Wild Card Picks

Ah, the NFL playoffs…is there a better time to be alive?

Well, actually, yes. I’m still not finished my first semester. The two papers that made me feel like a skinny white guy in a maximum security jail have both been handed in, but I still have an oral exam worth 25% of my POL 2391 mark on Wednesday morning. I was supposed to have it yesterday, which would have left my weekend open–but then the prof bailed on me, and I was left with yet another unwanted extension. What does this mean? Firstly, that I’ll get no real break between first and second semester. Secondly, that I’ll be studying in front of the t.v. today. And if this isn’t the weakest transition to a picks column yet, I don’t know what is.

I’ve also discovered that Proline’s spreads don’t exist in any realm of reality with which I’m familiar…I mean, in an average week their spreads are a good one to two points off the lines you’ll see anywhere else. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing–I have yet to win a single dollar this season. That doesn’t seem likely to change this weekend either, since I have no real intention of gambling on wild card weekend. That might change, of course…but regardless, onto the picks–replete, for the first time, with scorelines!

  • St. Louis @ Seattle. Ah, the joke that is the NFC West. Much has been made about Marc Bulger’s relative road form vs. his relative home form, and I’d imagine this to be an x-factor this afternoon. Seattle should, in theory, win this game with ease…but then again, the Seahawks should have won their division with ease as well, and yet it took a failed two-point covert from a second-string Atlanta Falcons team for them to lock it up. Seattle celebrated as though the ghosts of Cobain and Hendrix had been brought back from the dead and made to headline a benefit concert for Paul Allen. I’d imagine that’ll be the last form of celebration the Seahawks employ this year. Rams 21, Seahawks 19.
  • New York Jets @ San Diego. I haven’t bet against the Chargers all season long, and that isn’t about to change. Did you know that San Diego was 13-1-2 against the spread this season?? That’s insane. And sure, the Chargers’ one home loss this season was to the New York Jets…but that was a different Jets team, and that was before San Diego turned into a veritable juggernaut. Chargers 31, Jets 20.
  • Denver @ Indianapolis. The Peyton Manning Experience rolls into the playoffs for the first time since its demoralizing loss against the New England Patriots last year. And when Manning leads the Colts to a blowout win over the seriously inept, yet strangely impossible to forecast Denver Broncos…he’ll be setting up a rematch. On the road. Without a hope or a prayer. Colts 42, Broncos 10.
  • Minnesota @ Green Bay. WARNING: HEAVY BIAS ALERT!!!!! Proline has the Packers as 7 1/2 point favourites–a ridiciulous spread when you take into account: a, the two games these teams played this year ended in last-second, three-point wins for Green Bay; and b, the Packers are going to lose tomorrow. Once again, I revert to a point I made the last time these teams met up: what’s the point in having a favourite team if you don’t think it can win its biggest game of the season? Exactly. I should also point out that Daunte Culpepper–whose brilliant season was overshadowed by the media hype surrounding The Experience–had two of his best games as a pro against the Packers this season (seven td’s, zero interceptions, about 700 yards passing). And while the Vikings are 2-20 on grass in the last three years, one of those wins was at Green Bay (and it so easily could have been two more wins, were it not for…y’know what, I don’t feel like dwelling on it). On the flip side, the Packers have a well-rounded offence, a porous opposing defence and a quarterback who will be doing his usual step up routine tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to assume this game turns into a battle of Favre vs. Culpepper, with the winner leading his team to victory. Whether this has any sort of grounding in reality or not I don’t know, but I’m going to side with Culpepper: he had a beast of a season, put in two great showings against the Packers, and I’m hoping and praying that Mike Tice and Scott Linehan will have enough faith in their quarterback to give him control of the game and guide Minnesota to a win. Vikings 35, Packers 31.

And there it is. The AFC games seem like locks to me; the NFC games could go either way (I mean really, how can anybody hope to predict how Seattle, St. Louis or Minnesota will play from one week to the next?). What I do know is that I won’t be moving from in front of a television this weekend…and if that isn’t the best way to prepare for an exam, I don’t know what is.

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