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Author Topic: Finny's WC Pickeroos  (Read 556 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Jan 05, 2012 at 12:22 »

Cincinnati Bengals +3 (9-7) at Houston Texans (10-6).

When the Bengals went to Houston a month ago, they led 19-10 entering the fourth quarter, until rookie QB TJ Yates led the Texans back to a 20-19 win.  Much has been made of the fact that the Bengals haven’t gotten over the hump with playoff teams this year, losing to the Ravens twice, the Steelers twice, Denver, San Francisco, and Houston.  But in those 7 losses, only the Steelers (35-7) and Ravens (24-16) managed to win by more than a touchdown.

Yates has shown himself a capable fill-in who can stretch the field, and kudos to Houston’s stout defense and nasty running game.  But the Texans have struggled in their last 3 games since beating Cinci, losing to Carolina, Indianapolis, and Tennessee.  Andy Dalton’s consistency will be key here, as otherwise these two teams seem pretty evenly matched.  Seems like everyone’s going Texans in this one, but I think this game unfolds like the last matchup, except that Yates comes up short in the late surge.  Upset alert. 

Bengals 23, Texans 20.

Detroit Lions +10.5 (10-6) at New Orleans Saints (13-3).

The Saints have won by an average of 24 points at home, including a ridiculous 62-7 throttling of the Colts.  Even without that game to skew the numbers, they’re winning by almost 20, and have done so against playoff teams:  40-33 against the Texans, 49-24 over the Giants, 31-17 over the Lions, and 45-16 against the division rival Falcons. 

The Lions, after starting 5-0, stumbled a bit due to injuries at RB and in the secondary, and in the previous matchup in New Orleans RB Kevin Smith got hurt before halftime.  When Smith left with his ankle injury, the deficit was still a manageable 17-7, and QB Matt Stafford piled up more than 400 yards passing on the Saints. 

This has all the fixin’s of a shootout, to be sure, and the Lions are no strangers to rallying.  Again, I see this game setting up similarly to the last matchup, but barring losing Kevin Smith, the Lions should get closer to the Saints than any other opponent has in New Orleans this year.  Were I a betting man, I’d look at that juicy double-digit line and place my wager.  Lions could win outright, but the Saints remember losing in the first round last year (to the Seahawks!) and won’t let that happen at home.  But it will be close.

Saints 41, Lions 38

Atlanta Falcons +3 (10-6) at New York Giants (9-7).

Vegas is giving us a shrug, saying these two teams are essentially even in terms of talent, with HFA giving the Giants the edge.  Last year, the Falcons were 13-3 and the NFC’s 1 seed.  In fact, in the preseason I thought the Falcons could be a team that might unseat the Packers in the playoffs.  Not any more.  The Falcons looked out of synch much of the season, and while they were able to beat up on crappy teams, they consistently struggled versus competent teams.  Outside of the comfy confines of dome life in Atlanta, these Falcons are nowhere near as good as they are at home.

The Giants had a wild up and down year, but in a 4-game losing streak in November and December that threatened to knock the G-men from the postseason, they at least showed up against good teams, except for a nasty loss in New Orleans.  The Giants have had problems with their defense that seem to be getting straightened out and their running game is healthy, and Eli has looked pretty fucking solid, making excellent throws to big Hakeem Nicks and the man from nowhere, Victor Cruz.

Big Blue will be all over Matt Ryan, so I think the Falcons will score in fits and starts.  Meanwhile, the Giants should have no problem running the ball, allowing Manning the ability to settle in and get a nice passing rhythm going. 

Giants 27, Falcons 17


Pittsburgh Steelers -9 (12-4) at Denver Broncos (8-8).

Fuck those Vegas assholes.  The Steelers always struggle as heavy favorites, and frankly I don’t understand where this line is coming from, except for the fact that the mirage of Tebow’s quarterbacking skills has really been revealed these last three weeks.  Finally.  But how sickening would it be to have the Broncos plod along, the Steelers doing their usual stupid shit with turnovers and lack of scoring, and have that fucking numpty Tebow pull out the win?  I’ll tell you how sickening.  On second thought, no I won’t.

The Steelers have the most parsimonious scoring defense, but have really struggled to put away inferior talent.  Much of that has to do with the aforementioned turnover and RZ issues, as well as injuries to Roethlisberger, Pouncey, Legursky, Sanders, Mendenhall, Moore, Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, Ryan Clark, etc., etc., etc.  The combination of Ben’s and Pouncey’s injuries alone makes me think the Steelers will struggle to score, and even in the thin Denver air I can envision Suisham missing at least one FG.

Maybe I worry too much.  All the talking heads seem to think the Steelers will roll here.  But this game worries the shit outta me.  LeBeau usually dials it up for the postseason, and Arians has had some moments in the playoffs as well, but unless Tebow lays hands on Ben’s ankle and a fucking golden ray of light splits the clouds and dude is miraculously healed, I think this fucker is a motherfucking ball-sweater.  And not a knit warmer from your nuts, either.

Steelers 16, Broncos 13
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 05, 2012 at 13:11 »

I'm right there with you down the line.  And depending on how the offense fairs against the Broncos that one could beat the spread IMO.  Solid or even unspectacular offensive play and the Steelers win it going away, victory formation with points to spare.  But give the Broncos defense a pick six and a couple of fumble sacks and who knows how fugly it could get?
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 05, 2012 at 13:31 »

From PFT, one of the guys liked the Lions and they both liked the Falcons and Texans. 
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 05, 2012 at 13:49 »

Prisco likes the Bengals, Saints, Falcons and the Steelers in a blowout.
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 05, 2012 at 13:50 »

Where's all this Falcons love coming from?

