A Gambling Man’s NFL Playoff Perspective!
The regular season was pretty good to me (72-44-1 or@62%), but all real bettors of NFL football can't wait until playoff time. These games are interesting this week, because we have two big favorites, and two games that are expected to be relatively close. As the Packers, 49ers, Patriots, and Ravens all wait to see who they will play, I think we may see some surprising results this weekend, and even more in the weeks to come.
But what do I know, I've only been betting on, and following football intensely, for @ 30 years. That said - here are my selections for the wildcard round - good luck!
1) Bengals (+4) at Texans -- The Texans looked like a formidable, and legitimate, Super Bowl contender midway through the year, but they have backed in to the playoffs losing three straight, and are very banged up right now. The offense has struggled to get going, and I don't expect they'll be able to just 'flip the switch' against Cincinnati. The Bengals defense is vastly under-rated, and the "O" has dangerous outside weapons in A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson, to go along with the steady running of Cedric Benson. Andy Dalton is making a homecoming of sorts, in Houston, as he is from the area and went to T.C.U. The first playoff game in Texans history, is going to go down in the "L" column. 19-13, Bengals.
2) Saints (-10.5) vs. Lions -- This is a LOT of points to be giving up in a playoff game, but you can always bet confidently on Drew Brees, especially at home. The Lions are a young team that is talented, and fun to watch - but they're going to get taught a few lessons on what the playoffs are all about in New Orleans. The Saints "D" will force some turnovers when Matthew Stafford forces the ball to Calvin Johnson. Meanwhile, Brees has more weapons than he knows what to do with, and the Saints go for the opposing end zone on every single possession. The Saints will surely go 'marching in', setting up a very intriquing game in San Francisco next week. 48-27, Saints.
3) N.Y. Giants (-3) vs. Falcons -- The Giants are not the most consistent squad in the league, but when they're good - they are just as good as anyone. Eli Manning is reliable, and has the best compliment of weapons around him that he ever has. The Giants front seven will not let Michael Turner run wild, and Matt Ryan is average, at best, on the road as an NFL starter. We all saw how over-rated the Falcons truly were last year, and I think they are in for a long afternoon in the Big Apple! Giants cover easily, 31-16.
4) Broncos (+8.5) vs. Steelers -- Not very often will I bet on a team that I am pretty confident has NO CHANCE OF WINNING THE GAME - but I'm making an exception. The Steelers are ultra beat up for this match up, on both sides of the ball. They'd be a certain underdog if they were playing anyone other than Denver. But Tim Tebow couldn't even manage one touchdown last week, in a home game, against K.C., with the division on the line!? How is he going to penetrate the vaunted "Steel Curtain"? I don't know, but he'll get them close enough for Matt Prater to kick 4 or 5 field goals, and I think this game really will be tight throughout. Pittsburgh's offense, certainly will not score much - but I'm thinking they'll do just enough. This is where the Broncos will learn the hard way, that one-dimensionalism, does not work in pro football. Steelers, 16-12.