See below for my picks, plays, Model Z breakdown and explanation for Divisional Round Saturday!
*Stars represent confidence (1 to 5 scale).
Please note that I am not advising anyone to participate in any gambling. I am simply telling you what I will be doing (legally in New Jersey).
4:35 PM ET
LA RAMS at GREEN BAY PACKERS (-6.5) ; O/U 45.5
Model Z Projection: 25–25 TIE
Straight Up Pick: Green Bay Packers
Spread Pick: GB -6.5⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Under 45.5⭐⭐
- Akers to score (+120)
- Akers over 72.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
- Akers over 92.5 Rush + Rec. Yards (-115)
- GB -3.5 1st Half (-120)
- GB to win / Under 45.5 DOUBLE (+150)
- Goff to throw INT (-152)
- [DOUBLE BET] Valdez-Scantling over 23.5 Rec. Yards (-110)
Notable Inactives: GB DT Kingsley Keke
Notes: If Goff was fully healthy, I wonder what this spread would be. Maybe -3.5? That much? Kenny is going to get mad at me for saying this, but I still don’t think they are at the elite level even when Goff is healthy. Last week was so sloppy against a Seahawks team that just has not been themselves in recent weeks on offense. The Seahawks made every mistake possible and was frustrating for me to watch, in a game where I honestly didn’t care who won. I’ll give the Rams defense credit because they are a great defense, no doubt, but I think the Seahawks lost that game, not the other way around, sorry KB. Back to this game… the Model Z projects a close game, a tie in fact, and I can see it. The Rams defense matches up well against this Packers offense: Ramsey on Adams, Donald against a good OLine (but there are a few holes to exploit) and Rodgers against the #1 Pass Defense. The problem has never been the Rams defense though, and it is all on Goff’s thumb for this one. Can you imagine throwing a frozen football with a broken thumb? I sure can’t. Goff threw a handful of ducks last week and apparently he does that above every 5 throws in practice. I’m sure it has healed more since last week, but I don’t trust it against a pretty stingy Packers defense. Jaire Alexander alone, is one of the most underrated corners in the league (Tied for the #1 CB in the Model Z with Ramsey 👀) and will make it tough on these Rams receivers in Lambeau.
I’m going to be taking the Packers outright, the spread is high but as long as it’s less than a TD I’m on the Packers for the spread as well, and I’ll play with the Under in a great defensive bout with two teams that have a very slow pace.
8:15 PM ET
BALTIMORE RAVENS at BUFFALO BILLS (-2.5) ; O/U 49.5
Model Z Projection: 25–25 TIE
Straight Up Pick: Baltimore Ravens
Spread Pick: BAL +2.5⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Under 49.5⭐⭐⭐
- Jackson over 77.5 Rushing Yards (-120)
- Jackson to have most Rushing Yards in Divisional Round (+400)
- Allen to score (+120)
- BAL ML (+118)
- Under 26.5 Passing Attempts (-120)
Notable Inactives: BUF RB2* Zack Moss
Notes: An extremely tough matchup in this one, in a possible snow game in Orchard Park (which would be Lamar’s 1st snow game). Let’s do a few of my favorite ways to compare so I can come up with a pick here.
Ravens — 7 Players on Offense in the Top 20 of their positions, 3 Players on Defense
Bills — 5 Players on Offense in the Top 20 of their positions, 1 Player on Defense
For two teams that I typically think “defense” when I see their name, that small amount of players on defense for both teams was surprising to me.
1. Lamar Jackson — To stop a running QB like Lamar, you need great Linebackers and smart corners. Bills Linebackers are just okay but the corners are good. Advantage Ravens.
2. DLine — To oppose this scary DLine, the Bills Oline is pretty dang good, 9th overall in my model.
3. Cornerback Group — The Ravens have arguably the 2nd best best group (3) corners but have to face a suddenly deep Bills WR group in Diggs, Beasley, Davis and maybe John Brown. Even matchup here I think
1. Josh Allen — Not the easiest matchup for Josh here. A great DLine and strong corners to deal with.
2. Stefon Diggs — Those Baltimore Corners… Eesh.
3. Safeties — Poyer and Hyde are trouble when you’re looking down the field, but Lamar doesn’t do that a ton.
That comparison alone makes me feel better about taking the underdog Ravens and Lamar in this one. It’s going to be super close and a great game, but if Lamar can handle the snow, I think they take this one while giving points.
I’ll also take the Under in this one because of the projected game script. I think the Ravens will run a bunch and should be able to against a weak run D, plus the loss of BUF RB2* Zack Moss disrupts the Bills offense a bit.