Pick 2: Seattle vs. Carolina and Denver vs. Indianapolis

Pick 2: Seattle vs. Carolina and Denver vs. Indianapolis

The Teaser: Pair Seattle and Denver

Game 1: Seattle vs. Carolina

The Initial Line:

Seattle -10.5 home vs. Carolina

The Take:

Add 8 points to Seattle’s line

The Final Line:

Seattle -2.5

The Breakdown:

Seattle clinched the #1 seed with a week 17 win over division rival St. Louis, giving them a bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They got hot at the perfect time, as they won their last 6 games by an average of 15.8 PPG. Carolina got a big home playoff victory after beating out Atlanta for the NFC South crown, defeating Arizona 27-16. The defense stole the show, as they held Ryan Lindley’s offense to a record low 78 total yards and forced 3 turnovers. Cam Newton had a decent game, throwing for 198 yds, 2 TDs and an INT. Jonathan Stewart had a big day on the ground, rushing for 123 yds and a TD on 24 carries.

After claiming the Lombardi trophy last season, Seattle finds themselves poised for another postseason run. Both of these teams are on quite the run, as Carolina has a 5 game win streak with their Wild Card Weekend victory while Seattle has 6 straight. However, I think there’s a good chance Carolina’s magical run comes to an end Sunday: Seattle had the #1 rush offense and #1 overall defense in the NFL this year. They also had the 4th best turnover differential at +9 on the season. If you combine that with the fact that they are 22-2 at home the last 3 years, it spells trouble for a sometimes shaky Carolina team. Seattle will seal the victory this weekend, the only question is by how many points. They will definitely cover a FG score.

Game 2: Denver vs. Indianapolis

The Initial Line:

Denver -7 home vs. Indianapolis

The Take:

Add 8 points to Denver’s line

The Final Line:

Denver +1

The Breakdown:

Denver earned the #2 seed in the AFC and a bye week. After losing in the Super Bowl to Seattle last season, they have their shot at redemption as they host Indianapolis at Mile High Stadium Sunday. Indianapolis was able to hand Cincinnati another playoff loss during Wild Card Weekend, winning at home 26-10. Andrew Luck was ready to play in this one, throwing for 376 yds and a TD. TY Hilton had a big game, as he caught 6 passes for 103 yds. Daniel Herron was able to add 56 yds and a TD on the ground as well. The defense did a solid job against Andy Dalton as well by holding Cincinnati to 254 total yards and forcing a turnover.

There shouldn’t be any lack of offense in this Divisional Weekend game Sunday. Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning finished 3rd and 4th in pass yds for the season and 1st and 2nd in pass TDs, with Luck leading the league with 40 TD passes. It seems that these 2 teams are well matched on offense, but Denver’s defense has the edge over Indianapolis. Overall Denver’s D ranked 3rd in yds allowed, while Indy ranked 11th. Denver also had a +5 turnover differential on the season, while Indy’s was -5. Couple that information with the fact that Denver is 22-2 at home the last 3 seasons and you can see why they are the favorite. Bottom line is that Peyton’s not about to let anyone come into his home stadium and steal his chances at a ring. Take Denver to win this game, although it should stay close in a high scoring affair.

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