Sunday, January 22, 2017

2016 NFL Championship Game Picks

From the best weekend in football to the best Sunday with two games of the highest caliber usually being played.

Packers +4.5 at Falcons

At this point, you almost just expect Aaron Rodgers to do whatever it takes to win. That last play to set up Mason Crosby's incredible second 50+ yard field goal in the final two minutes somehow topped Rodgers' earlier sideline throw and catch to Randall Cobb that already had my jaw on the floor. Now, Matt Ryan and the falcons are playing great ball themselves and rightfully favored, but I don't know how you can feel comfortable laying any points against the best player on the field. The cause for concern is the status of his banged up receiving core and their continued inconsistencies in the secondary, but Julio Jones is still dealing with a nagging foot injury, as well. I think it will come down to a last minute field goal again, so give me the points.
I mean, HOW
Patriots -6 versus Steelers

I'm tempted to also just grab the points here, but I feel pretty good about the Patriots' home field advantage, especially with Ben Roethlisberger's road splits that I went over last week. There's also the fact that New England is now 15-0 with Dion Lewis healthy, as Trey Wingo pointed out this week, and that makes sense as he adds a different dimension to the team than their other 'backs. LeGarrette Blount and James White are both effective in their roles as a runner and receiver, respectively, but Lewis can do both along with some special teams value as he showed last week. Combine that with the fact that the Patriots have the 4th best run defense in Football Outsiders' DVOA, and I like the home team to slow down Le'Veon Bell and cover here.
Loved how Lewis owned up to his fumbles after the game, and the fact that he stayed in after them speaks volumes.

Last week: 3-1
Season total: 58-43-3

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