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Friday, January 18, 2008

Pete's NFL Picks: Conference Championship Edition

From the frozen tundra of Omaha: It’s Friday, the snow is falling, and the tone is solemn around these parts. Not only because of the 45 minutes it will take me to get to work, as opposed to the usual 15, but also due to the sadistic cycle that is the NFL playoffs.

The grim realization that there are only three more games to be had leaves me depressed. Why, 7 days ago, there were seven games left, and 14 days ago there were 11. When you root for the Cleveland fucking Browns, this cycle usually starts about the third week of
September, but this year was different. And it took longer to hit me.

In three more games there will be no more Tom Jackson, three team teaser bets, Tom Brady’s chin-butt, The Chargers (well, it’s not all bad), Cris Collinsworth, Hammerin’ Hank, etc. As an NFL fan, it’s hibernation time with only the occasional NFL’s Greatest Games or Mel Kiper Jr sighting in between naps.

But, let’s kick the mood up a little. If you haven’t yet, go to Deadspin and read the Jamberoo for the week to fire it up. It’s obscene and hilarious and I don’t know why everyone doesn’t enjoy it weekly like I do. I don’t even feel good about linking to it, that’s how tremendous it is.

Other NFL notes:

1. The Green Bay game last week was an exceptional watch. Lambeau, Favre doing Favre stuff, turnovers, points, snow, victory. I give the game a solid 9.7 out of 10 on the entertainment scale in spite of not really even being a close game for the entire second half. That’s what the NFL is all about, cherubs.

2. The Tony Sparano hiring is typical Parcells, and I mean that in a good way. There was absolutely no way he was going to go out and get an alpha dog he was not familiar with to come in and run things. This way, he can exert all the control he feels like without the accountability that comes from being the head coach.

3. Philip Rivers is a dick.

4. The Patriots have really not been much better in the second half of the season than the Chargers. More on this later.

5. The New York Football Giants are now 8-1 on the road. And Eli Manning is their quarterback. Holy hell.

6. I’m not sure how I feel about this 2 and 5:30 starting times of games. I mean it is Sunday and all. Am I supposed to drink during these? Or not? I’m confused. My NFL equilibrium is jacked up.

That about sums it up.

Oh, I’d be remiss not to mention my very profitable 3-1 weekend that included hitting New England -10 and Jacksonville +14, a 3 team teaser, and both the over and Green Bay in that majestic Saturday game. Great times. NFL, we will be sad to see you go.

Let’s take a look at the picks for the conference championships, I’m 5-3 on my Heavy Soul picks and hopefully you dipshits are, too:

San Diego (+14) at NEW ENGLAND

These fucking Chargers are killing me. They are the bane of my existence. A blight on the NFL’s surface. But if the NFL teaches you one thing, it’s: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Well, I’m joining ‘em. And by ‘em, I mean the godforsaken San Diego squad with the douche bag QB, the overrated steroid freak linebacker, Norv Turner, the 11 year old Nate Kaeding, a guy who talks a lot named Igor, and no fewer than three injured superstars.
But Pete, isn’t New England the best team ever? Well, considering the Sports Guy inexplicably compared them ALREADY to the ’86 Celtics, the answer is obviously a resounding yes. But take a look at New England over the 2nd half of the year and then San Diego. I’m not convinced that New England has really been better at all. I’m not going to link to the stats for you, just don’t argue with me in the comments until you’ve inspected them. I won’t hear it.

We’re talking a better defense, an offense that is peaking, and a revenge factor that includes a 38-14 beating this year and a fluke playoff loss last year. I’m not calling for the outright upset, although it wouldn’t shock me, but San Diego gets the check here.

NE 28 SD 20

GREEN BAY (-7) vs. New York Football Giants

Last week, I told you the Packers were going to the Super Bowl. I don’t look so stupid now. Above, I told you about the Giants 8-1 road record. Impressive. Also, I must give props to Chris Berman for the term “New York Football Giants.” Sure, it’s probably overused, maybe even a cliché, but it’s still fantastic.

It’s the NFL, and something’s gotta give. I just checked, and exactly none of the Giants’ road wins came in -20 windchills, and although the Pack got schallacked (I have no idea how to spell the word, even though I say it all the time) in Chicago in awful conditions, I like their running game, I like Favre, and this has all the makings of a magical run.

I cannot define “magical run” but much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it.” The rules of gambling explicitly state that when a team appears on the cusp of a magical run, and they are giving a touchdown or less at home on frozen tundra against a team that features a weenie for a QB and a secondary that I’m pretty sure Deion Sanders could still play for, you take them. I also humbly feel that there is some value in the over here, but I do not know if I will pick it.

Green Bay 31 NYFG 17

Enjoy the games, and feel free to agree with me in the comments.

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Comments:
On a no-way-at-all related sidebar, Awful Announcing has a short video of Jeffrey Ross killing - KILLING - at the Mike and Mike Roast.

I will never look at Mike Ditka the same way ever again.

(We still need drunk Dana Jacobson video, though)

Don't feel bad about the commute, JP. My usual 25 minute scoot took 1.5 hours this morning.

I blame Philip "Summer's Eve" Rivers.
 
I hate the NFL, the playoffs are ruining what was a very good betting year. I raked college this year and seem to have given a lot of it back the last few weeks. But quitters never win....so we push forward.

This weeks betting is simple...i've bet against Eli and Rivers every playoff game so far this year and have gotten raped by them. No way they burn me again this week, i'm taking the home teams.
 
I often use your picks for social rather than monetary leverage; keep it up Pete, great reads. I wasn't sure what 'sad panda' meant so with the help of urban dictionary.com, I laughed.

"Sexual fetish act in which a man punches his partner to give her two black eyes and then e_____'s on the middle of her face. When paired with the anticipated look of disgust, anger, and sadness on her face, she will appear to be a sad panda.

Laura: "I'm thinking of going as a sad panda for Halloween."
Ryan: "I'll come over and help you put your costume on!"
 
Sad panda will now be labeled in every post I create, ever. That's disgusting.

EZT: Humble yourself, and take the following picks, hopefully going two for three:

SD, GB, GB over.

Cheers!

pete
 
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