BRIAN BLESSING THE LINEMAKERS SPORTINGNEWS.COM (8-6)
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-6½) over Houston Texans
The Colts beat the Texans 33-28 on Oct. 9 as Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns. Indianapolis led 24-0 at halftime before taking the foot off the pedal, and J.J. Watt scored a defensive touchdown to make the game close. The Colts won’t make the same mistake. If Houston falls behind, the onus falls on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the odds are he’ll make some big mistakes. Luck is off a so-so game in Cleveland, where he rose to the challenge to get a dramatic win. The Colts cover the number and lock up the AFC South.
STEVE COFIELD ESPN1100.COM (7-6-1)
Coastal Carolina (+17) over NORTH DAKOTA STATE
North Dakota State defeated Coastal Carolina 48-14 in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs last year, but the gap has closed. Bison coach Craig Bohl left for Wyoming, and the team posted an 11-1 regular-season record but did not exhibit the dominance it had in past years. Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia’s spread offense scored 30-plus points in all but one game. The double-digit underdog will keep it close.
ED GRANEY LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (7-7)
EASTERN WASHINGTON (-1) over Illinois State
Yes, I’m going to keep pounding that FCS bracket. Chattanooga paid off big for me last week, and I might like Eastern Washington even more in this quarterfinal matchup. The Eagles are 31-4 since they went with red turf inside Roos Field, and they have scored in 51 of 52 quarters, including 44 straight. Illinois State plays in the Missouri Valley Conference, which would worry me if this were March Madness or the team in question was North Dakota State, but not in a playoff game on a higher seed’s home field.
MATT YOUMANS LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (9-5)
BUFFALO BILLS (+5) over Green Bay Packers
Every team hits flat spots, and this appears to be one for the Packers, who have won five straight high-intensity games. Four of those games were at Lambeau Field, where Aaron Rodgers has been amazing. Rodgers has 23 touchdown passes and no interceptions in seven home games. Green Bay is 3-3 on the road, with Rodgers passing for 12 touchdowns with three interceptions. Buffalo’s fifth-ranked defense bothered Peyton Manning last week and can contain Rodgers enough to make this close in the fourth quarter.