It’s playoff time in the NFL and the Detroit Lions have the unenviable task of going to New Orleans to play record-setting quarterback Drew Brees a hot Saints team. In the other battle, the Atlanta Falcons will fly north to play the New York Giants in North Jersey.
DETROIT at NEW ORLEANS: THE PICK, NEW ORLEANS -10.5
The Lions find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season, and it can be owed mostly to the play of Quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Saints however, have ended up where everyone expected them to be. A three seed in the NFC, hosting a divisional round playoff game as a double digit favorite.
These two football teams are meeting for the second time this season. Back in week 13 the Saints hosted the Lions on a Sunday Night and won by a score of 31-17. The Lions beat themselves in that game, as they have seemed to do in almost every big game they have played this year. Detroit committed 11 penalties for over 100 yards, and discipline seemed to be an issue all season for the Lions. Because of their undisciplined nature, the Lions don’t seem ready for the big stage just yet. Detroit was winless against teams with winning records this season, and they were also 0-5 to the spread when playing teams that finished with a record above .500 .
The Saints on the the other hand are battle tested and primed to make noise in the playoffs. The Saints were perfect at home this year, both straight up, and to the spread. Detroit on the other hand has failed to cover their last four away from Detroit. Home field will prove to be huge in a game like this. The atmosphere in the Super Dome is always electric, and could slow down a potent Lions offense that has struggled in pass protection.
Gregg Williams likes to call an aggressive game, and the Saints defense should be able to pressure Stafford all night. I like the Saints in a blowout this week. The Lions might have a bright future but their just not ready to go toe to toe with a heavyweight like New Orleans just yet. Lay the points with the Saints.
ATLANTA at NEW YORK GIANTS: THE PICK, NEW YORK GIANTS -3
The Giants secured a playoff berth by winning the NFC East title with a win over the Cowboys last Sunday night, while Atlanta beat up on the Bucs to acquire the five seed in the NFC. The Falcons still have a lot to prove, as they have failed in the playoffs under Mike Smith, and they have also been a much different team at home than on the road.
The Falcons have been very pedestrian away from the Georgia Dome. They posted a road record of 4-4, and a 3-5 mark to the spread. But Match ups will likely determine the outcome of this contest.
The key to this football game will be the Falcons Offensive line against the Giants Defensive line. I like the Giants pass rushers to constantly pressure Matt Ryan. Ryan has been hit pretty frequently this year, and that shouldn’t change this week. If Ryan is given time though, Atlanta could do some damage. Their receiving core has a huge edge over a suspect New York Giants secondary. White, Jones, and Gonzalez are legitimate weapons that can torch a defense if given time to work, but ultimately I think the New York front four will take this game over.
The Giants have proven that they can play well in big games like this one, but the Falcons just can’t be trusted, especially on the road in a game of this magnitude. If this game were in Atlanta the outcome would likely be much different, but it’s not. Take the Giants to cover the three at home.