NFL Picks Against the Spread: Conference Championships

The NFL Conference Championships are upon us, meaning we are one step away from Super Bowl 50. The two teams that win on Sunday will be representing the AFC and NFC. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos meet in the early game and it gives us potentially the final Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning game. The NFC will pit the two best NFC teams against each other. Both games should provide a ton of intrigue on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the games and make a pick against the spread in each game.

>Season Total 52-28-3
>Upset Alert 8-7
>Playoff Record 6-1-1

New England Patriots -3.5 at Denver Broncos

The New England Patriots got a ton of pieces back last week and it made a difference. Julian Edelman had some rust to knock off which was apparent by some of the early drops, but his presence on the field helped the offense. Jerod Mayo will miss the rest of playoffs which isn’t ideal but he was a part time player so it’s not the end of the world. They will face a Bronco offense that is far from terrifying. Peyton Manning has issues getting the ball down the field and his pass catchers have had drop issues lately. The run game for Denver has been inconsistent at best but will be key if the Broncos want to keep it close. Their defense has been incredible all season and is arguably the NFL’s best but they will have their hands full this week. The Patriots also played this game without Jamie Collins, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and lost Rob Gronkowski in that game, all of whom will be healthy and active for this game. I can’t see the Bronco offense doing enough to keep up with Patriots, even with the level of talent their defense possesses. Take the Patriots -3.5.

Pick: Patriots -3.5

Thomas Davis Luke Kuechly

(Grant Halverson Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers -3.5 vs Arizona Cardinals

How much of difference does one year make. We saw these two teams face off in the wild card round of the playoffs. The Panthers were a 7-8-1 team that only made the playoffs because their division was awful. The Cardinals on the other hand were starting Ryan Lindley after they lost Carson Palmer for the season. Now these two teams are fighting to get to Super Bowl 50. Both teams have dynamic offenses and are averaging over 30 points per game. Both defenses are stout, though the Cardinals have had issues after losing Tyrann Mathieu. They have allowed 381 yards rushing in the last three games. Carolina should be able to move the ball on the ground. The Panthers defense is loaded with talent at all three levels including Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, and Josh Norman. I’m curious to see how the Panthers cover Michael Floyd and John Brown, assuming Norman is on Fitzgerald. The Cardinals offense will present problems for Carolina but I think their front seven will be stout enough to slow the run game and get pressure on Palmer. I also expect the Panthers to run wild. Give me Carolina -3.5.

Pick: Panthers -3.5

If you can get either line at 3, I would like that a lot more. You can also tease both Carolina and New England 6 points to get Panthers and Patriots +2.5. The odds arent as good but you get a lot more safety. Enjoy the games on Sunday.

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