January 3, 2008

Wild Card Round NFL Against the Spread Picks

We're into crunch time, where astute gamblers make up for their regular season losses. Brien and Jeremy remain tied for the lead, with J-Red and Russell on the cusp of elimination.

Brien (43-40-2 for .518)

Washington (+3.5) over SEATTLE - Picking against the Redskins has been hurting me the past few weeks, and Seattle hasn't had a win over a playoff team since beating Tampa Bay in week 1.

Jacksonville (-1.5) over PITTSBURGH - I'll be cheering for the Steelers, but the Jaguars just keep finding ways to win.

NY Giants (+3) over TAMPA BAY - The Giants seem to be hitting their stride at the right time, while the Buccaneers peaked in November.

SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over Tennessee - The Chargers are another team that's getting hot going into the playoffs. I hate to lay this many points in the playoffs, but this game feels like a rout.

Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (41-38-6 for .518 and 46-33-6 for .576)

Jeremy's Picks:
Well I'm going to have to abandon my practice of not picking Redskins games, but I'm pretty happy to be forced to break this practice by reason of playoff game. On to the picks:

Washington (+3.5) over SEATTLE - Seriously... fuck you if you're not on the Redskins bandwagon. You've either got a heart of stone, or you're a Cowboys, Eagles, or Giants fan. If this team plays to any resemblance of the team I've seen the past four weeks, Seattle has approximately a .00001% chance of winning. And don't forget their ultra tough division schedule of the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals.

PITTSBURGH (+1.5) over Jacksonville - Neither team impressed last week. But I still like the Steelers and don't fully buy into the Jacksonville hype as of yet. Plus Najeh Davenport isn't such a dropoff from Parker.

New York Giants (+3) over TAMPA BAY - I am riding the NFC East. Plus, Eli plays better away from home and Tampa isn't exactly a hostile playoff atmosphere.

SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over Tennessee - I'll pick one favorite. No way Tennessee is in this spot if Indy had anything to play for.

Magic 8 Ball Picks:
My instruction manual didn't include the playoffs. And apparently I like home teams this week.

SEATTLE (-3.5) over Washington - "My sources say yes." [Seattle beats spread]. Jeremy responds: "Fuck you, Magic 8 Ball."

PITTSBURGH (+1.5) over Jacksonville - "Yes." [Steelers beat spread].

TAMPA BAY (-3) over New York Giants - "Yes." [Buccaneers beat spread].

SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over Tennessee - "Signs point to yes." [Chargers beat spread].

J-Red (38-44-3 for .465)

For once, I did my research. Since the league realigned to four division winners and two wild cards per conference, the sixth seed is 4-6 and the fifth seed is 4-6. I couldn't find ATS numbers, and since the weakest and second-weakest division winners can be much weaker than the wild cards, I suspect the records are close to .500.

SEATTLE (-3.5) over Washington- Seattle had the 15th ranking defense (12th run/19th pass), but 6th in points allowed. Seattle had the 9th ranking offense (8th pass/20th run), and also was 9th in scoring. What does this tell me? Seattle is an average defensive team that is pass happy, but doesn't turn the ball over on a short field. They give up a lot of yards, but Hasselbeck's consistency and Ryan Plackemeier's punting (30/86 inside the 20, 6 TBs) keeps the opponents having to cross the entire field (thus racking up yards, but not points). Plus, Washington's emotional edge the past month is gone now. It's the playoffs. Everyone is motivated.

And yes, I'm aware Seattle played SF and STL twice each. These are equal teams and one is on the road. They are not, however, equally coached.

(In response to Jeremy's assertion that the whole world has to be on the Redskins' bandwagon, or else be heartless: the Sean Taylor murder was a two-day news story everywhere in the country that isn't D.C. or Miami. It's typical D.C.-centrism to think that anyone anywhere else is rooting for the Redskins because of that tragic crime.)

Jacksonville (-1.5) over PITTSBURGH - Neither of these teams looked good last week, but Pittsburgh was playing a division rival with a shot at the 3rd seed. Jacksonville was locked in at 5 and inactivated MJD and Fred Taylor. I don't think Garrard will panic, and I don't think Pitt's OL and DL are a match for Jax.

TAMPA BAY (-3) over New York Giants - I don't know what to expect from this game, but I know it involves pressure and Eli Manning. It also involves pressure and Jeff Garcia, which usually doesn't turn out that badly.

SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over Tennessee - Kerry Collins wasn't going to have much to work with BEFORE it was announced that Roydell Williams is out for the year. I have set up Google Search Agents to locate the first instance of a Titan saying "We're just happy to be here."

Russell (36-46-3 for .441)

Maybe I can at least catch J-Red in the playoffs and get out of last place.

Washington (+3.5) over SEATTLE - The Skins are on a roll and Todd Collins will be able to handle the noise and pressure. Protecting the football and playing the classic Joe Gibbs style with a no-name QB, Todd will keep field position good and force the Seahawks to go the length of the field without a running game (Shaun Alexander has sucked the second half of the year). I think the Skins defense matches up really well.

PITTSBURGH (+1.5) over Jacksonville - Jax deserves to be favored here, but you don't just waltz into Heinz Field and win two in a row at the end of the year. This will be a tough, physical, man-to-man old school football game, and I will love it. I think the Steelers find a way to win at home.

NY Giants (+3) over TAMPA BAY - Jeff Garcia and company had the year I expected, but the Giants are the better team. Being on the road will actually help the Giants. Just look at their road record this year and think about how poorly Eli plays in cold weather. It will be warm again in the South by Sunday.

Tennessee (+8.5) over SAN DIEGO - Kerry Collins has played very well this year, and the Titans took the Chargers to OT when they played in the regular season. I just can't pick Philip Rivers to win a game by more than a TD when Tennessee isn't going to let LT run wild.


Brien - WAS, JAX, NYG, SD
Jeremy - WAS, PIT, NYG, SD
J-Red - SEA, JAX, TB, SD
Russell - WAS, PIT, NYG, TEN


Magic 8 (46-33-6 for .576)
Jeremy (41-38-6 for .518 -- 5 GB)
Brien (43-40-2 for .518 -- 5 GB)
J-Red (38-44-3 for .465 -- 9.5 GB, 4.5 GB Humans)
Russell (36-46-3 for .441 -- 11.5 GB, 6.5 GB Humans)

All of us: 204-201-20 for .504
Humans: 158-168-14 for .485

1 Responses:

Michael said...

Even though I'm a San Francisco Giants fan, I'm totally rooting for the NY Giants in the super bowl. I'm sick of hearing about how unstoppable the Patriots are! Go Giants!

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