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Super Bowl…

…did everyone enjoy the Pro Bowl in the meantime?

Yup, I actually watched some of it…must have been bored.

This year they must have added a new feature.  Two hand touch.  There were actually plays in the game that the player wasn’t actually tackled.  The whistle blew when a guy got wrapped up…and pretty quickly, I may add.

So it was useless as usual, pretty much like any sports’ All-Star Game.  Though in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game it looks like the players actually try.  The NHL one last week was equally as brutal to watch I have to say.

And in the Pro Bowl, Matthew Slater didn’t even get in the box score.  I think we should all be colossally disappointed in that…

As for what we are actually here for, the Super Bowl pick between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, welp, no, I did not forget that I had to make a pick.

Maybe I got a little sad about football season being over.  Maybe I got caught up in all of the “will he go or will he stay” Tom Brady talk, when there is at least a month and a half to go to get the answer on that.  Maybe I just didn’t want to make another erroneous pick in a season full of mediocre picks.  Maybe I felt like that since the New England Patriots aren’t actually in the game, I didn’t care.  Or…maybe I just got lazy.

Whichever one you choose, we are going to skip right to it.

This one is going to be short and sweet.  So if you were expecting a 10,000 word column on the game and all of its matchups and all the minutiae that we could talk about if we wanted to, I suggest you go check out Bill Barnwell’s column on ESPN.

HOLY CRAP!!!

I’m sure the piece is awesome.  It looks extremely detailed with a ton of thought put into it.  Any questions you had about the game could probably be answered just by reading the article.

But I don’t have a week to read that book.  I did skim it, however, so go check it out if you are so inclined.  By the way, looks like 10,462 words by my count.  Not including the pictures and charts and their captions.  Or the ads and links sandwiched in between.  And no, I didn’t actually count the words (thanks Microsoft Word!).  So give or take 100 words, it’s still over 10,000 words.

Barnwell gets paid to write and research all that, so good for him.  I do not.

You’re welcome.

Ok, so enough of all that nonsense…

San Francisco “at” Kansas City (-1.5)

I have not listened to as much of the hype, or read much of it, the last two weeks as I have in past years.  Yes, the big reason is that the Patriots are not in it.  But then again, I don’t care much about what a lot of the “experts” have to say about the game.

Championship Sunday was relatively uneventful.  The Tennessee Titans stayed with the Chiefs, but KC pulled away late…as most expected.  One of the better Blowhard picks of the year, by the way.  We predicted KC 34-24.  It was 35-24.  Just sayin’.  The 49ers ran over the Green Bay Packers in a game that was never in doubt.  The Blowhard pick there?  Let’s move on…

In any event, the hype that I have heard this week has been about how great the SF defense is.  Ummmmmm…don’t we know how great the KC offense is?  And do we already forget about how the New Orleans Saints rolled up 46 points against the Niners in Week 14?  Or the Rams with 31 in Week 16?  Or even the Falcons with 29 in Week 15?

This SF D can be exposed.  And who better to do it than Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense?

I’ve heard a lot about how the Chief defense is atrocious as well.  And that may be somewhat true.  But they have improved as the year went on.  And the 31 the Houston Texans scored against them in the Divisional Round were aided by Houston getting good field position a few times on some KC mistakes.  The Chiefs D was good enough to hold down the NFL’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry in the AFC Championship Game though, no?  Did you know that the Chiefs actually gave up 2 fewer points than the Niners this season?  Me neither.

It’s hard to believe the 49ers will roll up almost 300 yards rushing again.  Raheem Mostert has apparently turned into a legitimate weapon, but will he duplicate his Championship Game performance?  Doubtful.  Tevin Coleman is supposedly “healthy”, but that may be a stretch after seeing what he looked like laying on the field two weeks ago.  And the team is afraid to use Matt Breida all of a sudden because apparently has fumbled too much lately.

