by Ryan Meehan (Davenport, IA – US)
and Brian Chapman (Hunington Beach, CA – US)
This week, I’m proud to announce that I will be doing picks with one of my favorite sportswriters at the moment, Brian Chapman of Doin’ Work. Brian covers pretty much everything in the world of sports and I value his input a lot. So, I invited him in for some picks and here’s what we came up with…
New Orleans Saints (11-5) -10.5 at Seattle Seahawks (7-9) – 44.5
RM: The Seahawks ended the year with a -79 point differential, and to make matters even more depressing, lost every one of those nine games by 15 points or more. Yikes. Later on, I’ll discuss why this upsets me so much. The Seahawks shouldn’t get their “12th man” advantage, because this game should be in New Orleans. They didn’t beat anybody good and all of the good teams they played they got smoked. Now, I’m picking the Saints, but I will say that if an upset this weekend has to happen it’s this one here.
Meehan’s Prediction: New Orleans Saints 32, Seattle Seahawks 15
BC: New Orleans was actually a good team this year despite what everyone thinks on the decline of Drew Brees. So what if he threw a few more picks, did you see all those injuries he had on offense? He had the same problems as Aaron Rodgers over in Green Bay and still succeeded. The Saints won by 15 in their week 11 meeting, and weren’t at full strength. They aren’t at full strength right now, but are healthier than they were. Saints win big as Seattle isn’t used to being in the playoffs. I guess my prediction shows you that I think this one will hit the over.
Chappy’s Prediction: New Orleans Saints 38, Seattle Seahawks 20
New York Jets (11-5) +2.5 at Indianapolis Colts (10-6) – 44.5
RM: Even if they are really good, the idea that the Jets are this Super Bowl bound powerhouse doesn’t strike me as too threatening just yet. This is a very winnable game for both teams. I’m taking Indy to lose based mostly on the overall wear I see on Peyton Manning’s face during the postgame interviews. Something about the 2010 Colts hasn’t really clicked for me or pretty much any other non-Colts fan that I talk to. Do I think the Jets are a much better team? Not really, but they are healthier and sometimes in the NFL that’s all a team needs to have an advantage in a game like this. This won’t be a blowout no matter what happens.
Meehan’s Prediction: New York Jets 26, Indianapolis Colts 24
BC: I haven’t been a believer in the Jets ever since they’ve had to rely on luck and/or Sanchez to lead a late winning drive. Half of their games were decided by a touchdown or less, and they were lucky enough to win all but one of those. In their losses they looked terrible getting a total of 9 points in three of those losses. I’m still going to take Peyton in any game that I think will be close, because if it comes down to these two QB’s, I’ll take Manning 100% of the time. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t really like either of these teams that much, but I’m a betting man, and that will keep me interested in this one.
Chappy’s Prediction: Indianapolis Colts 24, New York Jets 20
Baltimore (12-4) -3 at Kansas City (10-6) – 41.0
RM: In with the old and out with the new. I’d be shocked if the Chiefs find a way to pull this one off. They’ll be going against a violent Ravens defense headed up by Ray Lewis, who led Baltimore to its first Super Bowl victory a decade ago. Wait, did that just say the Ravens are only three point favorites? I guess I could see that, seeing as how Kansas City is at home…but does anybody forsee the Chiefs having any shot whatsoever at winning this game? All that being said, 41 for a point total is a hard bet to make. That’s very close to what I would have but I’d end up taking the over:
Meehan’s Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 26, Kansas City Chiefs 19
BC: Kansas City really crapped the bed last week against my Raiders. Cassell looked like a truly terrified man out there towards the end of the game while ducking from imaginary defenders that weren’t even close to him. The Raiders are a physical defense, and guess what, the Ravens are a physical defense that hits the QB too! I don’t’ have as much confidence as I once did in the Ravens, but they quietly won six of their last seven games and are playing better than when I liked them for the Super Bowl. Maybe I’ve been overlooking them a little too much, and should give them their due. Too bad they will have to play New England if they win. Ray Rice should have as big of a day as Michael Bush did last week, and lead them to a victory on the road. Ed Reed has at least one pick and makes a couple of Polamalu like plays frustrating the pass dropping machine, Dwayne Bowe.
Chappy’s Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 21, Kansas City Chiefs 10.
Green Bay Packers (10-6) -2.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) – 46.0
RM: The Packers have one hope to win this game: That the Philadelphia Eagles show up and expect Michael Vick to do everything. If Philly shows up balanced, they easily win. If they do place everything on Vick’s shoulders, they can still win, but it could give Green Bay the opportunity to keep their defense off the field. The over / under on this one will be difficult to gauge as well, because Vick can put up 28 points like it’s nobody’s business. It’s possible that the Packers have the potential to get blown the fuck out here. They aren’t a better team than the Eagles when you factor in all of the injuries. But, they did have some receivers step up in the Chicago game, so you never know.
Meehan’s Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27, Green Bay Packers 24
BC: The Eagles aren’t the team they were a few weeks ago when Vick was an MVP frontrunner. It seems like teams have taken away a few things from him, and figured out ways to put Vick on his back. I think I’ll be rooting for the Eagles, but deep down I feel like the Packers will win. Like Ryan said, it all depends on how much the Eagles rely on Vick. Andy Reid already said that they were going to be throwing the ball just as much as they have been, which I find slightly problematic the way Vick has been getting pounded.
Chappy’s Prediction: Green Bay 31, Philadelphia 24
RM: You know what disturbs me the most about all of this? Three out of the four games being played this weekend are being hosted by the team that has the inferior record. (The only exception being the PHI – GB game) If we are going to restructure the playoffs, and we’re not going to disqualify division winners regardless of their record, the least that we can do is ensure that whoever has the better win-loss record will end up hosting the game. It’s only fair.
Preview for divisional playoff week:
RM: The Patriots get the lowest seed, which would be Baltimore right now if they beat the Chiefs like everyone thinks they will. So if Indy wins, then they would host the Steelers. This is incredibly stupid because Pittsburgh will be 12-4 and the Colts would be 11-6. Regardless, the Steelers are going to beat whoever wins the Jets / Colts game.
In the NFC, the Falcons get to play the lowest seed, likely to be Philly or the Packers. Chicago will possibly end up facing the Saints, and that should be a very good matchup.
Other notes from around the league:
RM: Only in the NFL would Bengals coach Marvin Lewis end up keeping his job after a 4-12 season, and the Raiders would fire Tom Cable for going 8-8 and winning the last game of the season against a division rival that’s headed to the postseason. Brian had mentioned to me that he didn’t really feel like discussing Cable in this article, as he’s a Raiders fan. But, I have this sneaking suspicion that he’ll have some type of piece coming on that firing. So all I’ll say about that is, since we all know that Al Davis is crazy and completely off his rocker there’s no need to mention it anymore. The next time you hear anything out of the ordinary coming out of the Oakland camp, just go ahead and consider it ordinary.
Back to Marvin Lewis: Even though I think Marv is a decent coach, I didn’t think that he was decent enough to be given another shot at turning the Bengals back into a contender. That team has all sorts of issues and worst of all, Carson Palmer (although he has his head screwed on the straightest) might be the biggest one out of all of them. I do know that they made the playoffs last year, but a lot of people forget how they laid down in both of those consecutive weeks against New York. (Week 17 and Wild Card weekend) I wasn’t that surprised by Eric Mangini or John Fox getting let go. Norv Turner and Jack Del Rio really could have gone either way so I don’t have an issue with either of them getting to keep their jobs. I’m still very puzzled as to why the Giants would want to hang on to Tom Coughlin. From what it looks like, they won’t have to worry about hanging onto running back Brandon Jacobs. Additionally, the Titans plan to move Vince Young, so it looks like Jeff Fisher is safe as well.
There’s been a lot of talk about Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh taking the 49ers job, and I hope he does. You’d think this would be a slam dunk, as Harbaugh lives in the area and his brother already coaches in the NFL. But there are some college football freaks that would tend to believe the Michign vacancy is very alluring to him, and this writer is not one of those idiots. Michigan is a horrible job, and will be for the next few years. Harbaugh is coming off of a very successful year at Stanford, and would have no reason (other than his alumni status) to jump onto a ship that most likely won’t be ranked at all next season. I like Jim, and I like San Francisco, so I hope he takes the gig.
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content. And know that you can always check out doin-work.com for all of your sports info. Especially for their coverage of California’s NBA teams, which is superb on that website.