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January 18, 2008
by Jeff Briggs
“ The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!” --Homer Simpson
Last week: 2-2. Playoffs: 5-3. Playoff “locks”: 0-2. I, like most of America, did not see that game coming from the Chargers. It was ridiculous to think that we’d have all the home teams win last week, because that never happens. We were treated to some good games last week, and hopefully that will continue in the Conference Championships, despite the high spreads. Both games are rematches of Week 2 blowouts, with the higher seeded team winning both games. However, all four of these teams are not the same team they were in September. Last weeks games helped to eliminate my greatest fear in football this year, an undefeated Patriots team against the Dallas Cowboys in the Superbowl. Of course, now we are looking at the matchup that will make every announcer and analyst soil themselves with excitement, Brett Favre vs. Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Chris Berman’s Computer Wallpaper
One thing I’m excited about regarding Sundays games is the weather. It’s not too often that you get two cold weather Championship games anymore. The weather should be a factor in both games, as game time temps are expected to be below freezing. Onto the games, home team in CAPS.
Chargers (+13.5) over PATRIOTS
This goes against a lot of betting rules. You are supposed to take the team with the better QB, the better coach and the home team. You aren’t supposed to pick the underdog if you don’t think they can win outright. Phillip Rivers might be out; he might have a torn ACL. Do I really want to put my money in the hands of Billy Volek? Short answer, yes. The Patriots have only covered the spread in one of their last seven games. Granted, that was against the Steelers at home in Week 14 after the Anthony Smith trash talk, and now the Chargers have decided that talking trash on the Patriots is a good idea (good work Igor). All that information aside, the Patriots have still only covered one of their last seven games. The Chargers have covered the spread in eight straight (all wins). I’m expecting LT to make something happen in this game. So far he’s come up basically empty against the Patriots; eventually that has to change (Manning had similar struggles until he broke through and beat the Pats). Rivers has been playing well, and if he doesn’t play, he’s been working on trying to move the ball with his mind and shoot it out of the air with lasers from his eyes.
“Laser eye” Rivers
I say the Pats still win this one by more than a score, but 13.5 is too many points for a team that hasn't been blowing people out for several weeks.
PACKERS (-7.5) over Giants
This game was at 7 for most of the week and I was much more comfortable with it before the Packers got the extra half a point. Clearly I was wrong about the Giants last week: I should have stuck with my initial thoughts and picked them, but instead I over analyzed things. That said, I'm not on the Giants bandwagon and I do not think that Eli can carry them in yet another road playoff game. I know, the Giants have won nine straight road games. That is quite impressive. But the Packers have been playing very well, too. In fact, the Packers are an incredible 13-3-1 against the spread this year. Those are unheard of numbers. Giants castoff running back, Ryan Grant, has transformed the Packers into a legitimate all-around team and he should get a lot of carries in what figures to be a run heavy game due to the forecast (6 degrees is the predicted high for the day). This game will probably be decided by the lines. The Packers have only let up 19 sacks all season, while the Giants have sacked the QB 53 times.
On the other side of the ball, pressure is still what gets Eli out of his game the most. If the Packers can force Eli to have to make quick decisions and get out of the pocket, he will be in big trouble. The real final factor in this game will be none other than the fun loving gunslinger, the "Funslinger" himself, Brett Favre. I don't see Favre letting his team lose. He hasn't been this close to the Superbowl in years and I can't imagine him messing it up. After all he is playing against this guy:
"Hey, do you know my brother?"
Favre takes over the game if he needs to and the biggest hype ever surrounding one game in the history of sports can begin.