• 2019 NFL Playoffs Bracket: Chiefs Over Saints in Super Bowl

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    NFL Playoffs 2019: Chiefs Over Saints in the Super Bowl

    With Wildcard Weekend wrapped up, the real NFL playoffs begin now. The top two teams in each conference get to host games that count and the best eight teams remaining in the league are all in action in the divisional round, which should probably be more accurately referred to as the conference semifinals.

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    AFC Playoffs

    Starting with the AFC, the Chargers go to New England to take on the New England Patriots in a game that features two veteran quarterbacks still standing. Philip Rivers is 37 years old, which makes him sound like a teenager next to the everlasting 41-year-old Tom Brady. On neutral ground, Rivers and the sturdy Chargers may well beat the Patriots. This game, however, is at Foxboro, and New England is therefore a heavy favorite to advance.

    Andy Reid's record isn't stellar in the playoffs, but he's never quite had a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is so stunningly good, along with being the MVP favorite in his first full year under center, that no one entering this game has Andrew Luck ranked ahead of the Kansas City QB. The Colts turns some heads in how they jumped out to an early lead and put their Wildcard game to bed, but playing at Arrowhead against Mahomes and the no. 1 team in the AFC is test of another grade. KC is 68% to win, which should be noted as the strongest differential of any of the eight teams to advance.

    The Chiefs and Patriots meeting in the AFC Championship feels like a passing of the torch from Brady to Mahomes, but Brady likely has no interest in passing anything other than the football. Any previous year, Brady would be the best quarterback on the field without question, but this has been Mahomes season, and it will take a special effort from the weakest looking Patriots team in recent memory to bypass the Chiefs and punch another ticket to the Super Bowl for the Pats.

    2019 NFL Playoffs Bracket

    NFC Playoffs

    The Rams host the Cowboys at the LA Memorial Coliseum, which promises to be a packed house and provide an electric atmosphere. LA seemed to be back to its high-scoring ways to wrap up the season, and that spells doom for the Cowboys. If the Rams rack up points, Dallas is going down, and that's a 60-40 likelihood according to AccuSore.

    Similarly, the Saints and Eagles is an interesting proposition. It's Super Bowl favorite versus Super Bowl champion. The Eagles may be back to looking like a team to beat, but playing New Orleans in the same place where Drew Brees and company clobbered Philadelphia 48-7 and put the Eagles' season on life support is not a positive sign of a Philly win. The Saints aren't scared of the Eagles, and this is another 60-40 game in favor of the Saints in the computer's eyes.

    The NFC Championship featuring the Rams and Saints promises a high-scoring affair, but these two teams met in New Orleans during the regular season, and the Saints outscored the Rams 35-17 in the first half. The final score looked like a respectable count of 45-35, but the game never felt that close.

    Like the Chiefs, the Saints look like a clear favorite, and AccuScore's 10,000 simulations have New Orleans as a 60% favorite to advance to the Super Bowl over the Rams.

    Super Bowl 2019

    The Chiefs and Saints meeting on a neutral ground is fitting because these have been the two best teams this season, and that's been clear as day to see. For Mahomes, facing Brees after facing Brady should lead to even more exaggerated imagery of a torch being passed. Of course, the Super Bowl is a monster of chaos, distractions and pressure unlike any other football game, so Brees has an edge on the Chiefs' quarterback in that regard.

    Still, AccuScore believes that the Chiefs are simply better, though a 56% to 44% difference implies that this will be a tough challenge for the Chiefs. Ultimately, though, the Chiefs should conquer the Saints on Super Bowl Sunday with Mahomes key to victory.

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  • New England Patriots Favorites to Win: Super Bowl 53 Preview

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    New England Patriots Favorites to Win Super Bowl

    The New England Patriots have been here before.

    Bill Belichick has been here before, as has Tom Brady. Jared Goff and Sean McVay are the future of the NFL, but the first shot doesn’t always strike the target. AccuScore simulated the Super Bowl 10,000 times to see which team would come out on top, and the New England Patriots won 56.9 percent of simulations, with the Rams still coming out on top 43.1 percent of the time.

    Super Bowl 53 Predictions

    This is projected to be a close game, with the Patriots listed as clear favorites, even if EA Sports' Madden video game had the Rams winning by three.

    Vegas agrees for the most part that the Patriots are favorites, with the spread currently at -2.5 points. The total points line is 56.0 points.

