Posts Tagged ‘Playoffs’

2011 NFL Divisional Playoff Lines – Divisional Round Odds Breakdown

January 11th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NFL Football   Comments Off on 2011 NFL Divisional Playoff Lines – Divisional Round Odds Breakdown

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Complete List of NFL Divisional Playoff Lines Can Be Found Below

The NFL playoffs are officially in full swing, and we only have eight teams that are left trying to beat the Super Bowl odds to claim the Lombardi Trophy.

In the first playoff tussle in the second round of the postseason, the Baltimore Ravens are going to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two divisional rivals really hate each other, and it should show on the field on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 ET. The Ravens and Steelers each won on the other’s home field over the course of the regular season, and this will be the decisive battle to determine who will represent the division in the AFC Championship Game next week. This game will be one that is won by a defense, as it demonstrated by the fact that the ‘total’ has only been set at 36.5. However, if recent history is any indication, this isn’t a number that is truly low enough. However, both teams are throwing the ball more this year than they have in a lot of years in recent history, and there might be a lot more deep passing threats than you think. The oddsmakers remember that these two teams were only separated by three points in both of their first two meetings, and they have very appropriately made the hosts favorites on the NFL playoffs odds by 3.5 points.

You can bet that both of these teams are going to be rooting like all heck for the New York Jets this week. If they beat the New England Patriots in Foxboro, the AFC Championship Game will be played at either Heinz Field or M&T Bank Stadium next week.

These two AFC East foes hate each other about as much as the two combatants from the AFC North. Head Coach Rex Ryan and Head Coach Bill Belichick have a very deep history that goes back two years. The home team has won all four meetings of these teams since Ryan has taken over, but the one that really stings in the memory banks for the men in green and white was the 45-3 beat down in which nothing went right here at Gillette Stadium just six weeks ago. QB Tom Brady is most likely the league’s MVP this year, but he could be without one of his top targets, rookie TE Aaron Hernandez. Still, this is an offense that has scored at least 31 points in eight straight games, and it will be tough to stop. There’s a reason that the oddsmakers have lined the hosts as nine point favorites on the opening lines.

The Atlanta Falcons have to be wondering what they did to deserve this. They are playing their first game ever as the top seed in the NFC Playoffs, and they are subject to taking on one of the hottest teams in the league, the Green Bay Packers. The Pack did their job last week, hanging on at the death to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16, and they now advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. RB James Starks is apparently going to be the man carrying the rock on a regular basis, as he had the second most yards on the ground in the first round of the playoffs with 123. The Falcons have a fantastic ground defense though, and QB Aaron Rodgers is going to have to play some big time ball to survive the trip to the Georgia Dome. The hosts are only favored by a single point, insinuating that the visitors are the better team even though they were the last team that made it into the playoffs this year in the NFC.

Finally, the biggest shocker still standing in the playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks, are going to be heading to a site that they already know they can win at, Soldier Field. They took down the Chicago Bears 23-20 in Week 6, and little did anyone know that they would be making a return trip in January. Things absolutely could not have worked out any better for the Bears, as they have gotten the most favorable draw that they have had since they were in the Super Bowl. QB Matt Hasselbeck was revived last week, while RB Marshawn Lynch made a fantastic, bust out performance for the Seahawks. They say that it takes everything that you’ve got to beat the champions, but Seattle is hoping that that just isn’t the case. The pro football odds are clearly stacked against the Seahawks here in the Windy City. In spite of the fact that they won this game as six point underdogs several weeks ago, they are 9.5 point underdogs on Sunday.

