Friday, January 04, 2013

Benster and D Pick Your Games -- Playoff Showdown, Baby! Edition (and a little BCS Title Game Smack, too)

You'd better strap it on, old dude. I'm ready to bring the HYYYYYYYPPPPPPPE!

I'm afraid to ask.

You should be. It is time. Ask this guy:

That's what you need to know, Geritol Fan! Watch me work!

Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5) vs. Houston Texans. Houston, we have a problem. Houston is going into the playoffs in just the wrong way. They've been beaten twice in the last few weeks, both by playoff teams, the Vikings (about which more in a moment) and the Colts. Now they play another playoff team in the playoffs. Okay, does that make your head spin? Apparently their heads are spinning in Houston. The bottom line is this: Andy Dalton is good, but he's facing a much better Houston team than he did a year ago. J. J. Watt has come on the scene, though not unexpectedly, for he did a lot of disruptive things in a Badger uniform. He's now probably one of the top two or three defensive ends in the league. Texans 31, Bengals 11.

That's an odd score. Oh well. I think Houston will right the ship as well, but I don't like their chances in New England if they win. Enjoy it while you can, kids! Texans 27, Bengals 20.

Minnesota Vikings (+7.5) vs. Glorious Green Bay Packers. So, do you know where they are playing the game this week? That's right, baby -- the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. A lot of my friends are saying the Packers cannot win this game. Of course, they are high school students and they are mistaken. Over the last five games, the Packers have averaged nearly 400 yards of offense and have scored over 30 points multiple times. The last time they were in Lambeau, they dropped 55 on the hapless Tennessee Titans, and it could have been more. The Vikings are better than the Titans, of course, but if Antoine Winfield can't play or is limited in his effectiveness, which seems likely because he has a FREAKING BROKEN HAND, I'm not sure how the Vikings will be able to handle the Packer offense. The major question in this game is how do you stop Adrian Peterson, short of a court order? I know the answer -- you score a lot of points and force Christian Ponder to beat you. I don't think he can do it, because he's not likely to get as many lucky breaks as he did last week in the Metrodome. If he throws a pass into traffic and Charles Woodson is there, and he will be this week, it won't go through the defender's hands and into the hands of Michael Jenkins, or Jarius Wright. Packers 38, Vikings 24.

Adrian Peterson has had one of the most remarkable years in NFL history. It's been astonishing, really. But it ends tomorrow. He's been battling injuries for about a month now, especially the abdominal injury he has been suffering through for the past few weeks. Because the game is Saturday, not Sunday, he loses a day of rest and recuperation. That doesn't help the Vikings. Second, Seabiscuit is correct -- Charles Woodson will make some plays tomorrow. And for the first time in a long time, the Packers will have their full complement of receivers. The Vikings have been a great story but they won't be able to sustain it tomorrow. Packers 31, Vikings 21.

Indianapolis Lucks (+6.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens. Don't get me wrong -- the Colts have also been a great story this year and there's always the revenge factor involved any time the Colts franchise returns to Baltimore, but the issue I'm seeing for the Colts is that Chuck Pagano has not done a whole lot of coaching, for obvious reasons, and it takes time to get back into the coaching mentality. And the playoffs are no time to be easing into things. My Ravens source tells me that Baltimore has been a good team but Joe Flacco is holding them back from being that elite team that we've expected them to be the past few years. Ravens 17, Colts 13.

I'm bored with the Ravens. Time for something new. Have fun working for ESPN, Ray Lewis! Colts 23, Ravens 20.

Seattle Seabags (-3) vs. Washington Redskins. Okay, here's the game with HYYYYYPPPPE! It's RG3 vs. Russell Wilson, mano a mano, baby! The problem I have with the Seahawks is quite obvious -- they are the team that has benefited from the horrible replacement ref-induced Fail Mary play that has hurt my beloved Packers! Now, don't get me wrong -- we still love Russell Wilson. Really. But now he's leading the forces of darkness and bad Nike clothing design. I mean, have you seen those Seahawks jerseys? It looks someone threw seaweed on them! The bottom line is that Seattle has the better team, even though they are coached by a weasel named Pete Carroll and employ the Dread Pirate Golden Taint, who claimed that the hand of God helped him make that catch. I wonder if he used the hand of God to push off, too. 12th Man 49, RG3 0.

Uh, no. I'm tempted to pick the Redskins here, but I think Seattle is better. But it's going to be close. I think Seattle's defense is the difference here. Seahawks 20, Redskins 13.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME -- Alabama Crimson Tide (-10) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, in Miami. I think I speak for all college football fans and right-thinking Americans in saying this -- the SEC needs to go down. Hard. Really, really hard. I'm sick and tired of the way that SEC teams get the benefit of the doubt every time. Did you see Oregon play last night? Do you think the Ducks are less worthy than the Crimson Tide? I don't think so. Alabama's lucky -- they found the right week to lose, which was a week before Oregon lost their game. That's not justice, or even logical. Fortunately, the playoffs are coming soon. As for the game itself, the key for Notre Dame is to get Everett Golson out on the perimeter where he can make some plays, kinda like Johnny Manziel did. Make those crimson-clad defenders have to chase you a little bit and wear them down. I'm no Notre Dame fan, but in this case I have to go with the lesser of two evils. Irish 23, Tide Rolled 22.

I like that pick. Boy, do I hate rooting for Notre Dame -- like most Catholic boys, you either love 'em or hate 'em and I've always hated 'em, especially when my high school guidance counselor seemed particularly insistent that I should go there. But I'll set that aside this time. Still, there's a distinction between rooting interest and picks. And while my heart reluctantly is with ND, my head says Tide. Alabama 24, Notre Dame 17.

If this were any other post-season, I would root for the Vikings. But not this week, pal! Ben out!


Gino said...

seattle is better in seattle. they dont do well with road games, more so in the playoffs.

go Vikings!

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Yeah, go Vikings! To Hawaii, or the Bahamas, or wherever it is you spend your vacations.

First Ringer said...

I think you could make a solid argument for all 4 road teams this weekend.

The Texans & Ravens have been terrible of late, the Colts & Bengals are playing with house money given the low expectations both franchises had for the season.

Seattle's been nye unbeatable (in dominating wins) the last 5 weeks and the Vikes are riding one of the best single-season performances in history. The Redskins have been fun, but 5 of their last 7 games were against a weak NFC East. Throw in a game against Cleveland and they've mostly beaten up underperforming clubs during this heralded 7 game win streak.

Other than the Titans game, I didn't think Green Bay closed strong. Since the bye week, the biggest margin of victory (other than against TN) was that 23-14 victory against the Vikings, which if I recall, even D wasn't too stoked about their performance. The rest of their victories were 7pts or less against Detroit & Chicago. Despite that, I'd still say they're the better team.

Mr. D said...

Hindsight helps in responding, FR, but the thing about the Packers this year is that they are better equipped to play in cold weather than before. It won't be a factor in San Francisco, but the improved running game will help.

I am also confident that no one will be calling for Joe Webb to replace Christian Ponder any more.