January 16, 2010

NFL Picks Against the Spread - Divisional Round

This post is sponsored by Sportsbetting.com, our favorite online sportsbook.

Onward to another terrific weekend of playoff football with some very intriguing matchups (and lines)...

Brien (1-3-0)

Arizona (+7) over NEW ORLEANS - The Cardinals have proven themselves to be pretty good in January, and the Saints are in a free-fall.

INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over Baltimore - The Colts seem to have the Ravens' number the past few years, and I don't think resting their starters hurt that much.

Dallas (+3) over MINNESOTA - It's time for Brett Favre's collapse, right?

SAN DIEGO (-7) over NY Jets - This might be the year for the Chargers to make it back to the Super Bowl.

Jason (0-4-0)
Jason may have thrown in the towel already after the Bill Simmons week. I was moving today and the Saints game is presently Saints 21, Arizona 14. I would have taken Arizona +7 (and probably still would) because I think Kurt's planned retirement has inspired him to near perfection.

Baltimore (+6) over INDY - Here is the difficulty posed by Ray Rice: if you stack the box, you can't see him. He's too short. If you don't, the big boys will be three yards down the line before first contact. I think Indy will concede 4-5 yards per carry for Rice and assume they can still keep the Ravens under 21. It's just a matter of how many mistakes Peyton makes, forced or otherwise.

Dallas (+3) over MINNESOTA - Dallas has played historically well on defense the past month. Minnesota struggled heading towards the playoffs. Could Minnesota hit some homers with Favre, Sidney Rice and Adrian Petersen? Sure. But more has to go right on a home run offensive play than to continue to play solid defense. Dallas' pass rush makes the difference.

SAN DIEGO (-7) over New York Jets - The Jets are a great story, but Sanchez will have to win this game, even if Revis takes away Vincent Jackson. I don't think this one is close.

Jeremy (2-2-0)
"I expect Ray Rice to have a huge day." - As stated by me in my pick of the Ravens-Patriots game last week. If only I could selectively pick out the few bold predictions that I've made this season that turned out right, I'd seem a lot smarter.... You'll see a trend in my game picks this week.

NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Arizona - This is a huge line to bet against Arizona, especially given how prolific their offense was last week and especially given how the Saints shat the bed for three straight weeks to end the season. Still... much harder to win a shootout with the Saints than with the Packers (o/u is an astonishing 57.5).

INDIANAPOLIS (-6) over Baltimore - I don't think any of the teams with a first round bye is less likely to have a letdown than the Colts, even though the last three years they've had a bye they've lost in the first round.

MINNESOTA (-3) over Dallas - The sexy pick for an upset, with E.J. Henderson out for the season, the Choice/Jones/Barber machine at work for the Cowboys, and Dallas riding some serious momentum. I still think the Vikings are just too dangerous on their home turf in the Dome to pick against them.

SAN DIEGO (-7) over New York Jets - Another big line shows that Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and the rest of the Jets just aren't getting much respect, especially after eviscerating the Bengals last week. That said, I expect Revis to shut down Vincent Jackson, the Jets front seven to shut down Sproles, but PhiLLLLip Rivers will feast on a steady diet of Antonio Gates all game long.

Picking all favored home teams to win. You can say it... I have no balls.

Russell (2-2-0)
Unlike last week, I will not be copying Jeremy's picks, as they are indeed sans cajones.

Arizona (+7) over NEW ORLEANS - When was the last time anyone was impressed by the Saints? Against the Pats in week 12? Since then, they beat the Skins and Falcons (without Ryan or Turner) by a FG each, and then lost 3 straight to DAL, TB, and CAR.

Baltimore (+6) over INDIANAPOLIS - As Jeremy was so kind to point out, the Colts have lost the last three years they've had a bye. I'll take the points.

MINNESOTA (-3) over Dallas - The sexy pick for an upset indeed, but I like a rested AD, the ageless wonder, and the Vikings still solid defense. Let's not get all excited about how great the Cowboys' recent victories have been. They've beaten NO (see above), the Skins, and the Iggles twice. Color me not that impressed.

