Sunday, January 19, 2014

Championship Sunday

New England (+4.5) at Denver
Which Picture is Tom Brady
 Hotter In? This One or.....
In the first of two Championship games in which I truly believe you could flip a coin to determine your ATS winner, I'm opting to go Team Hoodie/Team Uggs with the points. Before I even get to the fact that Brady owns Manning in their head to heads (11-4), and that Manning's post season record is sub .500, I'd like to examine pretty much everything that's happened since the Patriots and Broncos took the field to start the second half on that Sunday night in November. (when I was at a Pink concert)

The Patriots were down 24-0 to Denver at home to start the 3rd quarter, and counting the OT period which lasted almost the full 15 minutes, outscored Manning and the Broncos 31-7 from that point forward. I believe this to be a point that cannot be ignored, especially considering that New England turned the ball over on their first three drives and essentially handed Denver the 24 point lead. Over the course of the season, the Patriots finished with a (+9) turnover margin besting Denver's (0), as they gave the ball away 6 fewer times than Denver did.

In terms of scoring, New England is actually outscoring Denver since that 3rd quarter started that November night. The Patriots are averaging 33 points per contest to Denver's 30. And New England has outscored their opponents 33-19 over that span.

This game will come down to who doesn't turn the ball over, and if New England can keep the LeGarrette Blount train rolling. The guy has rushed for over 350 yards in New England's last two games, and if he's rolling today and you're seeing lots of Manning's forehead standing around on the sideline, those pot heads in Denver are going to watch their season of high hopes go up in smoke.

...This One???
I'll take my chances with Belichick's game planning versus that figure head, John Fox's. And don't sleep on the fact that (1) Denver allowed San Diego to stick around at the end in a game they were never really in last week and (2) I was never all in on killing Rahim Moore last year for letting Jacoby Jones get behind him in Denver's loss to Baltimore. Yeah, Moore f**ked up, but that play masked what was an absolute atrocious game by the before mentioned forehead. Three huge turnovers, including a pick 6, contributed considerably to Denver's 2nd round exit.

The numbers don't lie, folks. Peyton does tighten up on the big stage, especially when Brady and Belichick are on the other sideline. New England has scored 118 points in their last 3 games, and beat their opponents (Baltimore, Buffalo, and Indy) in those contests by an average margin of 39-16. Expect Brady and company to continue being a pain in Peyton's neck. 31-23 New England.




San Francisco at Seattle (-4)
Just One of The Many 12th Men
I started off this post bitching about (building in an excuse in case I go oh-fer) how both of these games are a toss up. And unlike my analysis on the first game, I'm going to lay this contest out very short and sweet and simple.

I'm not as in love with the 49ers as most of the rest of the country seems to be. I can't ignore their now 8 game win streak, and I also can't ignore what was total domination by them of the Panthers in the second half last weekend. However, I also can't ignore what I felt was a very fortunate first half for them last week in terms of officiating. San Francisco caught practically every break in the world, including a penalty that wasn't called that didn't even come up until TV rules official Mike Pereira pointed it out at halftime, and could've had a huge factor on the rest of the game. (too many men in the huddle, would've make a goal to go from the 6 and not the 1)

I also can't ignore, and what I'm going to put all of my eggs in while analyzing this contest, Seattle's impressive home record with (as douchey as its gotten to be with everyone talking about it) their 12th man. The Seahawks are 16-1 at home since the beginning of the 2012 regular season, including two absolute beat downs of their divisional foe 49ers (42-13 and 29-3).

The jig is up for 49er fan. The Niners are being asked to win their 4th straight game on the road (5 of their last 6), in arguably the hardest stadium in the NFL to play in as a visitor, and one they have not had recent success in. I like ugly, low scoring, and a game that Seattle eventually prevails in. 22-13 Seahawks.



Regular Season ATS Since '09                            188-148-12 (56%)




Norm Macdonald's opening monologue at the 1998 ESPY's. What a politically correct difference 16 years can make, considering the report that came out this week that ESPN was considering not using the name 'Redskins' during certain programming. Take count of the number of jokes Macdonald fires off here that wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of making it past the editors for the 2014 ESPY's telecast.







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