It was a perfect 4-0 weekend (2-0 in teasers) for Ernesto the Prediction Iguana,bringing the playoff totals to 7-1, 3-1 in teasers. We’ll write more about it this week, but the curtain will likely come down on Peyton Manning’s long and stellar career next week after the Patriots go into Mile High and rout the Broncos. Meanwhile two teams that are far from NFL royalty – the Panthers and the Cardinals will clash in the NFC Championship.[Editor’s Note: We use lines from vegasinsider.com. All picks are based on a 2-team teaser, which moves the line six points either way. HOME TEAM in CAPS.]
patriots +2.5 at BRONCOS
The Broncos should start Brock Osweiler. The kid was solid in relief of Manning, while Manning lacks the laser beam arm strength and accuracy of his youth. Denver needed a fumble by the Steelers 4th string running back in order to escape with a win Sunday night. Meanwhile, the Patriots welcomed back two of their most dangerous weapons in Gronk and Edelman.
BRONCOS-patriots UNDER 50.5
With Manning playing hit-or-miss football, and the possibility of bad weather in Denver, two good defenses should keep the final score below the seven touchdowns needed to hit this number. It’s not 2006 anymore.
PANTHERS-cardinals OVER 41,5
Two high octane offenses – this should be the shootout, while the AFC game will be the defensive struggle.
PANTHERS +3 vs. cardinals
Toughest call on the board: Which team will have the ball last? That’s how this game may go.
Still, Ernesto thinks the Panthers defense gets one more crucial sack or turnover. The extra TD with Arizona is tempting, and you should only lose of the Panthers score a garbage time TD, but the Panthers getting 3 at home is the safer play.