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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

NFL Picks…

…starting a new feature here at the Blowhard…picking NFL games.  Why?  Cuz it keeps me engaged and…everyone else does it!  Besides, it keeps my mind off the fact that both of my fantasy baseball teams are massively imploding in the first round of their respective playoffs and will leave me short of collecting the pot.  And, it takes me away from the fact that the Yankees are yet again whining about something.  This time about the Red Sox stealing signs.  Ok, so maybe the Sox were cheating a little by using technology when they shouldn’t have been.  But you can’t tell me that other teams, including, most assuredly, the Yankees, aren’t doing something similar.

Of course, all I can hear now is non-Sox/Pats fans saying that Boston is a bunch of cheaters and strip their titles and all that.  When really their biggest crime is being stupid enough to get caught.

But that’s a topic for another day.

Since the season opens tonight, it’s time to make the first pick.  I also want to issue a disclaimer:  I stink at gambling.  Sure, I have had success in various fantasy leagues over the years.  And I actually won a season long NFL picks pool several years ago with about 200 people in it.  A blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, as the saying goes…

But in general, picking against spreads?  Not my forte.  Ask a couple of buddies of mine from several years ago.  Used to watch 12 hours of football with them every Sunday at a local establishment back in the day.  They used to ask me who I “liked”.  I told them, they knew some…ummmm…”professionals” and then placed some “units” down on the team I did not like.  Good buddies, eh?!  But valid strategy, I do hate to admit.

Anyway, let’s get to it:

Kansas City at New England (-8.5)

Of course being a Patriots fan, I am hoping for a 45-10 win, or something along those lines.

But it’s not going to happen.

I expect the Pats to have a huge year of course, but there are still some holes…or perceived holes…on this team at the current time.  And it’s not just losing Julian Edelman.  Although Edelman is clutch, I think they can and will still score a boatload of points without him.

The Patriots often treat September as an “extension of the preseason”.  Of course they try to win, but now that the roster has been shaved to 53, it’s time to find out about some of the guys that are still on it.

In my mind, and in a lot of other people’s as well, the defensive front seven is a huge question mark.  Trey Flowers and Dont’a Hightower are the big names there.  But Flowers has done it for only one year…three quarters of a year pretty much.  And Dont’a is probably still on the mend and in all likelihood won’t play a full complement of snaps tonight.  Alan Branch is solid.  But the rest?  Who the hell knows?

Since no one expects Alex Smith to be throwing bombs downfield all night, the front 7 will be challenged by the likes of Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt.  And Hunt is a rookie, so no one in New England surely knows what to expect.  It may take forever for the Chiefs to drive downfield.  But it will keep the ball away from Brady and the Pats offense.  And should keep this game close.

The Pats always keep games close…it seems anyway.  And despite all the pomp and circumstance in Foxborough tonight with celebrating the Super Bowl Championship last year and raising the banners and the crowd being fired up and all that, I still expect a close game.

Look to a couple of years ago on Opening Night the season after the Pats beat Seattle in the previous Super Bowl.  28-21 Pats over Steelers.  Sure, the game really wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.  I was there and never felt like Pittsburgh had a chance.  And the Steelers’ Antonio Brown scored with 2 seconds left to provide the final margin of victory.  But still…

One more area of concern for me is the Chiefs D, led by Justin Houston, against the Pats O-line.  Nate Solder hasn’t played much this preseason, is he ready to go?  The rest of the Pats OL is solid, but not necessarily spectacular.  So we will see.

At least the Patriots will have a faster running back out there, no matter who it is, instead of the plodding LeGarrette Blount.  And we can always count on Andy Reid completely mismanaging the clock.  But we also have to worry about Stephen Gostkowski shanking extra point and field goal attempts.

Ok, that’s enough.  The pick?

New England 30, Kansas City 23.  4 TDs, a FG and missed XP for the Pats.  2 TD’s and 3 FGs for KC.  Thus, a KC cover.  Feels about right.

Week (against the spread):  0-0

Week (straight up):  0-0

Season (against the spread):  0-0

Season (straight up):  0-0

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