2017-NFL-Play Offs-Packers at Cowboys game preview

Aaron Rodgers is the lava-hot quarterback who throws Hail Mary touchdown passes as easily as slant patterns and already owns a Super Bowl ring. Dak Prescott is the ultra-cool customer, who seemingly isn’t bothered by any of the pressure that comes with being an NFL quarterback. Prescott looks to guide Dallas to its first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years and that task begins Sunday when the Cowboys host Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers in an NFC divisional-round contest (4:40 p.m. ET, FOX). Prescott was the steal of the NFL draft as a fourth-round selection and he quickly turned then-injured Tony Romo into an afterthought. Dallas went 13-3 and earned the NFC’s No. 1 seed behind Prescott and fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott, who led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards during the regular season. “To me, it’s all about being prepared,” Prescott said. “In a way, you get nerves; nerves hit Read More

2017-NFL-Play Offs- Steelers at Chiefs game preview

The old saying goes that revenge is a dish best served cold. Last Sunday, in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers avenged a regular-season loss to the Miami Dolphins, and did it in quite frigid temperatures at Heinz Field, winning by 18 points. This Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), the revenge table is turned on the Steelers, as they travel to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to play the Chiefs in an AFC divisional round game. The start of the game was pushed back more than seven hours due to a ice storm expected to move through the area on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Oddsmakers have listed the home team as a one-point favorite. In the first days of October, the Chiefs traveled to Pittsburgh and got hammered by the Steelers, losing 43-14 in a Sunday night game. The 29-point deficit was one of the Read More

2017-NFL-Play Offs-Seahawks at Falcons game preview

In the only previous playoff meeting between Atlanta and Seattle, Matt Ryan threw one more touchdown pass than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and the Falcons overcame squandering a big lead to win on a late field goal by Matt Bryant. That divisional playoff game at the Georgia Dome during the 2012 season, though, probably has little meaning for Saturday’s follow-up in Atlanta. That playoff game is the only victory in five tries for Ryan. Wilson, who was a rookie the first time, has an 8-3 postseason mark and a Super Bowl ring to his credit. What could be of significance is the Seahawks’ controversial 28-26 victory at home in mid-October when cornerback Richard Sherman wasn’t whistled for a late pass interference call on Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. “We felt like we had a chance to win that game. Calls didn’t go our way,” said Falcons second-year outside linebacker Vic Read More

2017-NFL-Play Offs-Giants at Packers game preview

In 2011, the Giants lost at home to the Packers in the regular season, then won at Lambeau for another NFC Championship. It will be a similar story line entering Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game. The Giants lost to the Packers in the regular season — 23-16 at Lambeau in Week 5 — and will try to turn the tables in Green Bay in a playoff rematch on Sunday. “It’s all different teams, different players, different coaches,” said Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who led the team to an 11-5 record and its first playoff berth since 2011. “It’s just a matter of studying their defense, have a great game plan, have a great week of preparation and go out there and just play each play.” Manning has as many playoff wins at Lambeau Field as his counterpart, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Manning is 2-0 while Rodgers is 2-2. “We’re playing Read More

2017-NFL-Play Offs-Dolphins at Steelers game preview

The rematch in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game will likely be decided by quarterback play. Perhaps it will be the play of an experienced veteran, or maybe by a journeyman making his first career postseason start. While the third-seeded Steelers are solid with sturdy veteran Ben Roethlisberger behind center, Miami ruled out regular starter Ryan Tannehill on Thursday and it will be Matt Moore behind center when the sixth-seeded Dolphins visit Pittsburgh on Sunday (1:05 p.m. ET, CBS). Tannehill sprained his left knee in a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 11 and is healing faster than forecasted. Coach Adam Gase didn’t rule out Tannehill early in the week in case of a drastic improvement but he and the staff didn’t see enough progress so Moore was officially named the starter. “He’s our starter,” offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said of Moore. “The other deal is on the side. It would Read More

