2011 NFL Weekly Picks – Super Bowl Edition

I am sitting at a profitable 6-4 in the playoffs meaning the Super Bowl represents the cherry on top of the end of the NFL season cake, but, hey, that doesn’t mean I am resting my players because I’ve already clinched a winning record. Heck no, I learned my lesson from the likes of Dungy, Caldwell and McCarthy. You play every game like it’s your last! So, here we go, Colin’s official “Calling the Winner” for the Super Bowl.

Stay tuned for my Super Bowl prop bets column coming Saturday.

NY Giants v. New England (-3.0)

Interesting Sub-Plot: It’s the Super Bowl there are a hundreds of sub-plots but here are three of the more interesting to me –

(I). The once dominate, masterfully coached, seemingly un-beatable Patriots have now gone eight seasons without a Super Bowl. Believe me, I understand how hard it is to win a Super Bowl and it’s exponentially more difficult to win multiple Super Bowls, but when you have, allegedly, the best playoff quarterback of all time and the best playoff coach of all time, one would figure they would have more Lombardi’s, especially with the number of chances they have had. Can they capture their fourth Lombo? Or will this season extend the drought? High drama, man!

(II). The reality that the NFL’s second season is a lot closer to March Madness than a true representation of the best the NFL has to offer. Maybe I am nostalgic for the 80s/90s version of the NFL, where the dominate teams actually dominated in the playoffs. Back then, I couldn’t imagine the 15-1 49ers Super Bowl team getting rolled at home by the 9-7 Giants, who backed into the playoffs in the first place. Of course, those seasons the Super Bowl featured all of the drama of 400 meter hurdle race with Edwin Moses in his prime. And I have admit I am bitter, I really wanted the a Packers, Patriots and their 31st/32nd ranked defenses to drive “over” bettors crazy by making unfathomable defense stops. Still maybe this is the best the NFL has to offer. And maybe I just need to get used teams taking games off during the year, getting healthy and peaking at the right time.

(III). But the most interesting sub-plot might be the Peyton Manning saga. Don’t you get the feeling that Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay, who have politely traded barbs the past few weeks, are about ready to let loose with a barrage that would make the opening segment on TMZ? I do. And I can see it all coming down during the Super Bowl, with a heated back and forth between Irsay on one sideline with Michelle Tafoya and Manning on the other with Alex Flanigan. On money is on the final roundhouse coming from Manning, “What kind of owner would turn his back on a quarterback worth 10 wins? An incontinent, jerk that’s who. Look, I’ve carried this franchise for 13 years, brought in a Lombardi trophy. All that while being surrounded by sub-standard talent. Need proof – I play, we win 10 games, I don’t we win 2. But, yeah, let’s re-tool with a quarterback who hasn’t thrown an NFL pass instead of a first ballot hall-of-famer. Did I mention that the Colts owner has a problem with incontinence?” I can see Irsay’s response being something like that of Ron Burgundy when Veronica told him he had bad hair, “Do he really say I was incontinent? Why would he say that?”

Teenage girl logic: Who is Madonna? It’s rhetorical, but I’ll answer anyway – she’s some washed up singer from the dark ages, who gets to perform at the Super Bowl. There has to some rule that the Super Bowl halftime show performer songs are only played oldies stations? I have to listen to that crap when my dad drives me to school, ugh, I can’t wait to get my license! Anyway, someone please tell me why Bruno Mars or Katy Perry or Lady Gaga wouldn’t be a huge upgrade for a halftime show? You can’t because as always I am right. In fact, if I was planning the halftime show I would have those three performing their songs as a trio, with the cast of Jersey Shore as the accompanying dancers. Yeah, I know we would have to keep Snooki and Dena away from the booze, so they wouldn’t piss themselves or fall down trying to dance. But as long as Pauly D is shirtless, I would consider the Super Bowl halftime a huge success. Someone needs to make me the coordinator the Super Bowl halftime show!

OK, enough about me and the crappy Super Bowl halftime show – on to my official pick. I’ve done some research and found that if the Patriots win, Tom Brady will join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only starting quarterbacks to win four Super Bowls. Nobody wants their record broken or in this case tied. Montana and Bradshaw already have to split the record 50/50, they certainly don’t want to add a third to their exclusive club. Plus, since Brady is still an active player he might have chance to beat the record with his fifth. Luckily for Bradshaw and Montana, Bradshaw’s son, Ahmad, plays for the Giants, there is no way Ahmad is going to let his old man down! Giants 27-20!

Gambling Over-Thought: To truly over-think this, I have to get into character. I am a bookie with a huge clientele and I make my own lines, which I post on a blog site (yeah, EFF U DOJ). He also disseminates information through that same blog site. Ok, with that as the backdrop, here is the over-thought for this game. I initially open my line at Pats by 3.5, but before I hit “post” the Giants get hammered like Josh Hamilton during a relapse (too soon?). So, I react and move the line to 3, but I still get plastered with Giants action. And even though roughly 10% of my potential customers have made a bet, I have virtually a 100% position on the Giants. So, I take to my blog and start posting columns about the wave of Giants action, how everybody loves the Giants. I continue this theme regardless of the subsequent action. That’s the key, even if I get an over-correction on the Pats I am ok, why, keep reading.

