NFL Stuff


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L.A. Rams at New Orleans (FOX, 3:05 p.m. ET)

Los Angeles Road Record: 6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS, 2-6 O/U
New Orleans Home Record: 7-2 SU, 4-5 ATS, 5-4 O/U

Line Movements: The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened New Orleans -3 (-120) with a total of 55 ½. They pushed quickly to -3 ½ (Even) while early ‘over’ money nudged the total to 57. sent out New Orleans -3 ½ with a total of 56 ½. The line has held steady but the total was pushed to 57.

Head-to-Head: The two teams met at the Superdome on Nov. 4 and New Orleans captured a 45-35 win over Los Angeles as a two-point underdog. The Saints led 35-17 at halftime but the Rams tied the game early in the fourth quarter with 18 unanswered points. New Orleans countered with a 10-0 run to win the game. Both the Saints (487) and Rams (483) racked up plenty of yards and they each committed one turnover. The difference in the game was converting on third and fourth down as New Orleans was 9-of-14 (64%) while the Rams only managed to connect on 30 percent (3-of-10) in the Week 9 matchup.

The pair also met in each of the last two regular seasons as well and the home team captured both of those contests as well. The Saints captured a 49-21 blowout win in 2016 while Los Angeles earned a 26-20 win at the Coliseum in 2017.

Including those results, the Rams have dropped their last three trips to the Superdome. The last win for the franchise came in 2007 when Marc Bulger was the quarterback for the St. Louis Rams.

Playoff Notes: Saturday’s 30-22 win over Dallas in the Divisional Round was the first playoff win for Los Angeles since 2005. Head coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff both own career 1-1 records in the postseason but both contests occurred at home.

New Orleans improved to 8-5 in the playoffs with QB Drew Brees under center and that includes a perfect 6-0 record at home. Make a note that the Saints are just 2-4 against the spread in those wins and that includes last Sunday’s non-cover (-8) in their 20-14 win over Philadelphia in the Divisional Round.

Total Notes: The Rams have watched the ‘over’ go 9-8 this season, which includes the high side ticket from last Saturday against Dallas. On the road, Los Angeles has been a great ‘under’ wager (6-2) and one of the two ‘over’ tickets came in the aforementioned game at New Orleans.

The 34 combined points in Sunday’s playoff game against Philadelphia was the lowest this season and the game easily went ‘under’ the total. New Orleans was 10-7 overall to the low side but New Orleans watched the ‘over’ go 5-4 at the Superdome. Prior to the ‘under’ result versus Philadelphia last Sunday, the Saints had seen the ‘over’ cash in 10 straight home playoff games and that included a 5-0 run with Brees.


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New England at Kansas City (CBS, 6:40 p.m. ET)

New England Road Record: 3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS, 3-5 O/U
Kansas City Home Record: 8-1 SU, 5-4 ATS, 3-5-1 O/U

Line Movements: The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook sent out Kansas City as a three-point home favorite over New England. Bet Online, a major offshore betting outfit, opened the Chiefs at -3 as well.

The SuperBook sent out a total of 58. Bet Online opened at 57 ½.

Head-to-Head: Since 2000, the Patriots have won seven of 10 meetings with the Chiefs, while the last four meetings have finished 'over' the total. New England is making its first trip to Kansas City since 2014 when the Chiefs blitzed the Patriots on a Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium in a 41-14 beatdown as 2 ½-point underdogs.

The most recent matchup took place this season at Gillette Stadium as the Patriots held off the Chiefs, 43-40 in Week 6. Kansas City managed a slight cover as 3 ½-point underdogs, while both Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady each topped the 340-yard mark. Mahomes threw four touchdown passes, but the Patriots overcame blowing a 15-point lead thanks to a last-second field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

Playoff Notes: The Patriots are playing in their eighth consecutive AFC championship, as New England has posted a 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS mark in this stretch. In the last two road AFC title games, the Patriots have lost at Denver in 2013 and 2015. The last away victory in the conference championship came in 2004 at Pittsburgh.

Kansas City has never hosted an AFC championship game before as the Chiefs improved to 2-10 in the last 12 postseason contests since 1994, while picking up their first playoff win at Arrowhead Stadium since 1993.

Amazingly, this is only the second all-time meeting in the playoffs between New England and Kansas City, as the Patriots knocked out the Chiefs in the 2015 divisional playoffs, 27-20.

Total Notes: Since posting an 'over' against the 49ers in Week 3, the Chiefs are 5-2-1 to the 'under' in the last eight games at Arrowhead Stadium. In five of those contests, the Chiefs have held their opponents to 14 points or less. In the last three playoff games in Kansas City, the 'under' has cashed, while four of the past five postseason contests for the Chiefs have gone 'under.'

The Patriots are 5-3 to the 'under' this season away from Gillette Stadium, while closing the season on an 8-1 'under' run. However, that streak came to a halt in New England's blowout of Los Angeles in the divisional round.


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Long Sheet

Conference Championships

Sunday, January 20


LA RAMS (14 - 3) at NEW ORLEANS (14 - 3) - 1/20/2019, 3:05 PM
Top Trends for this game.
LA RAMS is 54-77 ATS (-30.7 Units) as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points since 1992.
LA RAMS is 192-239 ATS (-70.9 Units) in all games since 1992.
LA RAMS is 192-239 ATS (-70.9 Units) in all lined games since 1992.
LA RAMS is 16-30 ATS (-17.0 Units) as a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points since 1992.
LA RAMS is 138-189 ATS (-69.9 Units) against conference opponents since 1992.
LA RAMS is 69-102 ATS (-43.2 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record since 1992.
LA RAMS is 42-63 ATS (-27.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season since 1992.

Head-to-Head Series History
NEW ORLEANS is 2-1 against the spread versus LA RAMS over the last 3 seasons
NEW ORLEANS is 2-1 straight up against LA RAMS over the last 3 seasons
2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


NEW ENGLAND (12 - 5) at KANSAS CITY (13 - 4) - 1/20/2019, 6:40 PM
Top Trends for this game.
KANSAS CITY is 18-9 ATS (+8.1 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 2 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 38-17 ATS (+19.3 Units) in all games over the last 3 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 38-17 ATS (+19.3 Units) in all lined games over the last 3 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 87-49 ATS (+33.1 Units) as an underdog since 1992.
NEW ENGLAND is 124-94 ATS (+20.6 Units) in road games since 1992.
NEW ENGLAND is 124-94 ATS (+20.6 Units) in road lined games since 1992.
NEW ENGLAND is 44-23 ATS (+18.7 Units) in all games where the total is greater than or equal to 49.5 since 1992.
NEW ENGLAND is 28-13 ATS (+13.7 Units) against conference opponents over the last 3 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 25-9 ATS (+15.1 Units) when playing with 6 or less days rest over the last 3 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 23-9 ATS (+13.1 Units) after 2 or more consecutive wins over the last 3 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 18-7 ATS (+10.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.
NEW ENGLAND is 88-56 ATS (+26.4 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record in the second half of the season since 1992.
KANSAS CITY is 3-13 ATS (-11.3 Units) in playoff games since 1992.

Head-to-Head Series History
KANSAS CITY is 2-0 against the spread versus NEW ENGLAND over the last 3 seasons
KANSAS CITY is 1-1 straight up against NEW ENGLAND over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


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Conference Championships

Trend Report

Sunday, January 20

Los Angeles Rams
LA Rams is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
LA Rams is 14-3 SU in its last 17 games
LA Rams is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of LA Rams's last 6 games on the road
LA Rams is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games when playing New Orleans
LA Rams is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against New Orleans
LA Rams is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against New Orleans
The total has gone OVER in 5 of LA Rams's last 6 games when playing on the road against New Orleans
New Orleans Saints
New Orleans is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games
New Orleans is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
New Orleans is 14-2 SU in its last 16 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of New Orleans's last 8 games
New Orleans is 15-2 SU in its last 17 games at home
New Orleans is 3-6 ATS in its last 9 games when playing LA Rams
New Orleans is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against LA Rams
New Orleans is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against LA Rams
The total has gone OVER in 5 of New Orleans's last 6 games when playing at home against LA Rams

New England Patriots
New England is 11-3 SU in its last 14 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of New England's last 10 games
New England is 17-8 ATS in its last 25 games on the road
New England is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New England's last 5 games on the road
New England is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Kansas City
New England is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing Kansas City
The total has gone OVER in 4 of New England's last 5 games when playing Kansas City
New England is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Kansas City
New England is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Kansas City
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City is 2-5-1 ATS in its last 8 games
Kansas City is 17-5 SU in its last 22 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Kansas City's last 7 games
Kansas City is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home
Kansas City is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Kansas City's last 14 games at home
Kansas City is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games when playing New England
Kansas City is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games when playing New England
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kansas City's last 5 games when playing New England
Kansas City is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against New England
Kansas City is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against New England


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Home teams in Conference Championship games are 10-0 SU (8-2 ATS) last five seasons

A run like this shouldn't be too surprising as teams that have earned home field in a Conference title game tend to be the ones that have been among the better teams in the league the entire season. We've got both #1 seeds hosting the games coming up this week, and Chiefs and Saints fans are hoping their respective squads can extend this run for home sides during this weekend.

