NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

***New Orleans Saints
@ Seattle Seahawks -8

Indianapolis Colts
@ New England Patriots -7.5

San Francisco 49ers -1
@ Carolina Panther

San Diego Chargers
@ Denver Broncos -10***
The Seahawks, Patriots, and Broncos lines are all pretty much exactly what I expected, but I am **gobsmacked **that San Fran is actually favored this weekend. Carolina was the better team this season, they’re playing at home, and they’re coming off a week of rest. What’s going on here? I thought Carolina by 3.5 would have been a very reasonable line. :confused:

How do you figure Carolina was better than San Francisco? The Panthers won by one point in a game the 49ers were effectively missing three Pro-Bowl caliber players (that are all now back). One more field goal there and SF would be the #1 seed in the NFC.

Not that the Panthers are unworthy, but it really is a pick’em game.

I’m a little surprised the SF/Car game isn’t a toss up. -1 either way seems reasonable.
That being said, I’m sure it will now be a blow out, one team or the other, just because I made the mistake of saying something about it.
I think Colts and Saints should be closer, too. The Denver line seems a bit conservative, even tho it’s already at double digits. All is imho, ymmv, not a betting expert, just a football junkie

. . . and, of course, San Francisco is the NFC’s reigning champion. Plus, Cam Newton has yet to play in a playoff game. So, yeah, I think -1 is at least fair.

If Carolina and SF really are equivalent, then shouldn’t Carolina be favored by 3 to 3.5 given they’re playing in Charlotte? I think that’s Varlos’s point. FWIW, Football Outsiders also has Carolina as slightly better than SF by DVOA. I am not as enamored with Carolina as they seem to be. If we go by common opponents, New Orleans beat Carolina by 18 at home, while only beating SF by 3 at home. OTOH, as garygnu notes, Carolina actually beat SF 10-9 in SF in Week 10. Carolina was the beneficiary of some fumble luck though that game, only losing one of the three they fumbled. I’m taking SF and laying the point.

10 points seems like way too much for the SD game. Both of their previous games were settled by 8 and 7 points. I’ve no idea what to think of the Colts. They played like absolute garbage for a lengthy stretch this season, and then have the 2nd half of all 2nd halves against KC. It helped that KC had some horrible injury luck. I also have no idea what to think about New England this year. Hard to believe the same team barely beats Cleveland by 1, then goes into Baltimore and absolutely rolls the Ravens by 34. I’ll lay the 7.5, but I’m not happy about it. I’m pretty sure the 'Hawks will beat the Saints, but I don’t know if it’ll be another 34-7 whipping. I think 8.5 is safe, but Brees and co can eat up deficits in a hurry.

Yeah, I’m actually a little surprised the SF/Carolina line is that close, given the tongue bath the 49ers have been getting from all the sports media I’ve been reading.

It feels high to me as well, but I might be biased towards the Chargers. The line for the last game between these two was 10.5 - what are the differences between then and now? Welker was out for that game, I think. Von Miller is out now. The Chargers’ defense appears to be playing much better recently. I’d say that the line should be maybe 7.5, but what do I know.

The biggest surprise to me is that the over/under for that game is 41.5. While it’s almost two touchdowns less than the Denver/SanDiego game, I still think it’s too high. Two solid defenses, two not-so-great passers, and quite similar playing styles makes me think it will be much more like their first meeting (19 total points), than a 21-20 game.

I’m not terribly surprised by the SF/Carolina line. The teams have similar defenses, but with Crabtree and Davis back the 49ers have a more explosive offense. Even though I live in Charlotte, I can say that there’s not much of a home field advantage for the Panthers (other than possible travel-related issues for the opposing team.) Don’t forget the 49ers were in the SB last year with a very similar roster, and the Panthers were 7 - 9. It’s a big accomplishment for the Panthers to have won the division, but I think that’s about the most to expect from this team right now. That’s not saying they don’t have a chance. If they don’t turn the ball over and the defense plays it’s best it could be a close game.

So two players (NO CB Keenan Lewis and GB OT David Bakhtiari) violated the NFL’s concussion protocol during the WC round - Lewis by remaining on the sideline and Bakhtiari by returning to the game without being cleared. In both cases, the players’ actions were taken “contrary to the advice of the team medical staffs.” The article states (without attribution) that no fines will be imposed for those violations.

IMO, that’s a big mistake by the league. If they’re going after players for hits that result in concussions, they need to take the same tack for teams that willfully endanger players who’ve suffered concussions. The Packers, in particular, should be heavily fined* for letting Bakhtiari go back into the game. I’m less upset about Lewis remaining on the sidelines, but the protocol still requires the player to be taken to a quiet space. Why bother to have a protocol if it’s not going to be enforced?

*players’ fines range from $15,000 (first violation) to $75,000 (just before a suspension). A team overruling its own medical staff is far more serious than any single hit, and should be punished accordingly. I’d start at $100,000 and start suspending position coaches for multiple violations.

I agree - not fining the teams and/or the players just means the next guy with a concussion will feel the same pressure (real or imagined) to get back in the game right away, regardless of that the medical staff says.

I think all of those point spreads are wrong, except for the Seattle game I suspect they will win by more than 8 points. It could very well be a blow out in Seattle.

The Panthers are good enough to beat New Orleans then they are good enough to beat the San Francisco 49ers.

Indy is riding a wave of luck (no pun intended) and they could end the New England hopes of going to the AFC championship game in Denver or hosting it if the Chargers win that is.

All that leaves is the poor little under dog San Diego Chargers with QB Phillip Rivers against the mighty Denver QB Manning. Make it Chargers by four (4) points and a new cowboy tie for Rivers.

I just hope nobody gets hurt … it gets rough out there during the playoffs.

Give me the Saints, the Panthers, the Broncos, and the Patriots.

One thing these playoffs have me questioning is the new perception that the NFL game is all about offense, and in particular the passing game and the QB position. While I think that having an elite QB keeps your team in the running every year, having a better than average QB is all it takes to win if you have a very good defense, a very good running game, or great receivers. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers, and Saints are the top 4 scoring defenses in the league.

It will be interesting to see which teams advance to the Super Bowl.

How is a defender at fault when aiming low, leading with his shoulder and the receiver lowers his head right into him?

I’ve been wrong before (many times in fact) but I’m not seeing the Saints coming back from this. Too far, the team they’re playing is too good and the homefield advantage is too great.

I’m pretty sure they way they’re calling it this year is if you contact the head/neck first, it’s a foul, regardless of apparently intent.

One score game. Yeah, what do i know. Saints still with a chance

Football question:

It just happened in the Saints game and I remember occasionally seeing this in other games, including some last week. The Saints were on offense but the play clock was running down, at 5 seconds, the announcers said they were going to run out of time and sure enough, they had to call a time out.

What I don’t get is why don’t they just go on the play? At 2 seconds, why don’t the Saints or any team have some special call where the QB yells “Gimme the ball right now!” and the play starts? Plenty of shots in the NBA go down to the last second, why doesn’t football do that?

They do that sometimes, but it only works if a) everyone knows what they’re supposed to do on that play, and b) everyone on the team can hear the call and realizes it’s going on. A lot of the time, the confusion or communication is bad enough that trying to run a play will likely have a worse result than burning a timeout or losing five yards.

What the hell was that? What a play to lose on.