This Week in NFL Betting By the Numbers
by Darin Zank - 1/11/2012
The most shocking number to come out of the NFL's wild-card playoff weekend was five, as in the number of 30-plus-yard pass plays the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed Denver's Tim Tebow to complete. How the hell does that happen to the No. 1 defense in the league, by a guy who supposedly can't throw? We don't know. And who the hell saw that coming? Nobody, that's who.
So anyway, we're down to the final eight teams in the NFL Playoff brackets, with four Divisional Round games this weekend. And for those who believe studying the past can help predict the future, three of the four games are rematches from earlier this season.
Here are a few more numbers to consider as we look ahead to this weekend's action.
26 – Points per game the New Orleans Saints averaged in their five games played on natural grass (no, not that kind of “grass”) this season. And they'll be playing on a shaggy and possibly (intentionally?) soggy field at Candlestick Park this Saturday when they take on the San Francisco 49ers. New Orleans only went 5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS on the road this season, but 26 PPG and 463 yards per game still isn't anything to sneeze at. However ...
287 – Total yards San Francisco limited the Saints to in a Week 2 game last season at the Stick. On their way toward going 6-10 last year the Niners actually outplayed the defending Super Bowl champs in their early-season Monday night meeting, holding a lead in the third quarter and tying the game in the last two minutes before losing on a field goal at the buzzer. San Francisco outrushed the Saints that night, 142-50, but four turnovers did them in. For Saturday's game Bookmaker is listing New Orleans as a three-point favorite over the Niners.
41-23 - The score by which the New England Patriots defeated the Broncos back in Week 15 in Denver. The Broncos had just pulled one of their Tebow-rific comebacks to beat the Bears for their sixth win in a row, but the Patriots were going to be their toughest test yet. And New England proved that assumption correct, coming from 16-7 down to score the next 27 points on its way to the win. For the rematch this Saturday night Bookmaker is listing the Patriots as 13 .5-point home favorites over Denver.
29-14 - The score by which the Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans back in Week 6 in Crab Cake City. And that was when Houston still had Matt Schaub at quarterback. But Baltimore led only 16-14 after three quarters before tacking on a touchdown and a couple field goals in the fourth quarter.
188 - Yards rushing by the Texans in their 31-10 Wild Card Round victory over Cincinnati last week. Houston, playing its first-ever postseason game, spotted the Bengals seven points, then outscored Cincy from there, 31-3, capped off by Arian Foster's 42-yard scoring rumble. For Sunday's AFC Divisional-Round bout Bookmaker is listing the Texans as 7.5-point underdogs at the Ravens.
38-35 – Score by which the Green Bay Packers defeated the New York Giants back in Week 13 in New Jersey. Green Bay was still perfect at the time, but knew it would have its hands full with the Giants. New York led 7-0 and 17-14, but the Pack held a 35-27 advantage with three minutes to go. Eli Manning then led the G-Men to a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the score with just more than a minute to go. It was a minute too early, as it turned out, because it only took Aaron Rodgers four plays to get the Packers within field-goal range, and Mason Crosby made a kick to give Green Bay the win. For the rematch Sunday afternoon Bookmaker is listing the Packers as 7.5-point favorites over New York.
1-3 – The NFL betting record of your humble correspondent last weekend. JJ Watts' sticky-fingered interception return of an Andy Dalton pass (revenge for Wisconsin's loss to TCU in last year's Rose Bowl?) cost us dearly as Bengals backers, and the Falcons laid a big stinking egg vs. the Giants. And we just can't get on the right side of this Tebow thing. The only pick we got right last weekend was the Saints, and we needed an oh-by-the-way score to bring that one home. Not exactly the way we wanted to begin these playoffs. For this weekend we'll try to make up some ground by backing the Saints, Patriots, Ravens and Giants.
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