Well, last weekend looked like this for your boy.
Straight Up: 3-1
So I’m kinda sticking to the mediocre trend as I am now at 4-4 against the spread, 5-3 straight up and 6-2 with the over/unders (except I demoted myself for the first week for not posting them so I’ll call it 4-4). Hopefully I can close it out on a good note this week, although I’m gonna say I only feel confident in one of these games. You can guess which one that is yourself. Anyway, here are the picks…
Jaguars +8 over the Patriots and the Under (46.5)
Don’t worry, I’m not actually going to pick the Jacksonville Jaguars to defeat Tom Brady and the Patriots and go to the Super Bowl. That would be silly. Sometimes, you just gotta look at something on a very shallow level and without even breaking this game down I can tell you that a world where Blake Bortles ends the Patriots dynasty does not exist. It just comes down to straight up common sense.
No matter how much the national pundits try to say this Jags team “isn’t scared” and how often you hear that they are exactly the type of team that gives the Patriots fits, it’s all nonsense. The broadcast will refer to Brady’s hand, Tom Coughlin, the Jimmy G trade and Jalen Ramsey no less than 1,000,000,000,000 times. But soon enough, the Pats will shut down the run, Bortles will commit a few turnovers, Brady will start uncorking missiles and picking apart this kinda overrated Jacksonville defense and the Jags franchise will effectively burn itself to the ground (they won’t be back next year, sorry all those of you who love to Jag Off).
So let’s keep it fairly simple, the Jaguars are in no shape to come to Foxboro. They may think they are, and they may come in talking the talk. But let’s see if Myles Jack can actually stay with Gronk, or if Jalen Ramsey can avoid Brady embarrassing him. It isn’t just the stats (like the fact that the Patriots are 14-0 all time in the playoffs against teams they didn’t see during the regular season) that tell you how this is going to play out, it’s the feeling in your bones you get when knowing what you’ve learned over 17 years of Patriots football. The stadium will be rocking, Scott Zolak will be screaming and by the end of the 4th quarter the Super Bowl party will be on.
*Just to get a little footbally and not all rah rah, here are some quick thoughts….Brady’s hand injury is something I mentioned last week in my picks column. It hasn’t been right all year but I this seems to be an entirely new injury. It’s just a cut with stitches sustained from a collision with Rex Burkhead in practice. All of the hysteria surrounding the situation seems pretty overblown at this point, but we’ll see how/if it effects anything. The team seems to be hyping it up, as we’ve seen before and judging by the way Brady was acting in his presser, I’d say this is more Tomfoolery (Get it?, get it?!?!) than anything. Also, the story with this Jags team to me is that the defense is sneaky not good. We’re acting like this is the 2015 Broncos over here which is ludicrous. They play the same couple of schemes and don’t adjust which can work against most teams but is a recipe for disaster against Belichick/McDaniels/Brady. They didn’t exactly hold down the stiffest competition this year. This is also a spin off of the Seattle defenses that were great, but Brady dominated them. The other story here is that the Jags offense isn’t as bad as people think. And I can just imagine how many times Bortles is going to run for a first down…ugh. The threshold for victory in this game seems like about 20 points to me. The Pats missed 20 only once this year (19 in Tampa on a Thursday night w/o Gronk) and let up 20 at home only 3 times (first three games when the defense was figuring themselves out). Surprisingly, the Jags offense isn’t as inept as it would seem. They scored 20 or more in 13 games this season which is impressive for a team that doesn’t use the forward pass!
So anyway, why am I taking the Jaguars and the under if all I talked about this whole time was how the Pats would still win and how both teams offenses are good? Because this game is going to start slow and it’ll be a few drives before Brady gets humming and the offense starts to roll. Blake and the Jags are going to have a rough go of it under the bright lights. In fact, it’ll be scoreless through the first quarter and just 7-3 at the half. I’ve got Brady throwing for two more TD’s in the 3rd second half and the score being 24-10 late in the fourth before Bortles snags a garbage time TD to cover. Just one of those games when the score makes it seem closer than it ever really was. So fear not, Pats fans, the anxiety that was coursing through your veins about a man’s hand is nothing to run around with your head on fire for. We’ve seen the teams pull this fake out and blow things outta proportion before, so the extent of this injury should not keep you up at night (Also, because I think Brady or Brian Hoyer can throw the ball better with no hands than Bortles can with two).
Vikings -3.5 over the Eagles and the Under (39)
Which team has the edge when it comes to juju? It’s a tough call, as the gut punches come for each of these fanbases pretty regularly. On one hand, the Vikes look like the team of destiny. On the other, the Eagles are playing the disrespect card at a very high level. Some would say that the Vikings can’t actually become the first NFL team to host a home Super Bowl. Others would say that the home super bowl for them makes so much sense…(only because it’ll crush them more when they lose). I don’t know. Just from a karma standpoint, this game is a tough call. When we get down to what is actually on the field though…
I love the Vikings here. I love them in a fairly lopsided game. Maybe it’s the fact that Philly bores me and I don’t want them in a Super Bowl. Maybe it’s that I’ve been on the Vikings train for a while now. I think it’s the better coach, the better QB, the better defense and the better playmakers.
Sure it’s nice that the Eagles want to throw the dog masks on and be doubted again at home. They don’t mind playing outside, whereas the Vikings are a dome team with a speedy defense and a passing game not meant for the elements. But the few downsides to Minnesota do not trump the other downsides for Philly, with one of them being major. A LACK OF OFFENSE.
Nick Foles will not be beating this Viking defense. Yea, so they almost blew a game to Drew Brees last week. That’s Drew Fucking Brees! Foles is going to struggle to get the ball to his guys and when pressed to run, the Birds will #DieEaglesDie. 10 points are getting scored. MAX.
Minnesota meanwhile is just going to have to move on from their miraculous win in the Divisional Round and they’ll be golden. I’ve got a 30-7 final from the city of Brotherly Love, so hit it with me one more time! #ByeEaglesBye