    AccuScore has expert picks against the spread and on totals for the Patriots versus the Rams:
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  • NFC West: 2017 NFL Previews

    Written by AccuScore Staff
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    NFC West: 2017 NFL Division Previews

    AccuScore wraps up its 2017 NFC Division previews with a look out West, where the Seahawks are expected to rise up as one of the conference’s elite teams.

    2017 NFC West Projections and Preview

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    Other Previews:
    NFC North Division Preview
    NFC East Division Preview
    NFC South Division Preview

    Will The Cardinals Return to the Playoffs?

    The Arizona Cardinals were unable to continue their playoffs streak last year after a team coached by Bruce Arians ended the season with single digit wins for the first time ever. QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald aren’t getting any younger, but Accuscore’s season simulations reveal that Cardinals are in the playoff mix in the NFC, even if they’re not favorites to win the division.

    According to AccuScore’s 10,000 simulations, Arizona is projected to win 9 games. Division games against the San Francisco 49ers and the LA Rams, both of which don’t expect to be good, assist the Cardinals’ projections.

    Roster Moves

    The main changes come on the defensive side of the ball. The Cardinals lost starters DE Calais Campbell, Safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J.Swearinger, linebackers Kevin Minter and Alex Okafor. It would be big task for others to fill these gaps. Additions Antonie Bethea (SS), Karlos Dansby (LB) and Jarvis Jones (LB) are well known players, but the Cardinals will need some of the players already on the roster to take a step forward to help plug the gaps.

    Fantasy Analysis: Arizona Cardinals

    On the fantasy front QB Carson Palmer is predicted to be Top 20 among other signal callers. The same applies to Larry Fitzgerald on the receivers group, though neither Palmer or Fitzgerald are Top 10 guys at this point in their careers. Even with the changes in defense, Accuscore fantasy prediction shows the Cardinals’ defense and special teams as a sixth best fantasy point collector during the season. Of course, playing teams like the 49ers and Rams twice helps those averages.

    The best running back in the league and arguably the no. 1 pick for your fantasy draft is David Johnson, who collected over 2,000 combined yards rushing and receiving with 20 touchdowns in 2016.

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    Best team in LA?

    The Los Angeles Rams will get local competition as the LA Chargers have moved into town and will look to steal some of the vast LA sports market. The first season for the Rams in LA wasn’t memorable, as they closed the season on seven straight losses with Jared Goff under center. Goff’s performance under first year coach Sean McVay will play a major role in the Rams’ season to come.

    The Rams are still heavy in the rebuild, and AccuScore gives the Rams less than a 1% chance of winning the division over Seattle and Arizona.

    Roster Moves

    The biggest offseason move was the departure of the Rams’ first 1,000-yard receiver in a decade, Kenny Britt. The team looks to be forming a new receiving corps led by Cooper Kupp, Nelson Spruce, Mike Thomas and Josh Reynolds. Also, a trade for Sammy Watkins gives Goff and defenses a clear no. 1 target to focus on. In addition, the Rams improved the offensive line with veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth from Cincinnati. There were also few chances on defensive backfield, but those are not making any notable differences in the simulations.

    Fantasy Analysis: LA Rams

    For fantasy players last season, Todd Gurley ultimately destroyed teams that wasted a top pick on the running back. However, the drop in value provides the perfect opportunity to pick up Gurley this season. Accuscore projections show that he should bounce back at least a bit from last season’s under 900 rushing yards. AccuScore predicts that Gurley should collect enough fantasy points to rank him as one of the top10 RBs in 2017. As far as that goes, the Rams do not boast any other Top 10 fantasy players.

    New Start in San Francisco

    The San Francisco 49ers did a complete house cleaning after the tumultuous years that followed Jim Harbaugh’s tenure. New head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch bring a new hope and a new culture, but San Franciso is now in the early days of a brand new rebuild. That said, Accuscore predicts that San Francisco will double the amount of win total from the two to four this season.

    Obviously, four wins is not exactly a blueprint to make the postseason, but the team is expected to improve on 2016’s awful year. With Arizona and Seattle in the division, though, San Francisco’s chances of winning the division are nearly non-existent.

    Roster Moves

    When a team has a new front office, a head coach and is coming off a 2-14 season, very few jobs are safe. The 49ers did a fair bit of work in the draft, but the level of success usually takes time to evaluate. Notable additions are new QB tandem Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley from Chicago. Also new target for those quarterback is veteran wide out Pierre Garcon. Garcon should improve the passing game that was the dead last season—provided he can stay healthy.

