Friday, January 15, 2010

NFL Divisional Round Picks

Four more games this week, in the week where we usually see the blowouts but who knows as there do appear to be some compelling matchups to decide who will battle it out for the conference championship in the respective conferences. I went 2-2 last week, which as I mentioned is not a profitable way to be, but it was my best performance in a month and ultimately saw me correctly pick half the games when not being given a choice in which games to select, so I suppose I can be halfway-satisfied with .500 in the first round of the playoffs. Looking forward to getting back on the profit train after now five weeks away from that whole part of the station. So without further adieu:

1. Arizona Cardinals +7 at the New Orleans Saints. The early Saturday game has all the makings of an extreme shootout to kick off the divisional round of the playoffs in the NFL, as the Cardinals come in fresh off of their thrilling 51-45 victory against the Packers that included them giving up five touchdowns in the second half of that game alone. And the Saints have been reeling themselves, losing their last three games after a 13-0 start, and having not won in more than a month at this point. Given what the Pack did last week, one can only assume that the Saints will not have any trouble scoring the ball, and there is no way I am betting against Kurt Warner doing much of the same for his squad after his incredible performance last week and in the post-season in general over his career. Even though I believe the Saints should find a way to win this game at home, there is enough chance that the Cardinals could win outright that, when combined with all the ways they could lose but by less than 7, the value just once again seems to sit with the underdog in this matchup in my eyes.

2. Indianapolis Colts +6 vs Baltimore Ravens. The Saturday night game is one where I like the favorite, for the first time in this entire playoffs so far in fact. I picked Baltimore last week and I have a lot of respect for Joe Flacco, Coach Harbaugh and everything the Ravens managed to do this year in fighting their way into the playoffs out of a very crowded bottom of the AFC playoff race. And I do not think the Colts are some kind of an unbeatable team by any means, as we have seen year in and year out since Tony Dungy was the coach of this team and could only find the promised land once with Peyton Manning at the helm. But ultimately I have a metric shit-ton of respect for Peyton Manning, and I think his creativity, his awareness and his spontanaeity at the line will be enough to get the victory against a Ravens team that seems really undermanned in the passing game. With this explosive, quick-strike Colts offense playing in the dome at home, and with the Ravens getting a little old on defense, there is a good chance that the Colts drop behind early in this one, and I don't like Flacco et al to play well enough from behind to keep this quite to within one score.

3. Dallas Cowboys +3 at Minnesota Vikings. The Sunday 1pm game is another one like my first pick above where I just think there is more value on the underdog than on the favorite in the game. The Cowboys have looked great over their past several games, while the Vikes haven't played well against a real opponent in going on 6 weeks now thanks to a weak end of the season for Brad Childress & crew. And with as many weapons as the Vikings have on offense with Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and all those good receivers, I honestly think the Cowboys are one of the few teams in the league that can go toe-to-toe with the Vikes on the talent front. Although Minnesota's rush defense is excellent, they have not faced an O-line like Dallas' yet this season, and the Vikings have been shown to be very vulnerable to strong passing teams. With Tony Romo playing very well lately and taking especially good care of the ball, I predict a big day for Miles Austin and especially for Jason Witten, and I suspect it will be enough to at least keep Dallas in this game heading into the fourth quarter. It's another example of where I think the chances of Dallas winning outright plus the chance of them losing by a field goal or less is just a bit greater than Minnesota's chance of winning by more than 3.

4. San Diego Chargers -7 vs New York Jets. I don't know exactly how this game plays out such that the Chargers win by a touchdown or more, but I just have a feeling that the Jets' run ends here on Sunday afternoon. Although I would not at all be shocked to see the Jets keep this one within 7 points, ultimately I think the Jets' defense is just not going to be good enough to contain all the myriad weapons the Chargers can throw at you (pun intended) on offense. Sure, Darrelle Revis is a beast and I think clearly the #1 cover guy in the NFL today, but unfortunately for Jets' rookie head coach Rex Ryan, Revis is just one man. So they can put him on Vincent Jackson and basically take Jackson out of the game, but then they still need to worry about Malcom Floyd and Darren Sproles coming out of the backfield (each with 45 receptions on the season), and of course let's not forget big Antonio Gates, the best tight end in the league today as well. And then there's always Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson coming out of the backfield. I just don't think this Jets defense has it in them to hold by far the NFL's hottest team down for long enough to keep this one real close. And as I mentioned with the Ravens above, if the Jets fall behind early to the Chargers' juggernaut offense, that ruins the game plan of keeping Jets' rookie qb Mark Sanchez from having to do too much. They fall behind early and I could see a flat-out blowout in the making for San Diego.

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Blogger LDUTheCoach said...

This week TheCoach has the Cardinals in a close battle… the reason being is because the Saints simply screwed themselves by benching starters in the last week of the season… They haven’t won a game in a month now with the BYE and haven’t won’t a meaningful game since the Patriots or looked good winning in the process. I don’t trust the way the Saints decided to finished off the season and even if they do win… no way they cover the touchdown spread…

Indy on the other hand can win this game, it once again will be closer than the touchdown spread predicts though. Baltimore is playing great smash-mouth football but I am concerned at the fact they are playing Peyton Manning who can single handily win a game as we have seen many times.

Minnesota played out the season and of course we all know what happened, they stomped the Giants 44-7 (who beat Dallas twice this season) but lets be realistic in the fact that Dallas is playing the best football since 1996 but Romo is finally playing football since ditching Jessica Simpson. Good move for his stats!

Last but not least, I know everyone is saying the Chargers are going to kill the Jets, but again, Vegas is giving to many points here (7.5). The Jets match up so well against the Chargers, Revis blanket whoever he wants, and they stop the run while running the ball against a Chargers team who other than week 17 when they played the Redskins, gave up 100+ on the ground to 6 straight opponents to finish off the season.

Also, to finish off since 2005, seven teams have won round one on the round and they are 7-0 against the spread in the 2nd round (take Baltimore and New York)

For a full in depth write up with TheCoach Prediction visit:

Best of luck to all this week…

1:14 PM  
Blogger APOSEC72 said...

I feel impending doom, since the picks I threw out Friday morning exactly matched what you put now I'm looking at 0-4 probably :)

7:39 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

0 for 1 so far, Aposec!

Beware the cooler....

8:31 AM  

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