Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 11/9/14

Thanks to my horrible math skills, I was under the misguided notion that two winning picks in the Divisional Round, added to my three correct picks in the Wild Card Round, would give me six wins, and therefore guarantee a winning playoff season.  As we all know, my math skills leave something to be desired.  After squeaking out a 2-2 week when the Texans barely covered in a loss to the Ravens, I sit at 5-3 for the playoffs with three more games left to pick.  Obviously, I’ve got a lot more on the line as a fan this week than I do as a gambler, so I’m going to have to try not to let my emotions overwhelm my sensibilities.  I seriously doubt that will happen.

Disclaimer: Gambling on sports is illegal unless you are in Las Vegas, Delaware or Atlantic City. Also, if I’m horribly incorrect with these picks – as I have occasionally been in the past – I’m sorry in advance. If you can’t afford to lose, don’t play. John Anthony – “The Million Dollar Man with the Billion Dollar Plan” – is not a real person. All lines from Bodog or **SBRForum** are accurate as of the time this was typed – 11pm Thursday. Home teams in CAPS. That about covers it.)

49ERS (-4) over Giants: How it’ll happen: After hanging with the high-flying Saints last week by capitalizing on turnovers, the Niners should have a game more geared to their pace this week.  That’s not to say that the Giants can’t run up and down the field with the best of them – if this game morphs into a track meet, New York wins outright.  But I don’t think that will happen.  Both of these teams have defenses that are way too good to really let that happen.  I’d be shocked if there are less than six combined sacks; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number hit double-digits.  More importantly, the teams will be forced to throw against two stout defensive lines.  And in that scenario, I like San Fran’s defensive secondary a whole lot more than New York’s.  Sorry Sparty.  PICK: Niners 27-23

Ravens (+7) over PATRIOTS: (So… here’s the thing.  Bodog is the only site right now on the SBRForum that has held this line at Pats(-9) all week.  Every other site has dropped it; nearly all of them are offering it at Pats(-7).  Only one other site has the line higher than 7.5… they’ve got it at 8.  You can see what I think the score is going to be, so do with it what you will…) How it’ll happen: I absolutely guarantee that the Ravens’ first offensive play is going to be the same thing they ran on the first play in Foxboro in the playoffs two years ago – when Ray Rice went up the guy for 80+ yards and a touchdown, silencing the Gillette Stadium crowd. And I’m terrified he just might do it again… Last week I said the Ravens defense was more reputation than results, and then they won a playoff game in which the offense scored three points in the final 48 minutes.  So, the defense had to be doing something right… The Ravens are the perfect matchup defensively to slow down the Patriots’ offense.  Or they would be if they weren’t past their prime (Ray Lewis), injured (Ed Reed), or running their mouths too much (T-Sizzle)… I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the Patriots take the ball first even if they win the coin toss, just to try and put together a quick strike drive like last week, and prove a point… The game is going to come down to which defense can get off the field on third down more, and which defense gives up fewer big plays.  And I think that’s going to be split.  In that scenario, I’ll take the team with the better offense every time to win outright, if not cover. PICK: Patriots 23-16 (Baltimore Push/Cover)

RECAP: Ravens / 49ERS

Best Multi-Team Bet: Pats & Niners on the Money Line.  Not much else to work with.  I wouldn’t be too afraid of a Pats/Giants six-point teaser either.

Here is the rest of the staff’s picks:

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