“Rule No. 76: No excuses. Play like a champion!” – Wedding Crashers
I love the playoffs. Actually, the first two rounds. I can block two whole days of afternoons/nights off and watch NFL football that really matters. To me this is like the opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. There is always an upset and people’s NFL brackets/playoff teams are in shambles by Sunday.
I would be even more excited if my team would actually make the playoffs but with Tim Tebow taking the reins, I’m going to be an outsider looking in for the next few seasons I believe.
There is a lot of action on NFL playoff games. People who have split their money on the vast amount of games each Sunday now find themselves having only two games a day to wager on. Even casual fans are likely to have something riding on these games.
That’s why it is important to see how the lines are shaping up. Three out of the four spreads are a field goal with the other being a team that everyone agrees outclasses their opponent, even on the road. Spreads this week are usually within four points because come next week, they will be much higher.
I spent a portion of my evening yesterday seeing if there are any good movies out this weekend so I watched a lot of trailers. I hate Hollywood sometimes. Country Strong? Season of the Witch? Gulliver’s Travels? Horrible. Looks like it’s either try to decipher what Jeff Bridges is saying in True Grit or stay at home to watch Wonder Pets with my son.
Also in honor of the NFL using this song during last season’s Super Bowl, here is this week’s background music of Arcade Fire’s Wake Up. Good luck to us!
This Week Against the Spread:
SEATTLE + 11 vs New Orleans: Let’s get something out of the way early—I don’t believe the Seahawks will win this game. But here is what the facts are: The Saints are without a running back besides Brittle Reggie Bush, their WR are banged up and now word comes that future fantasy stud TE Jimmy Graham and FS Malcolm Jenkins won’t play in this game.
Combine that with a pumped up Seahawks team at home and I see a close game or at least a decent chance at a Backdoor Cover (title plug!) at the end. I still hate Pete Carroll.
INDIANAPOLIS -3 vs NY Jets: Colts are the No. 1 passing team, Jets are No. 3 in total yards and No. 6 against the pass. Something has to give. I’m betting that the Colts run defense that has shown significant improvement down the stretch rises to the occasion. What worries me is the Jets are +9 in takeaways while the Colts are -4.
The Jets are a popular underdog pick to move to the next round while Peyton Manning seems to be an afterthought. I’m not giving up on him just yet. Until Mark Sanchez shows he can make witty commercials, he’s still just a smug punk to me.
BALTIMORE -3 vs Kansas City: Knowing that the Ravens are the most public bet on the board I tried to find a reason to take the Chiefs. I looked at their +9 takeaways and their running game. However, the experience and No. 5 defense of the Ravens will be too much.
I don’t have much faith in Baltimore’s offense which has gone into hibernation the past few games of the season to produce a lot of points. The Chiefs schedule was weak this season without many quality wins. Hopefully John Harbaugh gets to coach against Denver and his brother next season in the playoffs.
GREEN BAY +3 vs Philadelphia: This was the closest game to call. Philadelphia has a losing ATS record at home this season but Green Bay lost to Washington and Detroit on the road. They did beat the Jets on the road though and some of their bad losses came without Aaron Rodgers.
I don’t think this is the same Michael Vick that took the league by storm earlier in the year. His interceptions have skyrocketed. I’m also not impressed with his decision-making lately. I would say the lack of a running game hurts the Packers but they haven’t had one all year so this is nothing new.
I like the ability of the Packers defense to pressure Vick. This would put an end to what would have been the best storyline of the NFL playoffs—Vick playing in Atlanta. Oh well.
No writeups but my plays on each total.
New Orleans/Seattle OVER 44
Green Bay/Philadelphia UNDER 46 1/2
Indianapolis/NY Jets OVER 44 1/2
Baltimore/Kansas City UNDER 41
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BONUS OPINIONS!
Here are my best bowl opinions for the last week of the bowl season: Take LSU, KENTUCKY, BOSTON COLLEGE and OREGON to the HOUSE! I can’t live in a world where Cam Newton has a happy-ever-after. Did anyone see him at the Lakers-Suns game courtside Wednesday night? How does he get those seats? Does his dad know?