SAN DIEGO (-7) over NY Jets - An extra week of rest and a rookie QB to feast on for the Chargers. The Jets won't be able to run the ball well enough to win.

Brien: ARI, IND, DAL, SD
Jeremy: NO, IND, MIN, SD
Russell: ARI, BAL, MIN, SD

January 14, 2010

NFL’s Most Annoying Fans - Divisional Round

Down to 8 competitors left.  Check out the previous entries to catch up.  Last week we did pictures of annoying fans, this week we’re doing videos.


Green Bay v. Philadelphia

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Really?  A song about Favre to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner?

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Ugh, “The day that football died?”  Richie Valens is rolling over in his watery grave.

Apparently Packers fans are cute girls who sing dumb songs.  That’s nothing compared to Eagles fans:

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They drink 40s at bars and loudly curse at the announcers (via HHR).

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They’re probably racist, and definitely don’t know anything about football.

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They love cursing at televisions.

Eagles fans win this one, primarily for being a-holes.

Dallas v. Washington

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Wow.  Everything the world hates about Cowboys fans in one video.  In case you didn’t watch the whole thing, this guy parks his car on his lawn to display his Cowboys car flags during away games.

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The whiny Skins fan routine isn’t any more tolerable done in a Def Poetry style.

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Here’s our buddy from last week.  Amazingly, the HOF tattoo isn’t his dumbest one!  He has Mark Rypien’s autograph tattooed on his arm!

This one is tough, but the Cowboys take it in a squeaker, primarily because their annoying fans are more spread out.


New England v. Pittsburgh

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There is not a more annoying song on the face of the Earth than the Steelers Polka.

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There is no reason to take a yellow towel with you everywhere you go.  To the stadium, fine.  On vacation, not cool.

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“I give up on football”

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Drunk? Check.  Vulgar?  Check.  Violent?  Check.  Incoherent?  Check.  Shirtless?  You betcha.  Here we have a perfect example of a typical Patriots fan.

As annoying as Patriots fans are (I’m looking at you, Bill Simmons), the Steelers Polka tips this one Pittsburgh’s way.

Oakland v. Baltimore

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“I’m an avid model railroader and Ravens fan.”  Yeah, that sounds about right.

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The Chuipmunks are Ravens fans?

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How stupid is getting in a fight in the stands?

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Apparently it’s common at Raiders games.

In a surprise upset, the violent Raiders fans upset the lame Ravens fans.

Next Week - Conference Championships


Cowboys v. Eagles


Steelers v. Raiders

January 13, 2010

Terps Lose at Wake

Only two days after beating FSU at home, the Terps lost to the Demon Deacons in Winston Salem after five extra minutes of action. Did the Terps play well enough to win? Yes. Did they play well enough not to lose? No.

It's always hard to beat a good team on the road, and Maryland was in a position to do that tonight, but it slipped through their fingers. So many things just didn't seem to go well in overtime: Gregory fouling out on a touch foul, barely stepping on the end line after a rebound or falling and travelling after a rebound, Ish Smith's prayer falling in, the officials not adding time back on... But we can't blame this loss on the officials or bad luck. In conference play (especially as a non-NC school) you have to go out and take it, and not leave it up to the refs. Vasquez could have gotten a better shot than just jacking up a 3 late in the game, we could have made the 3 missed FTs in OT, Gregory could have taken his time on the tip with 2 seconds left in regulation, Vasquez could have avoided a silly foul with a minute left in OT, the team could have executed better offensive plays at the end of regulation or OT...

Overall, the team is playing well, and our inside presence is a dramatic improvement from last year. It's just disappointing to lose a conference game you know you could have won. And the worst part is, that game could be the difference between 9-7 or 8-8 in conference play, could be the difference between making the tournament or not for a team likely to be on the bubble. Every quality road win counts.