31 January 2013

Super Bowl 47 Picks

AKA the HarBowl, and yes, 47, because I'm just not playing with Roman numerals any more.

The Ravens and 49ers face off this Sunday. Both teams have good stories. It's Ray Lewis's *last* time at the rodeo. Colin Kaepernick came in mid-season and set the NFC West on fire. Plus, Chef Spouse's boy David Akers. The 49ers have never lost a Super Bowl, and they've played in - and won - five, behind only the Steelers. (The Ravens have also never lost a Super Bowl, but they've only played in one so far.) Also, Harbaugh v. Harbaugh, which is like Spy v. Spy, only in color and with fewer explosives (THAT WE KNOW OF).

As usual, what I'm mostly rooting for is a good game.

Well, unless the Eagles are playing, in which case it's cool if they win 59 to 3.

Or if the Patriots are playing, in which case I hope they all come down with norovirus and have to forfeit.

Or if they Cowboys are playing...wait, what am I saying? That's not likely to happen any time soon. Heh.

I've got the 49ers. I'm not putting money on it or anything, but I think the teams are pretty evenly matched on defense, and I don't think the Ravens will be able to keep up with the 49ers scoring juggernaut.

I just hope it doesn't come down to kicking, because since his mid-season double hernia surgery, David Akers has not been brilliant.

19 January 2013

2012 Conference Championship Picks

"So at last we meet again for the first time for the last time..."

Both of our #2 teams this week came [this] close to the Super Bowl last year. And I desperately wanted a 49ers-Ravens, Harbaugh v. Harbaugh Super Bowl last year. This year, I may get my wish.

49ers at Falcons: As the Seahawks proved last week, it is damn hard to go into Atlanta and win. Still, I can't see Matty Ice and the Dirty Birds overcoming the #3 defense the week after they put down the #4 defense, even if they did get to sleep in their own beds all week. Also, the Hawks put up some impressive numbers towards the end of the regular season, but not Colin Kaepernick numbers. Gotta go 49ers. Don't let me down, guys.

Ravens at Patriots: Chef Spouse and I were talking about the games this afternoon, and I said, "If it's another stupid Patriots Super Bowl, I'm not watching!" He responded, "Yes, you will." And I said, "No! I'll watch the commercials, but F those guys."

I really do feel that way.

Chef Spouse, in the meantime, has a man crush on Ray Lewis.

By rights, the Pats should win this game. Then again, the Pats took the Ravens out LAST year, too.

"Never pick against the Pats at home...."

Except this week. I'm going Ravens.

Side note: welcome to Philly, Chip Kelly. You weren't my top choice - I wanted Lovie Smith - but you were lots of other people's top choice including, apparently, Jeff Lurie (which is all that matters). The NFL ain't college, and Philadelphia ain't Oregon. Hope you're ready. 

12 January 2013

2012 Divisional Weekend Picks

The AFC games are obvious this weekend. Seeing as I'm about 99.87% sure the Broncos are headed to the Super Bowl (kick-ass defense and a reinvigorated Peyton Manning, anyone?), I think *this* will be the last game of Ray Lewis's career. And while the Texans are solid on D, too, I don't think they're solid enough to overcome the Tom Brady-bot at home, particularly since Matt Schaub is shaky in playoff games, and they're playing in Foxborough. I'm going Broncos and Pats, as, I suspect, is the entire rest of the NFL game picking world.

The NFC, on the other hand, seems not nearly as clear. The Seahawks and the Redskins, on the offensive side of the ball at least, are similar teams, and I thought for sure that homefield and the Skins strong run defense would carry the day last weekend. I did not foresee that the field at FedEx would look like a hog waller, that RGIII would re-injure his knee in the first quarter, and that Shanny would then inexplicably not take him out of the game, certainly costing the Skins the game and perhaps costing RGIII the 2013 season. This has been an interesting week to be a follower of the NFL here in DC.

