Wayne Root: Will There be any NFL Shockers in the Divisional Round?
There was only one upset last week during the NFL’s Wildcard Weekend. The Baltimore Ravens (+3) beat Pittsburgh 30-17. Many would argue that the Detroit Lions (+7) should have been an upset in Dallas. Lions’ fans certainly believe the team was robbed!
Will there be any upsets this weekend? Obviously THE KING OF UPSETS is thinking very seriously about that question. All four favored bye teams are top quality, and will certainly enjoy the perks of playing at home after a rest break. But, all four underdogs have a lot going for them as well. None of them enter with little hope. Even big underdog Carolina is a red hot team that has a solid defense.
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT can’t post his picks for free in a web article. That’s not fair to paying customers. And, honestly, I haven’t fully finalized my card as of a Thursday publication time for a preview article. I would like to outline for you the reasons why any of the four Divisional underdogs could pull off a shocker this Saturday or Sunday.
BALTIMORE: Well, this Ravens team has already shocked New England twice on the field in recent playoffs! The Patriots have been underachieving in recent postseason action…seemingly having peaked their dynasty era a few years ago. Even as a #1 seed, you can’t be sure that the Patriots are going to run away and hide from anyone anymore. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco and head coach John Harbaugh have Super Bowl rings. You at least know the Ravens won’t be intimidated.
CAROLINA: The biggest underdog of the weekend actually has the kind of defense that could make this a field position coin flip that could go either way. Seattle is justifiably favored. Will they take the game too lightly? Will they assume that a team with a losing record is just going to lay down and take a beating? If the Seahawks bring in the wrong attitude, they are truly ripe for one of the biggest playoff shockers ever. Carolina hasn’t been playing like a losing team lately. They’ve been at least Wildcard caliber the past month.
DALLAS: You have to be impressed with how well Dallas has performed this season. Most everyone expected eight wins or worse. They went 12-4! A greatly improved rushing attack helped take pressure off of Tony Romo. The defense isn’t great…but is competitive. The fact that Aaron Rodgers has missed so much practice with a calf injury could prove to be an equalizer. NFL Playoff history is full of teams who got “lucky” one week, then made the most of that break on the way to something big.
INDIANAPOLIS: The young Colts might be right on the cusp of “arriving” in the AFC. Andrew Luck continues to mature and improve. He passed for 368 yards last week vs. Cincinnati without throwing a single interception. The defense has taken a few steps forward after some poor midseason performances. Peyton Manning of Denver hasn’t been hitting on all cylinders down the stretch. This may be the game everyone remembers as a turning point for Luck’s career.
I should also mention that weather could be a factor that helps reduce the favorite’s offensive explosiveness at every site (except possibly Denver). Be sure you watch the weekend forecasts. If weather is going to help defenses in Foxboro, Seattle, and Green Bay, then low scoring upsets become more likely.
At this time of year, I usually have a mix of underdogs and favorites in my official releases. A blockbuster PINNACLE headline-maker could just as easily be a blowout favorite as an underdog shocker. I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s games. I hope I haven’t tipped my hand too much in today’s discussion!
You’ll be able to purchase my game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card this weekend. Those of you with questions about extended service should talk to my representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure you check out combination packages that include both basketball and football. Don’t forget that the Oregon/Ohio State game goes Monday Night to crown the college football champion. That’s going to be a huge night at the sportsbooks here in Las Vegas!
I’ll be back with you late Sunday or early Monday to talk about upset potential for Ohio State in that game. They’ve sure been a Cinderella story so far, with unheralded Cardale Jones engineering surprisingly easy wins as an underdog over Wisconsin and Alabama. Can he do it a third time? We’ll talk about that Monday.
For now, I’ll leave you thinking about possible Cinderella’s in the NFL. Will a glass slipper fit Andrew Luck or Cam Newton? Can Tony Romo get over the hump? Does Baltimore just have New England’s number? THE KING OF LAS VEGAS is very confident he’ll have the answers this weekend. That means it’s time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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