Inquirer handicapper Vegas Vic is sticking with Baltimore, a team he’s been on since the start of the season. He’s also loving KC, especially since it had a week off after finishing the regular season.
Vic holds a one-game lead in our staff standings with seven to go. Here’s a look at how he sees the divisional round:
The Vikings turned up the heat last week, on the road, beating a really good Saints squad, and a really, really, good quarterback in Drew Brees. And my guy, Captain Kirk, was at the center of the storm. Kirk Cousins was exceptional when he needed it, in OT, and didn’t make any mistakes.
The Vikings seem to like playing on the road, winning five of nine, but LOVE cashing away from home, covering five of the last seven. But my issue is with San Francisco, and what the 49ers have NOT done lately.
Sure the Niners won three of the last five to close the season, but lemme bring you the scores. They lost to the Ravens, 20-17; squeezed past New Orleans, 48-46; lost to Atlanta, 29-22; beat the Rams, 34-31; and posted a 26-21 W against Seattle. Notice anything? Of course you do. The last three wins were by a GRAND total of 10 points.
Not expecting Purple to reign, but do expect the final score to stay closer than a touchdown. But check the status of Minny WR Adam Thielen before you open the wallet. Thielen (ankle) did not practice Thursday.
Give Tennessee credit for knocking off Tom Brady and the Patriots last Saturday, but don’t get too excited. Why? We’re talking about the difference between a 42-year-old statue trying to run like he’s stuck in mud, and probably the most ELECTRIC player in the NFL.
Tommy Terrific finally looked his age, and he had NO weapons to counter the Titans D in last week’s 20-13 loss. Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson LOOKS his age, which is 23, has legs and a cannon for an arm, and wow, does he have weapons. Jackson didn’t have those weapons in last year’s 23-17 wild-card loss to the Chargers. He was actually kinda lousy, hitting on only 14 of 29 for 194 yards. Jackson also was the Ravens’ leading rusher with 54 yards.
The MVP (yeah, it’s his) does not have to worry about that now, because it looks like Mark Ingram (1,018 yards) is a go after resting for a few weeks, and that should keep the second-best offense in the league humming.
If you wanna talk money, the Ravens are MONEY, having covered nine of the last 10. We started the year best-betting the Edgar Allan Poes, and they smoked the Dolphins, 59-10. Not expecting a 49-point margin, but an edge of two dozen sounds about right. Baltimore is this week’s best bet.
Revenge is just one of the courses on the table in Kansas City. The rest of the meal boils down to Patrick Mahomes. Revenge first.
Houston rolled into Kaycee back in October as a 10.5-point ‘dog, and beat the Chiefs, 31-24. Deshaun Watson was pretty solid, 30-42 for 280 yards, and Carlos Hyde had 116 on the ground. However, last week against the Bills, Watson was the leading rusher with 55 yards, and Hyde managed to squeeze out only 48. Trouble. Watson was also sacked seven times.
More trouble. The Chiefs rumble in on a 6-0 run straight-up and against the spread. Yet more trouble. KC’s defense has been a monster down the stretch, allowing just 69 points over those six games, for an average of just 11.5 ppg.
Still more trouble. Andy after a bye week. How about 22-4 straight-up with 17 covers.
Obviously not thrilled about laying nine and a hook, so will throw down maybe half my chips on KC.
Carson Wentz was knocked out of the game by a legal (if you bet Seattle), or illegal (if you bet the Green Birds), helmet-to-helmet hit by Jadeveon Clowney. That forced 40-year-old Josh McCown, who NEVER had taken a snap in a playoff game, into the fight. Game over, golf clubs out, check please.
Now the 'Hawks have to go to Lambeau and face a hungry Aaron Rodgers who has not seen the playoffs since the 2016 season. And Danica’s boyfriend is just a LITTLE BIT of an upgrade from McCown. Like the fact that the Pack come in on a 5-0 roll and have won seven of eight this season at home.
The only reasons we’re not gonna be best-betting this game are Russell Wilson and a couple of trends.
Wilson is a magician extending plays, so he’s tough to bet against. Also, the Seahawks have covered 10 of the last 12 as an underdog, and bring in a healthy 6-2-1 cover record on the road. Gonna buy Cheese, but maybe just half a pound.