So we’re 6-2 ATS and The Year of the Dog is real people.
Somewhere in Asia-land, an old, decrepit, medicine man is atop a mountain, slowly nodding his head as the forest winds howl around him.
“Zing chi ho,” he quietly whispers. “Zing chi ho.”
The faint details of the old man’s frame is all that can be seen from below. Is this due to the position of the sun or the fact that he is radiating beams of glorious light? Either way, he is both blinding and mesmerizing. In the distance there is a low grumble. The ground begins to shake. In a matter of moments, the previously incoherent grumblings have turned into an unmistakable sound. The sound of barking. Packs upon packs of wild dogs congregate at the foot of the mountain, prepared to do the old man’s bidding. The long 12 year wait is over. The Year of the Dog is upon us.
Our 6-2 record ATS certainly is partially to do with our early recognition of the attractiveness of the dogs in these playoffs. We have gone 3-1 in back to back weeks so you best believe we’ve been getting paid. Last week I also told you that Steelers-Pats was by no means a given. I also told you there’s a good chance you’ll see the top two seeds from the seemingly ‘wide open’ NFC square off. Sometimes I freak myself out with how good I am at this.
I would be remised if I didn’t defend myself for our sole blemish last week. Taking the Titans in that spot against an angry Pats team was by no means sound judgement. But in my defense and full disclosure, I reside in Nashville and carry a full Titans bias with me. So last week I could have done the prudent thing and bet the Patriots and then would of had a degree of happiness in seeing the Pats cover. But you know what, I’m not a soulless animal dammit. If you don’t carry your biases into your gambling then what’s the point? You may take some losses this way but at least you’re not a robot that’s just dead on the inside. Titan up!
6-2 is groovy but with three games left I’m trying to wrap the playoffs up at 9-2. With only two Sundays left of football til next fall, its time to bet like there’s no tomorrow. Let’s. Make. Cash Stacks.
Jags +9.5 @ Patriots
Gah lee I’m really bought into the Year of the Dog. I’m fading the Pats for a second time in a row. With a pissed off Tom Brady. At home. Playing against Blake Bortles. But before you shake your head in disgust any further, let me explain myself…
This won’t be a repeat of last week. Despite the fact the Titans managed to beat the Jags twice this year, Sacksonville is a much better team. The Jaguars have a real defense. Why are people trying to shit on that squad right now? Last week they gave up 42 but that included garbage time and a couple of absolutely ridiculous plays by Big Ben and Antonio Brown. Plus, the defense also accounted for 2 turnovers and a touchdown. Sacksonville may have the best corner combo in the league in Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye. Their linebackers can run with people. And their defensive line, led by Calais Campbell, is tenacious. On the offensive side of the ball, the Jags have the necessary formula to play with the Patriots. A running back duo in Leonard Fournette and TJ Yeldon to keep Brady off the field and a quarterback in Blake Bortles that isn’t making mistakes.
When it comes to the Patriots, its insane how good that team is, in a league built on parody, year after year. I realize that Brady is on the tail end of the greatest quarterbacking career in the history of football. If you deny this, you’re just not being honest with yourself. The level of play that guy has been able to maintain defies logic. Its like he’s getting better as he gets older. The man has to be part machine. If this was Men In Black, Tom Brady is DEFINITLEY an alien. Perhaps betting against him is foolish, but every once and a while a young talented team sneaks up and gets a legit shot in at the champs. The Patriots aren’t just going to blow everybody out. They’re due for a close one!
Patriots X-Factor: Gronkowski is an absolute freakazoid. The dude is a mismatch with whoever he’s on the field with. Corners, linebackers, it doesn’t matter. Look for the Patriots to go to the well with Gronk early and often.
Jaguars X-Factor: It has to be Tom Coughlin. Did you really think the Patriot killer was Eli Manning? Hell no, it was Coughlin all along. It was his defenses that took out the all mighty Pats not once, but twice. I hear Tom Coughlin takes a very active role in the Jaguars organization and the jinx is on.
Vikings @ Eagles +3
Look. Last week we got the NFC one seed, at home, as an underdog. I didn’t over think it, and we went with it. Now we get to do the same thing again? Sign me up. This Eagles team is motivated. They have a chip on their shoulder. They play with pride and a mean streak. I love this spot for them. Tell the world to keep hating Eagles. They put away a very good, defending NFC champion team away and they shut them down. Talk about defensive performances, was any more impressive last week than holding that Falcons offense to 10 points? In come the Vikings, another team that plays in a dome, and they will be facing a tough crowd.
The weather shouldn’t be much of a factor but I still consider the Eagles style to be more conducive to the environment. Having a run game will be important in this one and that certainly favors the Eagles. The Vikings defense has to be mentioned. They’re the best in the NFL. Stacked at every position. But something to keep in mind is the fact that the defensive secondary got a little banged up against the Saints. Andrew Sendejo quite literally got knocked out cold and Xavier Rhodes had his own issues. The Saints were able to move the ball in the second half on them.
Eagles X-Factor: Nick Foles is going to have to make more plays than last week for them in this game. He’s shown the propensity to be an effective quarterback while also having moments where he straight up throws a poor ball. If Nick Foles settles in early and gets a rhythm, that ultimately could prove the difference.
Vikings X-Factor: The entire receiving core. I knew that this group was good but last week really drove home that point. So many options for Keenum. Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph, Treadwell, they are all ballers. The Vikings, without a particularly strong run game, will have to rely on their receivers to make multiple big plays against a very talented Eagles secondary if they are going to win this one.