NFL PLAYOFFS—ROUND ONE—AGAINST THE NUMBER

 

I just got done with a relationship that blew up in my face, so that song has always spoken to me in a different way ever since.

Rob Thomas—since Matchbox 20—has been a hero of mine since the moment I heard him sing, and he’s helped me through some rough times, but this particular jingle, “Lonely No More,” may be grammatically incorrect, but improper English never stopped a grand point from being made.

After last week’s abysmal 7-9 and 2-3 tally, my regular season percentages are as follows: 48% (121-125-6) and 55% (47-35-3); however, now that the tournament has started, I need to bring my best, because every pick will be in print. This writer loves pressure; and, moreover, this will be great writing no matter how the prognostications unfold. Hang on…

Cincinnati @ Houston (-4 ½). As the only favorite I have holding serve—both winning the game and covering the spread—this should be the one that’s the least of your worries. Houston has to play this week because they lost to a division rival (more on them later on) that wanted to beat the Texans badly—just to make them play the same schedule they had to. (Or, one could argue, the Colts wanted to watch the Texans play a day earlier than they have to.) Neither one of these coaches has had any success in the Second Season, nor has either of these ball clubs been decent, let alone good, in the playoffs as of late. But one small fact remains: The Houston Texans are yet to win a playoff game, so this one won’t be close. And don’t mess with Texas.

Minnesota (+7 ½) @ Green Bay. Don’t get me wrong; I can’t see the Vikings winning either. But that kind of attitude from the general public is why this one will be close. The “Nobody Believes in Us” mantra never gets old—especially when dealing with a team that’s based its success on effort; instead of raw talent, the Vikings rely on will. From a gambling perspective, this thing is obvious: Minnesota has covered five-of-six since their bye week. And they’ve beat Green Bay twice. I’ve personally fell for this “They can’t beat them three times” logic, so take it from experience: Minnesota covers this spread.

Indianapolis (+6 ½) @ Baltimore. I’d hate to have to pick a winner for this one, for the only two ways that you can go make equal sense. Thankfully, I don’t have that problem. (Gun-to-my-head, I’d lean Ravens, but don’t bet on it.) The Ravens never look like the same team from one week to the next despite having great talent and excellent coaching. It must be an in-game adjustments or game-plan thing—two things that are vitally important in the postseason—but, at the very least, the Ravens’ D can make up for any offensive problems. The Indianapolis Colts have moxie in droves, so betting against them doesn’t hold water. I couldn’t with any amount of confidence give you a victor, but I’ll tell you one thing: The Colts “Never Say Die” attitude makes a touchdown spread look awfully tempting. Take the points. 

Seattle @ Washington (+3). Before you start shaking your head, listen to me: If you didn’t think that I’d go Redskins here, well, then, you haven’t been paying attention. Last week tells the tale entirely. The ‘Skins are here to stay; the Seahawks are unbeatable in their building. Problem for the ‘Hawks is that this one is in DC—not Washington state. The Washington Redskins will take this one; then, they’ll get bounced by the 49ers in San Fran.

More Rob Thomas…

 

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