Saturday, January 05, 2008

Buck the trend at your own risk

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in this Wild Card Weekend.

If you are in a suicide pool - you are undoubtedly agonizing over what team to pick on the opening day of the NFL Playoffs. You have likely poured over everyone's opinion - we have. The consensus seems to be that Jacksonville and Washington will both cover the points today - with both getting about 75% backing from those with "informed" opinions.

Those backing Washington point to the winning streak the Redskins went on to get into the playoffs - and the emotional lift they will get in playing for their dear departed teammate Sean Taylor. The Redskins are the sexy pick, the sentimental pick, and the pick of fools who want to prove to their friends that they know football.

Let's get a few things straight - down the stretch, the Redskins beat a Vikings team that was overrated and the Cowboys second stringers. This is a team that relies on playing field possession and taking advantage when they win the battle - Seattle, with their west coast offense, will move the ball. The Skins are going to have to put the game in the hands of Todd Collins - he gets exposed today.

We don't suggest going against the trend - which tells us that Seattle, while not one of the league's big boys, plays extremely well at home and feed off the energy of their home crowd. The Seahawks were 7-1 at home this year - yes, they play in a weak division, but they had five other games against some better opposition. Seattle gets it done today.

On the other side of the coin - there are two trends in the Pittsburgh vs Jacksonville game. One of the trends is tangible - the Jags have dominated the Steelers in recent meetings; the other "trend" is bogus - the Steelers haven't lost two home games to the same team in the same season in 75 years. The latter is thrown out there by jokers who want to show you how smart they are, how they look at "the whole picture" - that 75 year streak means jack squat. How many time did it happen? When was the last time it happened?

The trend that matters is that Jacksonville has a formula for beating the Steelers - they run to control the clock, mix in a few big passing plays, and run some more on second and third down to wear the Steelers out. Those who point to the Steelers being able to exploit Jacksonville's weakness - their pass defense - forget that Pittsburgh throws mainly off play action and the threat of the run. Najeh Davenport isn't going to scare the Jags - unless he is anywhere near their laundry hamper - so the Jags can pin their ears back and blitz Roethlisberger. Big Ben is a game manager - not a game winner. Jacksonville let up on the Steelers in the first meeting to make it look closer than it really was - they won't do that again, they'll crush the Steelers.

In other news - Leaf Nation can only hope that Canadian billionaire Alex Schnaider is indeed serious about making an offer to purchase Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment. It is a longshot at best - but how sweet would it be to see the Maple Leafs free of control/influence from the damned Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. The story was front page news in the Toronto Star - there may be hope for us after all Hazel.

New Jersey Devils G Martin Brodeur stops 36 shots in a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Carolina Hurricanes C Eric Staal had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 win over Atlanta.

Anaheim Ducks RW Corey Perry had a goal and an assists in a 2-1 win over Chicago.

Check yesterday's three play suggestions to figure out why we like these three today.

We're almost all the way back from a disasterous New Year's Eve Three Play. We started off the week at an ugly - $720, and after going 9-2 since, have gotten the number down to - $175. We keep the winning going today.

SEATTLE - 3.5 Washington
- enough about Sean Taylor, it was a tragedy that the Skins are using as some sort of motivational tool - get up for the damn game on your own you losers. Lay $100 on the Seahawks.

Jacksonville -3 over PITTSBURGH - see Fred run, see Fred run fast, see Fred run far. Lay $100 on the Jags.

New Jersey over Boston - the Devils school the Bruins AGAIN - remember, the Devils players had no faith in Claude Julien when he was their coach. Lay $100 on the Devils - $105.

Minnesota over Nashville - the Wild have to beat teams like Nashville if they hope to finish in the top four of their conference - Lemaire will have them ready to win on the road tonight. Lay $100 on the Wild - $120.

Colorado over NY Islanders - it is tough for the Isles to win when they don't have last change, playing at altitude will make it even tougher for them. Lay $100 on the Avs - $160.

San Jose over Columbus - we're hating Joe Thornton right now, but we still think the Sharks have too much for the Blue Jackets. Lay $100 on San Jose - $200.

NY Rangers over Edmonton - the Rangers have had a miserable time on their west coast swing - they have to win one, don't they? Lay $100 on the Rangers - $145.

There's your Saturday Six Pack - warning, stay away from Ducks vs Coyotes, it is a matchup that has killed us in the past...we won't go there again.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Enjoy your NFL Wild Card Weekend!

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world - let's hope for the best with Mr. Schnaider.

We're Out!!!!!!


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