2011 NFL Divisional Round Odds @ Oddsmaker Sportsbook (as of 1/9/11):
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NFL Playoff Lines for Saturday, 1/15/10

109 Baltimore Ravens +3.5
110 Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5
Over/Under 36.5

111 Green Bay Packers +1
112 Atlanta Falcons -1
Over/Under 45.5

NFL Divisional Round Lines for Sunday, 1/16/10

113 Seattle Seahawks +9.5
114 Chicago Bears +9.5
Over/Under 40

115 New York Jets +9
116 New England Patriots -9
Over/Under 45.5

2011 NFL Wild Card Lines – Wild Card Odds Breakdown

January 8th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NFL Football   Comments Off on 2011 NFL Wild Card Lines – Wild Card Odds Breakdown

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The postseason is finally about to be underway this coming weekend, and the road to beating the Super Bowl XLV odds is now on! Things are going to start on Sunday with a duel between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle might have won the NFC West this year by taking down the St. Louis Rams 16-6 in the Sunday Night Football finale, but there is absolutely no one giving it a chance of beating the defending champs. You’ll have to search long and hard to find a double digit road favorite in the NFL playoffs, but that’s exactly what has happened in this one, as the Saints are getting the honors by 10.5 points on the opening NFL playoff odds.

Later that day, the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts will renew ties from the postseason last year, as these two competed in the AFC Championship Game last year. The Jets have a fantastic defense, but they also have some problems right now as well on both sides of the ball. QB Mark Sanchez has a sore shoulder and was held out of action in Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills, but Head Coach Rex Ryan elected to keep a number of his starters on the bench in that meaningless game. The ‘D’ allowed 38 points to the Chicago Bears just two weeks ago, and the team averaged 27.5 PPG allowed over the last month of the season.

Indy knows that this wasn’t the greatest season in the world, but just getting into the playoffs was good enough for QB Peyton Manning. Manning set the record for the most completions in a season this year with 450. He is about as full strength on offense as he is going to be right now, as RB Joseph Addai, RB Dominic Rhodes, WR Reggie Wayne, and WR Pierre Garcon are all going to be in the fold in this one, and they should be ready to pounce at home as three point favorites.

On the other side of the AFC draw, the Baltimore Ravens are going to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. We give KC all the credit in the world for winning the AFC West in the face of the charging San Diego Chargers. QB Matt Cassel was probably shafted from the Pro Bowl this year, though he really didn’t play well in the final week of the season, throwing three picks. The Chiefs also have one of the best rushing attacks in the game, as both RB Jamaal Charles and RB Thomas Jones have the ability to have 100+ yard games against anyone in the league.

Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the league and an offense that is incredibly talented. The Ravens brought in WR Anquan Boldin this year to win games like this one so QB Joe Flacco has a huge target to aim for. This might be one of the last stands for LB Ray Lewis and SS Ed Reed, though. The visitors are favored by three points.

The final NFL playoff betting battle takes us all the way back to Week 1, when the Green Bay Packers knocked off the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, the Eagles can get their revenge.

That week was a tail of two games, as QB Michael Vick did a great job after he came into the lineup and replaced QB Kevin Kolb. Assuming that Vick is healthy, he is going to be going from start to finish in this one, as he looks to do something that QB Donovan McNabb never did: Win a Super Bowl. It all starts with the first step though, and this is going to be a tough test against arguably the best defense in the NFC. Green Bay’s LB Clay Matthews is going to have a beat on Vick for this entire game, which should make this one a great battle. The Eagles are three point home favorites on the opening NFL betting lines in Wild Card weekend.

2011 NFL Wild Card Odds @ Oddsmaker Sportsbook (as of 1/3/11):
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NFL Playoff Lines for Saturday, 1/8/11

101 New Orleans Saints -10.5
102 Seattle Seahawks +10.5
Over/Under 45.5

103 New York Jets +2.5
104 Indianapolis Colts -2.5
Over/Under 44.5

NFL Wild Card Lines for Sunday, 1/9/11

105 Baltimore Ravens -2.5
106 Kansas City Chiefs +2.5
Over/Under 41

107 Green Bay Packers +2.5
108 Philadelphia Eagles -2.5
Over/Under 46.5

2010 MLB Playoff Series Lines & 2010 World Series Odds

October 26th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in MLB Baseball   2 Comments »

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Complete List of World Series Lines Can Be Found Below

The World Series comes down to the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers! Here at Bankroll Sports, we’ll be updating the World Series odds from a ton of sportsbooks, and we’ll keep updating our World Series schedule.

