Handicapping NFL Playoffs: CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Looking for a visual? I spend more time breaking down the games for you and giving you your picks. If you want to see the guy picking his nose – go back to one of my previous posts.
SEASON SUMMARY, BY THE NUMBERS
Season: 3 Picks: 30-16-2 Upset Special: 9-7 Bears Pick: 6-8-1
Playoffs: 5-3 (Last week 3-1)
Last Week Summary: Last week brought me back to my typical week to week average – above 500, which means good things depending on what you do with those picks.
My one loss last week was Baltimore getting 3 against Pittsburgh. With a 21-7 lead, I especially thought I was going to be in the driver’s seat. However, as I predicted, turnovers would dictate the game. Much like they did in the first half, turnovers turned into points, but unfortunately in the 2nd half, it was Pittsburgh’s time to shine. Baltimore folded down the stretch and was 1 play away from at least pushing (losing by 3), but let Pittsburgh in on a 3rd down to lose by 7. A great game nonetheless, thankfully, I also believed in the Over (know what I’m saying?).
The last 3 playoff games I picked correctly for everyone. The Packers winning in Atlanta was an easy call – to be honest, I think the Bears would’ve replicated the win had they had the opportunity.
The Bears game was another easy pick. The betting public kept that spread right where it needed to be. Despite the Bears 4th Quarter nap, their nice little victory helped them just cover. Thank goodness that Seattle didn’t prescribe to Belichick’s theory of going for 2 early in the “comeback”- or that 10 point cover was in danger. Suprisingly, many Bears fans were trickling out of Soldier Field by that point and probably were rather suprised to see the final score only have an 11 point differential.
The Jets pulled off a great upset in Foxborough. I was not too suprised, obviously, because I picked them last week. I knew that they’d cover, I questioned the win. As I wrote last week, divisional blowouts are more the exception than the norm. New England’s Defense was not the best and Defense wins playoff games. I give credit to the Jets, but their run, much like the Packers is about to come to an abrupt halt:
Bears +3.5 vs Packers – as you may have heard me state on the radio, you can not control public perception. You have to remember that Vegas’ goal in setting the spread is to even out the bets coming in – to get just as many Packer bets as you will Bears bets. National perception is that the Bears are lucky and if the Packers can win on the road in Philly and Atlanta, they can win on the road in Chicago too. The line came out at three and has moved up a hook over the course of the week telling us that Vegas was correct about their initial feeling about where money would go. Another thing to note is that the Bears’ fans tend to put their money where there mouth is. Bears money + National perception that Packers are better = Even money for Vegas = Packers favored. Now, that explained, you should know exactly where to go with your pick. First of all, the Bears are going to win. The Bears Defense is going to continue shutting down the “vaunted” Packer offense. Second of all, if you think you saw the real Bears offense in Week 17 (you remember – the 3 point offense), you are sadly mistaken. Yes, the Bears played all of their starters and would’ve liked to win. However, if you think that the Bears played all of their playoff cards in a “meaningless” game for their big picture, you don’t know….Martz. (PS – as frustrated as you may have been by the Forte pass last week – that is what we call a “set-up” play. Up 25 points or whatever it was at the time is the perfect time to give your next week’s opponent more things to study on film and have to spend time defensing. FYI….) Third of all, the Bears are at home and regardless of how you feel about Lovie, he knows how to beat the Packers. You don’t think the Bears are going to play up their favorite Underdog status this week? Can’t you hear it? “We are a 2 seed, playing a 6 seed, with an extra week of rest, we have a better record, we are playing at home, and we’re UNDERDOGS? People don’t respect us, but they’ll see. We know what we can do in this locker room and that’s all that matters.” After a long season of convincing their own fans, I think this one game will convince the country. Bears win…..and cover, oh that’s right, they’re getting points. See ya – flying to Vegas for a day.
Pittsburgh -3.5 vs Jets – Pittsburgh wins and covers. Let’s face it – only the bettors are interested in this game. That’s all you need to know. It’s Bears week and the Superbowl is in Chicago.
Losing Sleep and Counting Cash……See you for the Superbowl.
LET’S GO BEARS! LET’S GO BEARS! LET’S GO BEARS!