So of course Reggie Bush Bear and Larry “Beary” Fitzgerald came to the bar with me.
Without survivor to play for, I just couldn’t get motivated to do a full preview and picks post. Plus I’m still devastated over losing last week thanks to Green Bay’s failure. After the come back! And winning the toss! Oy, Packers. You killed me. And everybody else for that matter. One guy picked Arizona. He won. The survivor pool is, to quote Iron Chef, “o-vah!”
1. I apologize to the Cardinals and Cardinals’ fans for not picking them last week. I say this not just because it knocked me out of the survivor pool, but because I should have picked them based on the fact that I went to a game at University of Phoenix Stadium this season. And it was an awesome crowd. And I had so much fun. Just look at this picture!
2. More importantly, I really should have picked the Ravens. If you look at my pre-game preview, I was not sold on the Patriots at all. And I hate them. So I would have aligned my rooting and gambling interests. Which is always ideal. Oh well.
Divisional Quick Picks
I don’t have time to do a full pro and con breakdown for this weekend’s divisional games, but here are my quick picks:
Saints over Cardinals
- This comes down to home field advantage. Both teams have big-play capability and are in some ways mirror images of one another.
- The Saints are at home, the crowd will be insane, so I’m taking the Saints.
- Also, did you see what Green Bay did to the Arizona defense last week? Yeah, me too.
- I think they miss Boldin more this week than last. Just a hunch.
- Caution: takeaways can disappear. Saints had 26 takeaways this season, 3rd in NFL. The Packers taught us this lesson last week. Just something to keep an eye out for.
- P.S. I would gladly root for either Arizona or New Orleans over both Dallas and Minnesota, but alas, I have to choose.
Ravens over Colts
- I don’t like the Colts’ lying down the last two weeks and the football gods will punish them.
- The Colts have lost their last 3 games coming off the bye week to start the playoffs.
- Ravens have momentum and Ray Rice.
- Flacco is healthier.
- Plus, the Michael Oher factor. Do not underestimate the Michael Oher/Blind Side factor
- Also we know that Indy’s home field advantage no longer exists since they moved to the new dome.
Cowboys over Vikings
- This hurts. A lot. I hate both teams so I would really love to see them both lose. Seeing as that’s not possible, I am picking the Cowboys. They are playing great and I think they will contain Brett Favre.
- On a personal note, I will root for the Vikings because even though I hate He Who Shall Not Be Named, I have a lot of friends in the land of 10,000 lakes, and they love their Vikings. So Go Vikings!
- But I’m picking the Cowboys. Sorry.
- I need to shower I feel so dirty.
Upset special: Jets over Chargers
- Yes, the Chargers are hot. Yes, the Chargers are at home. Yes, the Chargers are everybody’s favorite to go to the Super Bowl.
- But I’m sticking with the recipe of great defense and great rushing. The Jets have both. The Chargers do not. Period. End of story. I said last week that great rushing and defense wins playoff games on the road. I’ll say it again.
- And if it rains, that benefits the Jets.
- Plus, Revis shuts down Jackson. I am worried about Antonio Gates.
- I expect to lose this one, but might as well go with my heart.
- I do like the Jets to cover even if they don’t win outright.
Enjoy the games and see you next week for the Conference Championships!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Well helllooo there! If you’re reading this, it’s because the Jets upset the Bengals in Saturday’s AFC wild card match-up and I’ve lived for another day in my survivor pool. For Saturday’s pick and analysis, click here.
The good news is that the Jets win knocked 6 people out of the pool. The bad news? I have to make another “sure thing” pick. And one thing we know about the NFL this season, there are no sure things. Well, except when it comes to the Rams losing. And since this is the playoffs, there are no Rams. Or Browns. Or Buccaneers. Or Lions. Or Chiefs. Or Raiders. Or Redskins.
Just a quick reminder: we’re only allowed to use a team once. So if they advance, we can’t pick them again. Ever.
So without further ado, let’s get to the game breakdowns.
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Let’s start with the Patriots:
- Undefeated at home this season (8-0)
- Belichick and Brady have never lost a home playoff game (8-0)
- They have Tom Brady and Randy Moss (if Moss decides to show up).
- Very QB friendly officiating and rule changes
- Wes Welker is out. And that is a very bad thing, though Julian Edelman is an able replacement (and MOT!)
- Suspect defense (and I’m being generous here)
- Sketchy running game
- They’re really not the Patriots any more.
And now the Ravens:
- Ray Rice is a beast and will be hard to contain. Even Willis McGahee is back from the dead and is getting in on the party.
- If they can establish the run game (see point 1 above), QB Joe Flacco should be able to have time to make some plays downfield.
- Good but not great defense (they are no longer the super-vaunted Ravens defense, ok?)
- Michael Oher of The Blind Side is a starting O lineman for the Ravens in case you hadn’t heard!
