Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sunday NFL Divisional Playoffs Selections

Crazy seeing Seattle getting points, even though Carolina is 15-1..
LAS VEGAS — When my partner Kenny White and I discussed the divisional round games, we were most excited about Sunday's. There are so many intriguing storylines in both, and perhaps the most interesting is yet to be written — Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulder. Will he play, and if so, how well? The spread is waiting in limbo at most sports books as his status is important to the number.

The Seahawks have kicked it into high gear, just like last season, but as Carolina showed during its come from behind regular season win at Seattle, some of the intimidation factor of five straight Seattle wins against them might be over.

Then we’ve got Peyton Manning returning to the starting lineup in a home game, a situation where he was a disappointing 1-2 the past three years in Denver when we knew he was good to go. He had 17 ugly interceptions this season to only nine TD passes. Maybe it was always about his foot. Maybe not.

Crazy stuff happens when the night falls on Denver in January, which makes the nightcap the perfect setting to end the weekend. Images of Ike Taylor grasping for Demaryius Thomas’ jersey after a catching a Tim Tebow laser to win the 2011 wild-card game is just one of the many classic examples. At the end of the 2005 season, a young Roethlisberger led sixth-seeded Pittsburgh to an AFC Championship win at Denver and then won the Super Bowl.

MORE: Full Saturday selections from The Linemakers

Pittsburgh and Denver have met seven times in the playoffs (Denver 4-3) with the eventual winner of the game going to the Super Bowl five times.

Our theme this week is riding the teasers in all the games. Let’s take a look at Sunday’s action.

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