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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Championship Round Selections

Baltimore Ravens +7 @ New England Patriots

Having attended a lacrosse crazed private school filled with
insufferable Ravens and Pats fans, no matter who wins this game, we
all lose.

The Texans were clearly the better team last weekend. Unfortunately
for Houston, TJ Yates happened on the way to the AFC Championship.
Baltimore's offense looked stagnant and ineffective. Making matters
worse, Ed Reed suffered an ankle injury. Reed will certainly play,
but how limited will he be? The Ravens defense without Reed is like
Harold Melvin without he Blue Notes. The Pats, on the other hand,
decimated an overachieving Denver team. Lest we all forget, Denver
was left for dead. Pundits calling for Tebow rationalized the move by
assuming the season was a lost cause. The Patriots won big against an
overmatched team.

A couple of predictions:

- Ray Rice runs all over the Patriots defense.

- Joe Flacco misses an open Torrey Smith at least twice

- Brady makes some surprisingly bad reads resulting in at
least 1 interception

- Wes Welker terrorizes LarDarious (French for "The rDarious") Webb.

The Patriots will by virtue of Joe Flacco's ineptitude and misplaced
sense of self worth. However, its close and the Ravens run the ball
well enough to keep Brady on the sidelines. Danny disagrees with my
pick as he is a firm believer that in the NFL, during the post season,
DEFENSE wins games...

Eric - BAL 20 NE 27
Danny- BAL 24 NE 23

New York Giants +2 @ San Francisco 49ers

When did this Giants team turn into the '72 Dolphins? Humility has
gone the way of the Do-Do in New York. With shades of the 2007 team,
New York is wildly impressive. They're a more evolved team. They
have a fantastic passing attack, great offensive guard play, the
threat of a running game, and they get after the passer with as many
people as we've seen. That may not sound like evolution, but I argue
differently. The running game provides a real threat. While it isn't
likely they'll dominate (say 160+ yards), it's a real and dangerous
threat they may. This idea (the threat) is more important that what
actually occurs. It keeps teams honest and off balance and accounts
for a major portion of the opposition's preparation. Brandon Jacobs
sucks- most of the time- but the pendulum may swing wildly and he'll
resemble Otis Anderson circa 1989. They're protection is fantastic up
the middle. Guards often go unheralded due to the attention placed
upon tackles. The ability to protect allows a QB to feels safe and
move up in the pocket which helps to mitigate the opposition's outside
rushers (likely their best pass rush players). Defensively, the
Giants sport a pass rush foursome that helps overcome seeming
secondary deficiencies. The secondary lacks an all star case, but
with the right pass rush they're more than competent. Given enough
time with modern rules, even Deon Sanders wouldn't stand a chance.
The Giants are an evolved team. Whether by accident or not, they've
helped create a modern blueprint.

The 49er's are as old school as they come. The play defense well, run
the ball well, pass deep only on occasion and do not turn the ball
over. It's a mix that will always keep you relevant. However, they
lack a certain something offensively. I have enjoyed the resurgence
of the 49er's and the redemption of Alex Smith. If you'll recall,
Smith became the de facto number 1 pick after Matt Lienart decided God
only gives you so many years to enjoy sorority crush parties and went
back for his senior year. Smith was not ready for such pressure..
Especially with a team that had zero stability and a dearth of talent.
As much as I have enjoyed watching Smith, I am concerned how he will
fare against this New York pass rush. Can Frank Gore take enough of
the load off of Smith to allow a typical David Akers led win?

Danny on the other hand agrees with a lot of the above ink, but he
still believes in the 49ers defense. After beating the Saints last
week with some big time plays from Alex Smith the 49ers get another
home game and they will be more than ready for this game thanks in
large part to the SHOULD BE- Coach of the Year in Jim Harbaugh. This
guy is a beast and has the 49ers rolling. They will create turnovers
from INT-happy Eli Manning, but let's not forget the history of Jacobs
and Bradshaw fumbling against good teams that force turnvovers. The
49ers will play safe football causing this to be a close game and
leave a side door open for Eli, but I just don't think he pulls it
off. Hell of a year for him, but the 49ers have been consistent all
season long and consistency is expected on Sunday.

Eric - NYG 24 SF 19
Danny - NYG 17 SF 24

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Divisional Round Selections

Lines according to BOOKMAKER.EU

Eric's Picks and Previews -

Houston Texans +7.5 @ Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco feels disrespected. As well he should, because few respect
him at the level they do Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the elite. When
Baltimore swoons, its largely due to Flacco. This week, the Ravens
will host a rookie QB with no business starting a playoff game in one
of the few hostile environments left in the NFL.

