for the better part of the last three seasons?
Can Eli Manning and the New York Giants’ stingy defense find a way to overcome Aaron Rodgers and the incendiary Green Bay Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field? Let’s find out the answers to both questions as I offer up my pair of NFC wild card playoff picks.
Analyzing The NFC Wild Card Predictions: Can Lions Or Giants Get Road Upset At Seattle And Green Bay?
Detroit at Seattle
When: Saturday, January 7, 2017 at 8:15 PM ET
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
NFL Odds: Seattle -7.5
Analysis: Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions (9-7 SU, 8-8 ATS) have had a fine 2016 campaign, but unfortunately, it’s going to end with four consecutive losses and a sense of failure despite reaching the postseason for the second time in the last three seasons. Detroit finished the regular season ranked a modest 20th in scoring (21.6 ppg) and respectable 13th in points allowed (22.4 ppg). Unfortunately, the Lions had major problems running the ball, finishing 30th in rushing at just 81.9 yards per game. Detroit was also mediocre in finishing 19th against the pass and 18th against the run.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (10-5 SU, 8-8 ATS) ranked an uninspiring 18th in scoring during the regular season, but were rock-solid on the defensive side of the ball in ranking fifth in total defense, eighth against the pass, seventh against the run and a stellar third in points allowed (18.2 ppg). More importantly, Seattle went 7-1 SU at home this season while Detroit only managed to go 3-5 SU on the road. Seattle also beat Detroit the last time these two teams met, winning 13-10 at home back in 2015.
While the Seahawks have been maddeningly inconsistent this season and come into their wild card matchup having alternated SU wins and losses over their last seven games, Detroit hasn’t looked good at all in losing three straight to playoff participants, New York, Dallas and Green Bay. Lions are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games and a winless 0-4 ATS in their last four games overall. In addition to that, Detroit has given up a whopping 73 points in their last two games and is just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games against a team with a winning home record.
Despite their struggles to score the ball this season, Seattle has managed to go 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss and a near-perfect 4-1 ATS in their last five home games. 51 percent of public bettors like Detroit to cover the spread and I can understand why seeing as how the Seahawks have been mediocre at best offensively this season. Still with the home team in this NFC rivalry going 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings and Seattle being virtually unbeatable at home the last few seasons, I like the Seahawks to win and narrowly cover.
Pick: Seattle 31 Detroit 21
NY Giants at Green Bay
When: Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 4:40 PM ET
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
NFL Odds: Green Bay -3.5
Analysis: The Green Bay Packers (10-6 SU, 9-6 ATS) may have won their final six games of the 2016 season to hit the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league, but I believe the NFC North champions are going to have their hands completely full in trying to dispatch Eli Manning and a New York Giants (11-5 SU, 9-6 ATS) team that I believe is quite dangerous. The Giants come into this contest having won three of their final four regular season contests including their statement-making 19-10 win over Washington on Sunday to keep their completely desperate NFC East division rivals out of the playoffs.
While the Giants were mediocre across the board in ranking 25th in total offense and an uninspiring 26th in scoring, New York’s defense was rock-solid in ranking 10th overall and stupendous in finishing second in points allowed (17.8 ppg). Green Bay did just what Aaron Rodgers said they would seven weeks ago – run the table by winning their final six games to reach the playoffs.
The Packers pounded the division rival Detroit Lions 31-24 on Sunday in a contest that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates to both, win the NFC North and get a home wild card date. The Pack have scored 30 points or more in four straight games and finished the regular season ranked eighth in total offense and a stellar fourth in scoring (27.0 ppg).
Green Bay was mostly mediocre on the defensive side of the ball and finished the regular season ranked 22nd in total defense, and 21st in points allowed (24.2 ppg). Despite their winning ways, the Packers hit the postseason having allowed at least 24 points in each of their last three games, including two matchups against the offensively-challenged Bears and Vikings.
While the Packers have gone 5-1 ATS in their last six games and 4-1 ATS in their last five playoff games, New York has posted an insane 9-0 ATS mark over their last nine playoff road games while going 4-0 ATS in their last four playoff games and 5-1 ATS in their last six games in the month of January. With the Giants going 8-3-1 ATS in their last dozen games and a perfect 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings against Green Bay, I say go with the 60 percent of public bettors that like the G-Men to cover the NFL betting line.
Pick: New York 21 Green Bay 20