The Rangers are the slight favorite to cash in on the Fall Classic, and the reason for that is because LHP Cliff Lee is likely to be able to pitch in Game 1, Game 5, and in relief in Game 7 if necessary. Texas has also had a fantastic offense in this postseason and has had a ton of batters hit at least .300. Speed has also killed both the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays so far in the playoffs. The Rangers have been making a ton of deer antlers in the dugout, especially for the 15 stolen bases in 11 games.

The Giants have a fantastic pitching staff though, and should not be messed with. RHP Matt Cain has yet to give up a run in the playoffs, and RHP Tim Lincecum already has a shutout, a win over Philadelphia Phillies’ RHP Roy Halladay, and a hold to his credit in this postseason. The only problem is that the offense has been iffy at best, as there are only two men, C Buster Posey and OF Cody Ross, that are hitting at least .300 for the playoffs.

Pitching Probables for the World Series

Game 1: Wednesday, October 27th, 2010, 7:57 ET: Cliff Lee (L) @ Tim Lincecum (R)
Game 2: Thursday, October 28th, 2010, 7:57 ET: CJ Wilson (L) @ Matt Cain (R)
Game 3: Saturday, October 30th, 2010, 6:57 ET: Jonathan Sanchez (L) @ Colby Lewis (R)
Game 4: Sunday, October 31st, 2010, 8:20 ET: Madison Bumgarner (L) @ Tommy Hunter (R)
Game 5 (if necessary): Monday, November 1st, 2010, 7:57 ET: Tim Lincecum (R) @ Cliff Lee (L)
Game 6 (if necessary): Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, 7:57 ET: CJ Wilson (L) @ Matt Cain (R)
Game 7 (if necessary): Thursday, November 4th, 2010, 7:57 ET: Colby Lewis (R) @ Jonathan Sanchez (L)

Current 2010 World Series Odds @ Bodog Sportsbook (as of 10/26/10):
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Texas Rangers (-145) vs. San Francisco Giants

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Texas Rangers (-136) vs. San Francisco Giants

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Texas Rangers (-150) vs. San Francisco Giants

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Texas Rangers (-145) @ San Francisco Giants

2009 NBA Playoff Preview

April 12th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NBA Basketball   Comments Off on 2009 NBA Playoff Preview

The NBA regular season will end later this week as we head towards the post-season. The Cleveland Cavaliers have locked up home court advantage throughout their Eastern Conference playoff run and are one game away from clinching home court advantage in the NBA Finals if they can make it that far in the playoffs. The Cavaliers are coming off a huge blowout win over the defending Champions the Boston Celtics 107-76 on Sunday. The Cavaliers big win over the number 2 ranked team in the East is actually Cleveland’s biggest victory in franchise history over the Celtics. The Cavaliers amazing home game run extended to a mark of 38-1 inside Quicken Loans Arena with the victory. The Cavaliers appear to be big favorites considering they will get the majority of the games at home were they have been unstoppable. However, the Eastern Conference has been extremely tough this year as Orlando blew out Cleveland a few short weeks ago similar to the Cavaliers big win over Boston. The 3 horse race all season out of the East will carry over to the post-season. In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers are still the big favorites after a big win over Denver last Thursday night. The return of Andrew Bynum will only be more beneficial for the Lakers who have appeared as the top notch team in the West all season. However teams like Denver, Houston, and Portland have really closed out the year strong and could be teams to put together impressive runs in the playoffs. We give brief breakdown of the major contenders for the 2009 NBA Playoffs along with their odds to win it all.

Eastern Conference

Cleveland Cavaliers (7/5)

The Cavaliers extremely impressive home record makes them big favorites in the NBA playoffs. Their 38-1 record is among the best ever string of runs by a home team in NBA history. Lebron James is averaged 28.3 points per game, but more importantly is getting a lot of help from the rest of the team. Cleveland only lost one game all season at home meaning for them to be beaten in the playoffs a team is going to have to win at least one game in Cleveland while sweeping the Cavaliers away from Cleveland. Good luck with that.

