NFC Divisional Playoff Underdogs Face Tough Challenges

NFL teams that are compromised offensively have to be play outstanding in other areas in order to cover a January point spread. That was obvious in the wildcard round last weekend.

Arizona suffered numerous injuries to its quarterbacks and running back, which limited overall offensive output. While fearless and talented, the Arizona defense could not hold their own against Carolina.

When the Cardinals special teams finally gave out, the game was over and a 27-16 loss ended their season.

The Bengals similarly needed great play from the defense against Indianapolis. That did not happen and the Bengals lost 26-10.

Teams such as Cincinnati and Arizona do win games and cover numbers, but the wins come tougher when the competition is stronger, such as during the postseason.

This weekend’s NFC divisional playoffs will have a game where both teams are known for their strong defense and one game where both are known for high-powered offenses.

The Carolina Panthers who are 8-8-1 SU and 9-8 ATS visit the Seattle Seahawks who are 12-4 SU and 10-6 ATS.

The current line at Bovada and topbet has Seattle favored at home by 11 points with the point total on just 40.

Carolina’s field position is critical if the Panthers have any hope of winning. With the Seattle defense playing so well, the offense for Carolina will likely have three and out multiple times. The Panthers likely will also struggle finding wide receivers outside and the ground game will be tested.

Greg Olsen the Panthers tight end could become quarterback Cam Newton’s favorite target in the game.

For Carolina to have any upset chance, its defense must dominant. The Panthers defense must stop Seattle from sustained drives.

The Dallas Cowboys 13-4 SU and 10-7 ATS travel to face the Green Bay Packers 12-4 and 9-6 ATS. According to betonline and sportsbook.com, Green Bay is favored by 6.5 points with the point total on 53.

As the underdog, the Dallas Cowboys will need to rush the passer well up the middle. Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay star quarterback has had two weeks to heal his calf injury. However, he will not be the same and will have limited mobility, especially with frigid temperatures expected on Sunday.

Dallas sacked Matthew Safford last week three times in their win over Detroit. They cannot give Rodgers time to look over the field.

Rodgers has such a quick release and strong arm that he often times does not need to set his feet to produce an accurate on-time dart down the field, but he does require space.

If Dallas cannot pressure Rodgers and take away the space he needs, Green Bay will score often, turning the Dallas offense into a pass-first one, which is not their optimal style.

Dallas is 0-6 on the road in the postseason since 1994. Overall, the Cowboys are 4-11 SU and 5-10 ATS in road games in the playoffs since 1978.

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