Baltimore Ravens +9.5 @ Denver Broncos -9.5

NFLbetting.org Pick: Baltimore Ravens +9.5
Given their eleven game winning streak that included a 34-17 road drubbing of the Baltimore Ravens, it is no surprise that the Denver Broncos came out as heavy favorites in the divisional round. The Denver Broncos are the current favorite to win the Super Bowl, but should not expect a cakewalk in their first playoff game the way this game’s line suggests. The Ravens have been playing better football since, showing up defensively against the Indianapolis Colts. Paul Kruger should be able to challenge Ryan Clady and make Peyton Manning more uncomfortable than he has been for much of the season. Winter conditions could also contribute to Manning posting a less impressive stat line than usual, as Manning has spent most of his career in a dome and historically struggled in the cold. The Ravens offense is coming into shape in recent weeks and should be able to keep up with the Broncos for much of the game. Denver should win, but Baltimore won’t make it easy on them.

Green Bay Packers +3 @ San Francisco 49ers -3

NFL betting Pick: Green Bay Packers +3
San Francisco 49ers won the season opening meeting, beating Green Bay 30-22 in Lambeau Field, but enough time has passed to largely discount week one. To put into perspective how long four months changes team in the NFL, David Akers, now battling for his job, hit a 63 yard field goal in the game, and Alex Smith, now the backup, posted a passer rating of 125.6. This time around, the Packers will have to face Colin Kaepernick and the read-option running game. Green Bay is inexperienced against the read-based running game, but how effectively the 49ers can move the ball on the ground will be decided in the trenches. Facing Adrian Peterson the last two weeks, the defensive line of the Packers has played very well in the running game. Tackling issues from the secondary and linebacking corpse were the culprit for Peterson’s rushing totals, but the defensive line consistently found their way into the backfield to thwart runs. BJ Raji in particular is playing some of the best football of his career in the second half of the year. The matchup between the Green Bay defensive line and San Francisco offensive line, which has established itself as the best runblocking unit in the league will be one to watch. Green Bay should at least limit the 49ers on the ground. The Packers also have the corner-back depth to challenge San Francisco’s receivers across the board. On offense, Aaron Rodgers (5-2 record in the postseason) has been doing a better job taking gains underneath. Combine that with an improving running game, and Green Bay may be able to draw in the 49ers in order to hit them with the deep ball. Don’t bet against Aaron Rodgers in the postseason, and take the points in this one.

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Seattle Seahawks +2.5 @ Atlanta Falcons -2.5

NFLbetting Pick: Atlanta Falcons -2.5
There has been a lot made of Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons inability to win in the playoffs, which may be a major factor in the number-one-seeded Falcons only being favored by 2.5 points at home. Atlanta has largely shifted its offensive focus from the run to the pass this season, but should incorporate a heavy dose of Michael Turner on Sunday. Julio Jones and Roddy White have tough matchups against Seattle cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and will have to win their individual matchups. In the absence of Chris Clemons, the Falcons will try to quell the Seahawk pass rush by running at rookie Bruce Irvin. Irvin is still a one-dimensional player at this point in his career and will play tentatively if forced to respect the run. It may not be easy going for Atlanta against a good defense, but the Falcons have enough firepower to outscore Seattle and cover by a field goal.

Houston Texans +9.5 vs. New England Patriots -9.5

Betting Pick: New England Patriots -9.5
Countless times underdog teams have managed to flip the script in the postseason and beat a team that handled them during the regular season. The Houston Texans need more than their fair share of bounces to go their way to end up as one of those unlikely winners. Houston has been severely underachieving in the second half of the season, particularly on offense. Bill Belichick will again come after Schaub, who crumbled in a 42-14 defeat in week fourteen. Schaub has shown no sign that he’ll return to form, and the offense should again struggle. The Texans’ defense should pitch a better performance this time around, but the New England offense will still put enough on the board to win by double digits.

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