Because they blew out the Bucs?
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 05, 2012 at 14:39 »

Where's all this Falcons love coming from?

Because they blew out the Bucs?

Dunno how a dome team is gettin' so much love on the road in the Northeast.

They're a .500 (4-4) team on the road this year.  They went 2-3 in outdoor road games and 2-1 in indoor road games.  Plus, the only two outdoor games they won were a squeaker in Seattle and the blowout in Tampa.

It's supposed to be fairly mild in NJ on Sunday afternoon (lucky it's not a night game) with temps in the 40s so that should help Atlanta a bit. 

If I'm picking between Manning and Ryan to come through, I'm taking Eli.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 05, 2012 at 15:30 »

Matt Ryan doesn't look as crisp this year.  Can't quite explain, but like Livers, he's just off his mark.

Meanwhile, watching that Giants-Cowgirls game, Eli had some 2H moments where he was as good as I'd ever seen him.  He's definitely had a very good year, but a couple of times I just sat up and said Whoa!  I've given The Toe a lot of ribbing, but at least he's won some playoff games.
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 06, 2012 at 15:39 »

Riding Finman's coattails.  Here are my WC Weekend Picks.

SATURDAY

(4:30 PM EST) Bengals @ Texans (-3) -- When I first saw this matchup, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for the Bengals to avenge their crushing last minute loss to the Texans a few months ago.  Now, I'm having second thoughts.  Yeah, the Bengals are probably the healthiest of all the playoff teams and the Texans are kinda banged up, but this is still a game between two rookie QBs.  Two.  Rookie.  QBs.  So, what usually happens in these big game situations?  Teams lean on the running game and the defense.  IMO, the Texans are in better position in those departments with a healthy Foster; solid offensive line; and top defensive unit, playing at home.  Houston is a pretty loud and tough place to play for any QB, nevermind a rook in the biggest game of his career.  Nah, like I said, initially I was on the Bengals, but after thinking about it, I like Houston giving the FG at home here.  23-17 Texans.

(8:00 PM EST) Detroit @ New Orleans (-10.5) -- This is another game where I've pulled a 180'.  When I first saw this line, I thought, "Gimmee that Lions offense and all those points.  They'll keep it close or maybe steal a win."  Not.  Sure, Detroit actually outgained New Orleans in several statistical categories and kept it close on the scoreboard and if it wasn't for some costly turnovers, maybe they pull off the upset a month ago.  But, you can't ignore the Saints' dominance (undefeated) at home and their 8-0 record ATS at home.  Stafford had a great regular season, but let me see him do it in the postseason where it really matters.  He hates the blitz and all Williams does on defense is blitz (hello turnovers!).  Couple that with the most explosive offense in the league playing on their turf and you get another high scoring route.  Vegas knows something and I think they're just daring people to take the Lions with that big number.  Saints by two TDs or more.  41-24 Saints.

SUNDAY

(1:00 PM EST) Falcons @ Giants (-3) -- As mentioned earlier, I can't figure out why the Falcons are getting so much love in this one (outside of NY, of course).  Maybe I'm overstating it a bit, but it sure feels like most pundits are riding with the Falcons to take down the G-men on the road.  Those last three words are key though -- on the road.  Atlanta is pretty average on the road and they slide below .500 in outdoor stadiums.  Granted, the Gints aren't necessarily a strong home team, but they're getting healthy and peaking at the right time.  Key for them is their front 7.  If they can get pressure on Ryan while keeping Turner in check, they should come out ahead and cover the measely FG.  EERI TO HAVYARE CRUZ...INSTROPUHBLE!!1...ZING!!!  27-20 Giants.

(4:30 PM EST) Steelers @ Broncos (+8.5) -- Steeler fans should be ecstatic, I absolutely love the Broncos getting this much at home.  I fully expect (hope?) a Steeler win, but I think this one's going to be another "way closer than it 'oughta be" kind of game.  The Steelers are just so banged up on the offensive side (not convinced Woodley is close to 100% either) that unless Pittsburgh manages to get two defensive scores, I'll be chompin' my fingernails down to the bone.  Also, doubt that Roethlisberger gonna Roethlisberger as his mobility will most surely be limited.  I'm ready for a ground and pound, short and quick, get-it-outta-his-hands passing attack kinda game.  IMO, Denver's defense ain't as good as some experts claim.  The best of their front seven is clearly Dumervil and Miller who are excellent when they can pin their ears back and rush the passer, but that squad as a whole is extremely bad against the run.  Should see a heavy dose of Redman and at least 3 WR screens (ugh).  Most importantly, win the goddamned turnover battle; no short fields, no critical redzone giveaways, no gifts.  Make Denver earn every bit of it.  Don't expect much of that to happen though, that's why I'm taking Denver (+8.5).  16-13 Steelers...have the cardiac meds handy.
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 06, 2012 at 18:39 »

I wonder what's lower, the O/U for the Steelers/Broncos or for the 'Bama/LSU game?
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 07, 2012 at 09:14 »

'Bama/LSU O/U 40
Pit@Den O/U 34.5

Give me the under both times.  Bet the house.
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