It's a growth industry, especially at Benster Enterprises. Good you have it, because I'm running a little bit short lately.
I will provide it for both of us. And the Gophers got a new coach, which should be interesting. He already has practice losing to the Badgers.
I wondered why they hired a banjo player:
You've got the wrong Fleck again. Man, you may need to up your Metamucil dosage! But enough talk about the Gophers and P. J. Fleck, it is time to pick some football games. It is time to watch me work!
Oakland Raiders (+3.5) vs. Houston Texans. Oakland is making a return to the playoffs for the first time since Jon Gruden destroyed them in the Super Bowl in 2003. The Raiders looked like they were going to get a bye, but disaster struck when Derrick Carr got lost for the year, and after another QB injury the Raiders have to rely on Connor Cook. The Texans also have QB issues since Tom Savage might not go, meaning that Brock "Waste of Money" Osweiler will have to try and earn the goodwill of Texans fans. Houston has motivation to win the AFC title, since they would make history as the first team to play in and host a Super Bowl in league history. That being said, Connor Cook was a good big game player at Michigan State, and the Raiders are arguably the best team in the AFC outside of New England. Raiders 35, Texans 17.
Tough spot for both teams. I'm not sure Cook is ready for this assignment. Osweiler is problematic, but he does have some experience. That should be enough. Texans 17, Raiders 13.
Detroit LOLions (+8) vs. Seattle Seachickens. Detroit is a team that looked like they were going to easily win the NFC North 7 weeks ago. However, as I have said repeatedly, it is questionable if they are actually as good as their record, or if they have simply been good at winning close games. Seattle has looked questionable all year, with offensive line issues that make me wonder if they should have spent more money on the offensive line instead of on other players. With no Tyler Lockett in this game, look for Seattle to finally lose a home playoff game and have all the bandwagon fans leave. LOLions 56, Seachickens 8.
I'd love to see it happen, but I don't think it will. The Seahawks are flawed this season, especially without Earl Thomas available, but the Lions have been fading down the stretch. I think it's close, but I think the homestanding Seahawks advance. Seahawks 21, Lions 17.
Miami Tuna Net Victims (+8) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. The Dolphins got arguably the most difficult assignment of any playoff team so far. Pittsburgh really looks to be peaking at the right time, and with the weather looking like it is going to be cold, Le'Veon Bell is going to be the key person to watch. I think that if Bell has more than 100 total yards from scrimmage and Pittsburgh has at least a touchdown lead, Miami is going back down to South Beach in disgrace. Warm weather or dome teams do not do well in the cold. Steelers 45, Sorry, Charlie 0.
Your theory about warm weather teams is correct. Especially those who might not have their starting quarterback. Pittsburgh could be in the Super Bowl. For that to happen, clearly they need to win this weekend. Not a problem. Steelers 34, Dolphins 14.
New York Football Giants (+4.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. I am not going to front my audience, because this game makes me nervous. The last two times the Giants have come to Lambeau at playoff time, they came out with a win. And just like 2007 and 2011, the Packers are considered very real contenders, and the weather is going to be cold. Also, like in 2007 and 2011 the Packers beat the Giants head to head in the regular season. The Packers are running thin in the secondary, and the Giants have looked a lot better in recent weeks compared to their indifferent performance in October in Lambeau. I think the Packers can get through this game, but something just doesn't feel right. Packers 20, Giants 13.
I'm nervous, too. This is the game where Dom Capers has to earn his money. The Giants can attack with Odell Beckham and I'm not sure the Packers defensive backfield can keep up with him. So the secret is to plant Eli Manning on his backside early and often. Julius Peppers, this is your moment. Packers 24, Giants 20.
Clemson Tigers (+6.5) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide. This line seems a wee bit high to me. Alabama is a very good team, but they did struggle a bit offensively against Washington. I said Clemson was going to destroy A School in Columbus, and look what happened. Clemson really looks like the better team and they are motivated to get revenge. Bottom line is this -- Deshaun Watson has experience in big games, while his opposing number Jalen Hurts is only a true freshman, who really has been along for the ride and is more of a game manager. Hurts will have a new playcaller since Lane Kiffin has already moved on to his new job, which is the first monumental mistake Nick Saban has made in a few years. Clemson 45, Alabama 40.
The Alabama defense has been nothing short of awesome all season. This is where they prove it. Clemson is explosive and they rocked Brutus Buckeye good last weekend. This will be a test for Alabama, but I think they are the best team in the land. Alabama 31, Clemson 27.
Enjoy your weekend of fun football, and be sure to pray for the victims of the shooting at the airport in Florida. Ben out!