This means Niner QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have to throw way more than the EIGHT passes he attempted against the Packers.  Can he be productive?  Sure, he absolutely can.  But I’d rather be the team that has Mahomes throwing a boatload of passes, not Garoppolo.

Not to mention that the Niners and coach Kyle Shanahan feel Jimmy Football can get a little loose with the football when asked to do too much.  So they’d rather have him take a back seat if they could.  I just don’t believe the Chiefs offense will give San Francisco a chance to gain control of the game by getting a nice lead and then running it on just about every play.

Now, I’ve been wrong plenty, as you know.  But the feeling here is that there will be a lot of points scored in this one.  Yeah, I know, I picked the Pats over the Rams last year, 34-30.  And we know it was 13-3.  But the year before I picked 51 total points and it was 74.  And the year before I had NE over Atlanta 38-27, which ended up 34-28.  So there is that.

And I picked against San Fran last week.  Considered doing the same the week before against Minnesota, when I foolishly started believing in Kirk Cousins.  In the end, I took SF, but only by 4, when they demolished the Vikings in the actual game.

So what the hell do I know?

I think Andy Reid finally gets over the hump here.  KC gets the lead early and doesn’t let SF use its ground game to run the clock.  Jimmy G has to throw a lot and while he will have success, it won’t be enough.

Unless Reid has clock management issues yet again…then all bets are off…

Kansas City 38, San Francisco 34.  

Week (against the spread):  1-1

Week (straight up):  1-1

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  10-7

Season (against the spread):  135-131

Season (straight up):  170-96

Divisional Round…

Not a banner Wild Card week, though I will say if Seattle fails on their last two-point conversion, then the Blowhard picks that score exactly…and covers.  Although if Sebastian Janikowski is available, they probably kick the point there…though we still cover.

I know, who cares?

In any event, seems like we have a pretty good slate coming up this weekend.  Looking at the point spreads, however, it appears that Vegas doesn’t seem to think so.  And we know Vegas has a pretty good idea on what they are doing.

Another interesting note:  When is the last time the New England Patriots had the lowest spread among the teams participating in a playoff weekend?  Is this accurate?  Perhaps.  But again…that’s why they play the games.

Indianapolis at Kansas City (-5.5)

There are a lot of people out there that think the Colts are going to win this game.  All of a sudden Indy is the “best team in the AFC”?  Huh?!  The Colts are on a nice run, no question.  But let’s not get carried away, please.  I’ll point back to their schedule and mention once again that it wasn’t exactly a Murderer’s Row they played down the stretch.  Sorry to beat a dead horse here.  Not to mention the fact that they should have walloped the Texans last week.  Yeah, I guess they kind of did beat them pretty good.  But they probably should have won more like 42-7 instead of the 21-7 they did win by in the end…especially the way they started.

The Chiefs went 3-3 down the stretch, coach Andy Reid’s postseason struggles are well-documented, their defense stinks and will yet again be without Eric Berry, not to mention Kareem Hunt thankfully ain’t walking through that door.  But KC is at home and had a week off.  Indy has that stud Darius Leonard on defense, but how good really is that D?  They shut down Houston?  Yippee!!  I’m not buying into the hype.  Though of course, I will be rooting for Indy, cuz if the Colts and Patriots win, the AFC Championship will once again go through Foxborough.  Just not seeing it though.

Kansas City 38, Indianapolis 27.

Dallas at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) 

Like the Chiefs, the Rams sputtered a bit at the end, going 2-2 to end the season.  And like the Colts, we feel like the Cowboys are getting waaaaaaay too much love out there.  Kind of feel the same way about this game as I do Chiefs/Colts.  This version of the Rams doesn’t necessarily have any kind of (good) playoff track record.  But they’ve had a week off, are at home and probably are in a better situation health-wise…especially with Todd Gurley supposedly ready to go full speed.  Looks like most of the injured Cowboys will suit up, but we will see how much some of them can give.  A big game from Ezekiel Elliott would keep the potent Rams offense off the field and go a long way to giving the ‘Boys a chance.  Not out of the question.  But that being said, the Rams can score quickly…and often, so a big game from Zeke may not really matter.  That’s pretty much the way I’m leaning.

