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NCAA Tournament appearances by Temple’s Fran Dunphy, tied for most by Big 5 head coach

Putting it on the line

Posted by Eric Fisher On January 12

After finishing the regular season with two good weeks, I almost went 4-0 during the first round of the playoffs. The only thing that prevented me from having a perfect record was a hamstring injury suffered by Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski, which forced head coach Pete Carroll to go for a 2-point conversion after the Seahawks’ late touchdown, cutting the margin to two points and giving me a “push” instead of a win the Cowboys, who were two-point favorites.

In the NFC, the Cowboys and Eagles are both substantial underdogs. The Cowboys (+7) against the Rams is my “best bet.” I like the way the Cowboys defense has been playing and I don’t like the way Rams quarterback Jared Goff played down the stretch. A solid running game, led by Ezekiel Elliott, should help the Cowboys control the clock and keep the game close.

The Eagles, the defending Super Bowl champions, are once again the biggest underdog (+8) of the weekend. Given the Saints’ 48-7 victory during the regular season, perhaps the line shouldn’t be surprising. With the Eagles’ experience and the way their defensive line is playing, however, I would be surprised if the Eagles were blown out by the Saints for a second time. And we know how the Eagles relish their underdog role. That’s why the Eagles are “my other top pick.”

I like all four of this week’s road underdogs, including the Colts (+5½) against the Chiefs and the Chargers (+4) against the Patriots, to cover. And I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of them pull off an upset.

Here are my selections for this weekend:

(Home team in CAPS) 

(Winning team against the line in bold)

Colts +5½ at CHIEFS

Cowboys +7 at RAMS  

Chargers +4 at PATRIOTS

Eagles +8 at SAINTS

Best bet: Cowboys +7 at RAMS  

Other top picks: Eagles +8 at SAINTS

Last week: 3-0-1 (127-135-12 this season)

Best Bet: 0-0-1 (8-9-1 this season)

Other top picks: 1-0 (33-33-3 this season)

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Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal