Funny how all that gossip about Alabama’s Nick Saban being pursued by several NFL franchises was buried alongside his football team after the Clemson beatdown.
I am still licking my financial wounds from the Tide’s debacle, not to mention the Bears’ “Pinball Wizard” field-goal kicker. I should have listened to my bookmaker friend Jimmy Vaccaro, who taught me a long time ago, “Brent, tease up, not down.” Even former mayor Oscar Goodman chided me for leading him in the wrong direction last weekend.
Colts at Chiefs
1:35 p.m., KSNV-3
Line: Chiefs -5½; total 57
The forecast calls for up to 3 inches of snow. We can’t overlook that the Colts are a dome team headed into the teeth of that weather, though they did practice out of their comfort zone in the cold outdoors this week. History still leads us to the Colts, who have beaten the Chiefs four straight times in the playoffs. But a quarterback named Patrick Mahomes was not part of that history. Along with Andrew Luck, two other Colts could be difference makers. Marlon Mack, who rushed for 148 yards last week at Houston, and linebacker Darius Leonard, who leads the NFL in tackles, should keep the Colts within 5½ points.
Cowboys at Rams
5:15 p.m., KVVU-5
Line: Rams -7; total 49½
The Cowboys can win this game outright, so the seven points are a bonus. It won’t be easy, especially if Todd Gurley is back to 100 percent for the Rams. But the Los Angeles attack hasn’t been the same since the loss of Cooper Kupp. All the gushing about Sean McVay’s revolutionary offense overlooks the fact that Jared Goff hasn’t won a playoff game. The Cowboys have become a much more dangerous offensive team since they picked up receiver Amari Cooper in midseason. But this game will revolve around running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas offensive line’s ability to control Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. There is certainly enough there for the Cowboys to at least stay within the seven.
Chargers at Patriots
10:05 a.m., KLAS-8
Line: Patriots -4; total 47½
Like the sharps and public, I also think that the Patriots are not as good as they have been over the past decade. I would love to see Philip Rivers finally make a Super Bowl, but you all know I have a time-zone bias. This is the toughest road trip of the weekend for any team. The Chargers have been great on the road, but this is three straight weeks — two in a row to the Eastern time zone — and now they will play in subfreezing weather. The Chargers might be the better team, but I’m going to pass simply because they have too much to overcome. The Patriots have not lost a playoff game at Gillette Stadium in six years.
Eagles at Saints
1:40 p.m., KVVU-5
Line: Saints -8; total 51½
This is a rematch of a game that was dominated by the Saints 48-7 on Nov. 18 at the Superdome. But both teams are far different now than they were then. Nick Foles is quarterbacking the Eagles, and New Orleans’ offense was not the same down the stretch. The Saints covered only one spread in their final five games. It says here the Eagles can stay within the eight.
I have two two-team, seven-point teasers. On Saturday, take the Colts plus 12½ and the Cowboys plus 14. On Sunday, take the Patriots plus 3 and the Eagles plus 15.
Brent Musburger’s betting column appears Saturday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His show on the Vegas Stats & Information Network can be heard on SiriusXM 204 and livestreamed at reviewjournal.com/vegas-stats-information-network.