1. #1
    Razz
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    Razz's Wild Card Takes

    Last week was pretty much a joke 4-4-1, as New Orleans, down 7 with 1:30 left, gives up a defensive touchdown to push at +14. Philly +7 also was a tough loss, as despite having a 6-1 turnover differential, it took a late defensive touchdown to beat us. Now, the playoffs are here, and I actually like this weekendís matchups quite a bit.

    NFL Overall (89-78-3, +31.45*)
    NFL Sides (55-54-3, +8.65*)
    NFL Totals (34-24-1, +22.80*)

    Saturday 1/07/06 3:30 PM CST
    Washington Redskins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5

    The Buccaneers were victorious in the first meeting, a controversial 36-35 win on a 2-point conversion that was shown to have been clearly short, and yet was not overturned by replay. The first meeting featured three touchdowns on a total of 12 offensive yards, and I donít see any kind of repeat of the shootout that took place in the first meeting. Not only are these defenses much stronger than the offenses they are facing, but both coaches play it close to the vest in the playoffs, and I expect about 2/3 of the plays in this game to be running plays.
    In the early season loss, the Redskins were missing two of their key defensive players, DT Griffin, and SS Taylor. The return of these players will help the Redskins hold the Buccaneers to a much lower point total this time around, as they will be able to keep Cadillac Williams in check - not that the Bucs ran wild in the first meeting, as the Redskins outrushed them 186-61. He has been the key to the Bucs success all year, as they are 6-0 in games he rushes for 100 yards. The Redskins are making it a point of emphasis to shut him down this week. When that happens, the Bucs will have to rely on Chris Simms, who has never played a game with anywhere near the pressure he will face in this one. Simms is missing key receiver Clayton, and that will allow the Redskins to double-cover Joey Galloway, and lock down the other receivers. Simms has only thrown five touchdown passes the last seven games, and itís hard to picture him breaking out of that against one of the best defenses in the NFL.
    Tampa Bay has one of the better defenses in the NFL as well, and Washington isnít likely to match their point total of the first meeting, despite the fact that they have scored over 30 in their last three games. Clinton Portis is returning to the southeast (Jerome), and he always seems to have a little extra motivation in these games. Not that he hasnít been fabulous all season, as he has eclipsed 100 yards nine times. Of all the advantages the Redskins have in this game, the biggest might be at quarterback. Brunell has performed admirably this season, and should have made the Pro Bowl. He leads an offense that is much more balanced, thanks to the emergence of WR Moss and TE Cooley. Cooley will be an especially tough cover for the Buccaneers, as Brooks, who would normally defend him, has been nursing a bad hamstring.
    The Buccaneers are simply not as strong a team as their record indicates. They have played only one playoff team other than Washington, and they were destroyed 28-0 in New England. Meanwhile, the Redskins have dealt with a difficult schedule, beating three of the NFC division winners, and only losing by 1 to Tampa, who was the other. Washington has been a very good road team this season, 5-3 ATS, with a couple narrow misses, and the collapse at New York the only poor performance.
    Washington has a playoff-tested coach in Joe Gibbs, and they are absolutely on fire, as they have won and covered five in a row. I think they keep rolling here against a team that is simply outmanned.
    Redskins 17, Buccaneers 10
    3* Redskins +3 -125
    4* Under 37



    Saturday 11/07/06 7:00 CST
    Jacksonville Jaguars @ New England Patriots -7.5

    The Jacksonville Jaguars, are, without a doubt, the worst 12-4 team in the history of the NFL. Thatís not to say they arenít a good team, but I canít see them walking into Foxboro and beating the world champions, especially with a banged up roster, and playing at night in cold weather.
    The Jaguars just have not played a difficult schedule at all, and many Jaguars backers point to wins over Seattle, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh as the reason the Jaguars can pull off the upset here. I donít buy it. They beat Seattle and Cincinnati - cold weather teams - very early in the season, at home in the heat of Jacksonville. The victory at Pittsburgh was a complete mirage, as Tommy Maddox was the difference in that game. Meanwhile, New England has had it rolling lately, and they have been especially tough to compete with at home, as their 28-0 demolition of Tampa Bay - a team that is very similar to Jacksonville - attests.
    The main improvement in the Patriotsí play recently has come on the defensive side of the ball. The run defense has been most improved, and I think they shut down RB Taylor, who has been injured. Leftwich and/or Garrard are capable quarterbacks, but not likely to explode on the Patriotsí defense, which, before last weekís meaningless game against Miami, had not given up more than 200 yards in any of their last four home games. Check this amazing streak out - 164, 183, 138, and 171 total yards. Even the Bears struggle to post a string paralleling that amazing run.
    Brady has been amazing all season, but the key for New England is that ďClock KillinĒ Corey Dillon is back running the ball, and keeping the other teamís offense off the field. Everything flows better for the Patriots when he is healthy, and all reports indicate that he is going to be near 100% in this one. Jacksonvilleís defense is not healthy up front, with three of the front seven at least questionable, and that is good news for the Patriots, whose offensive line has been a liability this season. But, Brady is the difference. The advantage the Patriots have at quarterback simply cannot be overstated.
    I love the way Jack Del Rio coaches, and I know he and his staff will have a gameplan ready to give his team their best possible chance to win. Luckily for my purposes, that plan is going to feature solid defense and shortening the game. I still lean to New England -7.5, but I feel the under is by far the best play in this game.
    Patriots 20, Jaguars 7

