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Old 01-02-2014, 09:18 AM   #1
Anthony
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Cool Anthony's Wild Card Playoff Picks

Last week: 8-7-1. Final regular season totals: 120-127-9, Pct. .486. Best Bets: 26-23-2, Pct. .529.

Home team in capital letters; point spreads (opening line) in parentheses after underdog team; selections with point spreads in bold.



SATURDAY

INDIANAPOLIS
27, Kansas City 14 (+2 1/2) - Team A ranked 11th in the just-completed regular season in total offense, 15th in passing, and seventh in total defense, third against the pass - while Team B was 21st in total offense, 24th in passing, and 24th in total defense, 25th against the pass. One of them is the Kansas City Chiefs; the other is the 2-14, worst-in-the-league Houston Texans. Do you know which is which? Well it turns out that team B is the Chiefs - so were they more lucky than good in their first year under Andy Reid? And maybe a large part of their success was only having to play one game on artificial turf (and that at last-place Buffalo in Week 9) and none indoors; you see, dating back to 1998, Kansas City is 10-27 straight up and 15-21-1 against the line as a visitor on the carpet, while going 5-12 and 5-11-1 respectively inside NFL domes. The news is hardly more encouraging when it comes to KC's form at Indianapolis - 1-5 outright and 2-4 pointwise - or against Indy regardless of where the game was played - the same in both cases, in the last six. And if the present does not seem promising, look at what the future holds: The league's biggest jump in strength of schedule in 2014, based on the 2013 final records - and of the last 13 teams to face that challenge, 12 saw their record drop the following season by at least three games. Andrew Luck - who has proven that he doesn't need luck - should win his first NFL home playoff game easily.

PHILADELPHIA 37, New Orleans 21 (+2 1/2) - One of ESPN's talking heads - can't remember which one - said this of the Saints: "They don't travel well." And how - as in 3-5 straight up and 1-7 against the spread on the road this year, compared with 8-0 and 7-0-1 respectively at home. And in cold weather, they're no better, and over a much longer time span: 7-13 straight up and 6-13-1 against the line going all the way back to 1997. Furthermore, this is a "Triple Witching Hour" situation - the Saints will be playing outdoors, on natural grass, and in cold weather, all in the same game - and New Orleans is 4-10 outright and 4-9-1 betting-wise in those since 1996. With 26 degrees as the projected kickoff-time temperature - note that this is the game the NFL ended up sticking in the night-time slot (guess all is not forgiven over "Bountygate") - and a dismal running game (it ranked 25th in the league), the Saints' offense is likely to be significantly impacted by the elements, which the Eagles have already demonstrated will be no problem at all for them. New Orleans hasn't exactly excelled in Philly historically either - winning just three of eleven there and covering in four. And who knew Chip Kelly teams could run? Well this one certainly can - winning the team rushing title by open yards - and it's hard to see much changing here facing a defense that ranked 19th in yards per game allowed rushing, and 28th in yards per carry given up. Look for an overdose of LeSean McCoy, as Nick Foles wins the high-school bragging rights (both Foles and Drew Brees played their high-school ball at Westlake High in Austin, Texas) - and with this result sending them to Carolina next week, where Cam Newton will be making his NFL postseason debut, who knows?


SUNDAY

CINCINNATI
34, San Diego 17 (+7) - Like the Saints, the Bengals also reached their final 11-5 record by going 8-0 at home and 3-5 on the road - but unlike the Saints, the Bengals are at home, where they in fact went one better than New Orleans, not only winning all eight home games but covering in them all as well, and doing so by an imposing 275 to 134. This will be San Diego's first outing on artificial turf this season - and maybe it's just as well, in that from 2010 through 2012 the Chargers went 2-7 both ways on it. And it turns out that a blown officials' call - non-call, actually - was very likely responsible for San Diego's even being here for this game. Averaging 33 points per game during a nine-game win-and-cover streak in the City of Satan that commenced with last year's regular-season finale, the Bengals should have little trouble rewarding Marvin Lewis with his first career postseason victory, and first-ever trip to the Elite Eight.

GREEN BAY 30 (+2 1/2), San Francisco 20 - And not a tinker's damn was given by Aaron Rodgers about the seven-game absence due to a broken collarbone, as Rodgers led the Packers to a wild road win at Chicago last week for their third consecutive NFC North title; and while the 49ers have won three in a row over Green Bay, two of them were at the now-decommissioned Candlestick Park and the lone road win was on opening day last year, and that snapped an eight-game losing streak for SF in cheesehead country. The weather figures to be an even bigger issue here than in the other two weather-intensive games - a kickoff-time temperature of 9 below zero is on tap - and while the 49ers do have a cold-weather win to their name this season, it was at lowly Washington in November, and it "improved" their straight-up and spread records therein since 1998 to 6-15 and 7-12-2. Even more disturbingly, it has been a quarter of a century since San Francisco last won a road playoff game outdoors - 28-3 at Chicago in the 1988 NFC title game (actually played in January of '89), getting dump-trucked 38-21, 35-14, 25-15 and 31-6 since, the middle two at this very venue. It definitely does not figure to be a salutary homecoming for the Milwaukee-raised Colin Kaepernick - who not for nothing hardly lit it up in his first full season as an NFL starter,"leading" the Niners as he did to a ranking of 30th in passing yards per game, and 24th in completion percentage.


BEST BET: GREEN BAY
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:59 AM   #2
Jack Knoff
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Things didn't go your way with these picks, Anthony.

Is that why you didn't post your division round picks?
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Sounds to me like they're still waiting for a good old-fashion ass kicking.
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