Boston Celtics (4/1)

The Celtics chances to repeat as NBA Champions took a big hit with their embarrassing loss to Cleveland. However, Boston has played very well to close out the season winning 8 of their last 10 games. The Celtics are another team that plays very well at home with a 34-6 record for the season. However, Boston is only 4-4 against Orlando and Cleveland on the year meaning they have been anything but dominant over the top teams in the East. Still the Celtics know what it takes to be Champions, but can they do it again?

Orlando Magic (8/1)

The Magic got the big win over Cleveland back in the first week of April, but they have now lost 3 of their last 4 games. Orlando got off to a tremendous start to the season, but really suffered a hit with the loss of Jameer Nelson despite putting together some solid winning streaks in recent weeks. Also, Rashard Lewis will likely miss the final games of the regular season with a knee injury and the Magic simply look to be too banged up down the stretch to be a legitimate threat as they appeared earlier this year.

Team to Watch – Chicago Bulls (100/1)

The Chicago Bulls have won 4 straight games and 12 of their last 15 games during that stretch. Chicago has put together a solid home record this season that is always crucial during the post season. If the Bulls can keep up the momentum and get some more big performances from Ben Gordon, they could really pull off a string off upsets and perhaps take down either Boston or Orlando who they will be likely playing in the opening round.

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers (8/5)

Thursday night’s victory over the emerging Denver Nuggets was icing on the cake for Western Conference bragging rights. The Lakers simply looked too strong for their closest competitors in the West and are big favorites at 4/9 favorites to make it to the NBA Finals. The Lakers got beat by a streaking Portland team on Friday 106-98, but they still appear to be too strong in terms of being beat in an entire series. The Lakers have had more problems with the teams in the Eastern Conference this season and until someone proves us wrong we will ride the Lakers bandwagon.

Denver Nuggets (20/1)

The Nuggets are really playing well to close out the season despite their setback to the Lakers last Thursday. Carmelo Anthony and J.R Smith are becoming a dynamic duo posting big figures every night. The Nuggets have put together wins in 13 of their last 15 games The Nuggets could face the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round if things were to stay the same. Denver would not mind the pairing considering they are a perfect 4-0 on the season against Dallas. If the Nuggets could keep the momentum rolling I am sure they will be eager to get their chance at a series with the Lakers.

Portland Trailblazers (25/1)

The Trailblazers are in a heated battle with the Houston Rockets for 3rd place in the West as both teams stand at a mark of 52-28. The Trailblazers and the Rockets have also both put on a solid 4 game winning streak as Portland will get the Thunder and the Nuggets in the final two games. The battle for 3rd dictates whether they will get New Orleans or San Antonio in the playoffs. The Trailblazers have played the most solid basketball the 2nd half of the season and they should give teams problems if they can stay hot.

Team to watch – Houston Rockets (20/1)

The Rockets have put together 4 straight wins along with Portland. The only difference is Houston beat up on the Trailblazers 102-88 to start their winning streak. The Rockets have what it takes to match-up with the other teams from the West in the playoffs giving them a chance to knock off some wins in the postseason. The only thing is the Rockets have failed to beat the Lakers once this season at 0-4 meaning any dream type run at an NBA Finals may be more of a dream than a reality.

NBA Mid-Season Outlook

January 24th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NBA Basketball   Comments Off on NBA Mid-Season Outlook

The NBA regular season a little more than halfway through and there is a pretty clear sight of who are the front runners with the chance for a few more teams to make a surprise down the stretch. The Eastern Conference appears to be the strength of the league with the powerhouses of Boston, Cleveland, and Orlando. Out West we still await a contender to emerge to be able to challenge the L.A Lakers and the most likely team to take that role is the San Antonio Spurs. At this time in the season is when all the predictions start coming out and the betting lines are changing every day with new future odds. We break down the top 3 teams in each conference and provide some insight on some teams to keep an eye on that could surprise down the stretch.

Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics (36-9)

The defending NBA Champions had the best start in NBA history at 27-2. However, the Celtics rang in the New Year poorly losing 4 out of their first 5 games and even 7 out of 9 at one point. The tough weeks of basketball exposed the first sign of troubles from Boston that we have seen in some time. Despite the tough stretch that featured 3 of 4 of their last losses on the road, Boston has bounced back with a vengeance. The Celtics have now knocked off 7 straight wins including a big win over what many call the best team in the league the Orland Magic last Thursday night 90-80. The difference in the wins and losses is how the Celtics play defense. In the Celtics last 4 defeats, the opponents were averaging 100.2 points per game. However, in the last 7 victories the Celtics have held opposing teams to only 88 points. The Celtics are 2nd behind Cleveland in scoring defense this season and that has always been a big attribute to their success. With the troubles seemingly out of the way, Boston appears to be right back where they left last off last year.

Orlando Magic (33-9)

The Magic that is Orlando comes in the form of 6’11 Dwight Howard. Howard has been superb this year and so has the rest of the Orlando lineup. Howard leads the league in rebounds (14rpg), blocked shots (3.2bpg), and also supports with 20 points every game. However, it has not been all the achievement of one man. Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Jameer Nelson are all averaging at least 17 points while the Magic are averaging 101 points per contest. Orlando had won 8 straight games before their loss to Boston on Thursday night and they own a 7 ½ game over Atlanta in the Southeast. Orlando is the only team out of the top 3 in the Eastern Conference to have captured a victory over the L.A Lakers this season which is clearly the best team right now in the West. The Magic are actually 2-0 over the Lakers and many think they are the most complete team at this point in the season.

Cleveland Cavaliers (32-8)

Cleveland appeared to be the best team out of the East only a matter of a few short weeks ago. However, the Cavaliers have gone 2-2 in their last 4 games with losses over the Lakers and Trailblazers. Not to mention Cleveland is facing some key injuries over the last few days. Starting shooting guard Delonte West has a broken wrist and will miss 4-6 weeks. Also starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas has a fractured ankle and will miss 3-4 weeks. Despite the small dark cloud that has recently developed over the team, Cleveland is still among the best in the NBA. Lebron James is 2nd in the NBA in scoring with 27.8 points and the team seems to be playing better behind him than they have in past seasons. The Cavs also are a perfect 20-0 at home meaning that they could be very tough to beat at playoff time.

Team to watch…

Philadelphia 76ers (20-21)

The 76ers have risen from the dead after they were nearly written off with a 13-20 start. However, they have now put together 7 straight wins before a tough loss to Dallas on Monday night. Considering how inconsistent the rest of the East is behind the top 3, the 76ers have a chance to really make things interesting if they can put together another similar streak.


Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers (34-8)

The Lakers clearly look to be favorites again out of the Western Conference as they have a 5 game advantage over any other team from the West and a huge 10 ½ game lead in the Pacific division. Kobe Bryant’s 26.4 points per game is good for 3rd best in the league and the Lakers lead the NBA with 108 points per contest as a team. A few short weeks ago the Lakers appeared that they would be unchallenged this year in the conference, but they are realizing that the San Antonio Spurs are playing very well and will attempt to give them a challenge for frontrunner in the West. Los Angeles has won 13 of their past 16 games including big wins over Boston and Cleveland in the process. If nothing else drastically changes, the Lakers will likely make another run towards the NBA Finals.

San Antonio Spurs (29-13)

A lot of questions arose after the Spurs got off to a slow start losing 5 of their first 7 games. However, San Antonio bounced back winning 7 of their next 8 and the momentum has not slowed down much since. The Spurs have now won their last 4 games and 8 of their last 10 including a huge battle where they took down the Lakers 112-111. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker continue to lead the way both averaging 20.4 points per contest. The Spurs win over the Lakers proved that they are back on the right track and not ready to hand over the season quite yet to the Lakers considering Los Angeles is everybody’s pick to win the West. San Antonio gets another big match-up with the Lakers this Sunday and it will be interesting to see how things shake up this time inside the Staples Center. Look for the Spurs to be playing their best basketball as they usually do around post season time.

