San Francisco 49'ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Game day is looming and after a week of speculating, analyzing and dissecting each and every rumor we can try to make sense of all the madness in our NFL picks. The key matchup in this game is San Francisco's ability to establish the running game. However, the Seahawks have a defensive tackle in Brandon Mebane who clogs more lanes than a traffic accident at rush hour.
Frank Gore will need to go forward because if he gets consistently drilled at the line of scrimmage then the Niners will become a pass first offense which will allow Seattle's edge rushers to target Kaepernick exclusively. Seattle linebackers like Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner can focus on Kaepernick as well, containing the outside so he doesn't race up the sidelines as he is wont to do. The betting edge would lie in our faith that the 49'ers will be able to run the ball. That doesn't mean Gore has to rack up over 100 yards, it just means he has to average 3 ½ yards per carry which will allow at least a little bit of freedom for Kaepernick to get the ball in the hands of Boldin, Crabtree or Davis.
Conversely, Seattle's offense has slumped recently though running back Marshawn Lynch has been a beast. The Seahawks aerial attack has been grounded lately though Lynch went off in last week's game against the Saints, chewing up 140 yards and two trips to the endzone. As we try to determine where the value lies in our NFL odds let's break it down.
Quarterback Betting Edge - 49'ers (slight)
Defense Betting Edge - Seahawks (slight)
Receivers Betting Edge - 49'ers (moderate to large advantage)
Rushers Betting Edge - Seahawks (Wilson & Lynch slight advantage over Kaepernick & Gore)
Special Teams Betting Edge - Even
Site Betting Edge - Seahawks 12th Man
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
Before we breakdown the betting edges here's an eye-popping stat for you. Since the teams met in Week 12 which was a stunning come from behind 34-31 victory for the Pats, New England has scored 233 points while the Broncos have tallied 232. In terms of points allowed, New England has surrendered 161 points since that time while Denver has allowed - wait for it - 161 points! And you wonder why people believe this will come down to the wire?
We've been trying to find an edge all in week in this game and cases can be made on both sides of the ball. The injury plagued Denver defense should get shredded by the multifaceted look of the Patriots offense. New England has a three-headed monster at running back with Shane Vereen as a release valve coming out of the backfield for Brady to target while Stevan Ridley's explosive speed and LeGarrette Blount's punishing power combine for a fierce ground assault. It's a luxury the Patriots haven't had in recent years but it will definitely take the heat off Tom Terrific.
On the other side we have a perfect day for Peyton Manning to fly. Manning's betting edge will be the home field advantage coupled with ideal weather conditions. Brady has had to deal with the brutal New England winters while Manning spent much of his career under the temperature controlled domes of Indianapolis. So let's see where the betting edges lie.
Quarterback Betting Edge - Even
Defense Betting Edge - Patriots (moderate)
Receivers Betting Edge - Broncos (moderate)
Rushers Betting Edge - Patriots (large)
Special Teams Edge - Patriots (moderate)
Site Betting Edge - Broncos at Mile High