Overall in this decade (starting with the 2009-10 season), home teams are 14-4 SU during Conference Championship weekend, but just 10-8 ATS. However, while that ATS record might suggest that going against the Chiefs and Saints this weekend may be worth considering – after all, a 10-8 ATS record is just 55% ATS for home sides, of those eight ATS defeats by home teams in this round, only one of them came when the home team was laying less than four points. That game would be the NFC Championship in January 2012 when the New York Giants knocked off San Francisco in OT thanks to a muffed punt that will go down in infamy for 49ers (and Giants) fans. San Francisco closed as a -2 home favorite that day.

Two of the other ATS defeats for home sides during this weekend came when we actually had a home underdog (Atlanta in January 2013, and Chicago in January 2011), with the remaining five ATS losses coming with the home side priced at -4 or greater, four of which were favored by a TD or more. With both point spreads currently in the -3/3.5 range for this year's games, you've basically got no margin for error in terms of backing the underdog and having them not win the game outright, and that's where the 10-0 SU run and 14-4 SU run this decade for home teams this weekend still has you fighting uphill.

Obviously, streaks/runs like this are made to be broken, and chronologically, it will be the LA Rams up first with a chance to end these streaks. LA does have the revenge angle on their side after losing in New Orleans earlier this year, and the fact that QB Jared Goff and company have already dealt with that hostile environment in a highly helped game should be a plus.

For Patriots backers, it's tough to ignore how dominant they were against the Chargers on Sunday, but sadly, the news doesn't get a whole lot better for them in terms of going out on the road in Kansas City and making their third consecutive Super Bowl this week. That's because....

Who's Not

NFL teams that score 40+ points in the playoffs are on a 2-7 SU run (3-6 ATS) the following playoff week

New England was the only one of the four high-powered offenses this past weekend to put up 40 or more points on the scoreboard and that may have not been the best omen for them. I've listed the most recent numbers for teams in that scenario in the header, but overall this decade (again, since the 2009-10 season) these teams are 5-9 SU and 4-10 ATS.

The good news for New England is the fact that the last two times it's happened for teams advancing from the Divisional round – Jacksonville last year and New England in January 2015 – they've gone 2-0 ATS, but only the Patriots were able to advance to the Super Bowl, and they did it with a home victory the following week, not a road date. Furthermore, teams that did score 40+ during the Divisional round since January 2010 are 4-3 SU the following week, but that's where the good news begins and ends for the Patriots this week.

None of those four SU victories in the Conference finals for teams off scoring 40+ have come by squads that were lined as road underdogs of any number, as road teams account for just two of those four wins off a 40+ point performance, and both were laying chalk as visitors (Green Bay in January 2011 and San Francisco in January 2013).

Finally, two of those three SU losses during the Conference finals have come from this New England Patriots franchise specifically (January 2013 and January 2014), and while New England will be making their eighth straight appearance in the AFC Championship, they are 0-3 ATS (1-2 SU) when entering the game after scoring 40+ the week prior. Add in the Patriots 0-2 SU and ATS record in road AFC Championships during this eight-year run, and Bill Belichick and company will be rewriting the history books in a big way should they win this weekend and move on to yet another Super Bowl appearance.


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By: Brandon DuBreuil


Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Divisional Round was the play of Kansas City’s defense. It was a unit that struggled throughout the regular season with a rank of 26th in overall DVOA while giving up the second-most total yards per game in the league (405.5). Then they went out and shut down the hottest quarterback in the league, holding Andrew Luck without a pass completion in the first quarter and without an offensive touchdown until the game was well out of reach with 5:31 remaining in the fourth. Luck wound up throwing for just 203 yards on 19-of-36 passing while Marlon Mack was stuffed to the tune of 46 yards on nine carries, which was actually an inflated total as one of his carries went for 20 yards.

Shutting down the Colts was impressive but this week is a totally different challenge with Tom Brady and co. coming to town. The Patriots looked unstoppable on Sunday against what was a very good Chargers defense, scoring touchdowns on each of their first three possessions en route to the 41-point performance.

New England torched the Chiefs for 43 points back in Week 6, though it should be noted that K.C. was a much better unit at home during the regular season, allowing 17.4 points per game as compared to 34.6 on the road. Still, it’s Brady and Belichick in the playoffs and we’re expecting them to craft a game plan in which they score early and often against the Chiefs on Sunday. Our early-week lean is towards the Over 26.5 for New England’s team total.


One of the more surprising storylines from Sunday’s Saints-Eagles win was New Orleans receiver Ted Ginn. He caught just three passes for 44 yards but the line that really jumps out is that Drew Brees targeted him seven times, which was second on the team to Michael Thomas’ 16 looks. Ginn actually could have had a monster game if Brees had not underthrown him on the game’s opening play that should have been a long touchdown but instead was an interception. Regardless, it was obvious that Brees wanted to get him the ball and that should again be the case on Sunday as the Saints host the Rams.

