Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back To Football - and Introducing the Joe Flacco Drinking Game

OK.  So we didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard with our picks last week.  For the record I went 1-3 straight up and 1-3 against the spread (thanks Tebow!).  Link went 1-3 straight up, but 2-2 against the spread as he correctly predicted New Orleans to cover the 6.5.

This week we’re going to continue to give you bad gambling advice while breaking down the second round games.  The lightweights are gone, the big boys are rested and it’s time to see if Tebow-mania is going to roll on.

First off, let me offer my condolences to Link’s Steelers, like a blind, three-legged dog with failing kidneys they were finally put out of their misery. I imagine a lot of changes are coming for that team this offseason.

When was the last time all four home teams won AND covered their spread? For me the biggest surprise of the week was the Houston blowout of Cincinnati.  I didn't think a TJ Yates-led team would dominate in a playoff game. Good for them! Will he pull off a shocker in Baltimore this week? Let’s find out!

Saturday 4.30 EST New Orleans (-3.5) at San Francisco

 If I’m reading the NFL stats right we have the number one passing offense going up against the 17th best pass defense in the league. Drew Brees had a ho-hum 466 yard/ 3 TD performance against the Lions last week. He’s now thrown 28 touchdowns against only 3 picks in the 7 weeks since the bye week. That’s crazy good. However, the 49er’s did pick off 23 passes this season and Brees can throw ‘em in bunches when he’s harassed.

Some folks out there are making a lot of the fact that the Saints are an indoor team that might struggle outdoors.  Two of their three losses were outdoors (Green Bay and Tampa), but they also came early in the season before their offense really started clicking. The weather is expected to be decent so I don’t think it’ll be that big of an effect in the game.  I doubt the Saints will be able to run the ball much, but should be able to hit the short passes and bombs to put enough points on the board.

 As for the 49er’s on offense…..well it is Alex Smith.  He’s not exciting, but he doesn’t turn the ball over either, only 5 INTs on the season.  They rushed for about 127 yards a game so I’m guessing they are a ball control, let the defense win the game type of team.  I’m not going to lie, I haven’t seen too much of them this year. Not sure that gets it done against a team with the firepower of the Saints.

I’m going:

Saints 27, 49’ers 17

Now onto the marquee matchup for the day:

Denver at New England (-13.5)

There’s no way Denver wins this game, right?  Despite being heavy underdogs last week against Pittsburgh there were things that you could look at as being in the Broncos favor, namely a depleted and banged up Steelers team and home field advantage.  This week they are looking at a rested New England squad that has the AFC’s best offense and what should be a rowdy (i.e. well-lubricated) crowd.
There is no way the Patriots make the same mistake the Steelers did in letting Tim Tebow drop back and huck the ball down the field.  Link and I spoke earlier this week about that being the easiest throw a quarterback can make. I can see New England keeping their safeties back and forcing Tebow to complete 8-15 yard passes that require some sort of accuracy, something that he has trouble with. 

If Denver can run the ball, great let them run all day long.  Make them grind out 10 minute drives because you know Tom Brady can march down the field and score in 3 minutes.  As we saw when they met earlier this season Denver can’t keep up with them in a shoot-out. 
Patriots 28, Denver 13

On to Sunday
Houston at Baltimore (-7.5)
It seems the pundits are chalking this one up to a relatively easy Ravens victory.  I’m not so sure.  Granted, I think they win, but I have a feeling it will be an ugly, grinding 15-14 kind of game.  Instead of breaking it down I will give you, instead, the Joe Flacco drinking game:

Every time Flacco checks down to Ray Rice
Every time Flacco overthrows Rice by 5 feet on a swing out pass
Flacco overthows Torrey Smith by inches on a 50 yard bomb
Dennis Pitta has to leap 3 feet in the air to haul in a 3rd and 8 reception

Flacco hits Smith on a 50 yard bomb for a touchdown
You realize Flacco hasn’t completed a pass to a wide receiver in a quarter and a half
Flacco scrambles like a new-born calf on roller skates for a first down
Flacco takes a delay of game penalty
Flacco throw a deep pass into the end zone to draw a pass interference penalty…and gets the call
Flacco completes 8 passes in a row to raise his completion percentage to 50% on the day

I kid, I kid.  I like Joe Flacco and think he’s a better quarterback than critics give him credit for.  I look for Ray Rice to have a typical productive day and the defense feasts on a couple of T.J. Yates turnovers.
Bonus Chug:

Ed Reed attempts a lateral after picking a pass off.
Baltimore 17, Houston 13

The final game of the weekend and a pretty good matchup

New York at Green Bay (-8.5)

The key matchup is going to be the Giants pass rush against a banged up Green Bay offensive line.  If they can get penetration (heh, heh penetration) and fluster Aaron Rodgers they can make it a long day for Mr. Discount Double Check.  Like Brady in New England, Rodgers has plenty of options to throw it to, but it’ll be hard to hit Jordy Nelson when he’s laying on his backside.
On the other side Green Bay gives up a ton of yardage(411 per game) but also creates turnovers (31 picks and 7 recovered fumbles). So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eli throw for 350 yards but also turn the ball over 4 times. 

By the way, nice move by the Yankees picking up Michael Pineda.  Now their pitching staff is almost as good as the Rays.

Packers 27, Giants 21

Due to a project at work (that required multiple cover letters for TPS reports) Link wasn't able to get to his side of the discourse.  He did however provide his picks)

New Orleans -3.5
New England -13.5
Houston +7.5
Giants +8.5


Nick B. said...

I know people with serious drinking problems that wouldn't take that Flacco challenge!

I just hope Sunday lives up to Saturday, an insane Saints 49ers game and (hopefully) the destruction of Tebow Time. I also hope the good Ravens show up today because they're fun to watch when their D shows up.

Justin G. said...

Nick, the D showed up and I pity anyone who tried the Flacco drinking game. By the way, do you need a Toews 07/08 Victory Rookie card? It ain't the sexiest card, but I have one if you need it.

Nick B. said...

Watching 52 and 20 is so much fun, and we'll see what happens this weekend against God's nephew. I'm not sure Baltimore's offense can keep up with the pace the Pats will have, but it should be entertaining.

I already have a few of the Toews Victory, so I don't need another. Save it and list it on eBay after he wins the Hart this year!