Welcome to Against All Odds: NFL Divisional Playoffs! From the opening weekend of the NCAA football season through Super Bowl LI, Mike Drakulich (PSN), editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, takes on his father, Michael J. Drakulich (MJD), in picking 10 games against the Vegas spread.
Teams in our local coverage area, Pitt, Penn State, and West Virginia, when they are playing, will always be on the docket among the five NCAA games chosen, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, covered by your favorite Pittsburgh writer for NGSCsports.com, will be included alongside four other exciting NFL match-ups.
Once Bowl Season arrives, we’ll bring you all 42 games and then continue with the NFL Playoffs.
Itchy vs Scratchy. Black Spy vs White Spy. Cheers vs Gary’s Old Towne Tavern. History is full of rivalries, but none are better than father vs son! Who will rise above the other this season and become the 2016-17 Against All Odds Champion?
Like the Steelers, my dad keeps rolling along, pitching a perfect 5-0 game from last week. I wasn’t too bad myself, as I went 4-1. I never dreamed going 4-1 would actually see me dropping another game farther back, but what the hell, what are you gonna do when your dad is picking games at a .560 pace? For the year, he is 112-88, good for a ten game lead over me for the year.
This week it’s on to the NFL Divisional Round! Four games will be played and four teams will survive to make the AFC and NFC Championship Games next Sunday. Buckle up for an exciting weekend of football where I believe you will be seeing New England, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Atlanta standing tall at the end of their games.
Lines as of 1/12/2017
Saturday, January 14th
#3 Seattle (11-5-1) at #2 Atlanta (11-5), 4:35 pm | Line: Atlanta -4.5
Pick- PSN: Atlanta | MJD: Seattle
These aren’t the Seahawks of old and Matt Ryan’s offense is the leagues most potent offense. Seattle won’t go down with out a fight, so expect one helluva game before Atlanta secures the victory late in the 4th quarter. The Falcons have to prove they can win when it really counts. Dad is counting on the experience of Russell Wilson to lead Seattle to an upset victory.
#4 Houston (10-7) at #1 New England (14-2), 8:15 pm | Line: New England -15.5
Pick- PSN: New England | MJD: New England
This one almost seems unfair on paper. Houston is a barely average team facing the doom that is Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxborough. The only real reason the Texans are here is because some sad sack from the AFC South had to qualify for the AFC playoffs. If David Carr were healthy last week, it would be the Raiders facing New England this week. All of these facts point to a Patriots blowout, right? I’m sold. This may be in the books before halftime.
Sunday, January 15th
#4 Green Bay (11-6) at #1 Dallas (13-3), 4:40 pm | Line: Dallas -4.5
Pick- PSN: Dallas | MJD: Green Bay
Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers are on fire offensively, but their best weapon in Jordy Nelson is out. That is a major blow to the Packer offense. It will be Dak Prescott’s first playoff game, so his nerves will be on display. Dallas would be wise to lean on Ezekiel Elliot and let him carry them to the NFC Championship.
#3 Pittsburgh (12-5) at #2 Kansas City (11-5), 8:20 pm | Line: Kansas City -1.5
Pick- PSN: Pittsburgh | MJD: Pittsburgh
The Steelers roll into Kansas City with an eight game winning streak. They also clubbed the Chiefs 43-14 earlier this year. Alex Smith and the Chiefs aren’t exactly a gifted offensive team. They thrive off of their defense. The weather will be less than ideal, but as long as Ben Roethlisberger and the offense avoids handing KC points via turnover, the Steelers will secure a spot opposite of New England in the AFC Championship game next week.
MJD: Last Week: 5-0 | Overall: 112-88 .560 —
PSN: Last Week: 4-1 | Overall: 102-98 .510 10
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.
There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!
As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL Football.
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