Last week didn’t end up so bad. I went 50% across the board after a nightmare situation unfolded on Saturday. Let’s check the stats.
Against the Spread: 2-2
Overall Winners: 2-2
Over/Unders: (I forgot to post mine for Saturday but just trust me) 4-0 (but also since I didn’t post on Saturday I’m demoting myself because I’m a man of #integrity so I’ll call it 50%)
Anyway, we’ve got 8 teams left and it’s our last full weekend of football with 4 games between Saturday and Sunday. Let’s make the picks.
Atlanta -3 over Philadelphia and the Under (41.5)
These are two teams that I have not trusted all year long. I still don’t trust either of them, but Atlanta is trending upwards and Philly is falling off. I honestly didn’t love the whole makeup of the Eagles even when they had Wentz under center and now with Foles, well, it’s pretty easy to write them off. (Cue people saying Foles is a “good backup.” Yea, that’s not a ringing endorsement for me, sorry.)
Philly is actually the first one seed to be an underdog in their first playoff game. They are getting written off everywhere. Everyone and their mother is betting on the Falcons. I want to go the other way. I want to go against the dome team outdoors, with the worse coaching and the penchant for blowing big games. But, you can’t be a hero. I’ll go against them next week instead.
I do not like the coaching of the Falcons and I don’t like the way the offense is going either. But the defense looks good, well good enough to completely shut down the Eagles. It’s going to be cold and rowdy in Philly and with Wentz, I’d take the home squad by a hair. Now, I just feel as if they don’t have that level of talent they need to cover up what is phony baloney about them and Atlanta will make enough plays to move on.
New England -14 over Tennessee and the Under (48)
This is the LOCK OF THE WEEK. Trust me, I hatehatehate writing a team off as a Patriots fan. It feels jinxy and terrible but you know what? This might be the worst team that has ever walked into Foxboro in the playoffs. I think they are so bad all the way around that I’m like 95% not even scared of the jinx factor.
Tennessee showed some grit last week by beating a better team in a tough place to play, but how much better were the Chiefs really? I wasn’t buying them and frankly, they’ve played stupid and blown leads in the postseason before. The Titans escaped with a win but probably exerted all their energy doing just that. They’ll be happy just to move on and once they get in the cold air of Massachusetts, they’ll be dead.
I mean, this is just a miss match every day of the week and now we’ve got an angry Tom Brady who’s posting things saying “I am the storm” and striking real fear into the hearts of many. He’s spent the last week or so hearing that the Pats should have kept Jimmy G, that the TB12 method doesn’t work, that he is in decline etc. You don’t think he’s going to come out looking to pour it on? Ha. So you can look at his December and doubt him, you can worry about a possible injury (I’ve heard something about a broken hand) and you can bet against him, Bill and the Pats if you want. But just know that you are going to look stupid when they ratchet it up and blow the doors off the poor Titans.
I mean, it’s lucky this is the Patriots organization and Bill Belichick otherwise I’d be worried about them taking their eye off of the ball. As a fan, this doesn’t even feel like a playoff game and it’s hard to get hyped. Not only do I think Tennessee is bad but there isn’t any kind of hate for them. It’s also way too tough to come up with one thing about them that scares me or poses a problem. Derrick Henry, despite his play late in the KC game, is not a good back. He’s big, but he isn’t good. DeMarco Murray will be out. Mariota has not been anything close to what he should’ve been this year. There aren’t any real threats as pass catchers besides Delanie Walker and even then, I mean c’mon. The defense stinks (idk how they are going to cover Gronk). This is a game where only the perfect storm of crappy play, crappy calls and injuries could down the Pats.
By the way, I’m going with the under because the Titans aren’t going to be contributing points. Pats are dropping 35 (sounds like Hogan and White are def in the mix while Rex, Malcolm Mitchell and Gillislee are questionable) and the Mariota and the boys will only chip in with 10.
UPSET OF THE WEEK: Jacksonville +7.5 over Pittsburgh and the Under (41)
Jeez, it’s unders galore this week. I honestly hate that, but I gotta go with it. Anyway, something about this game just feels like a Jags win to me. Yes, I’m betting on Blake Bortles. It doesn’t make the most sense in the world but you know what? That is sports and that is the NFL playoffs.
This might be the best Steelers team we’ve seen in a while but yet I can’t fully buy in. I think it’s just the lack of discipline they have both on and off the field. It’s the same old Steelers when you hear their players and coaches looking ahead or talking shit. They’ve actually been talking about the Patriots for the past couple weeks more than any opponent they’ve faced and it goes to show you how in their head New England is and how unfocused they are. Throw in their star running back talking about his contract yesterday and the thought of this being the game that implodes this team and I’m all in. Roethlisberger loses to Jags, immediately retires. They’ve even got coaches getting into off field scuffles! It’s a Steeler playoff tradition!
Anyway, these two teams met up this year and the Jags defense held it down. They forced Big Ben into 5 INTs and kept the dynamic Steeler offense to just three field goals. It ended in a 30-9 road win for Jacksonville. Now, some would say you can throw all that out, but I think anytime a guy gets dominated that hard by a defense, you’ve got to take it into account. That same game will not happen again, and it’ll be tough for the Jags to beat Pitt twice, but I think they’ll hold the offense at bay just enough for the Jags to pull out a close one.
They’ll need a few turnovers and a great day running the ball. They’ll also need some plays from Blake Bortles. I know they’ve won games without him by limiting what he does, but in this case they are going to need something. I think they get it and this game zigs when many see it zagging.
The last thing I’ll say is that Antonio Brown is the x-factor. I’m curious as to what type of shape he is in and I expect him to be at about 75%. But even at 100%, this is as tough a matchup as he would face and I also do not trust him in big games. We’ll see if he can prove me wrong.
New Orleans +4 over Minnesota and the Over (46.5)
This will be the best game of the week by a long shot. I love both of these teams and this is essentially the NFC Championship game to me because whoever wins is going to the Super Bowl. Anyway, it’s the BountyGate game rematch (or the Adrian Peterson Bowl?) and it’s between two very even teams that both play indoors, so I’ll give the edge to the home team. They are both well coached and well rounded and I’ll be honest, I’ve been on the Patriots-Vikings Super Bowl for a while now so that may play a little bit into my pick here.
The only thing I’m worried about is Case Keenum turning back into a pumpkin, Sam Bradford coming in and getting his leg shattered and the Vikings season ending as it usually does, in disaster. But no, I’m not scared of being wrong on this one at all.
Despite both teams having defenses that I love (Vikings) and like (Saints), I see a shootout. This will come down to a field goal and the Vikes will squeak by and advance to the NFC Championship.
Oh yea, I do not full good about this pick at all. Such a toss up.