Friday, January 15

NFL Picks: Divisional Round

Not a good Wild-Card weekend for the FCF team. We all missed on the Ravens' disgusting win and the Cardinals' shootout victory, and only Nick hit on Dallas' pummeling of Philly. I also managed to miss the Jets for a clean 0-4 weekend, making me 1-7 the past two years on the NFL's opening round.

I was struck last weekend by the extent to which turnovers decide NFL Playoff games. I know it's not groundbreaking analysis to suggest that turnovers are important in football, but the extent to which they matter cannot be overstated. Look at last week's winners and their turnover differentials for the game:

Jets (+2)
Dallas (+3)
Baltimore (+2)
Arizona (+2)

I mean, that's absolutely staggering. This week, I'm going to try to simply pick the team who will turn the ball over the fewest times, as that is apparently the only thing that affects NFL outcomes.

In related news, three of us will be in Las Vegas for the weekend - I know I'll be laying some dollars on each these games to make things a little more exciting while I'm out west. I may even add the amount I'm wagering on each game if I get a chance. I'm also planning to put a few dollars on the Cavs' upcoming NBA Title. Hey, you only live once.

Last week
Andy: 0-4
Figgs: 1-3
Nick: 2-2
Bucko: 1-3
Gopo: 1-3
Nick's Money Picks ($): 2-1

AFC Division Playoffs

Saturday 8:15 pm
COLTS (-7) vs Ravens
Andy: The Ravens just sicken me. What a gross organization. But that's why this is such an appealing bet for me. If I take Baltimore, I get 7 points, making three scenarios possible:
1) Ravens get blown out. I lose some loot, but hey, Ravens get blown out!
2) Ravens lose a close game. Not only is this a quite likely scenario, as Gopo describes, but it's best-case for me, as their stupid purple asses get knocked out and I collect at the window. Drinks on me!
3) Ravens win. At least I'll have my precious money to make things better.
So, I'm taking Baltimore.
Figgs: I like (the pick of) the Ravens a lot here. I think they could win it outright, but probably lose by a few. Either way, I don't see it as a touchdown game. I just want to make sure to clarify that I do not, never have, or will ever like the Baltimore Ravens, I just like the pick here. One more time, Ravens = suck.
Nick: Colts. I should mention up front that I've had the opposite in every game this week, but I've really gotten down on Joe Flacco as the week progressed. If Indy can get ahead early, they'll run away with it. The key to this game? Stop Baltimore's running game. If Indy does that, they'll win handily. You can throw on the Ravens, by the way. Also, they suck.
Bucko: I feel like this might be a closer game than people think. I'm still hoping Indy wins, but I'm going to take the Ravens in this one.
Gopo: i'm really trying to be objective and set aside my hate for the ratbirds. but man, i really hate them. hmmm. this is really going to mess with my rooting loyalties, but i'll go with the ravens. they played them close the first time around and i don't think it'll be different this time.

Sunday 4:40 pm
CHARGERS (-8) vs Jets
Andy: I haven't bought the Jets all year, and I still don't. The Chargers have won 11 straight games, are rested, are at home, and are just a better football team than New York. Remember my turnover-differential discussion in the open to this article? San Diago is +10 for the year while the Jets are -2, thanks to Mark Sanchez' 20 picks, most in the AFC. More than Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn combined! Yeah, the Jets can run the ball, but that doesn't win playoff games in warm weather. Bolts.
Figgs: While watching that Jets/Bengals game last week, I continued to think, "Wow, whoever wins this will get killed by Indy or SD." I just think that the Bolts are a far superior team. San-Di-ego, super Charrrgers.
Nick: Jets. I've flip-flopped on this one like three times, but I'm back to my original pick. Without looking past the surface, I'd totally go Bolts here. Rivers vs. Sanchez should be enough to pick San Diego, right? Here's the thing - the Chargers' weaknesses play right into the Jets' strengths. The Jets can run the ball well, and the Chargers can't stop it. The Chargers are an incredible passing team, and the Jets are incredible against the pass, featuring the best corner in the league. I don't know if the Jets can win this outright, so I'm going to take the points, unlike last week. But 7.5 is too many here, and I think the Jets can keep it within the margin. ($ +7.5)
Bucko: I actually think the Jets are a better team than most analysts think they are. This is just one point too high for me. I take the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!
Gopo: that line is high. i think the chargers will win, but not sure its by more than a td. i'll go with the jets for now.