The net effect? The 90% waiting to pick a side are now petrified of the Giants for the obvious reason – I live in a Manhattan penthouse and they don’t. Of course, no matter what the situation I am going to get 50/50 action from roughly 40% of the bettors, therefore, I only need to turn 30% of the undecided bettors to the Patriots to succeed in my campaign of letting the bettors know that everyone loves the Giants! And if I get the over-correction, it’s all good, because I love the Giants!

The Giants will cover if: “they bring at least their B game”, because, yeah, I think it’s just about that simple. By “B” game I mean they need to protect the ball (no more than two turnovers and zero devastating, game-changers), mix in a couple spectacular catches with all routine ones and keep Manning upright. The match-ups completely favor them and Eli has gone from playoff buffoon to playoff terminator, where he it is officially terrifying to bet against. It’s just that simple.

The Patriots will cover if: the following plays out – (a). Gronkowski is at least 80%, to say he is critical to their success is an obvious understatement, but they aren’t close to the same offense without him. He is one of their three key, and only, weapons; (b). The Pats can protect Brady, again a no-brainer, but I haven’t seen Brady take the beating like he did in Super Bowl XLII and this Giants D-line might be better than that one; (c). The Pats can stretch the field for big play early in the game. The Pats best deep threat is probably Ocho and he played a single snap against the Ravens. It might be worth a play-action deep ball to Ocho early in the game, just to put it in the back of the Giants players mind. In fact, the Pats might need to use “one of those plays” early, a play that a team would normally save for a tight spot late in the game. A deep completion or even a deep near completion would have a significant impact on the remainder of the game; and (d). They need to exorcise the demons of the past. There are more players on the current roster that were barely out of high school during the “Patriot Dynasty” era than being blinded by the bling from the ring. Most of those players are more familiar with the home playoff losses to Baltimore and the Jets. And even this year, it seems like the Pats backed into the Super Bowl.

Colin Wynner calls the Super Bowl winner: I will admit that I bought into the odds-makers plan detailed above. But I’ve brought myself back to this point – if I pick the Pats because of the insane amount of Giants hype and proceed to watch the G-Men manhandle the Pats, it will put me in a funk worse than what Maverick went through after Goose died. Yeah, next season, I will begin the year wavering on every game, whispering to myself, “No, it’s just not right” and yelling at people behind me at the betting window, “I will make a pick when I am effing ready to make a pick.”

But if I take the Giants because I believe they are a better team and they lose, then they lose, I called the game wrong, throw in the pile of bad picks, call Hoarders Anonymous and get help removing the collection of bad picks that stands inches from a vaulted ceiling.

So why the Giants? Well, for starters, they have three high-end wide receivers, all of whom could be the #1 guy on several NFL teams – Nicks is a legit #1 virtually anywhere, as is Cruz, and Manningham, well, my guess is I would get no arguments from Rams, Browns, Bears, 49ers, Redskins or Buccaneers fans. And since Julian Edelman will be covering at least one of those receivers a fair portion of the game, I am thinking the Giants might have a slight advantage. I am also thinking that if offensive coordinator Kevin Gillbride sees Edelman, he will attack it, unlike Ravens OC Cam Cameron, who decided to save the Boldin v. Edelman matchup mostly for an overtime that never happened.

I also think the Giants are supremely confident. So much so that they are talking openly and honestly about topics that most teams would shy away from during Super Bowl week. Jason Pierre-Paul told the media that the “Giants are in Brady’s head”, Antrel Rolle essentially told the media that the “Giants would inflict their will on the Pats” and Chris Canty told Giants fans to “prepare for a parade”. Back in the “Patriot Dynasty” years that type of talk would bring about “Giant” trouble for a team, but I think it speaks to a confident team, a team that is in the head of the Pats, the current Pats, which as stated above is not the dynasty team.

Then there are the miscellaneous tidbits that give me comfort backing the Giants – 1. The Pats have beaten teams with a winning regular season record once this season and that was the infamous Lee Evans drop/Billy Cundiff missed field goal game, whereas the Giants blew up the Falcons, Packers and 49ers in the playoffs, as well as the Patriots in the regular season. So, I think the Giants have beaten a better class of teams; 2. The Giants won in New England this season without Nicks, Bradshaw, Bass (their center, yeah that’s somewhat important, just ask the 2002 Raiders) and Henry Hynoski (ok so no Hynoski isn’t a huge deal, but as a sneak peek to the “props” column, I like Hynoski to go over 4.5 combined yards). And that included a terrible Eli Manning interception in the Pats end zone, a turnover that likely will not occur in this game; 3. The Gronk injury. The absolute best case for the Pats is they get 100% Gronk, which is fine because we expected that anyway, but worst case Gronk is hobbling around the field like Big Ben in San Francisco with the big difference being Big Ben didn’t have to make any sharps cuts to downfield. Plus, with Gronk’s Herculean size the natural way to tackle him is by steer wrestling him to the ground. Guess what – that often will roll the ankle under the thigh of the defender. And, I am no doctor, but my guess is that might cause a setback; and 4. Without a viable deep threat, the Pats will be forced to go 10-12 plays for touchdowns. That’s a lot of plays, and passing plays to boot, where something can go wrong – like a tipped pass, sack, or fumble. The Giants have three deep threats and a running back with breakaway speed. In a nutshell, they are more explosive and less reliant on performing multiple plays successfully in a row!

There you have it!

Pick: NY Giants 28 Patriots 24

Complete with an under pick as a hidden bonus!

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