FOXBORO MA - DECEMBER 06: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets attempts to escape the pass rush of Jermaine Cunningham #96 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 6 2010 in Foxboro Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

NFL Playoffs Picks, Aiding And A'Betting

Tough day yesterday, but that's no excuse not to gamble today!

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NFL Playoffs Picks, Aiding And A'Betting: Seahawks-Bears, Jets-Patriots

On a day like this one, I'd like to pretend football doesn't exist, that last night's misery was just a bad dream or a hallucination caused by refried beans and stale beer. Here come two games staring us in the face, though - one almost impossible to get excited about, and one with a storyline that has been beaten to death. It seems to be a day that has to be driven by gambling, because financial investment in one of these four teams is far preferable to an actual emotional one.

The picks:

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Seattle @ Chicago (-10). Suddenly, this is a battle to host the NFC Championship Game - just like everybody predicted, right? Two exceedingly average teams will meet this afternoon, and this game probably relies on a single player more than any of the other playoff match-ups. If Jay Cutler can keep his passes out of Seattle hands, it should be enough for a Chicago victory. However, as anybody who's watched Cutler over these past 16 months knows, that ain't a sure thing

And expect a closer game than the line suggests. Only four of Chicago's 11 wins were by more than double digits, with two coming against Minnesota and one Carolina - so those shouldn't even count. PICK: Seattle

Sunday, 4:30 p.m.

NY Jets @ New England (-10). Rex Ryan's most amazing achievement of this season? He actually has me rooting for the Patriots. A few months ago, during New York's run on "Hard Knocks," I sorta dug Ryan's brash, talky approach to his job - but man, that welcome wore the hell out. With every blowhard sentence out of his mouth, my New England fandom amps up a notch, and making me want to see Tom Brady win is Ryan's worst sin yet.

Oh, and Wes Welker is probably my new favorite non-Falcon - his multiple, straight-faced jabs at Ryan in this press conference is the stuff of instant legend. PICK: New England

Yesterday: 1-1
Last Week: 1-3-0
Regular Season Total: 133-116-7

Lines via SBNation.

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NFL Playoffs Picks, Aiding And A'Betting: Ravens-Steelers, Packers-Falcons

The divisional playoffs commence on Saturday afternoon, and by tomorrow night the country will know the NFC and AFC championship game match-ups. Gambling opportunities are rapidly dwindling, of course, so it's time to flaunt your season winnings or make a (perhaps ill-advised) push to climb back even.

Of course, on a weekend like this, it's best to treat gambling as the cherry on top of an awesome custard, jam and meat trifle. Not only do Atlanta fans get to see their team travel to the NFC Championship Game, but they can make the money to buy a ticket! It's the power of positive thinking, people, and positive thinking (along with Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Brent Grimes, Curtis Lofton, etc.) will make your Saturday night a happy and profitable one.

The picks:

Saturday, 4:30 p.m.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-3). There's absolutely nothing about these teams that seems mismatched: gutty QBs, oft-muffled but potentially explosive running games, receivers who don't leap to mind but probably should, relentless and fracture-producing defenses. So when it doubt, go with the team with these three advantages:

1) A bye week. No team needed a bye as much as the hobbling Steelers, and the week off allowed them to heal up and catch their breath.

2) Home-field advantage. Atlanta may have the stats, Kansas City may have the history, but Pittsburgh probably offers the league's best pure home support.

3) Experience. The Ravens have had some playoff success in recent years, but it doesn't compare to Pittsburgh's. Ben Roethlisberger has done some good postseason things, to say the least - and a lot of his supporting cast has been with him all along. PICK: Pittsburgh

Saturday, 8 p.m.

Green Bay @ Atlanta (-1 1/2). Falcons fans are suddenly pulling their hair out over this one, as a nation of "experts" and polls back the pea soup-colored opponent from the north. As a life-long Atlanta fan, I get the stress - leave it to 'em to win the first seed, and still end up getting screwed (Green Bay coming here, two-seed Chicago hosting 8-9 Seattle). Sure, the Packers almost beat Atlanta earlier in the season, and are now supposedly coming back with a resurgent running game. I understand the freak-out, I really do. I just ain't takin' part.

Two words make me confident about Atlanta's success: James Starks. Starks is the previously unknown Green Bay running back who broke out last week, to the tune of 123 yards against Philadelphia. In almost everything you read about this weekend's game, he's going to be Green Bay's savior - the missing piece they've needed all along. STOP THAT. Yes, he had a good game against Philly's 15th-ranked rushing defense. But let's not forget there's a reason we hadn't heard of him until 2011. There's a reason he spent multiple weeks this year on the "inactive" list. And it's this guy, who rushed six times for eight yards against Detroit, who's going to break Atlanta's seemingly unflappable home field advantage? Back off with that nonsense. Not only do I call a Falcons victory, but Starks doesn't go over 40 yards. PICK: Atlanta

Sunday's picks coming soon.

Last Week: 1-3-0
Regular Season Total: 133-116-7

Lines via SBNation.

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