Los Angeles Rams 31, Dallas 20.  

Los Angeles Chargers at New England (-4.5)

Tough road for the Chargers this postseason.  Finishing tied for the best record in the AFC, but losing the AFC West division tiebreaker to the Chiefs, dropping them to the #5 seed.  Then they have to travel cross country to Baltimore in Round 1.  Then once again traveling cross country to New England for Round 2.  LA won in the Wild Card round, can they win in the Divisional Round?  Absolutely!  Are we picking them?  You’ll see.

The Chargers took a 23-3 lead last week in Baltimore with about 9 minutes left in the game when they then inexplicably let the Ravens back in the game.  To the point where Baltimore had the ball close to midfield with less than a minute left.  With at least a little bit of a chance to go ahead as the clock approached zero.  The Ravens ran for less than 100 yards in the game after going the last half of the season seemingly averaging double that.  Lamar Jackson was HISTORICALLY BAD.  Seemed like a good opportunity for John Harbaugh to (reluctantly) go back to playoff-tested Joe Flacco and he declined.  Sure, the Chargers got conservative.  But this was a second AFC Wild Card game that should have never been in doubt after the way it started.

We’ve been through it all year, that the Patriots are not the juggernaut this year that they have been for years.  But take the repeated cross country travel above.  The Patriots being at home, and being undefeated this year.  (Yes, I know the Chargers are 8-1 on the road.  Impressive, no doubt.  But this is Gillette, in January, in the playoffs.  Different animal).  Weather?  Perhaps.  A warm weather team coming into the cold.  Could have some effect.

Ultimately, I believe it will be a close game.  LA sacked a mobile Lamar Jackson seven times last week.  So how many times can they get an immobile Tom Brady?  Yeah, Brady will be more prepared than Lamar to combat that pass rush so he won’t get sacked nearly as much.  BUT, he sure as hell will probably be pressured just as much.  If Julian Edelman doesn’t have butterfingers, perhaps the real Gronk shows up and maybe someone like Phillip Dorsett has a career game so the Pats can put some points on the board and make that pressure irrelevant.  More than likely though, the Patriots try to run the ball…and maybe even too much.  I suppose that would cut down on the sacks anyway.

Here’s what I’m thinking…it wouldn’t be surprising if it came down to the Chargers kicker, Michael Badgley.  It’s been no secret that LA has had their share of issues with their kicking game in recent years.  They think Badgley has been a pretty good solution.  He’s been good.  But remember that Sunday Night game against the Steelers about a month ago?  Didn’t he miss a 39 yarder with no time left?  Then a Steelers penalty gave him another chance.  Then a missed 34 yarder followed.  Then…another Steeler penalty.  He did hit the 29 yarder to win it…but that’s quite a route.

What is he going to do if it comes down to a kick like that?  In Gillette?  In the playoffs?

My guess?  Two words:  Billy Cundiff.

New England 23, Los Angeles Chargers 21.  

Philadelphia at New Orleans (-8.5)

I’m extremely hesitant to pick against Nick Foles these days.  Isn’t everyone?  Yeah, yeah, yeah, if Cody Parkey could hit a kick, we wouldn’t even be talking about Foles this week.  But he’s here and we need to talk about it.  Even though Foles threw a couple of bad picks last week, he also brought them down for the go-ahead score with less than a minute left in regulation.