The Rams have an above-average pass defense, with a rank of ninth in passing DVOA during the regular season, but were burned by Dallas’s WR2, Michael Gallup, on Saturday to the tune of 6-119 on nine targets. Michael Thomas went bananas with a 12-171-1 line against the Eagles and he’ll surely be the focus of the Rams’ defensive game plan for the NFC Championship Game. We’re thinking Ginn could fly under the radar and we’ll be looking to play the Over for his receiving yards total.


What a performance it was from the Rams’ running game on Saturday, racking up 273 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 48 carries. Dallas was a tough matchup on paper, with the fifth-ranked defense in rushing DVOA during the regular season, but the Cowboys had been vulnerable to the run on the road late in the season and that held true on Saturday (and got us a winner in backing the Over for Gurley’s rushing total).

Sunday will be an even tougher matchup, in theory, as the Saints ranked third in rushing DVOA during the regular season and then held the Eagles to 49 rushing yards on 16 carries last weekend.

It will also be tough to predict who will be doing the bulk of the work in the Rams’ backfield this weekend. C.J. Anderson actually led L.A. in carries last weekend and posted a line of 23-123-2, while Todd Gurley went for 16-115-1 in what was his first game since Dec. 16. Gurley’s long layoff was likely the reason why Anderson out-touched him, but all Anderson has done is run for rushing totals of 167, 132, and 123 while scoring four times in his three games with the Rams. He has to be involved against the Saints.

Our early-week lean is to stay off the rushing totals for both running backs as it’s tough to say how Sean McVay will use them, but we do like the idea of both of them getting goal-line touches at some point during the game and at +125, we’re backing Anderson to score a touchdown at any time.


Sony Michel made his playoffs debut a memorable one on Sunday, rushing 24 times for 129 yards and hitting the end zone three times. He was the feature back in the running game, getting 24 of the 34 handoffs from Tom Brady (while James White took the passing downs and turned them into 15 receptions for 97 yards). It was a tough matchup on paper against the Chargers as they ranked 10th in rushing DVOA during the regular season and had only given up 90 rushing yards to Baltimore’s vaunted rushing attack the week prior.

This week looks to be an easier matchup for Michel. The Chiefs ranked dead last in rushing DVOA during the regular season and gave up 132.1 rushing yards per game (sixth-most in the NFL), five yards per carry (second-most in the NFL), and 19 rushing touchdowns (third-most in the NFL). The weather shouldn’t be a factor either as the surface at Arrowhead Field is heated, meaning the players shouldn’t have an issue with their footing. Michel is going to be a huge part of New England’s offensive plan and we’re backing him to hit the end zone once again this week by going Over 0.5 for his rushing touchdowns total at -120.


Chiefs coach Andy Reid told the media on Tuesday that Sammy Watkins got through the Wild Card game without setbacks to his foot. He was playing in his first game since Week 11 last weekend and hauled in 6-of-8 targets for 62 yards. Watkins was on the field for 76-of-82 offensive snaps and will be at full speed against New England on Sunday night.

Watkins has a below-average matchup on Sunday against a Pats squad that ranked 14th in passing DVOA during the regular season and 12th in DVOA against WR2s, allowing seven passes for 53 yards per game. New England shut down Watkins back in Week 6, holding him to two catches for 18 yards in what was one of his worst offensive lines of the season. The Pats did get burned by the Chargers’ secondary receivers, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams, for 10 total catches and 162 yards last week, though a lot of that can be attributed to game script as Philip Rivers threw 51 times because the Chargers fell behind big early. We expect the Pats to hold Watkins relatively in check and we’re backing the Under 4.5 for his receptions total.


At times, Michael Thomas looks like the best receiver in the NFL. That was certainly the case last week as he hauled in a ridiculous 12 catches on 16 targets for 171 yards and a touchdown. It was also the case when the Rams and Saints met at the Superdome in Week 9 as he had 12 catches on 15 targets for 211 yards and a touchdown. Rams cornerback Marcus Peters was routinely burned by Thomas back in Week 9, but he’ll have some help on Sunday as Aqib Talib will be available after missing the Week 9 matchup.

Peters and Talib took turns covering Dallas’ top receiver Amari Cooper last weekend and held him relatively in check as Cooper turned in a line of 6-65-1. But Thomas is a lot better than Cooper, Drew Brees is a lot better than Dak Prescott, and New Orleans offensive scheme is a lot better than Dallas’. The Rams struggled with the opponent’s top receiver throughout the regular season, finishing with a DVOA rank of 28th to the position while allowing 7.4 passes for 82.7 yards per game (and those stats include eight Talib starts). Even with reinforcements, we don’t see how the Rams slow down Thomas in what should be an epic shootout at the Superdome. We’re taking the Over 92.5 on his receiving yards total.


