SEATTLE - DECEMBER 24: Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 24, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
OK, we all know betting on sports is illegal in 46 states, so don't do it unless you're in Vegas, Oregon, Montana or Delaware, but if you're going, you can make these bets for me.
New Orleans at San Francisco (+3.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. — If you're feeling really gutsy, take the 49ers straight up here to beat the Saints, but if you just want to be a little crazy, take them with the possibility they could lose by a field goal and you still win. The 49ers match up really well with the Saints here. They have a serious advantage on defense and a better running game. The 49ers have turned the ball over a grand total of 10 times this season and the Saints don't force turnovers on defense. Of course, the great equalizer is Drew Brees, who might be in the midst of the best play for a quarterback in NFL history. The Saints are a totally different team on the road though, and that bodes well for San Francisco.
Denver at New England (-13.5), Saturday, 7 p.m. — The Tim Tebow magic will end here. Things could go sour if the Broncos get their run game going against the Patriots' awful defense. But the Patriots should be able to score at will, especially with two weeks to rest up some banged up bodies and prepare for the Broncos/Steelers. The Patriots don't lose at home very often, especially in the postseason, and this will be no different. The Broncos have no shot of winning this game, and it's tough to see them covering the spread either.
Houston at Baltimore (-7.5), Sunday, noon — The Texans deserve a ton of credit. They've gotten to this point despite being without their star quarterback and star defensive end for much of the season, and being without their star receiver for a good chunk of it as well. They put a beating on the Bengals last week and now hit the road to Baltimore to square off with a scary Ravens team. I think this game is close but the Ravens pull away late as that Ravens defense is just too much for T.J. Yates to handle.
New York Giants (+7.5) at Green Bay, 3:30 p.m. — The Giants have turned into the chic pick for the weekend and many are suggesting they will beat the Packers straight up. I'm not quite ready to go that far, but I am leaning that way. The Giants have everything coming together at the right time, much like they did in 2007, when they went to Lambeau and beat the Packers in the NFC title game in what was Brett Favre's final game as a Packer. The Packers obviously had their 15-1 regular season but they have their warts, especially in the secondary. Eli Manning is in a zone right now. Not to say that Aaron Rodgers isn't, but the Giants pass rush could neutralize him to some extent. Keep in mind, the Giants were about a minute shy of being the team that ended the Packers bid at a perfect season before the Chiefs actually did it. This will be a great game and will definitely be closer than the point spread suggests.
Last week: 3-1. Playoff total: 3-1.