Round Two of the NFL Playoffs, Against the Number


Some people don’t even have to speak to get their point across; they can simple stare, glare or just glance at you, and you get the point.

Guitarists have been doing this since the instrument was first crafted, yet few have been so absent vocally that their guitar speaks for them: Carlos Santana is one of them. (Slash is, too, but more on him later.)

The teams in the second round of the NFL Playoffs that will advance have this kind of power: No Words needed; they need only their presence and their product and their outcomes to speak for them.

Last week should make me want to put my foot in my mouth, but I did that enough as a baby to know that it’s not a good idea. All I’ll do is keep doing my best after going 1-3 in the opening week of the playoffs…

Baltimore @ Denver (-10). Everyone knows how good the Broncos are—they’re probably Stupor Bowl bound—so this pick shouldn’t really come as a shock, but I’ll explain myself anyway. Denver didn’t need a week off to pick the Ravens apart, for they could do that any day of the week. Baltimore, also, had an emotional win last Sunday, while the Broncos figured out exactly how to beat them: Continue their balanced attack on offense; clean up missed opportunities and mistakes with their underrated defense. It’s pretty obvious that with a ten-point spread you’d have to like the Broncos big here, but this is the lay-up bet-of-the-week, in my mind.

Green Bay @ San Francisco (-2 ½). Welcome to the game of the week. Football fans should have this time on Saturday night allotted for two things: This game first; then, flip over to Speed for the Supercross race; why not? It’s like a shot and a beer: On nearly knocks you down, and then the other props you up to have another. This Saturday night should be something like that. I don’t feel comfortable picking this game, but it’s the playoffs, so I’ll go with the 49ers at home. Why?—check Week One; the Niners already beat Green Bay—and that game was in Wisconsin. Wow…The 30-22 loss could also serve as a revenge factor for the Packers, but, like Denver, San Francisco doesn’t need an extra week to prepare for anyone; however, now that they got it, watch out Green Bay, for this could get ugly.

Seattle (+1) @ Atlanta. This one should be fun to witness. Atlanta barely favored at home; Seattle’s future so bright they have to wear shades; et cetera…However, history does matter in this matchup more that you’d think. Not that the ATS records for each team are irrelevant—my pick Seattle is 12-4-1, while ATL is 10-6—but they only tell half the story. Both of these teams, as advertised, appear to favor being at home, yet it’s not so in the gambler’s world. The Falcons have a better record on the road (6-2) than they do at home (4-4) against the number. Add to that the fact that this batch of Falcons haven’t won a playoff game yet, and those were all at home, making this look bad for the home team full circle.

Houston (+9 ½) @ New England. This is like déjà vu. The only difference is that it’s the Pats by nine-and-a-half points instead of a mere three like they were against the Texans in Week Fourteen. Maybe New England felt insulted; maybe Vegas thought Houston would show up; maybe this writer is falling for the Texans again. (I honestly think they can take this game.) All that being said, a cocky Patriot team never does well in the playoffs, especially at home, and the Texans finally got over the hump of winning their first game during the playoffs in the history of the franchise. I’m praying for snow, very little offense and a rushing contest won by defense. That’d be a great thing to witness right before the Golden Globes, wouldn’t it? Maybe.

Now Slash…


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