Bill Simmons' NFL Playoff Manifesto 3.0 and his Wild Card Weekend Pics. Two links that are pretty much on any personal log or group sports page you go to right now.
- New Jersey Jets +7 at San Diego - Okay, this game is officially starting to scare me. Everyone but the Jets fans are going in the direction of the Chargers. The line has gone from 5 to 7 points and I even my own early attempts to rationalize reasons why the Jets may win came up short of that goal.
But now since there seems to be a consensus zero percent chance for a Jets win, I'm scared (also, Rule #2 from Simmons). Even many among the Jets' own fan base doubt them, and that's usually exactly the point when a team like this does something to breathe new life into its followers' faith. These Jets are, after all, a decent road team with a good enough defense and offensive philospohy to keep things close. And they are facing a team who is led by a head coach who's been at the helm of some of the most famous NFL Playoff disasters ever.
So as the 8:00pm kickoff approaches, the tension will grow. Just about everyone has now read that San Diego finished the year 13-1 ATS. But there's more to that amazing run. They were getting points in 10 of their 16 games this season, so they haven't really been respected by the oddsmakers until now.
As a favorite this year- vs Oakland, New Orleans, at Oakland, vs Denver, Tampa, and at Cleveland- they were 5-0-1 ATS. In the three ATS losses or pushes they had this season, the Chargers missed covering the spread by a combined 3 points. In those thirteen games they covered, the Chargers' average margin of points over the line was 11.5 per game!
That would mean that these numbers are indicating that San Diego is going to win this game by 18.5 points. Probably not going to happen. This line is too big and the Jets are being taken too lightly by both the betting public and the betting professionals. Still, it's so very hard to go against the Chargers just to win. A good idea would be to take the Jets +14 and the under (which has fallen down to 42 now because of rain concerns) 49. But I'm not interested in losing this one just because the Chargers, after all this, take it easily. Therefore, give me San Diego -6.5 after I shave that half point off. Hope, hope.
- St. Louis +4 at Seattle - I haven't spent too much time this week looking at this game. I did see a stat on Friday's Cold Pizza that noted in playoff games where a team that won both regular season matches versus their opponent, they ended up winning that third game 10 out of 15 times. But given the unique nature of the Rams' two wins against Seattle, this matchup is it's own beast.
The Rams are 2-6 on the road ATS and the Seahawks are 1-7 at home ATS. Oh, help me.
With the rain coming in to town, I'll just go with Mike Martz's team on the assumption that he's not going to try to throw the ball 65 times in a 36 degree mist. St. Louis' defense has actually been somewhat improved down the stretch too. Personally, the +160 looks much better to me than the +4, but since tracking money lines is too time consuming, give me the Rams +4.
- Denver +10 at Indianapolis - There's really nothing else to do here except take the 10 points and hope Indy can get somes late scores. I've pretty much made my case for the Colts here, and for this game, the only thing I'm really worried about are those delayed hand offs to Tatum Bell. Colts -10.
- Minnesota +6.5 at Green Bay - Another game I've already touched on this week. My pick for this one will heavily depend on how things go in the other three games though. If things follow through as everyone planned, I'm taking the Vikings to win. But if either the Chargers or the Colts fall, Green Bay is the pick.
UPDATE: Sunday morning, and I'm going to try to learn a little lesson here. Whenever you think something is a good idea, go with it. For the Colts game, I'm taking myself off the -10 line and going with Indy -3, over 49
in a seven point tease. As for the other game, with the Chargers losing, I think the Packers will win. Give me Green Bay -0.5, over 46
in a six point tease.