This week Flacco faces the number two defense in the NFL and if
Houston somehow finds an early lead, the pressure will mount.
Baltimore seems to stumble when playing from behind. Unfortunately,
TJ Yates is the quarterback. As well as Arian Foster continues to
play, he can't do this alone. Andre Johnson came back strong last
week and looked frisky giving hope to the Texans's cause. The Texans
will give Baltimore a scare but Houston will remember 2011 as the
"What If?" year.

Eric: HOU 17 BAL 24
Danny: HOU 10 BALT 27

New York Giants +7.5 @ Green Bay Packers

The Giants are riding a high and ferocious wave of confidence heading
to Green Bay. They carry themselves with the look misplaced
accomplishment. In the previous two weeks they dispatched a terrible
Dallas team and a poorly coached Falcons one. It feels an awful lot
like 2007 again. The Giants passing game morphed into a much more
dangerous beast after the re-emergence of its running attack. Eli is
on the cusp of elite status after keeping the Giants afloat during a
time when the Giants sported no running game and a host of defensive
injuries. Eli and company will give the Packers all they can handle.

Can the pass rush get to Rodgers before he unleashes his communist
passing attack? Early in Rodgers tenure, he took a beating and still
performed. Rodgers will hang in the pocket and take his licks. In
all of the record breaking hoopla, many of us forgot about the
insanely efficient play of Rodgers. The loss of a key planner on the
coaching staff will not hurt the game plan but it does take away from
the routine of preparation. The Giants momentum and the off field
distractions will take away from the performance but not enough to
cede the victory to New York.

Eric: NYG 24 GB 30
Danny: NYG 27 GB 38

Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots -13.5

In a perfect world, Tim Tebow would win the Super Bowl MVP and turn
heel like some sort of WWE wrestler, body slam Rodger Goodell, go on a
rant disparaging the city of Indianapolis and dye his stubble black a
la Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Alas, the world is not perfect and cheaters
prosper. New England wins running away.

Eric: DEN 13 NE 35
Danny: DEN 31 NE 30 (Yes he actually does have Tebow over Brady -
preview is in separate blog post)

New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers +3

Drew Brees is playing at too high of a level to be stopped. Even
though he is on the road going against arguably the best defense in
the league, I think the Saints touchdowns will beat the 49ers field

Eric: NO 28 SF 17
Danny: NO 17 SF 20

Saturday, January 7, 2012


THE TIME HAS FINALLY COME! Here are Eric and Danny's selections for
Wild Card Weekend


SATURDAY 4:30PM (eastern standard)

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans -4

The public has moved this line up 1 point in favor of the Texans which
is shocking to me. The Texans are banged up and have Yates and
Delhomme as their quarterback options. Andy Dalton has been tested
all season, as has the Bengals defense, and they have made it to the
post season. Look for Scott and Benson to get a lot of touches to try
and find seems in the Texans stout defensive front seven. Utilizing
the running game to open up the play action pass attack as well as the
well-known quick passes from Dalton, the Bengals have a great
opportunity to upset a very hungry Texans franchise for a playoff win.
I don't trust the Texans quarterback situation and I know both
defenses will keep this game close.




Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints -10.5

It is extremely hard to bet against Drew Brees. Now throw in a home
game and its even harder to bet against him. Eric likes the Saints by
8, but I think this game will be closer. Brees ultimately will get it
done, but Stafford and his receiving corps are too efficient not to
keep this game within reach. It comes down to the Lions defense
making plays and creating turnovers. Looking back at last years loss
in Seattle, Brees was hit on basically every drop back and their third
down conversion rate was horrible. Playing in front of a hyped up
home town crowd I do not believe Brees will be one and out again.
Statistically, Brees is the best quarterback in the NFL this season.
Rodgers has been simply amazing winning 20 of his last 21 (Flynn
started 2 of the past 23 (1-1)). Stafford throws touchdown passes,
but he is not as safe with the ball as Brees. Brees gets this win and
moves on to San Francisco next weekend.




Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants -3

Are the Giants for real or simply the beneficiaries of playing an
incompetent Dallas secondary twice in the closing weeks of the season?
Victor Cruz and Jason Pierre-Paul represent two of the biggest
breakout stars of the 2011 season. Cruz and Nicks present massive
headaches for any opposing secondary and while his numbers went way
down, running back Ahmad Bradshaw still finds his way into the end

The Falcons played as consistent as a team could throughout the
season. They rarely appeared great but never terrible. I don't feel
they have enough upside potential to dominate teams and the Giants
continue to demonstrate teams cannot allow them to hang around. Julio
Jones and Roddy white should have little trouble finding openings in
the New York Secondary and while not the force of nature he once was,
Tony Gonzalez remains a viable red zone threat. The Giants hold the
potential to dominate the line of scrimmage and make big plays on
offense. They appear to have momentum and confidence coming into the
playoffs. The Packers snuck in last year and went all the way as did
many of these Giants a few years ago. Until the confidence waivers,
I'll ride New York while Danny is on the other side with MATTY ICE.




