Wild Card Playoff Games – NFL FootballFriday, January 8, 2010 19:36
NFL Wild Card playoff game predictions and game analysis.
PICKING UP THE PIECES
What fun it’s been for me to write this weekly column for DIS. I didn’t do too bad, breaking a little under the waterline of wagering. One horrendous week (14) kept me from .500, leaving me with a very pedestrian 48% of my picks on the right side of the board.
Basically, you would have lost the juice the bookies drink and a little more if you had gone to the sportsbook and bet every game as I called them. Here’s the breakdown for the last two weeks:
WEEK 16: 10 – 6
AFTER WEEK 16: 115 – 120 – 5
WEEK 17: 8 – 8
Regular Season Totals: 123 – 128 – 5
Specialty picks were my salvation. My overall Trifecta tally going into Week 16…
33 – 11 – 1
You would have won significant dinero sports betting my specialty picks–the Upset and Lock of the Week–and stayed away from my Sucker’s Bets of the week.
I guess the conclusion is I had slightly better than a break-even year.
Last week’s results prove the point.
I was right locking in Atlanta to beat the Bills and with New England to play a desperate Houston team tough. I have my problems with Belichick, but in terms of playing to win, I don’t recall his teams ever tanking it. His players–even those at the bottom of the depth chart–always know what the game plan is and how to defeat the opponent at hand.
Take a minute and explore the mindset of a successful NFL coach by checking this out:
The only difference between Belichick and Chuck Noll is the legendary Steeler coach would have stopped the exchange with a glare rumored to have turned more than one questioner to stone.
Contrast Belichick’s single-minded focus with this verbal buffoonery courtesy of Rex Ryan:
Uh, Rex, can you e-mail your crack dealer’s corner address and refrigerator box number? I gotta get me some of what you’re smokin’!
Let’s take the long and arduous hike from Rexington to Realityville…
Your guys played like a .500 team in the regular season. You thrashed the teams you should have thrashed, played teams at your level closely, but lost five close games to non play-off teams. Your offensive line is the league’s best and, statistically, so is your defense. However, your schedule was soft and the AFC East was weaker than usual given the injuries to Brady and quarterback problems in Buffalo and Miami.
Your “leagues best defense” is a mirage, Rex. Last week, Cincinnati folded like a rickety chaise lounge from the first snap, and a fortnight ago, Peyton Manning was up by a touchdown when the Colts put in third stringers.
Your team better win, Coach, or you are going to look awfully silly.
WILD CARD EXACTA
All play-off games are sucker’s bets. They are hard to pick because the spreads are so thin. We’ll keep our Specialty Picks to the Upset and Lock of the Week.
Philadelphia was our Super Bowl dark horse from November on, but they were crushed this past week, playing as if it were no big deal trekking back to “Jerryworld” to face a talent-laden Cowboy team fed up with hearing about not having won a play-off tilt in eleven years.
I can’t figure out what Andy Reid was thinking–or is Dallas really that good?
Please God, say it ain’t so! If I have to watch Jerry Jones’s mannequin face for an extended play-off run, I may have to start watching the NBA.
Please, God, no…
The most likely scenario is Philadelphia can’t be that bad nor Dallas that good. What we have left is the ‘Boys talent vs. Philadelphia’s experience.
Talent wins out.
We can apply the same analysis to the Jets’ visit to Cincy. A young Jets team with a great running game against Carson Palmer, who is tired of being told he’s an underachiever.
The obvious strategy Marvin Lewis can implement involves stacking the box against Thomas Jones and make Mark Sanchez beat his Cats.
The best Rex Ryan can hope for is a full crack pipe.
Both games should be great theater because rational analysts can reasonably make a case for polar opposite outcomes.
LOCK OF THE WEEK
There really isn’t a lock on the slate. But I have to agree with Ray Lewis and believe Brady might be playing a little possum with his injuries. No one is better at distracting the enemy with injury talk than Belichick.
While it is true the Rat Birds made a lot of mistakes and were undisciplined in a narrow loss to the Pats in Week 4, what else do you expect from the Ravens? Stupid penalties and untimely mistakes undid them against Pittsburgh a few weeks back. In fact, that has been their year-long calling card.
Nowhere does that faulty play cost you more than it does in New England in January. When you add in that Baltimore hasn’t won in Gillette Stadium and Brady has never lost a home playoff game…
Lock and load…
NEW ENGLAND 31
UPSET OF THE WEEK
Arizona hosts the suddenly hot Packers and Aaron Rodgers. The Cards’ key people are nursing significant injuries, Dominic Rogers Cromartie and Anquan Boldin to name a couple. And don’t discount the injuries to fullback Dan Kreider (neck) and Sean Morey (concussion). Morey is a special teams demon whose absence could make the Cardinals vulnerable to a game-changing return.
Aaron Rodgers’s stellar play this season has vindicated the Packers’ decision to let Brett Favre escape Green Bay. He’s accurate and smart and has more athletic ability than most people realize. No one is going to be surprised by the Cardinals this year, least of all Rodgers and the Pack.
Take Green Bay and the point–you won’t need it.
GREEN BAY 34
As usual my picks are in bold italics…
NFL Lines Wild Card Weekend Playoff Games
NFL Game Lines 1/9 – 1/10, 2010
|Date & Time||Favorite||Line||Underdog||Total|
|1/9 4:30 ET||At Cincinnati||-2.5||NY Jets||34|
|1/9 8:00 ET||At Dallas||-4||Philadelphia||45|
|1/10 1:00 ET||At New England||-3.5||Baltimore||43|
|1/10 4:40 ET||At Arizona||-1||Green Bay||47.5|
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