Friday, January 20, 2012

Round 3 Playoff Picks

5-3 so far in the playoffs for both ATS and straight-up picks, making me 136-128-10 on the entire season, and 178-86 straight-up, with three games to go. This weekend's games are both really tricky.

Ravens @ Patriots
Predicted Line: NE by 6.5
Actual Line: NE by 7

When in serious doubt about the outcome of a game, I usually take the points. I don't think enough people are seeing Baltimore as a legit title contender. Sure, Joe Flacco looks like Sylar from Heroes but with the worst mustache in human history . And true, he completed less than 20 passes per game this season. But let's be honest about the Baltimore offense: it revolves around Ray Rice, an elite fullback, and a really competent offensive line. When Flacco does throw, it's not dink and dump; he takes deep shots and he usually completes one or two of them per game. When you're going against an almost historically bad secondary, it stands to reason that Flacco should find Torrey Smith for 40+ yards at least once, maybe twice. New England couldn't stop anybody late this season - not Rex Grossman, not Matt Moore, not even Dan Orlovsky, who put up 353 yards and completed 30 of 37 passes.

Last week, Tebow was an abomination. He had 3 completions in the first half, and he's the only starting QB in the NFL who could be that bad against New England's defense. Flacco could throw left-handed and do better than Tebow did. And I'm not bashing Tebow ... it's just nice to have a decent throwing arm when you're playing against coverage guys who can't cover.

I think Flacco and Rice and Smith help Baltimore keep pace with Brady, who will make his share of plays but won't be having a scrimmage like last week. I expect Baltimore to create 2 or 3 turnovers and keep the game close. But I am taking the Pats straight up, mainly because they're at home. I actually think Baltimore is the better team. But whatever, let's go Pats 28-26.

Giants @ 49ers
Predicted Line: SF by 3
Actual Line: SF by 2.5

Don't really feel great about either team, but I'll take the home squad. Niners by 4. I doubt the Harbaughs will go 0-2 this week, and I really don't see New York's defense stopping Frank Gore very well. Plus, Patrick Willis might be at the stage in his career where he single-handedly wills his teams to playoff victories. San Fran 24-20.

That's it ... go Lions.

Also, Victor Martinez is out for the season, so the Tigers season is over before it started. Who's going to hit behind Cabrera? Boesch? Avila? Anybody have any good lineup suggestions? My best shot looks like this:

1. A Jackson CF
2. D Young DH
3. M Cabrera 1B
4. B Boesch LF
5. A Avila C
6. J Peralta SS
7. A Dirks RF
8. R Santiago 2B
9. D Kelly 3B

That's pretty ugly without Martinez. Unless Detroit makes a big move in the next two months, we aren't going to win the Central. And if Inge is starting at third in the opener, I'll personally guarantee that I won't watch a single game until July.

Go lions...

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