Pittsburgh -8 @ Denver

ERIC - With the bloom officially off the Tebow rose in Denver, very
few feel the Broncos can muster any sort of magic to prevail over the
Steelers. Despite injuries to Mendenhall and Roethlisberger, the
Steelers remain heavy favorites. Defense and a power running attack
fueled Denver's mid-season surge. Since then, running back Willis
McGahee began to show his age and star linebacker Von Miller suffered
a lingering thumb injury. This placed more pressure on Tebow, or
perhaps the Divine, to engineer unlikely wins. Tebow's receivers
cannot seem to find any separation or threaten teams down field which
allowed defenses to key in on Denver's quirky run-heavy offense.
While there's nothing more in this world I'd like to see more than
Tebow trucking James Harrison in Mile High for the go ahead touchdown,
it is a bridge too far. Pittsburgh will struggle offensively but it
will not take much to win this one. If God is in fact on Tebow's
side, I doubt he'd provide any divine intervention for a backdoor

DANNY - I see this game as a huge opportunity for Denver. Teams have
figured Tebow and the Bronco's offense out, but have the Bronco's
figured that out as well so will they develop a new game plan for the
Steelers. I will assume John Fox is a smart man and will break out
some new schemes that the Steelers haven't scene on film yet. Tebow
should not be throwing the ball 25+ times in this game. McGahee and
Ball should run it 35-45 times and hopefully find some creases in the
Steelers defense. Where Tebow has to be effective is with the
playaction pass game, and I believe he will. Decker, Royal, and
Thomas will get open on the Steelers defense as they will be in
press-man coverage probably 95% of the game. The Steelers are banged
up on both sides of the ball. Pouncey has been ruled out, Big Ben's
ankle is lingering and that is bad for his style of play going against
the Broncos premier pass rushers in front of the Denver faithful.
Everyone in Vegas and the Media is betting against Tebow, and that is
exactly why my money is on Denver. Take the points and I am going
with the money line +325. Tebow OUTRIGHT!



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Week 17 NFL Picks


Detroit - 5 @ Green Bay

Detroit finds itself on the cusp of the playoffs and a likely trip to
meet the NFC East division winner. Green Bay will have little reason
to risk any players of significance but those that do play will give
the Lambeau faithful a reason to cheer. Matt Flynn looked impressive
in spot duty when called upon to fill in for Rodgers. This game
presents a good opportunity to engender himself to team's in need of a
quarterback and some hope. This game will come down to the wire.

Eric: DET 30 GB 27
Danny: DET 27 GB 20

Dallas @ New York Giants -3

"Past performance is no guarantee of future results" is a common
statement found in the fine print in almost any investment vehicle's
literature. This sort of disclaimer runs in the face of any
investment prospectus data. Open one up and almost everything you see
lists performance results over specified times periods and usually
comparisons to similar options. Dallas's past performance under
similar conditions gives cause for concern. Concern that borders on
outright pandemonium.

The keys to victory appear identical for both teams. Both teams
require pressure on the quarterback to assist their under-staffed
secondaries. Neither team's secondary can hold its own against the
opposing receivers. Jason Pierre-Paul played like an all-pro over the
previous three weeks and Dallas left tackle Doug Free cannot seem to
hold his own with any sort of consistency since th team moved crafty
veteran Kyle Kosier to the right side of the line to aid the
development of Tyron Smith. Dallas lost starting left guard Montrae
Holland to a torn bicep last week and it appears Derrick Dockery will
get the start in his place. Simply stated, the Giants have a clearer
path to victory, Dallas collapse-demons aside. Weak blind side
protection combined with a badly swollen throwing hand which limits
grip strength gives major cause for concern in Dallas. Romo continues
to play well in spite of poor protection and a spotty running game.
He will put up some points but I cannot shake the feeling that the
Giants are going to keep him under duress and in pain most of the
night. Dallas isn't deep enough to overcome injuries and the coaching
staff cannot compensate for the lack of depth and talent in certain
positions. Giants roll.

Eric: DAL 13 NYG 30
Danny: DAL 24 NYG 30

San Francisco @ St. Louis +10.5

Kellen Clemens outplayed Sam Bradford in his limited opportunities
this season and it appears the Rams may end up with the number one
pick in the draft. I am not suggesting the Rams give up on Bradford.
However, it is likely the Rams will install a new coaching staff and
look to start the rebuilding process over yet again. Choosing the
Rams to cover does not indicate a feeling of confidence in this Rams
team but a lack of faith in the 49ers ability to blow teams out.

