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Frank Schwab's 2016 NFL Playoffs Expert Picks

Following the 2016 Westgate SuperContest, Frank Schwab from Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner is the winner for Team OddsShark. As the champion, Frank is back again to make picks for every round of the NFL playoffs. Frank’s Super Bowl picks are based on the Bovada lines from Thursday, January 26.

PATRIOTS VS FALCONS (LINE: PATRIOTS -3, OVER/UNDER 59)

While the spread on this game seems a bit low, Schwab says the Falcons' playoffs performance is likely the reason they're only 3-point underdogs. Considering how well the Patriots have been playing this year and cover the spread consistently, he says a spread of close to 6 points would have made sense before the Falcons dominated in the postseason. 

And while Matt Ryan and the Falcons have been doing well, in the end for Schwab it comes down to experience. That's why he's backing Tom Brady and New England's veteran team in Super Bowl LI.

For more details from both Frank and Jon Campbell, watch the video above.  

Pick: Patriots -3, Under 59 pts

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Following the 2016 Westgate SuperContest, Frank Schwab from Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner is the winner for Team OddsShark. As the champion, Frank is back again to make picks for every round of the NFL playoffs. Frank’s picks are based on the Bovada lines from Wednesday, January 18.

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (Line: Falcons -4)

While acknowledging that Aaron Rodgers is the scariest player in the league, I'm not sure how the Packers defense gets any stops. The Packers are allowing 325 passing yards per game over their last five games, and none of those opposing quarterbacks was as good as Matt Ryan. Green Bay has gotten by with a thin secondary, but it won't be easy against a Falcons team that scored 540 points in the regular season, 71 more than any other team.

If you're picking the Packers here, it's simply because Rodgers is playing out of his mind, and that's not a crazy reason. The Packers have won eight in a row with Rodgers leading the way. But the Falcons offense is going to be really hard to stop.

Pick: Falcons -4

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (Line: Patriots -6)

We always wondered what might happen if Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown were all healthy in the playoffs. We're seeing it now, as Pittsburgh has won a couple of games to advance to the AFC title game. In reality, Roethlisberger and Brown have become complementary pieces as Bell has taken over control of the offense. He has gotten a ton of work and has been absolutely dominant, especially in the playoffs.

The Patriots do have a good run defense (third in yards allowed, NFL-best three 20-yard runs allowed, allowing just 3.9 yards per carry), but the Steelers can obviously generate big plays in the passing game if Bell gets shut down. The Patriots looked a little shaky last week, even though they covered the spread against the Texans. Maybe that was a case of not being able to get up for a bad opponent, or just an off-night after a bye week, but that and the ability of the Steelers offense is enough to grab the points.

Pick: Steelers +6

Editor's note: Frank Schwab is a member of Team OddsShark and the winner at the end of 17 weeks for our team in the Westgate SuperContest. Picking five teams a week (ATS) during the NFL regular season, Schwab finished with 46 out of a possible 85 points. Each week during the NFL playoffs, the Yahoo Sports writer will bring you his picks for the weekend’s playoff action.

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Following the 2016 Westgate SuperContest, Frank Schwab from Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner is the winner for Team OddsShark. As the champion, Frank is back again to make picks for every round of the NFL playoffs. Frank’s picks are based on the Bovada lines from Wednesday, January 11.

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (Line: Falcons -5)

The line shows there's more respect for the Falcons than I assumed. The Seahawks are a brand name, they looked great last week, and the Falcons still are favored by more than a field goal. Atlanta played Seattle very tough in Seattle earlier this season, and the Falcons offense is explosive and dangerous. Without Earl Thomas in the deep middle of the Seahawks defense to erase mistakes in front of him, the Falcons should be able to hit some huge plays. Seattle has to run the ball as well as it did last week, and I'm not sure that's going to happen.

