Houston @ Baltimore (-7.5)
Interesting Sub-Plot: I don’t think there is anything overtly interesting about this game, but I will go with the “career defining” game for Joe Flacco. Career defining might be an exaggeration, but if Ravens lose this game Flacco will receive the bulk of criticism and that might be the beginning of the end for him in Baltimore.
Teenage girl logic:
Why is the Houston team nicknamed the Texans? That’s seems cheap and not creative at all. I couldn’t all teams just pull out the state name for their nickname? The Atlanta Georgians or the Washington, Washingtonioians. See how cheap that is! I would have gone with the Houston Huskies or Houston Hulks or, even better, Houston Hunks. Let’s go Hunks! But Texans, well that sucks! So, I say go Ravens! Ravens, what a cool nickname!
Gambling Over-Thought: The point-spread for the week six match-up between these two teams, also played in Baltimore, was Ravens by 7. Seems fair that the number for this game would be 7.5, right? I guess if you feel like the difference between Matt Schuab and T.J. Yates is a .5 point. Me neither. The total for the week six game with Schuab was 45 points, this week’s total is 36. So, 9 point difference for essentially the same team Ravens team against the Texans minus Schuab.
I feel like this is bizarro spread weekend in the NFL, with the odds-makers essentially forcing “sharps” to go to their off-hands or better known as play the favorites. They know that several “sharps” would rather gouge their eyes out with a Sharpie than play a favorite, so that’s where they offer value.
Popular Trend: The Texans have not covered a spread on the road in playoffs in their history.
The Texans will cover if: They can get an early score that will temper the wave of emotion. They also have to win the turnover battle, hit a couple big plays and shorten the game with effective clock management. – Cliché man.
The Ravens will cover if: The defense I expect to show up – shows up. M&T Stadium is one of tougher places to play in the NFL and I imagine the place will be rocking considering this is the first playoff in B-More since the Johnny U days. That will make it tough on T.J.
Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: I am not sold on Flacco or the Ravens covering this spread, but I feel like if I take the Texans and the proceed to get blown out, I will never forgive myself for backing T.J. Yates on the road, in a hostile playoff environment. But if the Ravens fail to cover, well I simply throw in the corner of “bad picks”, which, by the way, that corner is becoming a viable candidate for a spot on “Hoarding: Buried Alive”.
Baltimore 23 Houston 10
NY Giants @ Green Bay (-7.5)
Interesting Sub-Plot: The comparisons between the 2007 and 2011 Giants – I get it, you know they played an undefeated team to a 38-35 loss; they then get another shot at said team in the playoffs and they come away with a stunning upset. Additionally, both the 2007 and 2011 Giants were pretty much left for dead mid-way through their respective seasons. The one big difference between these two teams – the 2007 Giants were given very little chance in each of their playoff games, while the 2011 Giants were favored last week and have the backing of the majority this week.
Teenage girl logic:
So much is made of Wisconsin and the fact that it is the cheese capital of the world, well, I never eat cheese because I see people who eat too much cheese and they don’t look good in any clothes, let alone tight clothes. And that “cheesehead” thing Packers fans wear is the grossest thing I’ve seen on someone, since Jenny, this skanky cheerleader from my school, wore blue knee-high boots with way too tight green shorts, ugh, and her ass was hanging out of the shorts. I’m like nobody wants to see your ass hanging out of the ugly outfit. I don’t get why guys like her! Anyway, I hate cheese but Packers are named for meat-packing, right, and I love meat, lol, omg!
Gambling Over-Thought: In week 12, the Packers were favored by 7 in New York, so logically they would be favored by 7.5 this week, right? Uh, no, the Packers should be at least 10 point favorites, even that would represent a three point swing in favor of the Giants. But this current line is more like 5.5 point swing in the favor of the Giants. All of that because the Giants front four and the Packers shoddy pass defense. Hmmm.
Popular Trend: The Packers and Giants have alternating spread wins in their last six games. The Giants covered the spread in their week 13 matchup.
The Giants will cover if: They live up to the hype machine that their front four will control the line of scrimmage, that they a better road team, that they can successfully run the ball and that Manning will pick apart the Packers weak secondary.
The Packers will cover if: They can put aside the distractions of the past two weeks – the loss of a family member of one of their assistant coaches and the loss of their director of football operations, Reggie McKenzie.
Colin Wynner, Handicapper! Calls the winner: This is biggest toss-up of the week, so while contemplating who to pick, I came some comments from former NFLer Lomas Brown – “the Giants are too physical for the Packers”, “the Giants have really come together”, “the last meeting was a close loss, that included a pick-6 by the Packers” and “the Giants offense is getting healthy and productive”. Based on those comments Lomas obviously picked the Giants to win this game out-right. Lomas track record of predictions in the playoffs isn’t the best – he guaranteed the his 1995 Lions team would beat the Eagles, they lost 58-37, then in 1998, he predicted his Cardinals team was headed to the Super Bowl after upsetting the Cowboys – they were subsequently blown out by the Vikings. So, yeah, I am fading Lomas.
Going with all four home teams
Green Bay 34 NY Giants 24
Good luck today!