Denver Nuggets (28-15)

Giving up Allen Iverson may not been a big of mistake as people first thought. Chauncey Billups is averaging nearly 20 points and the Nuggets seem to be in better shape than the Pistons. Carmelo Anthony leads the team with 21 points, but has missed some valuable playing time recently due to a broken hand. Despite their star player missing time on the court, the Nuggets have still managed to win 8 of their last 11 games. Anthony participated in some workouts on Thursday and it should not be long before he rejoins the lineup. Denver will desperately need him back considering they are bout to embark on an 8 game road adventure at the start of February. The Nuggets are only 11-9 on the road this year and how they perform in the next few weeks away from home will definitely make an impact on their ability to maintain their 2 ½ game lead over Portland in the Northwest.

Team to watch…

New Orleans Hornets (26-14)

The Hornets proved last year that they could really come alive during the playoffs. Chris Paul has played like Chris Paul with 21.2ppg and an NBA leading 11 assist per game. New Orleans may have been expected to be in better position at this point in the season, but they are still only a mere 2 games back to the Spurs and definitely in striking range.


2008 NFL Championship Weekend

January 12th, 2009 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NFL Football   Comments Off on 2008 NFL Championship Weekend

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The Division Playoff Round is out of the picture along with yet another exciting and crazy weekend of football leaving us with NFL’s version of the final four. Championship weekend is among us as we have a pair of games to determine both the NFC and AFC Titles and more importantly decide who will be playing in this year’s Super Bowl. Amazingly the NFC will be hosted by the #5 and #6 seeded teams in the Title game for the first time in history when the Arizona Cardinals host the Philadelphia Eagles. The AFC match-up will be a colossal rematch between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens dominated the majority of the game earlier this year, but Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a game winning drive late in the 4th quarter to steal the victory. Take a look at what to watch for during Championship weekend.

NFC Championship

Philadelphia Eagles (11-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (11-7)

The Arizona Cardinals have been the biggest surprise this postseason. The Cardinals started off the year strong, but were nearly written off for dead losing their last 4 of 6 games of the regular season. However, the Cardinals would find the spark that would need to ignite their electrifying air assault. The Cardinals blew out the Carolina Panthers last week 33-13 a team that many people thought were the best in the NFC heading into the playoffs Arizona will host their first playoff game this weekend since 1947 and will become the final NFC team to host at least one home playoff game. Kurt Warner has looked solid finding targets Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Boldin missed last week’s game and his status for the NFC Championship game is unknown. Larry Fitzgerald has been spectacular to say the least. Averaging 130 yards per game in the playoffs receiving with a pair of touchdowns, Fitzgerald has been uncontrollable for opposing secondary. The Cardinals will match up well again this week when they lead a high power offense against a brutal Philadelphia defense. The Eagles defense has been superb especially in the trenches. The best way to attack the Philadelphia defense if there is any is to try and pick apart the secondary. Warner and company will attempt to shock the world once again and earn a bid to the Super Bowl when they host the Eagles on Sunday.

Philadelphia has looked scary good during the playoffs and knocked off the defending Super Bowl Champions last week 23-11. The Eagles are flying high since their 5-5-1 start this season equaling 6 victories in their last 7 games. Philadelphia is getting it done on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles have not allowed over 14 points in 6 straight games and only allowing 10.8 points per contest during that stretch. The Eagles may have surprised many with their victory over the Giants, but I knew if New York did not make some plays through the air that they would be in for a long day. The Eagles have opened up as 3 point favorites over the Cardinals and they will have to withstand a strong passing game that was 2nd best in the NFL this season averaging 292 yards per game. The Eagles let some Giants receivers get open last week, but New York failed to make the big plays. The Eagles secondary will have to be solid this weekend to slow down the Arizona passing game. Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb has been wonderful since being benched in week 12 for not performing up to par. Since that time, McNabb has averaged 240 passing yards per game with 11 touchdowns and only 4 picks. McNabb has the offense back to performing the way they should have been all year. Michael Westbrook is a big time playmaker that had a big 71 yard screen pass that lifted the Eagles over Minnesota in the first week of the playoffs. Westbrook was not very effective last week, but his presence alone is a big play threat for the Eagles offense. The Eagles made a Super Bowl appearance in 2005. McNabb and Westbrook will look to lead the Eagles back with a win over the Cardinals.

