• Wagers & Lagers 2012: Week 17

    Houston (-4.5) @ Indianapolis
    RG: The Colts are 6-1 at home ATS and I can easily see Houston being the least impressive team at home during the second round of the playoffs. I think the line is bad enough in Indianapolis that J.J. Watt should get a good chance at the sack record. Overall, though, I like the other fun stat that Houston has never won on the road against the Colts and the fact that you never bet against a team whose coach is coming off cancer treatment. I think teams are something like 134-0 in those instances. It's like betting against a Sicilian when death is on the line. PICK: Indianapolis.

    Green Bay (-3) @ Minnesota
    RG: This is a much different game now that the Packers have something to play for. I don't think AD gets his record, but I do think he can muster up about 140 to keep the game close, but I think the difference is that this is the modern NFL and Aaron Rodgers is infinitely better than Christian Ponder. PICK: Green Bay

    Chicago (-3) @ Detroit
    RG: Remember when I went on some sort of rant about the Bears backing into the playoffs, thus saving Lovie Smith's job and then predicting a terrible set of decisions this off-season? So, were one Christian Ponder loss and a unimpressive Bears win away from the first steps of that reality. The Lions care about beating the Bears and Calvin Johnson will get to 2,000 yards, but Lovie Smith is the consummate players coach. The Bears have a healthy Tim Jennings and Brian Urlacher returned the practice field. If the Bears don't show the heart to win this one, then a new head coach is absolutely needed. PICK: Chicago

    Baltimore @ Cincinnati (-3)
    RG: Which of these teams will show up? I have no idea because the scenario is there for these teams to face each other next week. If I were giving advice in this column, my notes would tell you to stay far, far, away from this game. PICK: Cincinnati

    Dallas @ Washington (-3.5), o/u 50
    RG: Dallas should not even be where they are now. Back in the pre-season I mentioned that I liked the idea of Dallas making the playoffs but I just could not give them enough wins. I ended up taking the Eagles instead and we can see how that turned out. Dallas has no offensive line, no pass rush, can't run on early downs and their best offensive weapon will need off-season surgery. The Skins tried to give up a little past the midway point and then stopped losing, no matter who was at quarterback. Yep, classic opposite pick here. Plus, my favorite scenario that I heard was a possible Romo return to Seattle next week. I love that idea. PICK: Dallas, The Over


    Chicago-Style Beef Sandwiches at Home

    Food Stuff Needed:

    1 lb beef roast
    Italian Rolls
    Beef broth
    Hot mixed giardiniera in vegetable oil
    1 onion
    1 head of garlic
    a handful of peperoncini
    olive oil

    Rub Ingredients:

    1 Tbsp garlic powder
    1 Tbsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
    1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
    2 Tsp Dried Parsley
    2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes


    -Preheat your oven to 275 degrees
    -Combine the rub ingredients
    -Generously rub the spices around all sides of the roast.
    -Place a roasting pan over a burner on medium heat. Drizzle olive oil over the bottom of the pan and sear each side of the roast.
    -Add the onions, garlic, peppers and enough water to fill the bottom of the pan
    -Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the roast in the oven. Cook for around 3-4 hours or until an internal temperature of 180 degrees is reached.
    -Remove the roast and other goodies from the pan and set aside (btw the peperoncini taste delicious).
    -Pour the remaining juices from the roasting pan into a medium-sized sauce pan. Add enough water or beef broth to increase the quantity of au jus needed for dipping purposes (if using water add beef bouillon to taste).
    Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until au jus is heated.
    -Thinly slice the roast like so.
    -Grab approximately a handful of the sliced meat and add to the au jus. Allow the meat to bathe in the au jus for 5-10 minute (or as long as you wish).
    -Slice open one of the toasted rolls, stuffing it with the meat and perhaps an extra helping of au jus.
    -Using tongs, dip the entire sandwich into the au jus and allow it briefly soak up more of the delicious juice.
    -Plate your Italian beef sandwich, add the hot mixed giardiniera and your Italian beef sandwich is good to go.

    Well, I am going to go off the beaten path this week. It's not even beer. It's Adam Carolla's Mangria. I purchased some and I have to say it is fantastic. Red Wine plus vodka plus orange peel taste equals a bottle that is smooth which also contains over 20% alcohol.

    LAST WEEK: RG 4-2, MK 3-3
    MK: 38-28
    RG: 57-44-1
    PS: 5-7

    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Good stuff as always, Rich.

      How easy it is to forget that Houston won a playoff game last year, and was this close to making the AFC Championship game without their QB. Way too many people are diminishing their chances, and I have a feeling they'll come up big today. Especially since, despite the return of Pagano, the Texans actually have more motivation to win this week than does Indianapolis.

      You're 100% correct on Chicago. Today is must-win for Lovie Smith, and even then it may not be enough. Why do I see this as a sleeper destination for Andy Reid? Ultimately, I think the Bears win, but Minnesota pulls off the upset, rendering the Bears win moot. Or mute. But I regress... or is that digress?

      I guess Baltimore technically has something to play for since a win, plus a Pats loss, would guarantee a rematch with Cincy next week in Baltimore. But I think Cincinnati wants to keep the momentum. Following a win in Pittsburgh, a win over Baltimore would be a great boost for them going into the playoffs. Am I the only one thinking that Cincinnati is a very dangerous out next week, no matter who they play?

      The winner of Dallas-Washington will host either Seattle or San Francisco. All 4 of those possibilities make me giddy. Of those 4 possibilities, the underreported story is that Tony Romo is playing better than at any other point in his career. I like Washington to win tonight, but as well as Romo and Dez Bryant are playing, it's not inconceivable that Dallas has a real shot if they squeeze into the dance. That said, I'll make a slightly, but not really bold prediction that the SB representative in the NFC is coming from one of those 4 teams.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Thanks, trumpet. Russell posted a tweet today that said Romo has 17 touchdowns and three picks in his last 8 games.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Sorry to leave Rich hanging this week. You can do without my pithy comments, but for the record...

      Give me Houston, Green Bay, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas and the Over.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Thanks, trumpet. Russell posted a tweet today that said Romo has 17 touchdowns and three picks in his last 8 games.
      Very true, with 2 of those 3 INTs coming in the Thanksgiving game against Washington. Since a 4 INT game against the Giants, he has a rating of 107.6 and a YPA of 8.2.
    1. edave's Avatar
      Hmmm. I have him with a rating of 104.4, 8.0 Y/A and 7.6 ANY/A starting with the Falcons game on Nov 4.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      4.5 is a lot to give up against a playoff team who's at home. So far, at least, it's a tight game. I guess the line has come down, since we have 7 in the Upset Challenge.

      3.5 feels like a lot for the 'Skins to give up. It's possible they'll be transported by a wave of noise and emotion and run away with this thing. But somehow, given the history of these teams, I feel like it's unlikely. I like the over pick, though.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by edave View Post
      Hmmm. I have him with a rating of 104.4, 8.0 Y/A and 7.6 ANY/A starting with the Falcons game on Nov 4.
      Very possible. I used one of those ratings calculators and quickly plugged in the numbers.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      4.5 is a lot to give up against a playoff team who's at home. So far, at least, it's a tight game. I guess the line has come down, since we have 7 in the Upset Challenge.
      Well, might as well crow on one of the few occasions that I'm right. I couldn't understand why everyone liked a slumping Houston team on the road to a vibrant Colts team.