Last week I predicted I would up the level of my game picking in the playoffs, like so many players do each season.
And I did.
I went 4-0 against the spread and 3-1 straight up with my picks last week. The only straight-up loser was the Eagles against the Bears, and I really wanted to pick the Eagles to win but backed out.
Even so, I can't complain about Wild Card Weekend at all. Now comes the tough part – doing it again. I struggled to an 0-2 start on Saturday after picking the Cowboys to win outright and the Colts to cover.
On Sunday, I think the 'dogs will be barking. So let's get to .500 for the week.
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Los Angeles Chargers at New England (-4)
The Chargers are playing consecutive road games on the East Coast, while the Patriots are coming off a bye. That's a big edge to the Patriots.
But the Chargers are undefeated in road games where they had to get on a plane, losing only to the Rams in Los Angeles in their own city. That means something.
They are battle tested.
The Patriots haven't looked quite as good as expected, but this is the postseason. Tom Brady will get it cranked up here. But I also think this will be a game for Sony Michel to run it against the undersized Chargers defense.
The Chargers should be able to score with their passing game. If they can get out to an early lead, they have a real chance to win it. I just don't think they will beat the Patriots in Foxboro in the playoffs.
Are you picking against Brady? I am not. Patriots win it, but it's close.
Pick: Patriots 27, Chargers 24
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Philadelphia at New Orleans (-8)
The Eagles seem on the verge of a run again, much like last season. Nick Foles is playing well, like when he led the Eagles to the Super Bowl run and victory last season.
But the biggest difference with this team the past month has been the improved play of the offensive and defensive lines. Both units are playing well, which is why I think the Eagles will hang around in this one.
The Saints are much better at home than on the road, and they blew out the Eagles earlier this season in the Superdome. But this is better Eagles team. I don't know if Foles has enough magic to beat Drew Brees in his building, but those lines will be keeping the Eagles in it.
The Saints will advance to the title game with a close, tough victory that Brees will win with his arm.
Pick: Saints 30, Eagles 27
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