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Money Mouth: Divisional Round Picks

| January 15th, 2016

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I have no idea what’s going to happen this weekend. Not a single result would surprise me. So I’m going back to picking SOMETHING for these games. I finished the season six over .500. Still have a chance to get to ten over. But I need a strong performance. (For some reason I didn’t include spreads last week but I would have gone 2-2 any way you slice it.)

PATRIOTS OVER 23.5 PTS VS. CHIEFS

Here’s what Bill Belichick knows: his offensive line can’t protect Tom Brady from the Chiefs pass rush. And since no coach in history has been better at self-evaluation, he won’t ask them to try. Instead Brady will go to the quick-release pass attack with Edelman Edelman Edelman and neutralize Houston, Hali and company. I think it works. Not sure if Pats are healthy enough to win but they are healthy enough to score.

PACKERS +7 AT CARDINALS

I am going to be rooting very hard in this game so I’m making an emotional hedge. Would love to lose this one.

PANTHERS OVER 23.5 PTS VS. SEAHAWKS

Here are the Carolina scores over the last 8 games: 27, 44, 33, 41, 38, 38, 13, 38. I say they play with a chip on their shoulder as the media at-large keeps trying to convince fans the team is overrated. (2015 Panthers remind me an awful lot of the 2006 Bears. Nobody thought that team could make the Super Bowl until their plane landed in Miami.) Bold prediction: Panthers beat them up.

I will not be making a selection in the Broncos/Steelers game as there’s no point. Unless someone can prove to me Roethlisberger will be healthy it’s a sucker’s wager. But without Antonio Brown I’d need a big number to take Pittsburgh.

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Playoff Picks: Wildcard Round

| January 8th, 2016

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Administrative Note: We’ll resume our postseason positional analysis columns on Monday with running backs, Tuesday with wide receivers, Wednesday with tight ends & Thursday we’ll wrap up the offensive side of the ball with our analysis of the line. (Defense will come after the division round.)

KANSAS CITY AT HOUSTON

Am I willing to embrace the notion of Brian Hoyer winning a postseason game? No, I’m not. Am I willing to cast my support unabashedly for Andy Reid in a postseason game? No, I’m not. But since I picked the Chiefs to make the Super Bowl in August I might as well continue seeing red. And on a football note, the Chiefs don’t look to throw the ball downfield so their short passing attack should be able to neutralize the Houston’s greatest asset: Watt, Whitney and the pass rush. Chiefs 20, Texans 13

PITTSBURGH AT CINCINNATI

Here’s what I keep hearing from folks analyzing the wildcard round: nobody wants to play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s my follow-up question: why? The Steelers controlled their road to the postseason and lost to Marc Trestman and Ryan Mallett! (And the game wasn’t particularly close.) Then in Week 17 the Steelers were horrible against Cleveland, with Big Ben throwing ugly picks to second-rate linebackers. If Austin Davis weren’t starting for the Browns and they didn’t decide to fumble away the second half, the Jets would be in the playoffs. So is Pittsburgh just going to turn it on? Bengals 24, Steelers 22

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Money Mouth: Three Picks for Week Fifteen

| December 17th, 2015

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Three. And. Oh. Much needed.

Ravens Under 17 pts vs. Chiefs

Chiefs are a good defensive team. And here is an amazing excerpt from an ESPN piece about the Baltimore Ravens:

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen didn’t get the win Sunday. He didn’t lead a touchdown drive.

But he did enough in the 35-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks to earn a second start with the Baltimore Ravens.

If James Clausen beats you, you get beat.

Bears +5.5 at Vikings

Bears margins of victory/defeat since Jay Cutler returned from injury: 2, 1, 3, 3, 3, 24, 2, 6, 3. Is there really any reason to believe this game won’t come down to the final few moments and be decided by a field goal or so? Taking the points with the Bears seems the astute move.

Lions & Saints Over 50.5 pts

Lions v. Rams hit 35 points on Sunday. And the Rams have a terrific defense and putrid offense. The Saints, by comparison, have a potentially prolific offense and putrid defense. And both teams have nothing to play for so this could be one of those, “What the hell, let’s go for it on all the fourth downs!” games.

Season Record: 23-17-2

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks for Week Five

| October 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.01.04 PM That’s more like it. The Dolphins crashed and burned. The Bears were never going to be beaten by more than a field goal. Detroit was every bit the equal of Seahawks in Seattle. 3-0, over the hump and back in the saddle again.

Chicago Bears +10 over Kansas City

Didn’t understand the line when it was released. Don’t understand it now. Usually that means I’m lost but I just don’t see this game as particularly lopsided and that’s an awful lot of points. More to come tomorrow…

PACKERS UNDER 27.5 PTS HOME TO ST. LOUIS

Packers always score a boatload of points at home. But I like them at 27 or below for two reasons:

  • This Rams defensive front can be hell for Aaron Rodgers to deal with for four quarters, especially Aaron Donald in the middle. Rodgers won’t have any time to look down the field for big strike, quick point plays. No big plays means points will take longer to score.
  • Todd Gurley. That was a “wow” performance from Gurley a week ago and I expect him to get better week-to-week. Want to keep Rodgers off the field? Feed Gurley.

NEW YORK GIANTS -7 VS. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Niners are dead. They are the worst team in football. They have the worst quarterback in football. And they are going to play the eventual Super Bowl champion in primetime? No chance.

Record: 6-5-1 (+$40)

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