Pick: Atlanta -5

Houston Texans at New England Patriots (Line: Patriots -16)

The outcome of this game really isn't in doubt, but the point spread makes for an interesting pick. This is a massive point spread for a playoff game. However, it doesn't seem too high. The Patriots won 11 games with Tom Brady at quarterback this season, and 10 were by double digits. The Texans have a good defense, but the offense hasn't done much all season. It just seems like a mismatch, and while I hate taking a huge favorite like this, those holding Texans tickets will feel very nervous the entire time.

Pick: New England -16

Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (Line: Chiefs -1)

I could make a great argument for either side. The Steelers looked unstoppable last week, and they might be if Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are both playing at their best. But Kansas City is a very good team as well. They can run the ball, and Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce add explosive dimensions in the passing game. The Chiefs defense has a lot of blue-chip players. If you ask me about this game in a few hours, I might change my mind. Seems like a coin flip, but the Steelers' big-play ability wins out.

Pick: Pittsburgh +1

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (Line: Cowboys -4)

This is a marquee matchup in every single way. The Cowboys earned the No. 1 seed, and are rewarded by seeing red-hot Aaron Rodgers come to town. Dallas does have the ability to control the clock with the running game, and that's a plus in this matchup. It's very hard to pick against Rodgers with the way he's playing. He has 12 touchdowns and no interceptions his last three games. He carved up the Giants. At the very least, Rodgers should keep this one close, though Jordy Nelson's injury is a little scary.

Pick: Green Bay +4

Editor's note: Frank Schwab is a member of Team OddsShark and the winner at the end of 17 weeks for our team in the Westgate SuperContest. Picking five teams a week (ATS) during the NFL regular season, Schwab finished with 46 out of a possible 85 points. Each week during the NFL playoffs, the Yahoo Sports writer will bring you his picks for the weekend’s playoff action.

Archived Articles

Following the 2016 Westgate SuperContest, Frank Schwab from Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner is the winner for Team OddsShark. As the champion, Frank is back again to make picks for every round of the NFL playoffs. Here are Frank's Wild Card picks. He went 2-2 on Wild Card weekend. 

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (Line: Texans -4)

I never thought a few weeks ago I'd be picking a Brock Osweiler-led team to win and cover in a playoff game, but here we are. Never before in the Super Bowl era has a quarterback made his first career start in a playoff game. Before Derek Carr broke his leg two weeks ago, Connor Cook was a rookie third-stringer for Oakland. Now he has to make his first start. That's an incredibly tough spot.

Pick: Houston -4

Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (Line: Seahawks -8)

Late this season, I started trying to avoid picking Seattle games in the SuperContest. When the Seahawks are on their game, they might be the NFL's best team. But they have had some really bad performances this season. That's strange because throughout the Russell Wilson era, they've been a model of consistency. I don't love Detroit, since their record was built almost entirely on last-minute wins. But the back door should be open for Matthew Stafford.

Pick: Detroit +8

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (Line: Steelers -10)

This line seems too high. I don't think Matt Moore is an enormous step down from Ryan Tannehill, assuming Tannehill doesn't play. This isn't a Derek Carr-Connor Cook situation. The Dolphins had little problem with Pittsburgh early this season, when they won 30-15, though Ben Ben Roethlisberger was trying to play through a knee injury in that game. Miami has been mostly very good through a 1-4 start (though the two losses since then were both blowouts, to Baltimore and New England). I think the Dolphins can run the ball well enough and their wide receivers can make enough plays to at least keep it close.

Pick: Miami +10

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (Line: Packers -5)

I'm not buying the Giants hype. What they did in 2007 and 2011 has no bearing on this postseason. It makes for a nice narrative, but who cares? Green Bay is a different team than the one that started 4-6. The Packers handled the Giants at Lambeau Field earlier this season, though New York has improved since that Week 5 loss. Then again, the Packers have improved since then too.

Pick: Green Bay -5

Editor's note: Frank Schwab is a member of Team OddsShark and the winner at the end of 17 weeks for our team in the Westgate SuperContest. Picking five teams a week (ATS) during the NFL regular season, Schwab finished with 46 out of a possible 85 points. Each week during the NFL playoffs, the Yahoo Sports writer will bring you his picks for the weekend’s playoff action.

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