    Fantasy Analysis: San Francisco 49ers

    As one would expect, San Francisco is not stacked full of top fantasy player. RB Carlos Hyde should rush for another 1000-yard season, and those numbers would put his just outside the top 15 in RBs in fantasy points. Brian Hoyer is predicted to be 28th on the QB scale, and Pierre Garcon is ranked 48th within their respective wide receivers. The defense is projected to be ranked 27th, so Hyde is probably the only player worth focusing on from San Francisco.

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    Steady Seattle Seahawks

    Five years in a row, the Seattle Seahawks have reached the postseason. Of course, that period of time is defined by two trips to the Super Bowl and one victory in the big game. This season is not going to be very different, as AccuScore projects the Seahawks to collect 12 wins—1.5 more than a year ago. In fact, AccuScore is projecting Seattle to finish first in the NFC, not just the NFC West. AccuScore predicts the Seahawks’ playoff streak will reach six straight seasons with roughly 90% probability.

    Notably, Seattle travels to Lambeau field in Week 1, and AccuScore projects the Packers and Seahawks to finish as the top two teams in the NFC.

    Roster Moves

    The Seahawks were hardly in need of massive changes. The most interesting move is to boost up the rushing game that dropped from 3rd in 2015 to 25th in 25th. Marshawn Lynch had something to do with that. Former Packer Eddie Lacy looks to help the Seahawks bounce back in the running department.

    Fantasy Analysis: Seattle Seahawks

    Seattle’s stingy defense is ranked second in Accuscore fantasy projections. There are few other players at the very top of the respective position ranks. Russell Wilson is number 3 on the QB ranks, and Doug Baldwin slots into the same elite company among WRs. List of Top 3 fantasy players is completed by TE Jimmy Graham, who is projected to reach 1,000 yards receiving first time since 2013 season.

  • NFL Sunday: New York Giants vs LA Rams - Analyst Pick

    Written by Rohit Ghosh
    Follow @rohitghosh on Twitter

    New York Giants vs LA Rams: Analyst Preview & Pick

    The New York Giants (1-6) host the Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at MetLife Stadium as the offense finally gets some good news with the return of of WR Sterling Shepard. The Rams have been firing on all cylinders this season, but are 0-7 in their last seven matchups against the Giants.

    Vegas Odds
    This game saw a good amount of action earlier in the week, with the public already moving the spread and total. The Rams opened as 3-to-3.5-point favorites, but the spread quickly moved up to -4.5.

    Spread Odds: Los Angeles Rams -4.5
    Total Line: 42

    At the time of publication, about 66 percent of the public was laying the points and taking the Rams. 61 percent of the wagers on the total have been on the OVER.

    Betting Trends
    -The total has gone UNDER in 14 of the Rams' last 21 games on the road.
    -The Rams are 0-5 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in their last five games against the Giants.
    -The Rams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on the road against the Giants.

    What to Watch For

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    AccuScore has picks for all of Sunday's games, including a free forecast with projections and picks:
    All of AccuScore's NFL Picks

    Giants QB Eli Manning has struggled all year, but it's tough to put all the blame on him given the injuries to his weapons. Still, the boo birds have been flying all season, some critics even pushing for his retirement. His numbers, though, have been about average compared to other QBs -- passing for 1600 yards, 10 TDs and 5 INTs heading into this week's matchup. Last week against the Seattle Seahawks Manning passed for 139 yards, completing 19 of 39 pass attempts, and 1 TD in a 24-7 loss.

    Manning is projected to finish Sunday's game with 264 passing yards and 1 TD. He averages twice has many TDs per sim -- 1.3 -- as he does INTs -- 0.6.

    On the opposite side of the 1-6 Giants, we've got a 5-2 Rams team that's been seemingly improving on a weekly basis. The team's only glaring weakness has been defending against the run, giving up 123 rushing yards per game.

    NY running backs Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa, and Shane Vereen are projected to finish with a combined 109.3 yards and 1 TD against the Rams.

    Analyst's Pick
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    {plus} Analyst Pick:: Giants cover at home -- and have potential for a money line pick too.

    The Rams are 0-5 ATS vs teams with a losing record; the Giants are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games vs a team with a winning road record.{/pluis}