AFC Championship

Baltimore Ravens (13-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4)

The first meeting between these teams this season was a wonderful defensive football game and the re-match has all the makings to be very similar. In the first meeting, Santonio Holmes caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger with 43 seconds left to get the victory over the Ravens 13-9. The Steelers have been nearly untouchable in the latter part of the year winning 7 of their last 8 games against some of the best teams in the NFL. Pittsburgh had a convincing performance last week when they man-handled the San Diego Chargers 35-24. Pittsburgh has one of the best defenses to ever step on an NFL field. The Steelers rank 1st, 1st, 2nd, and 1st in all 4 major defensive categories. Pittsburgh’s success is based around the performance of the defense because before last week the offense had really not been that good. The Steelers offense only averages 21 points per game along with 312 yards of total offense that both rank in the bottom half of the NFL. However when you have defense as talented as this unit, like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens proved that alone can be enough to win a Super Bowl. The Steelers looked like more of an offensive team last week, but that could be due to a poor San Diego defense as well. Still Pittsburgh is playing very well. Willie Parker leads the way on the ground and had a big performance against the Chargers. When Parker is effective on the ground, the Steelers are nearly impossible to defeat. Parker racked up 146 yards and 2 touchdowns last week and will get a load of carries this weekend for certain. Pittsburgh has yet to lose a game this season when Parker rushes for at least 50 yards or more. The Steelers defense will certainly be stout, but will the Pittsburgh offense be strong enough to hold off the Ravens for a second time?

I said before the playoffs started the Baltimore Ravens looked like the best prepared team to really make a strong run at a Super Bowl. The Ravens have really matured on the offensive side of the ball and the defense is a very tough unit. Baltimore has played better than anyone in the 2nd half of the season winning 11 of their last 13 games. In the last 8 games, Baltimore is only allowing 10.2 points per game. If you throw out the Cowboys high scoring game, the Ravens are only allowing an amazing 8 points per contest. On top of that, the Baltimore offense has really come around late in the year. Rookie QB Joe Flacco is throwing more passes and controlling the ball well. The Ravens ground game has been solid this season as well behind the legs of Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee. Both running backs will share carries and they have both shown the can be effective backs. Baltimore was shut down by the Pittsburgh offense in their last meeting only putting up 202 total yards. The offense should have a bit more confidence this time around and it will be interesting to see if they can get the job done. The turnovers will be a key category in this game. Last meeting, both teams have two turnovers a piece and it will be very crucial for each team to hold onto the ball in a field position type ball game. Look for this ball game to possibly be another very low scored game controlled by defense.

NFL Playoff Picture Set

December 29th, 2008 by Travis Edwards (Bankroll Sports Contributor) | Posted in NFL Football   1 Comment »

The NFL Playoff scenario is set in stone after a season of teams battling to earn their right to play in the postseason. Many teams had already clinched going into week 17 this Sunday, but many others had fight their way in during the last week of the season. The San Diego Chargers blasted the Denver Broncos 52-21 to win the pitiful AFC West. The Chargers have the worse record amongst any playoff opponents at (8-8) and benefit from a weak division. Other teams that had to earn their way in this past weekend include the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles blew out the struggling Cowboys 44-6 to pick up the final wildcard spot in the NFC. The Eagles really come on strong winning 4 of their last 5 games to edge into the playoffs. The Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Ravens both clinched playoff berths in the AFC with wins this week improving to 11-5. The Dolphins won the division with a 24-17 win over the Jets while the Ravens earned a wildcard spot knocking off the Jaguars 27-7. The Atlanta Falcons also were another team that earned their way in the postseason with a close win over the Rams 31-27.