    4* Under 37 -105
    Opinion Only: New England -7.5


    Sunday 1/08/06 12:00 CST
    Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants -2.5

    The Panthers are admittedly an unpredictable team, capable of playing with anybody, and capable of being beaten by anybody. Still, they are the better team in this matchup, and I think they match up extremely well with the Giants.
    The main reason I feel the Panthers are the right side in this game is that they are very strong against the run. They rank in the top five in the league in rush defense, and if Barber doesnít get it going for the Giants - and only three running backs have topped the century mark against the Panthers - it is going to be nearly impossible for them to win this game. There is much desire on my part to make a big play against Eli Manning here, but I would rather win a small play here, or have a big play against him when he takes to the road. Manning has been solid at home, for the most part, though he continues to make mistakes against the better defenses he is seeing. Particularly frustrating for Giants fans is his play in the red zone, as he is turning the ball over, and making poor decisions almost every opportunity.
    The Giantsí defense is just bad right now - mostly because they have been ravaged by injuries. The Raiders moved the ball with ease against them last week, and Kerry Collins, who had a horrible season, shredded them all night, and threw for over 300 yards. Itís hard to expect anything less from Jake Delhomme, who had the best receiver in the league this season in Steve Smith. Frankly, the Giantsí only real chance defensively is to get enough pressure, and I just donít see how they can manage to, especially if RBs Foster and Goings can keep them off balance.
    While Carolina is unpredictable, they continue to be marvelous as an underdog, having gone 15-2-1 ATS recently in that role. Also, home field has no bearing on their games, and I will gladly back the better quarterback and defense, especially getting points.
    Panthers 27, Giants 21

    2* Carolina +3 -125


    Saturday 1/08/06 3:30 CST
    Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

    This is the most difficult game to handicap in my opinion, as strong cases can be made for either side. I would lean ever so slightly to Pittsburgh, as they are the more playoff-tested team, and they seem to be peaking at the right time. They have also proven capable of winning on the road, and particularly, in Cincinnati.
    But, Iím not going to buck the tried and true method of Wild Card home dogs - 8-1 all time. There are other reasons to like Cincinnati here, as the line is, in my opinion, inflated due to the public perception of these teams, and their results the last couple weeks - including what were, in the Bengals case, basically meaningless games.
    With that said, I feel like the Steelers win the game, but canít recommend anything on this game.


    If anyone has any comments, questions, or extra information, please feel free to provide it.
    Last edited by Razz; 01-06-06 at 01:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Aces
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    All of these games look tough to pick either way. GL with your plays Razz I like your Skins play best of all.

  3. #3
    BigD
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    I kinda like the steelers as you said the more playoff tested team. I did not at all like the way cinn. finished up at all, that game at home vs. Buffalo was meaningfull to grab the 2 spot and a first round bye Denver was playing later that day so cinn. was playing for something. Pitt has already won big this year in cinn. I don't think being on the road will effect them much. If the number is at 3 I thimk the steelers are a good play.

    I hope you wrong about the Giants as I will be at the Game going for the home team

  4. #4
    begolf25
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    I totally agree with you about the Bucs Razz. Granted they did beat the skins earlier in the year but like you said the skins were missing their two biggest playmakers on defense. Love him or hate him just having Sean Taylor sitting in the middle of the field for you makes a huge difference. Ask Terry Glenn or Todd Pinkston.

    When you look up and down the Bucs schedule they sure struggled with teams they shouldn't have. Barely beating the Packers, Lions and Saints. While losing games to the Jets and 49ers.

    I am in no way saying the skins are gonna go into Tampa and roll them 35-0 but the skins are a different team during this 5 game win streak then they were earlier in the season. They will run the ball down your throats. They may be only gaining 2-3 yards a carry during the first half but by the 4th quarter you will see Portis picking up yardage in chunks. And as far as the secondary goes, don't worry Gregg Williams can fill wholes with the best of them and he will have them ready with or without Shawn Springs.
    Last edited by begolf25; 01-06-06 at 01:57 PM.

