Bokolis likes both favorites, even if I think the lines are a bit steep for comfort. There will certainly be points bought, even some hedging with the Packers, which sounds great at 7.5 or 8, even at -150. The Pats will be bought down, as I don't think the Steelers will have it. I'm leaning over on the early game and under on the later game. We'll see what the in-game action offers.
FALCONS (-5.5) over Packers - This line started and 4/4.5 and has walked upwards and the total has similarly walked up to 61.5 from 60. There is plenty of -6 out there. It's a big number to have to lay, especially when the prevailing thought is that the last team with the ball will win. But, Bokolis isn't going to pick a Packers loss and cover because I won't take credit for any Packers victory. If you believe in karma or some other bullshit, you might believe Rodgers has got some magic going on. He's had a hail mary change a game. He's made a pinpoint throw on the run in a high-pressure situation. He's played at a level that Bokolis has only seen from Montana and dome-Brees.
So, what rationale can any maniac have for picking against Rodgers? People may treat these games as completely independent events, but winning a third playoff game takes more than a great player. His magic is going to run out and this time, he won't be able to carry his ordinary teammates.
This time around, he's going against an offense that has lit up everyone they have played this year. While the Cowboys put up 31, they did most of it playing catch-up, and did a lot of it because the Packers are not equipped to close out the game. The Falcons will put up 31 because they feel like it and, if they feel like putting up more, they will. Maybe Rodgers won't crack, but the Packers will.
Even though we're almost obliged to do it, Bokolis is not going to advise to go over such a big number.
PATRIOTS (-6) over Steelers - The Patriots have been at this for so long that dealing with their games involves its own dodgy rationale. If you pick with them and lose, the lament is, how could I pick a team with that receiving corps. If you pick against them and lose, the lament is, how could I pick against Brady and Belichick. If you can get past that, you'd see that the Patriots have been rather predictable: they bog down in Denver, have dogfights with Baltimore and handle the Steelers.
Accordingly, Bokolis sees that, similar to Green Bay, a third victory will be beyond the Steelers. While I don't think Brady will light up the Steelers, I'm going to rely that the Patriots will again be able to confound Ruthlessbuggerer and that he will make some mistakes. Bell should do well enough, but won't run roughshod.