Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 NFL Pickery -- Wildcard Weekend

Last Week:

Joe: 12-4
Aaron: 10-6
Tom: 8-8

Final Standings:

Joe: 165-91
Aaron: 158-98
Tom: 153-103

Congratulations to m'man Movie Joe Reid for effectively lapping the field. His nine-win margin of victory was equal to my per week average, so...he's agreed to come back for the playoffs and finish the job! We change things up a bit for the playoffs, picking against the betting spread. I just learned how this "spread" thing works last week, so don't expect any coherent explanation from me.

The Spread Sez: New Orleans (-10) vs. SEATTLE

Aaron: Are we done with all the revulsion and collective pearl-clutching over the 7-9 Seahawks' spot in the playoffs? Any more ridiculous ideas to keep this un-atrocity from ever occurring again? No? OK, then. The Seahawks are getting a lot of consideration as an enticing home underdog and the conditions in Seattle are expected to be cold, rainy and -- possibly -- snowy. The Saints didn't look good in the elements in a loss at Baltimore last month, but thankfully, a Seahawk is much less threatening -- both physically and in literature -- than a Raven.

Final Score: New Orleans 16, Seattle 3

Joe: Okay, so, I don't think the Seahawks belong in the playoffs. The perverse thing is, I do think they have a shot in this game. New Orleans has been coasting all season, with inexplicable losses combined with the odd solid victory. Are they going to pull it all together here? The spread here is a mirage, as either the Saints will win by a ton or Seattle will win outright. And while I'm crazy, I don't think I'm prepared to be that crazy.

Final Score: New Orleans 31, Seattle 10

The Spread Sez: INDIANAPOLIS (-3) vs. New York Jets

Aaron: Lots of people think the cold weather in Seattle could give the Seahawks a puncher's chance. Similarly, many of those same armchair analysts are giving Jets QB Mark Sanchez some underdog love because this game will be indoors. Honestly, Joe and I have gone through every Indianapolis roster since their first season in 1984. We're all out of "...with all these injuries, Peyton Manning might be throwing to [long-retired Colts wide receiver] by the end of this game..." jokes. Besides...Peyton Manning does NOT lose these games.

Final Score: Indianapolis 24, NY Jets 23

Joe: The Colts can neither run the ball nor stop the run, which takes two burdens off the table for the Jets. It also seemingly puts the game into a Manning vs. Sanchez mode, which ought to scare the shit out of any Jets fan. But I don't know, am I crazy to think this is a matchup that favors New York? This has never seemed like the Colts' season, not once, and for a team that could barely beat Tennessee last week when their playoff lives could have very well depended on it?

Final Score: NY Jets 19, Indianapolis 17

The Spread Sez: Baltimore (-2.5) vs. KANSAS CITY

Aaron: If a 7-8 Raiders team, with nothing on the line save for pride and the aesthetic symmetry of finishing 8-8, could go into Kansas City and defeat the Chiefs' starters last week... And, it's time we accepted the uneasy truth: this Ravens team is the only AFC squad than can compete with the New England Patriots and conceivably keep them out of the Super Bowl. Godspeed, Joe Flacco. Godspeed.

Final Score: Baltimore 20, Kansas City 7

Joe: I think it's great that the Chiefs made the playoffs this year, it's a more interesting landscape with them in it. Baltimore seems the obvious choice here, so let's start undermining my confidence in them, shall we: their pass defense has been soft all season, so I could see Cassel-to-Bowe happening quite a lot; KC's defense is their definite weak spot, but Baltimore's offense has been too inconsistent this season to definitely capitalize on it; it's really tough to play in Arrowhead. I'm sticking with the Ravens, but let the record show I should've known better.

Final Score: Baltimore 27, Kansas City 21

The Spread Sez: PHILADELPHIA (-2.5) vs. Green Bay

Aaron: I dunno. Weren't Aaron Rodgers and the Packers considered the better team by everyone when they lost to the Cardinals and their banged-up quarterback in the first round of the playoffs last year? I'd really like to see Rodgers win a playoff game, before I pick his Packers to win a playoff game. Especially one that's in Philadelphia. I hear there's a holding cell in the bowels of their stadium for unruly fans. I heard their Eagles fans at the old Veterans Stadium once booed throughout an on-field ceremony that featured a guy dressed as Santa Claus! How have these stories not gotten more traction in the sports-talk radio discourse?

Final Score: Philadelphia 28, Green Bay 27

Joe: I like this Packers team, but they never really seemed to have pulled it all together this season. Even that win over the Giants was so much a product of New York mistakes and turnovers. As for Philly, I'm not sure I'm buying the "teams have figured out Mike Vick" thing.

Final Score: Philadelphia 38, Green Bay 24


Jeff Hansen said...

"I'd really like to see Rodgers win a playoff game, before I pick his Packers to win a playoff game."

Ah Cam, not you too? The man got 400 yards and five touchdowns. That's more touchdowns than Rex Grossman got in four playoff games, but Grossman went 2-2. By your logic, you'd pick Grossman over Rodgers in the playoffs.

I get anyone doubting the Packers as a whole when it comes to close games, playoffs, etc. but to include Rodgers in that seems crazy to me.

Aaron C. said...

Fair point, Jeff.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that winning on the road, in a place like Philadelphia with a reasonably rested Mike Vick is a daunting task. (Like, Joe, I'm not convinced the league has concocted a "Vick Elixir" yet).

I could've said that without the admittedly tired "Rodgers hasn't won a playoff game" meme, though. If the Packers were playing in Seattle this week -- against playoff-tested Matt Hasselbeck -- I'd take Green Bay in a cakewalk.