NFL Picks 2016 – Conference Championships
The dream of an all-Texas Superb Owl to be played in Texas died a harsh death last weekend. It wasn’t much of a dream anyway and it keeps alive the curious streak of the home team never hosting the big game.
The Texans never had a chance against the Patriots – although they did keep it close for a whole half as Red predicted. Red almost believed for an instant after Brady’s second interception.
Meanwhile in Arlington, the Cowboys must be sitting around muttering “I could have been somebody, I could have been a contender.” The problem is that Aaron Rodgers is somebody and is always a contender. But now Jerry’s Boys will be spending the off-season wondering what could have been and not making any real changes to a lineup that had a magical year – a year that is not likely to be repeated any time soon. The Cowboys defense has real problems and the rookie phenoms – may just be rookie phenoms. As Red has said, he is perfectly okay with the Cowboys winning one playoff game every decade. So, sorry Jerry, the win for the 10’s is already in the books. Talk to me in 2021.
For Round 2, Red was a spectacular 4-0 and made good on both Sure Bets with the Stealers covering and the under paying off. Good things come to those who wait and wait and wait and . . .
Prime Time Pick of the Week – Stealers smack Patriots. About the only good thing to come out of the Texans’ defeat on Saturday was that the defense beat the everloving crap out of Tom Brady. Even Mrs. Red was getting excited when Chris Covington body slammed TB and Whitney Mercilus dragged him to the ground. Brady took more hard shots in that game than he usually does in a month. The Pats running game was also exposed. Brady won the game with repeated strikes downfield against Texans defensive backs who always seemed to be clueless as to where the ball was going. That won’t happen against the Stealers. Brady will face even more pressure (the Stealers had 30 sacks in the last 8 games). And the Pats are not likely to run against the Stealers any better than they did against the Texans. But the real question is for the Stealers. Can they score against the Pats league-leading defense? The mid-season matchup tells us – well, not much. The Stealers didn’t have Ben and Pats still had Gronk. Landry Jones had to chuck it up 47 times that day in a losing effort for the Stealers – which is something Ben almost never does. LaGarrette “Fat Pig” Blount rushed for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Pats to victory. That does not happen Sunday. The Pats also will not be bailed out by Dion Lewis – who had more touchdowns on Sunday than in the rest of his career going back to 2011. Red doesn’t know how the Stealers are going to win, but he knows they are going to win and thus, cover the spread whatever it is. The Stealers are getting 5.5 just in case you are interested. The O/U is at 51. Which strikes Red as way too high. Take the under here. Pittsburgh 21 New England 20.
Sure Bet Pick of the Week – Packers pelt Falcons. Aaron Rodgers – great family man that he is – will always have a place in Red’s heart. Driving a stake through the heart of the Cowboys’ season will do that for you. And the Packs’ reward is to be a 4.5 point dog on the road against the Falcons. The Falcons looked like a well-oiled machine on Saturday – with the big exception of letting Devin Hester run wild on kick and punt returns. Without Hester, the game was not even close. With him, the game wasn’t that close. The Pack has no one like Hester. Although Ty Montgomery’s brilliant play during the Lions-Packers game showed that he is the thinking man’s kick returner. One of the Lions’ kickoff was dying at about the Green Bay 3 yard line. But since it was near the sideline. TM stepped out of bounds and fell on the ball (still in bounds). Under the very complicated NFL kicking rules, that made the ball out of bounds and put the Packers at the 40 yard line. It pays to know the very complicated NFL kicking rules. Red has been duly impressed by the Falcons this season. He has picked them repeatedly in the past – only to be disappointed. The long-suffering Falcons fans are not disappointed – well not yet anyway. It’s a little too good to be true and reality is coming home. The first meeting of these teams at mid-season was a complete shootout with Rodgers and Ryan combining for 7 TD passes, 534 yards and no INTs. Expect about the same on Sunday. The oddsmakers sure do. The O/U on this one is a whopping 61.5. Red sees them getting there. The Packers defense is suspect merely by virtue of having Dom Capers in charge. The Falcons defenses has toughened up considerably over the last month of the season, but these are the Packers after all. This one could last 4:15 and conceivably goes to OT. Okay, Red calls OT. Take the Pack and the points and the over. Green Bay 35 Atlanta 29.
And of course, that gives us a Packers-Stealers Superb Owl. Who doesn’t want to see that?