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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - JAN. 13

By Joe Nelson
Posted 01/13/2014 at 05:35 PM

The NFL divisional round played more to form with the team that did not commit a turnover winning all four games and the winning teams holding a 9-0 turnover edge combined. Winning did not mean covering in two of the four games however as Seattle and Denver both fell victim to backdoor covers from the underdogs. New Orleans scored all 15 points in the fourth quarter against Seattle including the spread saving cover with just 26 seconds to go. New Orleans actually recovered an onside kick after that touchdown and got to midfield before the game ended with an illegal forward pass from Marques Colston, on a play where he could have given the Saints a shot at the end zone had he gone out of bounds.
 
The end of the San Diego/Denver game played out somewhat similarly as the Broncos led 17-0 going into the fourth. Trailing 24-7 the Chargers got within 10 with a touchdown with less than six minutes to go and then incredibly successfully recovered an expected onside kick as well. San Diego added a field goal to get within seven but they could not get the stop they needed to get the ball back. It was enough for a late cover as both the Saints and Chargers covered despite not scoring until the fourth quarter.
 
The league certainly got the matchups they wanted with Brady vs. Manning in the AFC and the next chapter in the Carroll/Harbaugh rivalry with the 49ers and Seahawks providing arguably the best current rivalry in the NFL. Conspiracy theorists would have a little ammunition to work with as there was a pretty drastic penalty disparity favoring the Broncos and 49ers in Sunday’s games. After several years in a row with an upstart team crashing the championship weekend this year’s playoffs has played to form as four teams with the four of the five best records in the NFL are still standing and four of the teams with the best six point differentials are still standing.
 
The reign of dominance for the SEC in the college football landscape ended along with the BCS system as Florida State delivered a comeback win against Auburn in one of the most exciting championship games in recent years. The underdog wound up covering in every BCS bowl game and underdogs won in 11 of the final 13 bowl games this season. The ‘over’ hit in 11 of the final 16 bowl games after the ‘under’ went 16-3 in the first 19 bowl games for a wild finish to the college season. The Pac-12 (6-3 ATS) and the Sun Belt (2-0 ATS) had the best spread results in the bowl season while the MAC went 0-5 S/U and ATS for a terrible campaign for the conference that gained some respect last season with Northern Illinois breaking into the BCS. Florida State (5/2) has opened as the favorite to repeat next season, followed by Oregon (5/1) and Alabama (5/1) and then Oklahoma (12/1) and Ohio State (12/1). Best of Luck and onto this week’s slate…

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