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Cincinnati vs. Chi Cubs 04/18/2014 02:20 PM
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Toronto vs. Cleveland 04/18/2014 07:05 PM
ML: CLE (-142) Total: 8
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Milwaukee vs. Pittsburgh 04/18/2014 07:05 PM
ML: MIL (-102) Total: 7
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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01/19/2014 02:03 PM
Weather looks great!


New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (-5.5, 56.5)

Temperatures will be in the high-50s with sunny skies. Wind will blow across the field at 10 mph.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, 39.5)

The forecast is calling for a bit of fog and temperatures in the low-40s. There is a nine percent chance of rain with wind blowing toward the south endzone at 2 mph.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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01/19/2014 02:04 PM
WHY THE 49ERS COVER

Be like Mike

The 49ers have Michael Crabtree back in the lineup. They were without him in Week 2, and a game that was close heading into the fourth quarter turned into a blowout thanks in part to an ineffective offense. His return gives the 49ers three legitimately strong receiving options, along with Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. The Seahawks have a great secondary, but the 49ers boast a bevy of significant options.

Super subs

The team is as deep as they have been in some time. The receiver corps is at its deepest under Harbaugh, but just as important, the defensive line boasts notable depth. Tony Jerod-Eddie has been able to spell Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, getting them significant rest for the first time in a couple years. This will be an incredibly physical game, so being able to rotate in rested bodies is important.

Road warriors

Some would view the 49ers’ extensive playoff road trip as a reason they will run out of gas. For a glass half full gambler, they are road tested. They had traveled more miles than anybody else heading into the postseason thanks to their London trip. Now, they've gone through the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field and the physical Panthers defense to set up this matchup of the two best teams in the NFC. They are road tested, which benefits them heading into another huge road matchup.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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01/19/2014 02:05 PM
WHY THE SEAHAWKS COVER

Home-field advantage

San Francisco is 0-2 ATS in Seattle in the Russell Wilson era, but, more importantly, in the Colin Kaepernick era. The Seahawks haven't just covered the spread in those two games, they've obliterated it. If the 49ers' offense thinks the stadium's been loud before, they probably haven't heard anything yet. This is the final opportunity this season for the 12th Man to raise their collective voice at home, so watch for Kaepernick to look as stunned as he has been in his two previous visits.

Defense can still win championships

If defense doesn't quite win championships in the modern era, having a good one certainly helps. Seattle held a Drew Brees-led offense to zero points through three quarters last week. I expect Kaepernick to struggle in the hostile environment as it is. When up against the best pass defense in the league, not to mention the best secondary in the NFL, he really does have his work cut out for him. Michael Bennett is playing lights-out football up front on passing downs, but it's the pressure created before that by Brandon Mebane that allows the linebackers more creative freedom, setting the tone from the very beginning.

Lynch will relish every second

Seattle may not be in the position to host the NFC Championship this week if not for the outstanding contribution made by Marshawn Lynch last week. He was phenomenal against New Orleans and he seemed to literally carry the team on his own. This never bothers him and he even seems to delight in defenders attempting to bring him down. Beast by nickname, Beast by nature.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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01/19/2014 02:05 PM

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01/19/2014 02:08 PM
Offense

Brady has one of the most trying seasons of his illustrious career, having to deal with absences to key targets for most of the year. He still managed to finish sixth among NFL quarterbacks in passing yards (4,343) with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The running game, which has been one of the team's rare weak spots over the years, had a strong campaign - finishing ninth in the league in total yards (2,065) while racking up 19 touchdowns.

No team in league history has been as prolific as the 2013 Broncos, who saw Manning put together one of the greatest quarterbacking seasons ever. The 38-year-old guided an offense that finished with 5,444 passing yards - over 500 more than the next-closest team - with a staggering 55 TDs against just 10 interceptions. Manning's assault on the record books helped open things up for the running game, which finished 15th in yards but racked up 16 scores.

Edge: Denver
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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01/19/2014 02:08 PM
Defense

As with the offense, New England had to deal with several key absences on defense - and as with the offense, those injuries barely slowed the team down. The Patriots finished near the middle of the pack in passing yards against (3,824) but limited foes to just 25 passing touchdowns while racking up 17 interceptions. The run defense was more porous - finishing third-last in the league in yards allowed (2,145) - but surrendered just 11 touchdowns all season.

The Broncos have had their share of injury woes, as well - and the latest may be the most damaging, as defensive back Chris Harris suffered a torn ACL and is lost for the remainder of the playoffs. It's a major development for a Denver defense that allowed the sixth-most passing yards in the regular season (4,070), giving up 29 touchdowns while snagging 17 interceptions. The Broncos gave up just 1,626 yards on the ground, but gave up 15 touchdowns.

Edge: New England

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