Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

NFL Divisional Finals: No Upsets This Week. OK Maybe One.

By Scott Taylor and Dave Petrishen

It was upset week in the NFL in Week 1 of the post-season. Wild Card weekend produced two big upset winners – San Diego and New Orleans – and three road team winners – San Diego, New Orleans and San Francisco.

This week, our Experts in Prognostication feel exactly the same way as they did last week: The good teams are “the good teams,” and they should reach the Conference finals. Seattle (at home), New England (at home), Denver (at home) and San Francisco (on the road) are the favorites and they agree on three of the outcomes.

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

That Panthers-49ers matchup – the Niners are one-point favorites – have our boys conflicted. One likes Kaepernick, the other likes Newton and both expect the best game of the weekend.

Meanwhile, here’s the best statistic of the weekend, since 2005, No. 6 seeds (Chargers and Saints this season) are 5-2 against No. 1 seeds (the Broncos and Seahawks). Frankly, I don’t think that stat makes a lick of difference, but it is interesting.

Last week was not a good week for anyone in our little Two-Man Group (although it wasn’t very good for the Vegas oddsmakers or anyone else making predictions, either).

Dr. Football apologized, saying, “As they say in Mexico…last week I ‘el poo-poo’d la cama’ with my 0-4.” The Doc is now 152-92 against the spread and 117-127 against the spread. The Coach, meanwhile, wasn’t much better. He went 1-3 straight up (156-88) and 1-3 against the spread (126-116).

This week, the Doc writes about our wild guesses while the Coach keeps a very low profile. 

New Orleans Saints (12-5) at Seattle Seahawks (13-3) 
Line: Seahawks by 8

Great match up. The Saints and the Seahawks are pretty much evenly matched, but this is in Seattle, where the Seahawks are still smarting from a loss to the Cardinals at home. Reality check cashed, now the Seahawks are set to write off the Saints. The Coach says: Not only do the Seahawks have that large, loud crowd behind them, they also have the officials in their pockets. And the officials will make sure of this outcome.

The Doc: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER.

The Coach: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Indianapolis Colts (12-5) at New England Patriots (12-4) 
Line: Patriots by 7.

I think we’ve seen this a few times in the past. Should be an easy day for Tom Brady at home. The Coach says: Close score, late in the game, Belichick will intimidate the officials and bang, Pats win. No  worries here.

The Doc: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.

The Coach: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER

Cam Newton.

Cam Newton.

San Francisco 49ers (13-4) at Carolina Panthers (12-4) 
Line: 49ers by 1.

The 49ers and the Panthers had identical season records but in the 49ers play in the same division as the Seahawks, who they’ll have to face next week after they easily dispose of the over achieving Panthers. The Coach says: Potentially, the best game of the weekend with two exciting quarterbacks in Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick and two great runningbacks in DeAngelo Williams (if he’s healthy) and Frank Gore.

The Doc: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.

The Coach: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN.

San Diego Chargers (10-7) at Denver Broncos (13-3) 
Line: Broncos by 9.5.

San Diego surprised everyone last week, but really, their prize is to face the Broncos in Denver? Peyton has the advantage here, but Phillip Rivers will keep in interesting. The Coach says: All the pressure is on the Broncos. They should be able to handle them.

The Doc: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.

The Coach: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER 

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