Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 NFL Playoff Pickery -- Divisional Round

The Spread Sez: Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3.5)

Joe: Ah, the annual Ravens-Steelers scrum. No doubt this one will be as ugly and defensive-minded as all the others. The Ravens looked dominant last week, in a way their vaunted defense often hasn't this season. Roethlisberger-to-Wallace might end up doing what Cassel-to-Bowe couldn't last week, but it's tough to abandon my visions of the Ravens in the Super Bowl. Plus that extra half-point is really making my decision for me. Final Score: Steelers 23, Ravens 20

Aaron: The Steelers haven't looked good against the NFL's better teams this season. Perhaps that doesn't come into play during the postseason or maybe it's less relevant when it's an intra-divisional match-up, but this Ravens team can win in Pittsburgh. The Steelers' obliterated offensive line has to stop a Ravens defense that's still picking pieces of Chiefs QB Matt Cassel out of their teeth. I assume they'll have flossed before kickoff. Final Score: Ravens 16, Steelers 14

The Spread Sez: Green Bay at Atlanta (-2)

Joe: I really like this Packers team -- which is to say I really like Aaron Rodgers. So why can't I seem to believe in them in this playoffs. Two measly points just seem to be far too few for a team as dominant at home as Atlanta was this season. Which I guess means nobody thinks they're a better team than the Pack. And if I've learned anything from people who get paid to spout off sports-related nonsense this week, it's that when Nobody Believes in You, you automatically win. Final Score: Falcons 31, Packers 27

Aaron: The Packers are this year's "team that everyone believed in before me". I don't know how much weight last week's win in Philadelphia carries, but Green Bay has seemingly discovered a running game to balance out Rodgers' heroics. The argument for Atlanta is that they were the best team in the NFC, but let's not forget how quickly that particular title changed hands in the Conference this year. So, yeah...I'm picking the Packers based on the tried-and-true "every good NFC team has gotta lose sometime" theory. Patent pending. Final Score: Packers 38, Falcons 34

The Spread Sez: Seattle at Chicago (-10)

Joe: Almost immediately after making my pick last week, I regretted it. Particularly in the post-season pool I'm in, where the reward of going against the grain with Seattle would've been much greater. Alas, no use looking backwards. Much has been made of the fact that Seattle beat Chicago in Chicago earlier this season. I'm not sure how much stock I'm putting into that considering how much the Bears' confidence has snowballed as the season has gone on. But it's enough to make me think this could stay close. Final Score: Bears 28, Seahawks 21

Aaron: The greatest gambling moment of my entire life involved these two teams in a divisional round match-up back in 2007. The Bears, playing at home, were favored by 8 1/2 points. Here's what I wrote: "I'm not saying the Bears will lose this game (they won't). I'm just saying the Bears might not even score 8.5 points, much less cover the spread. This one's free money, kids. Bet early, bet often." I put them in a three-team parlay and won, so of course I'm going back to the well. What could go wrong? Final Score: Bears 17, Seahawks 13

The Spread Sez: New York Jets at New England (-9)

Joe: Let the record show that I pretty much had that Jets-Colts game mapped out last week. This week, however ... ugh. I've made no secret of the fact that I want the Jets -- or at least Mark Sanchez -- to succeed. But man, it's tough to defend a game like Sanchez had last week (with, yes, one incredibly effective drive at the end of the game). I do think he's still incredibly young and on a trajectory to improve, if the national media doesn't destroy his psyche between now and then. But as for right now, I can't see him being the guy to bring down the monstrously smug Pats Nation. Final Score: Patriots 37, Jets 17

Aaron: So, we've all agreed to retcon the Jets' week two win against New England right out of the record books? Never happened? Look...I can't intelligently articulate an explanation for how Jets QB Mark Sanchez can reverse the regression that NFL experts have already deemed irreversible. I can't envision a scenario where Jets RB Ladanian Tomlinson isn't reprising his role as "mopey playoff loser on the sidelines". And, the Jets' defense is more bark than bite. But, isn't it possible that Jets really DID beat the Patriots once this season and maybe the Jets will be up for this game like no other all season (Super Bowl -- if applicable -- included)? Final Score: Jets 24, Patriots 23


Carrie said...

Crap, I guess I finally need to learn what a "spread" is so I can understand this. Alright, wikipedia, let's do this thing.

Aaron C. said...

Whenever I get around to posting the "standings", you'll see that I have no idea what a "spread" is, either.

I probably shouldn't have used Wikipedia as MY gambling guide.

Blondezilla said...

Dare I hope to dream...the Jets in a superbowl? I won't dream yet. Thanks Jets and thanks TBG!