With the Rams set to visit the Saints on Sunday with a game total of 56.5, it’s difficult to envision that we’re going to see anything except an epic shootout. Let’s dig into the numbers a bit.

The Saints averaged 32.6 points per game at home, third-best in the NFL.
The Rams averaged 28.8 points per game on the road, also third-best in the NFL.
Since 2003, games with totals of 56 or higher in the playoffs have hit the Over five out of seven times.
The Over is 5-1 in New Orleans’ home games during the playoffs since 2007, with the only Under coming in last week’s game against Philadelphia.

The Rams will want to run the ball with Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson but will likely struggle against New Orleans third-ranked unit in rushing DVOA. The Saints’ offense will also be a lot sharper as compared to last week where they were shutout in the first quarter as they were clearly rusty, having not played meaningful snaps as a unit since Week 16. The total opened at 57 and has since ticked down to 56.5, but we’re expecting points early and often, much like Week 9’s 80-point affair between these two teams. We’re backing the Over 56.5.


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While the weather could affect different players in different ways, one thing we know for certain is that it won’t New England’s quarterback. Tom Brady seems to love the cold with a ridiculous 24-4 record in games played in sub-30-degree weather and when the cold gets below 20 degrees, his record is 5-1. Brady has led the Pats to wins in the cold but let’s take a look at how he fared in those games:

Jan. 10, 2004 (4 degrees) - 21 of 41, 201 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Jan. 23, 2005 (11 degrees) - 14 of 21, 207 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Jan. 10, 2010 (20 degrees) - 23 of 42, 154 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Jan. 10, 2015 (20 degrees) - 33 of 50, 367 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
Dec. 18, 2016 (18 degrees) - 16 of 32, 188 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Dec. 31, 2017 (13 degrees) - 18 of 37, 190 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT


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Playoffs James White was in full effect last weekend, posting an insane 15 receptions for 97 yards against the Chargers. We suggested he would have a big game and he got us a winner, going Over 45.5 receiving yards with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter.

We know that Kansas City struggles against the run — we dug into that yesterday. Against pass-catching backs, the Chiefs are slightly better with a DVOA rank of 21, giving up 6.9 passes and 56.4 receiving yards per game to an opponent’s backfield during the regular season. The weather should also play in White’s factor, as Brady will be looking for more short completions in the cold and possible crosswinds at Arrowhead.


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The Rams defense did well at home last week to shut down Ezekiel Elliott, holding the Cowboys’ star back to 47 rushing yards on 20 carries and 19 receiving yards on two receptions. L.A. will again be challenged by New Orleans’ backfield this week as they get the unenviable task of trying to shut down Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara on the turf at the Superdome.

Kamara was his usual dual-threat out of the backfield last week against Philadelphia, rushing 16 times for 71 yards and adding four receptions for 35 yards. That marked the third straight game and that he has put up 100-plus yards from scrimmage. Kamara averaged 106.1 yards from scrimmage per game in the regular season, the eighth-most in the NFL. The Rams are tough to read against dual-threat backs, ranking 28th in rushing DVOA but fourth in isolated passing DVOA to running backs. Back in Week 9, Kamara put up 82 rushing yards and 34 receiving yards against the Rams


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Rams quarterback Jared Goff seemed to hit a bit of a wall towards the end of 2018. In five December starts, Goff averaged just 228.2 passing yards, cracking the 220-yard mark just once when he threw for 339 yards when the Rams were chasing the Eagles all night in Week 15. Over that same stretch, he completed just 58.6 percent of his passes for 6.3 yards per attempt.

Goff was serviceable in the Divisional Round, going 15 of 28 for 186 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, getting us a winner with the Under 282.5 on his passing yards total. But serviceable isn’t what we expect from Goff and the high-flying Rams offense

In addition to Goff’s late-season struggles are his road struggles. Goff averaged just 243.8 passing yards per game away from the L.A. Coliseum during the regular season (as opposed to 342.5 at home). He did throw 391 yards in the shootout at the Superdome back in Week 9, but as mentioned above, this is not the same Goff as we saw earlier in the season. The Saints were excellent against the pass last week, limiting Nick Foles to just 201 yards on 18-of-31 passing


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NFC - Rams at Saints
Kevin Rogers


The Rams (14-3 SU, 8-8-1 ATS) captured the 2017 NFC West title with an 11-5 record, but were bounced in the Wild Card round by the reigning NFC champion Falcons. Los Angeles proved that 2017 was not a fluke as the Rams jumped out to an impressive 8-0 start before losing at New Orleans in Week 9. The Rams’ offense lit up scoreboards around the league by posting 33 points or more in each of the first five games, while averaging 32.9 point per game on the season, which ranked second in the league behind Kansas City.