  5. #5
    bigboydan
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    i still need to cap these games later today at some point.

    i do find your write-ups interesting and, will take them into consideration when i start to cap them.

  6. #6
    maritime
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    My two favorite plays this weekend is a parlay of the Redskins ML +115 and Patriots ML -350.

    I believe the Redskins are the stronger & hotter team here and believe they'll look long & hard at the films from the TB/NE game. Gibbs needs this one bad.

    As for the Pats, I think they'll cover but obviously very confident they win the game. I don't like the hook at 7.5. I was very surprised last week when Belichek pulled his starters after the 1st quarter in a close game against Miami. That was very unlike him to do that and goes against his other superbowl years. My only thought as to why he did that was that he REALLY wanted this matchup with Jax, instead of winning the game (he knew KC was blowing out Cincy) and ending up playing Pittsburgh. If my theory is true, then I like the Pats in this one that much more, and am going to pound the moneyline & teaser, but think they cover here as well.

  7. #7
    Illusion
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    Nice write-ups Razz. The only lean I have thusfar is Pittsburgh.

  8. #8
    kdmfox
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    Razz ... I never have any luck (or skill) with the o/u, but I like all your picks here.

  9. #9
    mad
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    Plenty food for thought there Razz, good stuff mate.
    Thinking both the Skins and the Panthers will need to stop the run. Stop the run and force these teams to the air and you've got the potential for disaster with these inexperienced QB's. Simms is a tool, heck Tampa barely got over the Saints last week. A last minute fumble leads to a touchdown and a flattering scoreline.
    Can the Panthers stop Tiki? Well that'll depend on which Panthers team shows up. Tiki has had two big games recently to add to his rep. A pathetic Raiders team last week that included an 85 yard return and that woeful Chiefs game. Pretty sure the Panthers will be ready for Tiki. Similarly i think the Giants have a terrible time defending the running game. The Chargers and someone else (can't remember at the moment) exposed them badly this year. Ideally this would be the way this game is played but you just never know with these clowns, so i suppose you take the points and keep your gonads crossed.
    Pats too strong for the Jags, especially at home. I expect the Pats to win SU but will get interested should that line creep out a little further. The fact that the Jags are going with a rusty QB as starter in such a big game doesn't inspire a huge amount of confidence. But then again the points might make this interesting ATS.
    Steelers roll. Last time Big Ben had a busted thumb that he reinjured during the game. Three picks ensued at crucial points in the game which in the end made the difference. The Steelers have the goods to roll here IMO. Check the stats. Finally, their is a reason the Bengals and Pats lost last weekend. No-one wants to play these bruisers this early in the play-offs. They know its gonna be tough, cos you just know the Steelers are gonna bring it.

  10. #10
    Razz
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    Thanks for the responses guys. The weather - predicted rain - in NY sort of scares me since I'm taking the passing team, but I still think Carolina is the better, more balanced team, and definitely are better defensively. As mad says, if they stop Tiki, well, they'll probably win easily. If they don't... BigD could be happy.

  11. #11
    spanky
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    carolina played the 32nd ranked schedule in the nfl. giants played 14th.only good win wk 2 beat pats.week 8 beat t.b.in simms 2nd start.giants at home beat denver,dallas,k.c. and washington.if giants were not banged up they would handle panthers easily in my opinion.

  12. #12
    ChrisV
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    I agree with most of the picks. Love both Pats and Redskins a lot but Pats line is of course inflated so probably lay off of it. But I think the one game I have no idea on is Giants/Panthers...both teams have just been off the wall this season. Carolina was becoming one of those teams I avoid on either side...sorta like Atlanta w/ Vick. But I think Eli is the big factor rather than Tiki...you know what you'll get with Tiki but Eli seems prone to make bonehead plays on occasion, especially close to the endzone(in the games I've watched anyways). If he has zero or only 1 turnover I think Giants take it.

    Yes, I would definitely lean Steelers. If they were underdog or even, would definitely be betting on them.

  13. #13
    bigboydan
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    first off, let me welcome you to the sbrforum chrisv

    i too agree that this pats/jax line is a little inflated

  14. #14
    mad
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    Jumping off Carolina, think the Giants at home too strong. Carolina too one dimensional. Heck might be a no play...

  15. #15
    ChrisV
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    Thanks for the welcome...been a long time reader, and finally decided to register

    Line be dropping like a rock on Redskins/Bucs game...down to 1 in most places or -1.5 max.

  16. #16
    Aces
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    Nice Skins Play Razz hope you hit em hard. I was in Biloxi all day and missed the play.

  17. #17
    Razz
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    I appreciate it Aces. Now that this late total snuck in there, it was a really nice day. Hope you tore Biloxi a new one.

  18. #18
    Aces
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    Did Ok but talk about crowded wow. The IP now has a poker room which is where I spent most of my time. Congrats.

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