Buffalo Bills need McCoy, or I'm backing Jacksonville Jaguars
January 02, 2018 5:30 PM
by Alan Berg
After a miserable Week 17 in the NFL, the playoffs are finally here.
Buffalo at Jacksonville: Doesn’t this just look ridiculous, the Jaguars and Bills in a playoff game? But here we are, and while the Jags have done a great job all season with their young, aggressive defense the X factor still remains the play of QB Blake Bortles. Everyone awaits the game where Bortles ruins it.
Currently the Jaguars are a -7.5 to -8 point favorite at home to send the Bills back to Buffalo. Bills RB LeSean McCoy is a game-time decision and, to me, he’s worth a -1.5 to -2 points because of how badly the receivers on the Bills have been getting open for Tyrod Taylor this season. The second he’s ruled out or in would lead me to back Buffalo with the points if IN; Jacksonville laying the points if OUT. If McCoy doesn’t play I think the UNDER of the game is a fantastic bet. But make sure to have your favorite phone app ready to be ahead of the books. BILLS +8 w/McCoy or JAGS -8 w/o McCoy
Tennessee at Kansas City: In the battle of underachieving teams, we get a true battle of the minds with Chiefs HC Andy Reid and Titans HC Mike Mularkey. Kansas City at one point was looked upon as the actual Super Bowl favorite. Now that the playoffs are here KC has regressed to same old Chiefs, so much so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them lose a game to possibly the worst team in the NFL playoffs, the Tennessee Titans.
On Twitter, a Titans fan commented on how the team needs to move on from Marcus Mariota at quarterback. That idea, in my mind, is crazy; he will never be an Aaron Rodgers but has plenty of talent not to be tossed away, like a failing QB. As one of my favorite online NFL writers, Cian Fahey, put it to the Titans fan, “If you had (Warriors basketball star) Steph Curry and played him in the post you’d think he sucked too.” In other words it’s Mularkey’s fault.
Bottom line is the NFL is about coaching and quarterback play. If you don’t have both you won’t win. There is a reason the Patriots keep making Super Bowls; there is a reason the second 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan started winning games the minute he had a competent option at QB in Jimmy Garoppolo. What we have here is the Titans with an above average QB and a trash bag head coach. While the Chiefs have an average to above average head coach and QB, which means one thing – PASS
Atlanta at LA Rams: Meanwhile in the NFC we have some fantastic Wild Card matchups. Honestly, I think all six teams in the NFC could make the Super Bowl. Oddly, the longest shot might be the team with home field advantage, the Eagles, thanks to the huge fall off from Carson Wentz to Nick Foles.
The Falcons were able to make the playoffs in the final week of the season with a home win vs. Carolina (another playoff team). It’s an impressive feat as usually the prior year Super Bowl loser sits home for the playoffs; it’s even more impressive with the 28-3 factor and losing OC Kyle Shanahan.
Los Angeles has made a complete 180 thanks to first-year head coach Sean McVay and a few free agent additions to make the offense click with second-year QB Jared Goff.
This game screams over for me, The Rams do have an above average defense but the Falcons have enough playoff experience to keep the offense working, while I don’t see the Rams have a ton of trouble with the Falcons D. OVER 48
Carolina at New Orleans: A division matchup in the playoffs is always a tricky game to handicap, especially when a team swept the regular season games. New Orleans has the luxury of winning the NFC South, thanks to beating the Panthers up this season.
Carolina is back in the postseason after missing the playoffs last year after an NFC Championship and Super Bowl 50 loss. Bad news for the Panthers is 13 of 21 times the team that lost both regular season games lost in the playoffs too.
The bookmakers agree, giving the Saints a -6.5-point advantage over Carolina. My gut tells me +6.5 with Carolina is the play. While they have lost by double digits in both games, the game in New Orleans didn’t go all that well but with it being a playoff game I expect at least a backdoor cover from the Panthers. PANTHERS +6.5