Well, I finished the season as poorly as I started, but at least I can take solace in the fact that no self respecting gambler would bet serious money on the last week of the regular season. The 5-10-1 finish was the perfect end to an embarrassing pick’em performance and pushed me under .500 season (121-124-11).
Next to me, Durden looks like a genius sitting at just under 53 percent for the year (135-110-11). A minor victory in a solid, but disappointing season that saw him finish second in both his fantasy leagues (including a 15-0 team losing in the finals), and finishing 3rd in his survivor pool.
Fortunately, for the good of our readers, we’ve decided to continue with the postseason picks, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll bet with Durden in the games we have different and make some money.
Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks -3.5
Durden: Todd Collins is so old, when he was in school, there was no history class. He’s so old, that when he was born, the Dead Sea was just getting sick. And yet as long as he gets adequate protection, he’s going to lead the Redskins to a win, as they’re hitting their stride at just the right time. Of course, the Seahawks are fully capable of winning this game at home if they decide to show up, but they’re also the most consistently inconsistent team in the league. I’m sick of them getting a free pass to the playoffs every year because of their weak division, and I think the Redskins will expose them for the frauds that they are.
Pick: Redskins +3.5
Mazzone: Sean Taylor was the first player ever voted to the Pro Bowl team posthumously and now he’s been replaced. That alone doesn’t make much sense to me. Toss in that it’s Roy Williams taking his spot and I can’t help but think that’s a slap in the face. Not only is Roy Williams not too fond of covering people, but he also can’t tackle legally anymore with the institution of the Roy Williams horse collar rule a couple years ago.
Anyway, I wanted to pick the Redskins, and I still may by the time I place my bet on Saturday, but for now it’s tough not to like Seattle who’s something along the lines of 24-3 at home, including the playoffs (3-0). So, I’m going with the Seahawks in this game, but leaving the option open to posthumously vote the Redskins back in next week…and maybe even replace them with the Vikings.
Pick: Seahawks -3.5
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers +2
Durden: Remember when the Steelers were supposed to challenge the Pats for AFC supremacy? Hey Pittsburgh: enjoy those low draft picks and the first place schedule next year, with nothing but a lousy performance in the wild card round to show for it.
Pick: Jaguars -2
Mazzone: Everyone wants to see Jags/Patriots. The Jags manhandled Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh weather, on a terrible field last time they were in town. This time the McBeams will be without Willie Parker, and the offensive line is banged up as well. Roethlisberger is already among the most hurried/hit/sacked qbs in the NFL and could be in for a long day. So obviously I’m taking the Steelers… what?!
I don’t think they’ll take too kindly to being underdogs at home. Also, the playoffs are where “game managers” at the QB position go to die, with exception of the great Trent Dilfer. So, I expect Garrard to not be able to come up with the big play when needed, or turn the ball over in a big spot. On the flipside, I like Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes for some big plays to spark the crowd and open up the running game, maybe a quadruple reverse into a forward pass or something else festive that we’ve come to expect from Pittsburgh. Ok, once I start using “on the flipside” to transition, I know it’s time to move onto another game…
Pick: Steelers +2
New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3
Is Tampa trying to draw the ire of the football gods? Between not really playing out their schedule, and trying to keep all 4 Giant fans who were interested in going from attending this Saturday’s game, it would appear that they’re not interested in positive karmic forces. Meanwhile, Burress has stopped pretending he’s hurt, and the Giants have been mostly impressive over the course of their last 5 quarters. The Bucs stops here!
Pick: Giants +3
Mazzone: This is the trendy pick for the upset special (since the Jags are favored) and it’s easy to see why. It’s the ideal matchup for the Giants because Eli can play like absolute crap and they could still win since the Bucs don’t typically put up a lot of points - especially against a defense like the Giants’. I think the Giants will pull this one out. I just haven’t decided if they squeak out a win with Eli playing poorly or if he plays great this week to get everyone’s hopes up and then shits the bed next week. Either way I think we’re looking at a couple playoff games of analysts saying “If Eli manning is ever going to be a star and lead this team he needs to step up and do it today by playing well”. Roughly games 15 and 16 of his career where he “needs to prove he’s an elite qb”.
And if that's not good enough, this video should do the trick, as Tecmo Bowl has never lied to or let anyone down...ever.
Pick: Giants +3
Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers -9
I was initially inclined to give the Titans these points, but I just couldn’t ignore how underwhelming they were against the Jets and then the Colts’ backups. To make matters worse, their pass game has since lost multiple weapons (for lack of a better word) , which is the last thing an already anemic “attack” needed. Not even Albert Haynesworth putting his foot down will be enough.
Pick: Chargers -9
Mazzone: The discrepancy in the defensive numbers, both team and individual, with Haynesworth vs. without is astounding. He’s an absolute animal and really does make everyone around him better. And with Vince Young always winning big games this should be a piece of cake for the Titans, but the Chargers are hot at the right time and dominant at home. Neither of these QB’s should be allowed to throw it more than 15 times, but at least Rivers has several guys who will go up and make plays for him. I feel good about the Titans being one and done, the question is whether or not they keep it close enough to cover. I have visions of Vince Young sitting by himself and pouting - maybe even pulling himself out with an ‘injury’ after getting hit over and over again, so…
Pick: Chargers -9