Posted 01/08/2018 at 04:31 PM
Favorites were dominant in the NFL regular season going 133-111-9 including 96-58-8 since October 22. It was fitting that in the wild card games all four underdogs covered including a pair of outright upsets Saturday. Road favorites were nearly even ATS on the regular season with the Eagles the first #1 seed to be a home underdog in the divisional round and only the third home underdog in the divisional round since 1997 with two of the three home underdogs winning outright in that run, all in NFC games. We mentioned last week a strong recent history for the ‘under’ in the wild card games and three of four games last week stayed ‘under’. Even with a lot of cold weather games the divisional round track record is much more even on totals in recent years.
The weather is definitely worth monitoring this week as wind and rain look likely Saturday in Philadelphia and New England even with warmer temperatures than would normally be expected this time of year. The Sunday game in Pittsburgh is expected to possibly be in the single-digits for cold conditions typical of a playoff game in Pittsburgh. Three of the four remaining NFC teams are indoor teams but the Eagles are still the top seed and would host the NFC Championship with a win this week over Atlanta.
Teams coming off a big playoff upset were a very poor performer the next week out in the 1980s and 1990s going 4-12 ATS with only two S/U wins from 1980 to 1999. Since 2000 however teams winning S/U as an underdog of 7 or more points have gone 10-5-1 ATS with nine S/U wins in the next playoff game as the Titans have some hope as a massive underdog this week. Double-digit underdogs in the playoffs are 1-7 S/U and ATS since the 2010-11 playoffs but 11-9-1 ATS since 1999-00. If Tennessee wins outright it will be the biggest playoff upset since the Patriots were +14 in the 20-17 Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams. Surprisingly the Patriots have only been a double-digit favorite in the playoffs five other times going 4-1 S/U and 2-3 ATS with the lone S/U loss against the Giants in Super Bowl XLII as a 12½-point favorite.
Jacksonville was just the sixth team to win a playoff game with 10 or fewer points since 1980, none of the previous five teams to do so won the next postseason game with a 1-4 ATS mark for those squads. Inversely however teams that hold foes to 3 or fewer points in a playoff win have gone 19-17 ATS in the next game going back to 1980 including a 6-2 ATS run since 2004. The ‘over’ has also been the clear winner the next week out historically for those teams delivering dominant defensive performances in playoff wins with a 22/14 run.
Teams winning in the playoffs despite allowing 25 or more points have struggled with a 14-28 S/U and a 16-26 ATS mark the next week out as the Saints are to be faded this week by the historical numbers. The numbers are far worse if that team is favored however of which the Saints are not this week in Minneapolis. Both Sunday games this week are regular season rematches with Minnesota winning 29-19 in Week 1 at home and Jacksonville winning 30-9 in Week 5 in Pittsburgh, a five interception game for Ben Roethlisberger.
While traditional QB Rating doesn’t support them all, the seven remaining qualified quarterbacks were all top 13 Total QBR players this season. In a very small sample Nick Foles checks in with a 27.9 QBR which would place him only barely ahead of Trevor Siemian among qualified players (and behind the likes of DeShone Kizer, and Mitchell Trubisky) though in fairness Foles did play well in the one meaningful game he was in. Best of Luck and on to this week’s slate…