NFC Wild-Card Playoffs

Sunday 4:30 pm
SAINTS (-7) vs Cards
Andy: Whoa, it's getting crowded there on the Cardinals' bandwagon! I'll be sticking with the Saints. Rested, home in front of an insane crowd, with a defense that forces turnovers and an offense that can score in bunches. Everyone forgot about them because they lost a tough one to Dallas and a couple of unimportant season-enders, but this is still an excellent team. And check out the TO margin: Saints (+14), Cardinals (-5). The top team in the playoffs vs the bottom. Huge. [Granted, this was also the case with +25 Green Bay a week ago, but I can't let one game override my percentages.] I'll buck the national feeling and lay those points to back the 'Aints.
Figgs: The NFC games are much tougher to pick in my mind. This is gonna be a shootout, which means a late score may be meaningless but flip the spread. I'm going with the Cards, just because I wouldn't be surprised if they made a run like last year.
Nick: Saints. This feels like a huge "fade the public" game, and Kurt Warner can't play like Dan Marino two weeks in a row. The Saints also feel like they're playing for the still-wounded city of New Orleans, and they have one of the few remaining home-field advantages in the SuperDome. This game is kind of a crap shoot, but I'm betting that the Cards have trouble slowing down the Saints, and the Cards can't move the ball as well as they did last week. Plus, I really want to root for the Saints balls-out in this one. This is my dumbest bet of the weekend.
Bucko: I'm so pissed that Green Bay is out. The face mask should have been called. I'm going with the Cards here. I actually think they'll make it to the NFC Championship.
Gopo: i think the saints get shocked by the cards. they haven't been playing very well down the stretch and arizona is coming off a great game.

Sunday 1 pm
VIKINGS (-3) vs Cowboys
Andy: I've been wanting to bet against Minny for a month, and now I get a Cowboy team that's rolling and getting three points with which to do so. Not a huge TO differential (Dal +1, Min +4), but Tony Romo's ball security (ha!) has been excellent - just 5 picks in his past 13 outings. I've been lukewarm on Dallas all season, but it's time for me to recognize that they're good. As long as Tony Romo remembers where Jared Allen is and Brett Favre remembers how much he enjoys throwing the ball to the other team, Dallas can pull this off. Cowboys.
Figgs: I have no idea here. Will Tony Romo 'Tony Romo' it or will Bret Favre 'Bret Favre' it. My bet is that Homo makes the more costly mistake. Vikes.
Nick: Boys. I'm terrified that I've now piggy-backed all of Bill Simmons' picks, but hey, he can't go 0-4 again next week, right? This is my favorite game on the board. The Cowboys look tough, and the Vikings have some key injuries that hurt their defense. The Dallas defense is so fast, and turf will only make them faster. They will pressure Favre without blitzing against a suspect Minnesota line. Plus, I feel for Tony Romo. Dude gets a bad rap. Romo's a good quarterback, and seems like a new enough fella. I don't hate the Cowboys like some people, as I'm indebted to them for beating the Steelers in the Super Bowl back in the '90s. Plus, I like the Cowboys' running game. (Dallas - straight up)
Bucko: Like Frank Caliendo as Madden all I can say is Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre! He'll find a way to pull it out in a close game. I'll say it first here. I wouldn't be suprised if Favre is a Brown next year.
Gopo: cowboys. i actually think the cowboys win this one outright - they are just rolling at the right time.

1 comment:

LDUTheCoach said...

This week TheCoach has the Cardinals in a close battle… the reason being is because the Saints simply screwed themselves by benching starters in the last week of the season… They haven’t won a game in a month now with the BYE and haven’t won’t a meaningful game since the Patriots or looked good winning in the process. I don’t trust the way the Saints decided to finished off the season and even if they do win… no way they cover the touchdown spread…

Indy on the other hand can win this game, it once again will be closer than the touchdown spread predicts though. Baltimore is playing great smash-mouth football but I am concerned at the fact they are playing Peyton Manning who can single handily win a game as we have seen many times.

Minnesota played out the season and of course we all know what happened, they stomped the Giants 44-7 (who beat Dallas twice this season) but lets be realistic in the fact that Dallas is playing the best football since 1996 but Romo is finally playing football since ditching Jessica Simpson. Good move for his stats!

Last but not least, I know everyone is saying the Chargers are going to kill the Jets, but again, Vegas is giving to many points here (7.5). The Jets match up so well against the Chargers, Revis blanket whoever he wants, and they stop the run while running the ball against a Chargers team who other than week 17 when they played the Redskins, gave up 100+ on the ground to 6 straight opponents to finish off the season.

Also, to finish off since 2005, seven teams have won round one on the round and they are 7-0 against the spread in the 2nd round (take Baltimore and New York)

For a full in depth write up with TheCoach Prediction visit:

Best of luck to all this week…