Anyway, returning to this weekend's games, as Chef Spouse is fond of pointing out, the Falcons are the #1 ranked team in the NFC and no one gives them any respect. Including me, apparently, because I'm picking the Seahawks.

Turning to the 49ers/Packers matchup, the big story has been the first meeting of the 2005 draft class quarterbacks. Except, of course, that Colin Kaepernick is starting for the 49ers. And, Aa-Rodg magic aside, I think he and their stout defense are going to carry the 49ers to the NFC Championship game.

Of course, if I'm right about all this, we're looking at a VERY interesting conference championship weekend, with Peyton versus Tom, part I don't even know how many, and, in the NFC, division rivals meeting for a shot at the Super Bowl.

04 January 2013

2012 Wildcard Weekend Picks

Bengals at Texans: The Texans finished the 2012 season slumping, going 2-3 in their last 5 games, and losing the #1 seed. The Bengals finished hot, going 4-1 and playing themselves into the playoffs. The Texans won't be able to get much done through the air against the Bengals, but Arian Foster should be able to get it done on the ground. That and homefield should get the Texans past the Bengals, but I suspect their ride will end immediately after.

Viking at Packers: Adrian Peterson is a beast, no doubt, but I do not see the Vikings beating the Pack two weeks in a row, particularly not at Lambeau in January, and even if Greg Jennings would rather play inside. Packers.

Colts at Ravens: This week, Ray Lewis has announced that he's retiring after this season. He also announced that he'll be playing in the playoffs. And Joe Flacco hasn't exactly been lighting it up recently. And Andrew Luck has. But the Ravens still have Ray Rice, and the Colts have a rookie QB and a defense that is putrid against the run. And there is NO WAY the team lets a wildcard loss be Ray-Ray's last game. NO WAY. Ravens.

Seahawks at Redskins: This is a VERY INTERESTING matchup. Two dynamic rookie QBs. Two powerful running games. Two teams no one expected to see in the post-season this year. The Redskins are on fire going into the playoffs, winning their last seven games. The Seahawks are on fire going into the playoffs, winning their last five, including hanging 42 points on the #3 defense in the league. The NFL honchos chose wisely in putting this game on Sunday at 4:30. It should be excellent. The Seahawks should definitely go to the air against the Skins, who are almost dead last against the pass. But both of these teams have made their bones with their ground games. And if it's true that offense wins games and defense wins championships, I'm going to have to go with the Skins, who are better against the run than the Hawks.


Walk of Shame

Before I get to talking about the playoffs, here's how I ended up this season:

Regular season picks:

166-89-1

That's 65% (well, 64.8% to be precise).

My two best weeks were week 17, when I went 14-2 on my picks, and week 4, when I went 13-2 and correctly picked the final score of the Eagles/Giants matchup (19-17 Eagles win, in case the stench of the rest of the season has wiped it from your memory).

Most weeks I hovered in the 9-10-11 picks correct range, but a few bad weeks (week 3, 5-11, and week 6 4-10) really killed me.

On the up side, I did better than almost all the ESPN analysts. Go me!

Things are not so rosy when it comes to my pre-season playoff picks.

In the AFC, I had the Patriots, Ravens, and Texans to win their respective divisions.

I did NOT see the Broncos coming. I had the sad-sack newly head coach-less Chargers.

For wildcard, I had the Steelers (not an unreasonable pick) and the Raiders (crackalacka pick). Did not have the Bengals. Did not believe Andrew Luck and ChuckStrong could turn the Colts around this quickly. You know the Texans are not happy about that.

So I'm a straight .500 on the AFC.

In the NFC, I had the Falcons and 49ers to win their respective divisions.

I wish I knew how to quit the Lions. Sigh.

I don't think anyone had the Skins for NFC East, nor did most of us think the Eagles were going to implode quite so spectacularly.

I did have the Packers in as a playoff team, definitely at least wildcard, possible division winner.

I also had the G-men. And again, I don't think anyone saw the Seahawks coming.

In the NFC, I'm only at .333 unless we want to grade generously and give me the Packers, in which case, I also got to .500 there.