So does this “Saint Nick” magic mean that the Eagles have a chance this week in New Orleans?  Well, sure.  But even though the Eagles have won 6 of their last 7 and seem to be on a similar run like last year which led to a Super Bowl, I believe this is where it comes to an end.  You know what game was right before the 6 of 7 run?  A 48-7 loss to these same Saints in the same place where they will play on Sunday.  Of course, the Eagles are not the same team now as they were at that point in the year.  But New Orleans was 13-3 this season…13-2 if you don’t count the last game of the year in which they mailed things in.  In a recurring theme, they are at home and have had a week off.  Drew Brees should be a little refreshed.  The game won’t be as ugly as the mid-season one.  But I suppose there is a chance it could be.

New Orleans 34, Philadelphia 17.  

Week (against the spread):  1-3

Week (straight up):  2-2

Season (against the spread):  143-117

Season (straight up):  165-95

Week Six…

Speed round…again…

Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at Cleveland

Cleveland is clearly improved.  2-0-1 at home.  But the Chargers are better.  1.5 doesn’t seem like enough.

Los Angeles Chargers 30, Cleveland 23.

Buffalo at Houston (-7.5)

All five of Houston’s games have been decided by 7 points or less.  Three by three points.  Buffalo ain’t great and is on the road.  But the feeling is they may keep it close.

Houston 24, Buffalo 18.

Carolina at Washington (-1.5) 

The ‘Skins have been playing well every other week.  This is the good one.

Washington 27, Carolina 24.

Chicago (-3.5) at Miami

Are the Bears for real?  Looks like they could be.  I know Miami isn’t and this will put them back to 3-3 after that phony 3-0 start.

Chicago 24, Miami 17.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-2.5)

Speaking of fraud teams, the Bengals can’t be as good as 4-1, can they?!  Two words:  Marvin Lewis.  That should answer your question.

Pittsburgh 41, Cincinnati 34.

Seattle (-3.5) at Oakland

Jon Gruden probably should have stayed in the booth after being away from the game for a decade.  Then again, we can’t expect him to perform miracles with this Raiders team in his first year.

Seattle 27, Oakland 13.

Indianapolis at New York Jets (-2.5) 

Snoozefest.  I guess the Jets will be missing their top two corners and possibly the guy that ran for 200 plus yards last week.  This will not help.

Indianapolis 31, New York Jets 17.

Arizona at Minnesota (-10.5)

Disappointing year for the Vikes thus far, but Arizona appears to be wretched this year, last week’s win against the possibly equally wretched 49ers notwithstanding.

Minnesota 34, Arizona 10.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3.5) 

I’m not sure how good the Falcons actually are, but I’m fairly certain they should be better than 1-4.  I also think they are better than the Bucs.  At least in their home stadium.

Atlanta 31, Tampa Bay 27.

Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) at Denver

The Rams look unstoppable.  That’s all.

Los Angeles Rams 45, Denver 24.  

Baltimore (-2.5) at Tennessee 

This one may be another snoozefest.  But at least the teams involved are better than the other one we spoke about earlier.

Baltimore 20, Tennessee 17.

Jacksonville (-3.5) at Dallas

Blake Bortles was brutal last week.  And he sucks anyway.  But Dallas sucks more.  Similar to Marvin Lewis, I have no idea how Jason Garrett has hung on so long there.

Jacksonville 34, Dallas 16.  

Kansas City at New England (-3.5)  

Neither defense should stop either offense.  But with all the weapons the Chiefs have, I have no idea how the Pats cover all of them.  KC has had some big wins against the Pats in the middle of the regular season in recent years too.  But the Patriots have also come out of the woodwork in games like this and shut a young QB down…especially in Foxborough.  If the Pats lose, they will find themselves down by 3 games already in the AFC in the race for home-field advantage.  They have risen to the occasion before.  That all being said, I wish I could pick them here, but I simply can’t.

Kansas City 45, New England 34.

San Francisco at Green Bay (-9.5)

Boy, did the Niners season go right down the tubes once Jimmy Football got injured.

Green Bay 37, San Francisco 13.

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Season (against the spread):  38-41

Season (straight up):  46-33

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