There were a number of promising teams that were left out of the playoffs this season and highlighting that group are the New England Patriots. The Patriots were perfect in the regular season a year ago, but were plagued with key injuries this season. The Patriots needed a Miami loss along with their win over the Bills this Sunday, but things were not meant to be. Brett Farve possible final season in the NFL ended on a sour note as the Jets failed to beat the Dolphins. The Jets started the year really strong and at one point this season seemed like the class of the AFC. However, the Jets lost 4 of their last 5 games on a terrible month of football. The Dallas Cowboys have had the most consistent troubles closing out seasons in the last decade. The Cowboys have been known for under achieving late in the season and they were blown out in a game that would have put them in the playoffs in week 17 against the Eagles. Dallas still has not won a playoff games since the 1996 season. Tampa Bay lost every game in December dropping 4 in a row to miss the playoffs. The Buccaneers were a promising NFC team going into that stretch, but simply could not close out the season. Despite the teams that are in and out, the playoff picture is set. The next few weeks of football promise to be exciting and fun to watch. Here is a breakdown of how the playoff bracket looks and a preview of next week’s games.

As you can see the New York Giants are the #1 seed in the NFC meaning they will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs while Tennessee Titans have the #1 seed in the AFC. Both # 1 and # 2 seeds will have first round byes and the #1 seeds will play the lowest seeded team to advance from the wildcard round. The Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will both get first round byes as #2 seeds as well this week.

Miami vs. Baltimore

The Dolphins really come on strong towards the end of the season winners of their last 5 games this year. The Dolphins pulled off possibly the best turnaround in NFL history. A year after only winning one game they ended the season 11-5 and winners of the AFC East. Miami will have a tough task to keep the streak going against the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens as usual are led by strong and talented defense. Defensively, the Ravens can play with anyone in the NFL. However, it will be interesting to see how rookie QB Joe Flacco performs in the postseason with no prior experience. I don’t know how the betting public will favor on this game, but the Ravens look primed to end the Dolphins winning streak in this match-up.

Indianapolis vs. San Diego

Before week 17 the majority of people around the nation would have thought the Colts would be a lock in this game. On the other hand, the Chargers demolished the Denver racking up 52 points in the process. All of a sudden San Diego has won 4 straight and are possibly one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs. Indianapolis has been even hotter winning 9 straight games behind QB Peyton Manning. The Colts have some key players who have been in this position before and that experience always helps. This game looks to be an exciting battle between two streaky teams. Expect some points to be scored in this game as well.

Arizona vs. Atlanta

Arizona really looked good until the last month of the regular season. The Cardinals dropped 4 of their last 6 games with their only two victories in that stretch coming over rather weak opponents. Atlanta on the other hand has been improving all season behind rookie sensation QB Matt Ryan. Ryan looks like a superstar in the making, but heading into this game he lacks any playoff experience. Keep your eye on the passing game for the Cardinals. QB Kurt Warner and the offense were putting up big numbers most of the season before mellowing out down the stretch. Arizona will need a big offense performance against a talented Falcons team.

Philadelphia vs. Minnesota

The Eagles surprised the nation in how easily they handled Dallas in week 17. Philadelphia closed out the season very strong winning 4 of their last 5 games against quality opponents. QB Donovan Mcnabb has overcome mid-season controversy surrounding his performance and is playing well in recent weeks. The Vikings sport the best ground game in the NFL behind the amazing ability of running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson’s play will be the difference in this game. If Philadelphia can keep Peterson from making a number of big plays, they will have a good chance in this game if they continue their stellar play.

The first week of the NFL Playoffs looks to be very exciting. While I am sure they will probably be a surprise or two, it is almost impossible to predict who is playing the best football right now. Unlike previous years where you had clear favorites, anyone this season has a legitimate shot to make the Super Bowl. These set of teams making up the 2009 playoffs are perhaps the most evenly match from top to bottom to ever make the playoffs in quite some time. Keep an eye on how these teams play this coming weekend and how the playoffs will unwind down the stretch.