2017-NFL-Play Offs-Lions at Seahawks game preview

While a rocky December did not leave the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions appearing to be playoff-ready, history provides an indication as to how their Saturday night NFC wild-card game might go at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks have never lost a playoff game there, the Lions have never won any game there, and Detroit has not won a playoff game anywhere in its past eight tries. “Obviously, there’s a great opportunity in front of us being in the playoffs, one of 12 teams getting that opportunity this year, and (we’ve) got to take advantage of it,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said in a conference call this week. Whether or not the Lions can debunk recent trends and come away with the upset might come down to how good Stafford can throw the ball. A legitimate MVP candidate for much of the season, Stafford has been hampered by an injured finger Read More

2017-NLF-Play Offs-Raiders at Texans game preview

There was something noble in how Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien and his Oakland Raiders counterpart, Jack Del Rio, masked their disappointment while naming respective starting quarterbacks for their Saturday AFC Wild Card postseason game at NRG Stadium. Although hardly planned, the game will feature a duel between quarterbacks who represent the most expensive free-agent disappointment of this last offseason against the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to debut as a starter in a playoff game. To sum up: Oakland rookie Connor Cook debuts on the road in a playoff game against Houston’s expensive, free-agent disappointment, Brock Osweiler. For the Texans (9-7), champions of the AFC South, Osweiler reclaimed his post because Tom Savage was lost to a concussion in the season finale against the Tennessee Titans. Savage supplanted the ineffective Osweiler against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 18. The Raiders (12-4) roared to their first playoff appearance Read More

2017-NFL-Week 17-Final round-Games betting preview

Panthers at Buccaneers (-4 ½, 46) – 1:00 PM ESTCarolinaRecord: 6-9 SU, 5-9-1 ATSThe Panthers finished last season without a home loss in 10 tries, but suffered their fourth home defeat last week in a 33-16 setback to the Falcons. Carolina stumbled to a 2-5 record away from Bank of America Stadium as only one of those victories came in the underdog role at Washington in Week 15. The Panthers look to avenge a 17-14 home defeat to the Buccaneers back in Week 5 as Cam Newton missed that loss due to injury. Carolina has won straight visits to Raymond James Stadium, while holding Tampa Bay to 17 points or less in each victory.Tampa BayRecord: 8-7 SU, 9-6 ATSTwo weeks ago, the Buccaneers were right in the mix of the NFC playoff picture, but back-to-back road losses at New Orleans and Dallas have put Tampa Bay on the brink of Read More

2016-NFL-Week 16-Saturday specials-All games preview

Miami at Buffalo: The Bills (11-3) and Dolphins (10-4) have been sneaky-good ‘over’ bets this season yet oddsmakers continue to post low totals on this pair (41 ½). Is there a reason for this production? The answer is yes and the proof lies with big plays (great stat) from both clubs. The Bills have seen the ‘over’ go 7-0 at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season behind an offense averaging 30.7 points per game at home and a suspect defense (24.7 PPG). Miami has scored 24 and 34 in its two divisional matchups on the road and the ‘over’ cashed in each game. The ‘over’ is on a 3-0 run in this series but the last two games played at Buffalo in December went ‘under’ the number. Keep an eye on the latest weather reports for this matchup with snow possibly looming. Tampa Bay at New Orleans: The Buccaneers stifled the Saints Read More

2016-NFL-Week 16-Thursday night football-Giants at Eagles game preview

There is no denying that the Giants have been one of the better teams in football over the past few months as at 10-4 straight up they are in great shape to get into the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl. The Giants are 8-1 SU (7-2 ATS) over their past nine games, but despite that have yet to clinch their spot in the postseason tournament and will need one win over these final two games to get there. It’s been the spectacular play of the Giants defense that has propelled this run (six straight ‘unders’) and New York fans are hoping that the old adage of “defense wins championships” holds true for their team this season. But after three tough games against division leaders (Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit), this week’s game in Philadelphia on short rest has the potential to be one of those dreaded “trap” games Read More