Los Angeles stumbled in December against a pair of eventual playoff teams by losing to Chicago and Philadelphia, including a 30-23 setback to the Eagles as a 13 ½-point favorite. The Rams started the season covering their first three games, but went on a 2-8-1 ATS stretch prior to back-to-back covers in blowouts over Arizona and San Francisco.

Los Angeles picked up its first playoff win since 2004 in last Saturday’s 30-22 triumph over Dallas to cash as 7 ½-point favorites. The Rams rushed for 273 yards on 48 carries, while C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley each racked up over 100 yards on the ground and a combined three touchdowns.

The Saints (14-3 SU, 10-7 ATS) started the season with a head-scratching loss to the Buccaneers, while needing a last-minute field goal to sneak past the Browns. However, that three-point win over Cleveland started a 10-game winning streak for New Orleans, which eventually ended after Thanksgiving in a 13-10 loss at Dallas.

During the 10-game hot streak, the Saints won seven of those games by double-digits, while compiling an incredible 9-1 ATS mark. The Saints wrapped up their second consecutive NFC South title following a three-year stretch of 7-9 seasons. New Orleans rallied from a 14-0 deficit to eliminate defending champion Philadelphia, 20-14 in the divisional round last Sunday. Although the Saints failed to cover as 8 ½-point favorites, New Orleans improved to 6-1 in its last seven playoff openers under Sean Payton.


Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff set career highs in completion percentage (64.9%), passing yardage (4,688), and touchdown passes (32) in his third pro season. Goff put together three games of at least four touchdown passes and no interceptions, but also threw for less than 200 yards in three of his final five games. Gurley reached the end zone 21 times this season, including 17 times on the ground. The former University of Georgia star finished with seven games of at least 100 yards rushing, but was limited to 68 yards in the 45-35 loss at New Orleans in Week 9.

Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards in six of eight home games, but finished with his least amount of passing yards (3,992) in his 13-year stint with the Saints. However, Brees also set a career-low in interceptions thrown by getting picked off only five times, while throwing one interception in the first 10 games.

Running back Alvin Kamara accumulated nearly 1,600 yards from scrimmage and 14 rushing touchdowns in his second season with New Orleans. Wide receiver Michael Thomas put together his third consecutive 1,000 yard receiving season, which includes a 211-yard performance and the clinching touchdown against the Rams in Week 9.


Under Sean McVay, the Rams have excelled away from the L.A. Coliseum by compiling a 13-3 mark on the road the last two seasons. Los Angeles topped the 30-point mark in six road contests, while its only two away defeats came at New Orleans and Chicago. The Rams cashed the UNDER in six of eight road contests, while allowing 16 points or less in five of those games.

The Saints lost their season opener to the Buccaneers at the Superdome and the season finale to the Panthers (without Brees and other key starters). However, New Orleans won the middle six home games, while covering four times. The Saints are listed at their lowest home price as a favorite this season as the previous lowest home chalk spot came against the Redskins as 5 ½-point favorites in a Week 5 blowout, 43-19.


The Rams entered the Superdome in Week 9 with a perfect 8-0 record, while the Saints were riding a six-game winning streak. New Orleans jumped out to a commanding 35-14 second quarter lead, highlighted by three Brees touchdown passes and three scores from Kamara. However, the Rams stormed back to score 21 consecutive points to even the game in the fourth quarter on a Goff 41-yard touchdown hook-up with Cooper Kupp.

Saints’ kicker Wil Lutz put the Saints back in front by drilling a 54-yard field goal with 6:23 remaining, 38-35. After the Rams failed to tie the game on their next possession, Brees hit Thomas on a 72-yard scoring connection to put away the victory as a 1 ½-point underdog and send L.A. to its first loss of the season.

The home team has captured the last six meetings since 2010, including in each of the past three seasons. The Rams held off the Saints at the Coliseum, 26-20 in 2017 in spite of Kamara’s 188 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. These two teams are meeting in the playoffs for only the second time ever as New Orleans edged Los Angeles, 31-28 at the Superdome in the 2000 Wild Card round.


The Saints have won consecutive games in the same postseason only once in franchise history, coming in their Super Bowl run in 2009. New Orleans is playing in its third-ever NFC Championship, as the Saints were routed by the Bears in 2006 coincidentally after beating the Eagles in the divisional playoffs. The Saints held off the Vikings in overtime, 31-28 in the 2009 NFC Championship, but failed to cover as four-point favorites.

The Rams are participating in their first NFC title game since 2001, when they held off the Eagles, 29-24 to advance to Super Bowl XXXVI against the Patriots. The last time the L.A. Rams were in the conference championship came back in 1989, as they were destroyed by the eventual champion 49ers, 30-3.


