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The Globe and Mail

NFL Division Round picks against the spread

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers reacts to a touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Jeffrey Phelps


New Orleans Saints (14-3) at San Francisco 49ers (13-3)


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The scary-good Saints offence collides with the scary-good 49ers defence. New Orleans is 0-4 in road playoff games and faces a San Francisco defence that led the NFL in takeaways by a wide margin (plus-28). Let's err on the side of caution.

The pick 49ERS

Denver Broncos (9-8) at New England Patriots (13-3)

DENVER plus 14

From battling back-up to postseason poobah, Tim Tebow will be forced to come down from his Rocky Mountain high this week, when the Broncos travel all the way to Foxborough to face the Patriots, the team that whipped Denver by 18 points in its own backyard a mere month ago.



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Houston Texans (11-6) at Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

HOUSTON plus 9

The Texans are undefeated in franchise playoff history (1-0), but now head outdoors at a chilly M&T Bank Stadium to face the rested Ravens (8-0 at home in 2011, 5-0 against Houston all-time). Baltimore's fate rests with offensive co-ordinator Cam Cameron, who calls the plays and sometimes forgets running back Ray Rice is his best player.

The pick RAVENS

New York Giants (10-7) at Green Bay Packers (15-1)

NEW YORK plus 9

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It's hard to believe, but reigning Super Bowl most valuable player Aaron Rodgers has yet to take a playoff snap at legendary Lambeau Field. He gets his chance here, and will hope to go one better than predecessor Brett Favre, who handed the Giants the NFC title four years ago with an overtime interception.

The pick GIANTS

Wild-card round 1-3

Regular season 123-119-14

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