The 49ers reached 30 points in a game just twice this season. The
last 30 point plus game occurred in early October against the woeful
Bucs. The 49ers simply lack the offensive firepower to blow teams

Eric: SF 24 STL 17***************Lock
Danny: SF 26 STL 10

New York Jets @ Miami -3

The Dolphins continue to impress and the Jets to disappoint. Jason
Taylor announced this game will be his last and Tomlinson indicated it
might also be his final game. The Jets still hold an outside shot at
the playoffs but the Jets defense no longer scares anyone and the
offense is slow and prodding. I blame Rex Ryan for Rob Ryan. If Ryan
would not have overachieved these past two years his twin may still be
tooling around with the Cleveland Browns instead of running the
defense for the Cowboys. The Jets front office needs to get this team
younger and faster. They also need to consider the possibility of
bringing in someone to challenge Mark Sanchez and not a 60-year-old
Mark Brunell whose only reason to stave off retirement is to pay off
bad debts. The Dolphins may not have a chance at the playoffs, but
they're the better team in this matchup.

Eric: NYJ 20 MIA 24
Danny: NYJ 17 MIA 23************Lock

Chicago @ Minnesota -2

Josh McCown makes his triumphant return as will Chris Berman's
obligatory Josh "Tears of" McCown joke. A 1967 Motown song that
references Pagliac, no wonder Berman's such a hit with the kids.

Eric: CHI 10 MINN 17
Danny: CHI 17 MINN 20

Buffalo +11 @ New England

We've come an awfully long way since the Bills defeated the Patriots
in week 3. Back then the Bills were 3-0 and offensively unstoppable.
14 weeks and a 59 million dollar contract mistake extension later, the
Bills are back to being the Bills. Fortunately, CJ Spiller continues
to impress as the primary running back. The Patriots have trouble
stopping anyone defensively so look for a competitive game and the
Bills to give the Pats a slight scare.

Eric: BUF 30 NE 34
Danny: BUF 30 NE 35

Carolina @ New Orleans -7

Will Drew Brees play in the 2nd half when Payton sees the 49ers
dominating the Rams on the scoreboard? Not worth it risking Brees's
health for the #2 seed that the 49ers will lock up Sunday.

Eric: CAR 24 NO 34
Danny: CAR 31 NO 27

Washington +9 @ Philadelphia

Meaningless NFC East game could make for a lot of points. However,
both coaches are on the hot seat. And even though I think both of
their jobs are safe, I think a bad performance from either team would
turn into very negative media attention that neither coach wants to
have to deal with (on top of the current load they are dealing with).
Expect both teams to play hard today.

Eric: WASH 17 PHI 20**********Lock
Danny: WASH 20 PHI 31

Indianapolis +4 @ Jacksonville

It will be a much more interesting off season if the Colts lose and
wind up with the number 1 pick.

Eric: INDY 20 JAX 21
Danny: INDY 16 JAX 24

Tennessee -1.5 @ Houston

Houston won't take a three game skid into the playoffs. They will run
the ball all afternoon and head into the playoffs with a nice win
under their belts.

Eric: TENN 21 HOU 23
Danny: TENN 17 HOU 24*******Lock

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta -11 1/2

Atlanta is stuck in the #6 seed if Detroit wins. Chris Redman will
see a lot of game action if this is the case, so expect a closer game.

Eric: TB 13 ATL 27
Danny: TB 24 ATL 20

Baltimore -2 @ Cincinnati

Everyone and their mother is picking against the Bengals. This is a
solid public fade, take the red head.

Eric: BAL 27 CIN 21
Danny: BAL 16 CIN 20

Pittsburgh -6.5 @ Cleveland

Big Ben wants to take some reps in the first half. Some of the
Steelers defensive starters will get some time off in the second half
as well. I expect the Browns to give the Steelers a big time fight in
a meaningless game.

Eric: PITT 24 CLE 7
Danny: PITT 17 CLE 13

Kansas City +3 @ Denver

Tebow-time. Huge game in Denver. Matt Prater's foot will seal the
deal in the 4th quarter. I believe Tebow will have his guys playing
at a higher level on Sunday.

Eric: KC 7 DEN 10
Danny: KC 13 DEN 23

San Diego @ Oakland -3

Is Darren McFadden ever playing football again? I see Norv Turner
going out on a high note. Again, a solid public fade taking SD here.

Eric: SD 20 OAK 24
Danny: SD 24 OAK 20

Seattle -3 @ Arizona

Jackson vs Skelton on Sunday. Kolb was a waste of money for Arizona.
The defense of Seattle is too strong for this Cardinals offense. Earl
Thomas will shadow over Fitz all day. Seattle should win this game

Eric: SEA 20 ARI 13
Danny: SEA 24 ARI 10