NFL expert Joe Nelson checks in on this matchup and first highlights the importance of the ground game for both teams, “The Rams averaged 139 rushing yards per game for the third-most productive ground attack in the NFL and incredibly Los Angeles did not lose a fumble from a running back on a rushing play this season. The Saints aren’t known for defense but New Orleans allowed just over 80 yards per game on the ground on 3.6 yards per rush, second in the NFL on both accounts.”

From a historical standpoint, the top seeds in the title games have been successful, as Nelson goes further into this recent trend, “The home team has won five straight NFC Championships with the #1 seed beating the #2 seed in four of those games including last season’s blowout win for Philadelphia as a slight home underdog. The Saints have been a home underdog twice in the past two seasons with the win over the Rams this year and a loss to New England last season, but New Orleans has not been a home favorite of fewer than 4 points since December of 2016, going 2-4 SU and ATS in the last six instances as a slight home favorite.”


The Saints are the current Super Bowl LIII favorites at 7/4, according to, while the Rams sit at 18/5, which is the longest odds of the four remaining teams. New Orleans is currently a 3 ½-point favorite at most books, while the total sits between 56 ½ and 57 at many sports books.


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AFC - Patriots at Chiefs
Tony Mejia

New England at Kansas City (-3. 56.5), 6:40 pm ET, CBS

As far as fearless predictions go, I expect this AFC Championship will forever be memorable in the way that the “Tuck Rule Game” was. Hopefully we don’t see snow become as much of a factor as it was on Jan. 19, 2001 in Foxboro, but weather conditions will certainly play a major role in deciding what team reserves the final spot in Super Bowl LIII.

Mother Nature just doesn’t figure to be the star.

The snow and heavy winds originally forecast to turn this contest into a winter wonderland won’t materialize. It will still be cold. Temperatures will be in the teens. Wet weather is no longer expected to interfere, so as long as players dress warmly and can handle making plays in frigid conditions, they can’t use inclement weather as an excuse.

Consider this a huge edge for the Chiefs (13-4 SU, 10-6-1 ATS), who were looking at the prospect of speedster Tyreek Hill being slowed by the elements. Although Tom Brady is the best quarterback in league history and Patrick Mahomes is just starting his journey on the heels of his first playoff win, The Patriots (12-5 SU, 10-7 ATS) would have had a major edge with the more dependable running game if this game was going to be played in a massive snowstorm.

Wind will play a role, and it’s impossible to predict who will be affected since it remains to be seen when the worst of it rises up and makes itself a factor. Winds are expected to be swirling and the wind chill will make it feel even colder but the worst of it will have already passed on Saturday, where temperatures were expected to feel like they were in single-digits.

Both teams dodged a bullet from a comfort level, but it’s Andy Reid breathing the biggest sigh of relief and Bill Belichick muttering under his breath following this development. Reid will have his entire playbook in play for an attack that averaged 35.3 points, the third-highest total in league history. Kansas City ranked first in the NFL in total offense, coming in third through the air as opposed to just 16th, in the middle of the pack, on the ground.

New England’s defense ranked just 22nd against the pass and were carved up for 352 yards and four touchdowns when these teams met in Week 6. Although the Patriots won 43-40 and picked up Mahomes twice, they saw his immense talent first-hand as he was able to extend plays and drives with his unique approach.

Belichick was undoubtedly excited about the prospect of having the elements lend him a hand. He’ll now have to beat the Chiefs straight up. Brady should be more productive in the red zone but will still count on a rushing attack that dominated against the Chargers last week thanks to rookie Sony Michel and an offensive line that paved the way for huge chunk runs.

The Chiefs ranked next-to-last in total defense but really played its best late and dominated in eliminating Indianapolis last week. Kansas City finished 27th against the run and 31st against the pass but welcomes back key safety Eric Berry to the fold. For more on who’s in and who’s out for this AFC title game, check the injury report below.

Arrowhead Stadium will be hosting its first AFC title game in franchise history and figures to be a mad house for this one. Fortunately, Brady’s experience should come in handy behind a veteran offensive line, but he’s just 2-3 on the road in conference title games and hasn’t won a true road playoff game outside Gillette Stadium since prevailing against San Diego in the divisional round back in ’06. That stat is slightly misleading since New England has so often been a No. 1 seed, but Brady has been most vulnerable outside of his comfort zone

Overall, the Pats have won 10 of 14 AFC title games. These teams have only met once in the postseason with New England winning at home 27-20 back in 2016. For all the results of the most recent meetings between these teams, scroll below.

This season’s meeting produced 946 yards of total offense as the Chiefs attempted to rally from a 24-9 halftime deficit, scoring 31 second-half points and tying the game on a 75-yard pass from Mahomes to Hill, who had three touchdowns on the night and will be the primary x-factor now that it’s not going to be too windy to consistently look to get him the ball.

