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Matthew Freedman

The Action Network
Against the Spread: Divisional Round Picks
Thu, Jan 11
Against the Spread: Divisional Round Picks
Game: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Pick: Philadelphia Eagles (+3)
Even if we assume that the Eagles with Nick Foles as the starting quarterback are not as good as the Falcons, they're at home and rested. The Eagles defense is fifth in overall DVOA, and if you discount his 2015 season with the Jeff Fisher-led Rams his career numbers are respectable.

Game: Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-13.5)
Pick: Tennessee Titans (+13.5)
No team has been better against the spread this year than the Pats at 11-5, and since their Week 7 game against the Falcons (of course!) the Pats are 9-1 ATS, but 13.5 points is a lot to lay in the playoffs, and the Titans with their slow pace of play could decrease the number of opportunities the Pats have to score.

Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)
In Week 5 in Pittsburgh the Jags pounded the Steelers 30-9 even though a??quarterbacka?? Blake Bortles had just 95 yards and an interception on 8-of-14 passing. The defense was in peak form as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions and running back Lea??Veon Bell was held to 47 yards rushing. Wide receiver Antonio Brown (calf) is expected to return to action, but hea??ll have a tough matchup against cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye and might not be at full strength. The Jags have outperformed the spread this season by an average of 6.26 points per game, which is first among all playoff teams.

Game: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-4.5)
Pick: New Orleans Saints (+4.5)
There are a lot of other players who will influence the outcome of this game, but if can get Drew Brees plus 4.5 points against Case Keenum then I'm taking the guy who's won a Super Bowl.

Which game pick are you most confident with?
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)

Against the Spread: Wild Card Picks
Thu, Jan 4
Against the Spread: Wild Card Picks
Game: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs (-8)
Pick: Tennessee Titans (+8)

Game: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams (-5)
Pick: Los Angeles Rams (-5)
The Rams on average have outperformed the spread by 7.19 points per game, whereas the Falcons have underperformed it by 1.69. Thata??s a market-based difference of 8.88 points -- and that doesna??t take into account that the Rams are at home. Against a Falcons defense ranking last in the league in time of possession (2:57) and plays (6.3) per drive, the Rams could crush.

Game: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (-8.5)
The Jags have outperformed the spread by 6.75 PPG, whereas the Bills have underperformed it by 1.56. That market-based difference of 8.31 points is in line with the current line (Jags -8.5), but it doesna??t take into account that Jacksonville is at home or that running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) is injured. Even if he plays, he seems likely to be at significantly less than full capacity. Running backs often dona??t count for much in the spread, but McCoy is not a traditional back: He gives the Bills their identity. Hea??s averaged 1,100 yards rushing per year for the Bills over the past three seasons, and this year he leads the team with 77 targets and 59 receptions. Hea??s started every game this season, but in 2015-16 he missed four games. During that time the Bills averaged 25.6 PPG and 2.15 points per drive with him but just 17.4 and 1.58 without him.

Game: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-6)
Pick: Carolina Panthers (+6)

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

Fantasy Playoffs: Bold Predictions
Thu, Dec 7
Fantasy Playoffs: Bold Predictions
Please give one bold prediction (player related) for the fantasy playoffs
With a good matchup against the Browns in Week 14 and the potential return of Aaron Rodgers in Weeks 15-16, Jordy Nelson will be a top-10 fantasy receiver during the playoffs.

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