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Ben Standig

The Sports Capitol
Against the Spread: Super Bowl Picks
Thu, Feb 1
Against the Spread: Super Bowl Picks
Game: Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots (-4.5)
Pick: New England Patriots (-4.5)
Props to Nick Foles for that wow performance in the NFC Championship game. Alas, like with most sequels, I'm expecting a letdown. Pats, again.

Game: Will the combined score be over or under 48 points?
Pick: Under

Game: What will the total combined points be at the end of the game?
Pick: 47

Against the Spread: Conference Round Picks
Fri, Jan 19
Against the Spread: Conference Round Picks
Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (-9)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (+9)
The Jaguars establish the running game and don't lose the turnover battle. That's not enough to win, but keep it closer than the experts think.

Game: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Pick: Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Both teams have good defenses, but Case Keenum has actually been good this season.

Which game pick are you most confident with?
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)

Against the Spread: Divisional Round Picks
Wed, Jan 10
Against the Spread: Divisional Round Picks
Game: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Pick: Atlanta Falcons (-3)
I'm no Matt Ryan fanboy, but the Falcons have a major edge at quarterback in this game. Philadelphia's defense sprung some leaks later in the season. Look for Ryan, Julio Jones and others to exploit.

Game: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5)
Pick: New England Patriots (-13.5)
Props to the Titans for advancing. Now comes the cold reality in the form of an angry Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. No need to overthink things. Give the points.

Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
If you think the Blake Bortles jokes were wild last week, wait to see what happens when he's playing on the road. Numbers much worse away from home, though the stat of 19 touchdowns passes with zero interceptions in the red-zone clearly travels. Tell me Jacksonville can win the turnover battle and establish the ground game and I'll take them. Alas...

Game: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
Pick: New Orleans Saints (+4.5)
Drew Brees is much better at home, but the game is indoors so the Saints offense should be fine. That is unless the Vikings defense dominates the action. Not sure who I think wins, but the points with Brees, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram works.

Which game pick are you most confident with?
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)

Against the Spread: Wild Card Picks
Fri, Jan 5
Against the Spread: Wild Card Picks
Game: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
It sure seems like folks don't believe in the Titans. Count me among them. Losing three of their last four --
and DeMarco Murray to injury -- doesn't help. The Chiefs defense is opportunistic and facing Marcus Mariota, who threw the third most interceptions (15) in the league. That's a decent amount of points to give up while backing Andy Reid and Alex Smith, but let's go for the team with postseason experience and more playmakers.

Game: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-5)
Pick: Atlanta Falcons (+5)
Feels like any of the NFC teams playing in the Wild Card round could truly win this weekend and beyond. That certainly includes the reigning conference champions. While Los Angeles can lean on running back Todd Gurley, Atlanta has a ground game that faces the NFL's 28th ranked run defense not to mention wide receiver Julio Jones.

Game: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
Blake Bortles in the favorite role seems like a misprint. It's certainly understandable why anyone would think so. Yet the Jaguars passer had seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions over his final three home games with a QB rating of 119 or higher in all three games. Rather than run against Marcell Dareus, running back Leonard Fournette calls the ex-Bill a teammate. Factor in LeSean McCoy dealing with an ankle injury and that Jaguars defense and, wow, Jacksonville and the points it is.

Game: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-6)
Pick: Carolina Panthers (+6)
The Saints are going for the three-game season-series sweep after winning the first two meetings by a combined score of 65-34. Good news: They get it behind their monster RB tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. In terms of the spread, third time is the charm for Carolina.

Which game pick are you most confident with?
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-5)

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