Kareem Hunt scored on a 67-yard reception and gained 80 yards on just 10 carries but has since been cut after being arrested for a domestic violence incident. Damien Williams has been excellent as a fill-in, earning himself a new contract down the stretch, so he’ll be the primary back but will have help thanks to Spencer Ware returning to the lineup following a shoulder issue.

Another reason the weather forecast clearing up is such a big win for the host Chiefs is that the Patriots would’ve had an advantage given how effective their short passing game was last week against the Chargers. James White tied a postseason record with 15 receptions out of the backfield last week and will join Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski as primary target in the short-to-intermediate passing game. Without Josh Gordon in the mix, any deep balls will likely go to Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson or Kevin Hogan.

With Gronk and Travis Kelce, arguably the two most impressive tight ends in pro football alongside San Francisco’s George Kittle involved in this one, it’s important to note that the Chiefs were victimized for 10 touchdowns by tight ends this regular season, second-most in the NFL. Kansas City’s defense were one of only nine teams to surrender over 1,000 receiving yards to tight ends, giving up 87 catches. New England surrendered 71 catches for 832 yards and eight scores.

The Chiefs opened eyes by holding the Colts without a third down conversion on nine attempts last week to improve to 8-1 at Arrowhead. The Patriots were just 3-5 on the road, beating only one opponent with a winning record. They’ve already had a huge break go against them as kickoff approaches. Simply having been there before won’t do anything for New England here. To reach its fourth Super Bowl in five years, Brady will have to be special once again and a road atmosphere the likes of which the Pats haven’t seen all season will have to be overcome.

New England Patriots
Projected season win total: 11 (Over -120, Under +100)
Preseason odds to win AFC East: 1/8
Odds to win AFC (Preseason/Current): 3/1 to 5/2
Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 6/1 to 7/2

Kansas City Chiefs
Projected season win total: 8.5 (Over +115, Under -135)
Preseason Odds to win AFC West: 11/4
Odds to win AFC (Preseason/Current): 15/1 to 5/9
Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 30/1 to 11/4


The Chiefs weren't the AFC West favorite, coming in behind the Chargers (6/5), so backers who liked them to win their division cashed at +275. The Patriots won their 10th straight AFC East title, the 16th in 18 seasons, but pushed on their season win total prop thanks to wins in their last two games.

As far as this matchup is concerned, the Chiefs opened as a 3-point home favorite and has remained exactly that all week entering Sunday. Kansas City opened at -150 on the money line and has seen that number reach the -160 to -165 range. If you like the Pats outright, a payout on a road upset at Arrowhead would get you +145 to +150.


Kansas City is healthier than it has been all season, getting Ware back in addition to Berry and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (fibula), who was activated off injured reserve and is expected to rotate in with the starters. Pass-rusher Justin Houston and safety Daniel Sorensen didn't play against New England in Week 6 in addition to Berry, who didn't re-join the team until late in the season. Speedy linebacker Dorian O'Daniel has been ruled out with a calf injury.

The Patriots have seen offensive linemen Brian Schwenke and Isaiah Wynn go down for the season and didn't have the Gordon experiment go their way but are also extremely healthy for January. Defensive lineman Deatrich Wise, Jr. is probable despite an ankle sprain. He was the only player on New England's injury report.


Sunday night's toal opened as high as 58 at South Point and the Wynn while opening at 57 at most other shops and offshore books. Once many got wind of the forecast, the number was bet down to as low as 54.5 at most shops mid-week before climbing back up to is current range. There are no weather concerns to monitor since this divisional playoff will be played indoors. The 'over' prevailed in the Patriots' win last week, snapping a run of eight of nine that had fallen below the posted total. The Chiefs have seen the under prevail in consecutive games due to the defense holding Oakland and Indianapolis to 13 combined points. The 'over' went 10-6 in Kansas City games during the regular season. Weekly “Total Talk” writer Chris David of provided his thoughts for both Sunday contests here:

RECENT MEETINGS (New England 7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS last 10; OVER 6-4)

10/14/18 New England 43-40 vs. Kansas City (KC +3.5, 59.5)
9/7/17 Kansas City 39-17 at New England (KC +8, 47.5)
1/16/16 New England 27-20 vs. Kansas City (NE -4.5, 43)
9/29/14 Kansas City 41-14 vs, New England (KC +3, 46)
11/21/11 New England 34-3 vs. Kansas City (NE -17, 47)
9/7/08 New England 17-10 vs. Kansas City (KC +16, 43.5)
11/27/05 Kansas City 26-16 vs. New England (KC -3, 51)
11/22/04 New England 27-19 at Kansas City (NE -3, 52)
9/22/02 New England 41-38 (OT) vs. Kansas City (KC +8.5, 43.5)
12/4/00 New England 30-24 vs. Kansas City (NE -1, 41)


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AHHHH Yes IP. Always love it when you post these so I don't have to flip through 20 sites. Thanks as always and GL today