- Ray Lewis. Oh, right, he didn’t go to jail. Nevermind.
- Prone to too many penalties and you know that the NFL has sent a memo to the referees to protect comeback player of the year Tom Brady.
- Weak receiving corps
- And they played in a weak AFC North. Yes, I said it. The Bengals were the division champs and you saw what the Jets did to them, didn’t you?
The pick: Patriots. I would love to pick the Ravens. Really, I would, since I hate the Patriots. But I have to stick with New England. I don’t think they go any further, but a first round win is not too hard to picture.
Moving on to the late game in the NFC.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
Let’s start with the Green Bay Packers:
- Aaron Rodgers is a total stud. And a monster on 3rd down conversions. Over 65% completion rate, double digit TDs and zero interceptions.
- Solid running game
- Solid defense, including Charles Woodson, a leading candidate for defensive player of the year.
- Wins over good teams including Dallas, arguably the best team in the NFC right now
- Playing on the road
- Do they incur the wrath of the football gods for running up the score on the Cardinals last week?
- NFL’s youngest team
- Aaron Rodgers has no playoff experience (I don’t count his garbage time 2 years ago)
- Two losses to Minnesota (a good team, but 2 losses?)
And now the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals
- Defending NFC Champions
- Kurt Warner’s veteran leadership plus Larry Fitzgerald’s ridiculous awesomeness
- A much improved running game with emergence of Beanie Wells
- Decent defense
- Injuries to Anquan Boldin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Boldin will likely miss the game. That is terrible news.
- Playing at home where they were only 4-4
- Champions of an extremely weak division (NFC West is the weakest division in the entire NFL)
- Look at their schedule: Minnesota is the only good team they beat all season. And bad losses to bad teams including San Francisco and Carolina.
The Pick: Green Bay. It’s hard to pick against the defending NFC champions who were in this exact same spot last year before making their improbable run to the Super Bowl. But lightning does not strike twice and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have the momentum. And this Cardinals team didn’t beat anybody good.
Survivor Pick: New England or Green Bay? Green Bay! Yes, I’m going all-in with the boys from Wisconsin.
Hope to see you again next week. And if not, it’s been a blast.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
For entertainment purposes only, I’m updating my 2009 NFL survivor picks here every week. The rules are simple. Pick a team to win each week. If they win, move on. Here’s a quick recap of my strategy.
Rule #1: Focus on the Negative
Rather than focus on what teams are good, focus on what teams are bad (and in some cases, really really bad). And there are plenty of them. St. Louis, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Detroit. If those teams (dubbed the “Sucky Six”) are not able to lose (if I’ve already picked their opponent), then consider the match-ups. And all bets are literally off when one plays another (St. Louis v. Detroit in Week 8? No. Thank. You.)
Rule #2: Don’t Save a Team
Remember: don’t worry about “saving” a team for later. You can’t advance to the next week unless you survive this week. If there’s a sure thing involving one of the elite teams over one of the Sucky Six, take it. Don’t get eliminated because you left an elite team (i.e., New Orleans, Indy, Minnesota) on the table in hopes of using them later in the season.
I’m also keeping track of the teams I’ve used each week in a separate post.
So without further ado, here’s this week’s Survivor Pick:
- Week 16
Arizona (over St. Louis)
- There are a lot of strong contenders this week: New Orleans (v. Tampa), Cincinnati (v. Kansas City), San Francisco (v. Detroit), Green Bay (v. Seattle), Arizona (v. St. Louis).
- I’ve already used New Orleans, Cincinnati and San Francisco, so it’s down to Green Bay or Arizona.
- I’ll admit that when I first saw Arizona hosting St. Louis, that was my original plan. But then I saw Green Bay hosting Seattle, and I started to question my original plan.
- Why go with Arizona? Because they’re a good team, still playing for a higher playoff seed (with some help) and they’re hosting St. Louis. They’re hosting St. Louis. And they’re hosting St. Louis.
- Why Green Bay? Because they are still fighting to clinch a playoff spot and secure positioning. Because they are hosting Seattle. Because Seattle is terrible (Seattle lost to Tampa Bay – at home – last week). Because Seattle is traveling from Seattle to Wisconsin in December.
- Not to jinx myself, I actually looked ahead to next week (yes, I know that violates my rules) to see if that would help my decision. Arizona plays Green Bay in Week 17. And that game is way too close to call, so I would never select either one of them against one another. Not to mention that it is a potential (and likely) playoff preview. So this is my last chance to use either Arizona or Green Bay.
- All things being equal, I would typically select the team that’s playing the Rams.
- And this week is no exception. Hello Arizona.
- Congratulations to St. Louis. You’ve been selected as the designated loser for the 7th (7th!) time.
- If you have New Orleans, Cincinnati, Green Bay or San Francisco still available, go for it.
And that’s it for Week 16. Good luck!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )