Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at New York Giants (9-7) Line: Giants by 3. Total: 47.5. Walt's Projected Line: Giants -4.
Sunday, Jan. 8, 1:00 ET
The Game. Edge: Giants.
A friendly reminder that Jerks of the Week for Jan. 2, 2012 are up, so just click the link. This week's jerks are Jerks of Parx Casino.
Also, I've been posting some comments from perverted users directed at hot chicks on NFL.com's GameCenter, most of which came from a creeper named Aaron3619.
If you recall from last week, Aaron has been having issues with a user named SuckOnMyFootball:
DFChargerGirl replied to Aaron, and then they had a couple of exchanges:
OK, so we're all caught up now. What has Aaron been doing this week? Did he ever get in touch with DFChargerGirl?
1. You want to ask DFChargerGirl some naughty things? Say it aint so!
2. Aaron is a player. He didn't have enough time to reply to SandyLuvsFalcons because "me computer broke?" That's bulls***! Someone please alert SandyLuvsFalcons of this because I've been posting Aaron's comments for the past several weeks, so that's proof that his computer did not break.
3. I don't know why Aaron asked my friend Emily who FalconsSuck is. Here's what FalconsSuck posted on Aaron's profile, among other things:
FalconsSuck is my hero for the dog rapist comment. His posts were funny, but something even more hilarious is what Emily sent over to me. She managed to capture SuckOnMyFootball's posts on Aaron's profile before they were erased:
FalconsSuck is no longer my hero. Emily is now my hero for sending these over, and SuckOnMyFootball is completely awesome for messing with Aaron, who is definitely getting what he deserves.
NEW YORK OFFENSE: I don't know how the Falcons are going to stop the Giants. Their pass defense is a mess, while Eli Manning has way too many weapons at his disposal.
Atlanta is ranked only 18th against aerial attacks, which may not seem so bad until you scope out its competition. Save for Drew Brees twice, here are the quarterbacks the Falcons have battled since their Week 8 bye: Josh Freeman, Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, T.J. Yates, Christian Ponder, Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker and Curtis Painter.
Brees torched the Falcons twice, and I fully expect Manning to do the same. Manning should have plenty of time in the pocket, as Atlanta has only one player who can get to the quarterback, John Abraham, and he tends to come up small in big games. Besides, New York's offensive line has improved immensely lately.
Manning won't be in many third-and-long situations because Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs will be effective on the ground. Prior to their blowout against the Buccaneers, who quit on Raheem Morris, the Falcons had allowed four consecutive opponents to rush for 111-plus yards, three of whom needed only 22 or fewer carries to do so. The loss of strongside linebacker Stephen Nicholas has been huge.
ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons couldn't stop Aaron Rodgers in their playoff game last year, but another issue was Matt Ryan's inability to move the chains. In fact, Ryan has maintained a meager 3:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a 5.6 YPA and a quarterback rating of 71.2 in two playoff games. Keep in mind that both contests were in domes.
But that's exactly why Atlanta's front office spent so many resources in trading up for Julio Jones. Though Jones has had issues with drops this year, he's a dynamic talent who has really come on in the past few weeks. He, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez should be able to get open against a New York secondary that typically blows a few coverages every game.
The question is whether or not Ryan's offensive line can keep him off the grass. Pass protection has been an issue for the Falcons all year, as the unit has major holes at left tackle and right guard, to a lesser extent. Considering how dominant the Giants' pass rush is, Ryan won't have much time in the pocket.
Don't expect Michael Turner to have any massive running lanes either. The Giants really struggled versus the run earlier in the season, but they've improved in that department recently. They've limited the opposition to just 3.8 YPC since Week 13.
RECAP: The Giants being favored by three indicates that these teams are even, but I completely disagree with that. The Falcons are extremely overrated, owning a horrible 1-5 record against playoff teams. I also don't trust them playing outdoors, especially in cold, windy conditions.
The Giants, meanwhile, seem to be hitting their stride. They've covered four of their previous five, beginning with that near-victory against the Packers. They're completely healthy and appear to be ready to make a long playoff run.
The Psychology. Edge: None.
No psychological edge found.
The Vegas. Edge: None.
Percentage of money on New York: 58% (128,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: Falcons.
Streak Dynamics: Teams on a winning streak of 1-2 games are 8-3 ATS as road underdogs in the playoffs since 2002.
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Denver Broncos (8-8) Line: Steelers by 8. Total: 34. Walt's Projected Line: Steelers -6.
Sunday, Jan. 8, 4:30 ET
The Game. Edge: Steelers.
It's the final game of the first round of the playoffs, but we're going to have Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the shots instead of the great preseason homers like Kevin Reilly, Don Tollefson and Herm Edwards, and inept ESPN guys Emmitt and Matt Millen. Here's what it would sound like if those five clowns were calling this game:
Kevin Reilly: Welcome to Denver! Tonight, the Broncos play the Steelers in a meaningless game because my Eagles are better than both teams. But enough about this stupid game. It's Take Your Lover to Work Week. I couldn't bring my lover, Michael Vick, because he won't return my phone calls. Who'd you bring, Emmitt?
Emmitt: Mike, the game of football my lover. I have so much successfulness in my career playin' football, announcin' football and even coachin' football that the football and me might as well get up on the halter and say our vowels.
Reilly: I would love to say my vowels to Michael Vick, but he hasn't returned any of my love letters to him. Guys, what should I do to get his attention? Should I dress in a skimpy skirt?
Herm: No attention! No need to bother! No need to harass! No need for letters! No need for calls! No need for e-mails! No need for nothin'! He doesn't want the call! Doesn't want the letters! Doesn't want the e-mails! Doesn't want the stalk! No stalk! No e-mails! No calls! No... uhh...
Reilly: Shut up, stupid Herm. I see you've brought no one here today because no one could ever love a monster like you. I... who the hell is this touching me? Get off me!
Millen: Sorry, Kevin. This is my friend, Roy. He's a 100-percent USDA Man. A young stallion. Someone I'd love to ride all night long. I can't wait until the game's over so we can go back to my hotel room... unless... Kevin, I don't ask you for much, but can Roy and I make passionate kielbasa love in this booth? It would make my Christmas and New Year's Eve dreams come true! If you want, Kevin, you can join in with us. I have some spare kielbasas in my suitcase.
Reilly: No, I don't want to join you, and no you can't make passionate kielbasa love in this booth. That's disgusting. I... wait, what is this meal doing in front of me? It looks delicious!
Tollefson: Kevin, this is my concubine, Candy. In truth, I just call her Candy. I don't know what her real name is, nor do I care. She just makes my meals, and I had her make dinner for you. After you're done eating, and she's done scrubbing the windows of this booth, why don't you join me for a devil's three-way with her? We can even invite Millen and his USDA Man.
Millen: Eww! Girls have cooties!
Reilly: Don, I thank you for the offer and the meal, but I couldn't cheat on my lover, Michael Vick.
Tollefson: Your loss, Kevin. I really think you should re... hey, Candy, what are you doing!? Scrub harder, whore! And make me a steak while you're at it!
Reilly: I'll take another one too. We'll be back after a word from our local sponsors!
DENVER OFFENSE: "How are the Broncos going to score? They couldn't get more than three points against Kansas City! Blah blah blah blah blah."
It's amazing how quickly we all forget something that happened three weeks ago. Remember when the Packers visited the Chiefs as double-digit favorites? They couldn't do anything offensively. Aaron Rodgers looked lost. The receivers couldn't separate. And Green Bay suffered its first defeat. Romeo Crennel put together the perfect game plan to neutralize Rodgers.
Crennel did the same thing against the Broncos. He's a defensive genius, and it sort of helps that he has a great pass rush complementing a secondary featuring two shutdown corners. Denver's wideouts had no prayer of getting any separation, which is why Tim Tebow was able to complete only six passes.
The Steelers aren't nearly as good defensively, and those who think they are simply are just living in the past. The players are old and slow. They've had trouble getting Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and Alex Smith off the field in the past month, so I think Tebow will be OK, especially considering that the cornerbacks aren't nearly as good as Kansas City's, and the fact that free safety Ryan Clark won't be able to play because of a medical condition.
Everyone just assumes Pittsburgh is going to stop the run and get to the quarterback as usual, but the team hasn't been doing that lately despite mediocre competition. The Steelers have just 14 sacks in their previous seven games, and they're just two weeks removed from surrendering 154 rushing yards to the freaking Rams.
PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: Since everyone is asking how the Broncos will score, I'd like to know how the Steelers will find the end zone.
Ben Roethlisberger isn't anywhere close to 100 percent. He's struggling with his mobility, and the big plays just aren't there right now. Making matters worse, Rashard Mendenhall is out with a torn ACL, which means the mediocre Isaac Redman will be the team's primary ball-carrier again. I guess that means the Steelers will be guilty of more fumbles in opposing territory.
The Broncos have issues of their own though. The secondary hasn't been the same since losing Brian Dawkins to a neck injury. It doesn't seem like he'll be able to play again this year, which is a huge blow to Denver's defense.
Another reason why the Broncos have declined is Von Miller. Miller was an absolute stud through the first three months, but hasn't been the same since he broke his thumb. In fact, he was benched against the Chiefs. If the Broncos are to win this game, Miller will really need to step his game up. Maybe being benched will ignite him.
At any rate, the Steelers should have some success moving the chains and sustaining drives, but their inability to hit big plays, coupled with their tendency to commit turnovers, will limit them on the scoreboard.
RECAP: This is my January NFL Pick of the Month. I love the Broncos for so many reasons:
1. This is one of the dumbest point spreads I've ever seen. The Steelers were just -6.5 at Cleveland. So, Vegas is saying that the 4-12 Browns are 2.5 points better than Denver? Umm... what?
2. This is a textbook overreaction line, so we're getting tons of value with Denver. Most people don't seem to realize that though, given that the Steelers are by far the most heavily bet team this weekend. Yet, despite this, some books are edging the line in the Broncos' favor. Now, why would they be doing that with so much money coming in on Pittsburgh? Hmm...
3. People don't want to bet on the Broncos right now, but it's the Steelers who are overrated. Their defense is old and slow, and their offense is completely limited because of injuries to Roethlisberger and Mendenhall. Since its bye, Pittsburgh has struggled to beat the Chiefs (13-9) and Browns twice (14-3, 13-9).
4. The public was all over the Steelers in all three of those contests, by the way. As mentioned before, shady things happen when they receive so much money in Vegas. I'm fully expecting some "untimely" fumbles, interceptions, missed field goals, etc.
5. Everyone talks about how much the Ravens suck on the road, but let's look at what Pittsburgh has done outside of Heinz Field this year: loss by 28 (Ravens), win by 3 (Colts with Kerry Collins!), loss by 7 (Texans), win by 12 (Cardinals), win by 7 (Bengals), win by 4 (Chiefs), loss by 17 (49ers) and win by 4 (Browns).
That's just one double-digit victory against an Arizona team that was struggling at time (recently blown out at Minnesota). So, with all that in mind, how are Roethlisberger and company supposed to win this game by more than nine?
6. Speaking of road issues, the Steelers are 1-8 against the spread on the road as favorites of -9 or more since 2004. Everyone always bets them in these situations, yet they never cover. Sound familiar?
7. As for the Broncos, this is a classic "no one believes in us" scenario. Media people are saying really stupid things. For instance, Bill Simmons, whom I'm a fan of, opined that Denver is the worst playoff team in NFL history. I love Simmons, but that was one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard. The Broncos are about as good as the Texans and Bengals, and are far superior to that crap Seattle team that was in the playoffs last year. And even the Seahawks were able to win under similar circumstances.
Yes, Denver has dropped three in a row, but one loss was to the Chiefs, who also slew Aaron Rodgers. Another defeat was at Buffalo, in a contest coming off an emotional defeat to New England in which the Broncos had control until three crucial second-quarter fumbles.
The Broncos aren't a bad team. They're not that good, but there's no way in hell they should be nine-point underdogs at home to the overrated Steelers.
The Psychology. Edge: Broncos.
No one believes in the Broncos. Everyone thinks the Steelers are going to win. Chris Berman was on to something when he said this game reminds him of Saints-Seahawks.
The Vegas. Edge: Broncos.
Fire on the Tim Tebow bandwagon! Everyone, quickly, jump off the Tim Tebow bandwagon!
Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 62% (123,000 bets)
The Trends. Edge: None.
First Start: Quarterbacks making their first start in the playoffs are 0-3 ATS as home underdogs since 2002. ???
Ben Roethlisberger is 9-3 ATS in the playoffs (6-2 as a favorite).
Steelers are 1-8 ATS on the road as favorites of -9 or more since 2004.
Opening Line: Steelers -8.
Opening Total: 35.5.
Week 18 NFL Pick: Broncos 17, Steelers 13 Broncos +8 (7 Units - January NFL Pick of the Month) -- Correct; +$700 Under 34 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0 Broncos 29, Steelers 23
Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted
whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.
Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.
Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Preseason 2016): 7-3 (+$1,160)
Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 4-1 (+$780)
Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2015): 0-0 ($0)
Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21, 2015): $0
2016 NFL Picks of the Month: 1-0, 100% (+$400)
2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0) 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%) 2000 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 128-123-8 (51.0%) 2001 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 127-122-7 (51.0%) 2002 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 123-136-7 (47.5%) 2003 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 146-126-8 (53.7%) 2004 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 157-123-8 (56.1%) 2005 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 156-126-11 (55.3%) 2006 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-135-9 (52.8%) 2007 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 162-135-10, 54.5% (+$2,550) 2008 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 148-140-7, 51.4% (+$2,620) 2009 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 151-124-9, 54.9% (+$3,370) 2010 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$6,080) 2011 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-133-12, 50.7% (-$1,925) 2012 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 130-145-8, 47.3% (-$5,760) 2013 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 144-131-8, 52.4% (+$5,580) 2014 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 143-133-7, 51.8% (-$1,885) 2015 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 134-138-12, 49.3% (-$2,360)
2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%) 2003 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 52-51-2 (50.5%) 2004 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-44-3 (59.6%) 2005 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 77-61-1 (55.8%) 2006 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 65-61-4 (51.6%) 2007 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 83-59-5, 58.5% (+$4,110) 2008 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-57-3, 43.6% (-$3,510) 2009 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 49-35-3, 58.3% (+$2,260) 2010 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 51-38-4, 57.3% (+$3,180) 2011 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 44-51-3, 46.3% (-$2,715) 2012 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 45-50-2, 47.4% (-$2,130) 2013 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 38-42, 47.5% (-$2,890) 2015 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 47-44-1, 51.6% (-$820)
2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%) 2003 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 16-13-1 (55.2%) 2004 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 18-11 (62.1%) 2005 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 25-22-1 (53.2%) 2006 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-29-1 (42.0%) 2007 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 35-30-2, 53.8% (+$420) 2008 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 39-26-2, 60.0% (+$4,055) 2009 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 29-26, 52.7% (+$330) 2010 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 32-22, 59.3% (+$4,790) 2011 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-14, 50.0% (-$1,260) 2012 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 14-21, 40.0% (-$3,650) 2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970) 2015 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-16-2, 51.5% (-$1,120)
2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%) 2002 Season Over-Under: 121-91-3 (57.1%) 2003 Season Over-Under: 126-132-2 (48.8%) 2004 Season Over-Under: 139-124-4 (52.9%) 2005 Season Over-Under: 117-145-4 (44.7%) 2006 Season Over-Under: 129-132-5 (49.4%) 2007 Season Over-Under: 136-145-3, 48.4% (-$1,900) 2008 Season Over-Under: 137-125-6, 52.3% (+$860) 2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195) 2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5) 2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135) 2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30) 2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340) 2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035 2008 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,775 2009 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$865 2010 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$200 2011 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$590 2012 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$1,685 2013 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$2,245 2015 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$855
2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%) 2007 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$400) 2008 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-1, 85.7% (+$3,720) 2009 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$640) 2010 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,810) 2011 NFL Picks of the Month: 5-2, 71.4% (+$1,870) 2012 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-2, 60.0% (+$560) 2013 NFL Picks of the Month: 6-0, 100% (+$3,900) 2014 NFL Picks of the Month: 2-4, 33.3% (-$1,350) 2015 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3, 50.0% (-$100)
Career NFL Picks Against The Spread: 2,291-2,116-129, 52.0% (+$8,150) Career 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 741-668-34 (52.6%) Career 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 305-267-13 (53.3%) Career Over-Under: 1,823-1,765-51 (50.8%) Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%) Career NFL Picks of the Month: 33-22 (60.0%)
My Team-by-Team ATS Record This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not
displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.