Our gridiron guru Charlie Mullan has been assessing this weekend’s divisional play-off matches for his latest NFL predictions and is eyeing a 14/1 accumulator.
We are down to eight teams battling it out for a place in next month’s Super Bowl, so the pressure is mounting on key players and coaches alike.
Indianapolis Colts +5.5 at Kansas City Chiefs @ 91/100
The Chiefs sealed the number one seed in the AFC thanks to an offence led brilliantly by their QB Patrick Mahomes. The Colts defence went to Houston last weekend and subdued the Texans, but keeping Kansas City to seven points might be easier said than done. Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns during the regular season in an attack that averaged 35.3 points per game. However, the Chiefs’ defence gave up 26.3 points per game. Seven of their games have seen 60 points or more scored and this could be the highest-scoring match of the weekend, so while the Chiefs may win, the Colts should have their moments and appeal with a decent start for our NFL betting tips.
Los Angeles Rams -7.5 vs Dallas Cowboys @ 1/1
Dallas have the lowest-ranked offence and defence of the remaining play-off teams. Facing the Rams in Los Angeles may hold no fear for the Cowboys, who are looking to make it back to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 1995. Both offences are equally matched, with two of the league’s best running backs going head-to-head. Rams RB Todd Gurley led the league in touchdowns, while his Cowboys counterpart Ezekiel Elliott ended the regular season as the leading rusher. So it could come down to which defence comes out on top and the Rams edge it thanks to the presence of Aaron Donald, who led the league with 20.5 sacks.
New England Patriots -4.5 vs Los Angeles Chargers @ 1/1
Tom Brady has led New England to victory in all seven clashes with Phillip Rivers, but this Chargers team is better than any he has faced in the past. Playing on the road is no big deal for the Chargers, who have won their last nine outside of Los Angeles. However, Foxborough in January is one of the toughest places to play. The Patriots, who have yet to lose at home this season, often find a way to win play-off games. Bill Belichick is famed for nullifying the key threat from the opposition and New England’s defence will make it a tough day for Rivers and the Chargers.
New Orleans Saints -8.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles @ 19/20
After beating the Eagles by 41 points earlier in the season, the Saints know they will face a Philadelphia side keen to redeem themselves in the Super Dome. Last week, a tipped field goal that forced the ball to hit the upright before bouncing out off the crossbar kept the defending champions in the play-offs. The Eagles may need more luck than that if they are to feature in Atlanta next month, though. New Orleans go into this match-up fresh not only because of their bye week, but also because they were able to rest star players including Drew Brees, who threw for four TDs in the earlier meeting this season and is expected to shine again in our NFL predictions.
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