• Wagers & Lagers 2012: Wild Card Playoffs

    CIN @ HOU (-5)
    RG: The Texans are the Al Pacino of football. When they are good, they are really memorable. When they are bad, they are doing things like screaming "Hooo--ahhhh" and taking roles with Chris O'Donnell or Adam Sandler. The Texans can't play from behind, but these two teams are actually very similar. Their stats in yards per play rushing and passing on offense and defense compare very closely. Both teams are led by defenses that, when playing well, are close to if not the best in the league. The Bengals have Geno Atkins. The Texans have J.J. Watt. Andre Johnson accounted for 49.6% of Schaub's passing yards in the last six games. A.J. Green accounts for 39.5% of Dalton's in the same time frame. Still, my decision came down to one thought: the 56 yard field goal attempt in Heinz Field. That's like attacking Russia in the winter. I'll take the Bengals because this should be closer than five, but Houston wins 17-13. Pick: Cincinnati

    MK: My working theory about the Texans is that they're a pretty good team. It's just that, when they lose, they manage to look so awful that you wonder why you ever thought they were any good in the first place. Reliant is a tough place to play, and the Cincinnati Bengals haven't won a playoff game since January 6, 1990. The franchises played twice last season, though, and one (in Cincinnati during the regular season) was close and the other (in Houston during the playoffs) was not. I expect a low-scoring game that looks more like the former. Pick: Cincinnati

    IND @ BAL (-6.5)
    RG: I have no idea about this game. An inspiring story and "clutchness" are not things I like to bet on. The Colts are probably nearly as bad as that 2010 Seattle team, which, of course, upset the Saints, but the Colts allowed .8 yards more per play for the entire season! They also cannot stop the run by any measure I can think of or calculate. The Colts can't run on offense unless it is 2nd & 2. The Ravens are wounded and weak, but they still have lost just one home game in two seasons. Plus, I feel like Jacoby Jones is going to do something in this game. So, despite the good story, I'm going with the home team. Pick: Baltimore

    MK: This is a toss-up for me. I don't really like either of these teams--that is, in terms of thinking they're very good, not indicating a personal preference. The Colts, certainly, have had a great run, but I kind of hate this team on the road. The Ravens will tell you they're doing a New York Giants impression, but I'm not buying that. The real winner here is probably melodrama. Pick: Indianapolis

    MIN @ GB (-7.5)
    RG: Christian Ponder and the wind. Minnesota was 0-4 on grass this season and lost by over 12 points a game in those games. The sharps and the public have each put money on the Vikings to bring this line down 2 points since it opened. As a Bears fan, I hate giving the Packers love, but this season for Aaron Rodgers may be more impressive than the last. He still led the league in TD/INT difference and QB rating despite having something named Alex Green lead the team in rushing. Rodgers was second on the team with 259 yards, by the way. For comparison, AD has more yards than Green in just his last three games. The Packers return Randall Cobb, their leading pass catcher. They also return Chuck Woodson, the veteran leader of the defense. I honestly think the only way Minny covers is because of two more Crosby misses. Pick: Green Bay

    MK: I mean, seven and a half? The Packers were trying to win last week, right? I know it was in Minnesota, but Vegas watched that game, right? Green Bay at home straight-up is a pretty safe bet. They've only lost twice at Lambeau in the past two years. One, of course, was in the playoffs last year. Weird, possibly extremely unfair stat: did you know Green Bay hasn't won a playoff game at home since January 12, 2008? Seriously, almost five years. I like these home fields, but not these big spreads. Pick: Minnesota

    SEA (-2.5) @ WASH, o/u 46
    RG: The thing I kept remember about this game in my research was that even though the Washington defense was much better in the second half of the season that they still needed the inevitable Tony Romo crucial mistake to win the final game of the season at home. The Seahawks do not have a weakness, and though they finished 3-5 on the road, they had chances in each of those losses. In Football Outsiders DVOA, Seattle was in the top 5 in offense, defense and special teams. They averaged 8 yards a pass, so it was not all Marshawn Lynch providing cover. So, even though home dogs are 21-10 in their last 31 playoff games, I don't see enough in this home dog. This isn't the 2010 Seahawks. Pick: Seattle, The Under

    MK: Because it is the last game of the weekend, I'm anticipating feeling extraordinarily guilty for neglecting work during this game to the point where I can't even enjoy it. That said, I think this is easily the most intriguing game of the weekend. If you had to pick the two most impressive teams in the NFL in the month of December, I think you would pick these two. Come for the quarterbacks, but stay for Seattle's defense. The Seahawks finished the season with the #1 scoring defense in the league and #4 yards allowed (while being top ten against the run and the pass). The Redskins' defense has excelled at forcing turnovers, logging two or more in twelve games this season (they got three on SIX separate occasions!). Seattle has only turned the ball over three times in total since their Week 11 bye. It's not rocket science, but think I know what this matchup hinges on. Pick: Seattle, The Over

    ND vs. ALA (-9.5)
    RG: I get that Bama is the more talented team and that what they do with their players out of the backfield is tough, but I fail to see exactly how Notre Dame loses that badly with their front seven. The Bama pass defense as been pedestrian at times this season; especially in the second half of the season. Obviously, it the three offensive line draft picks for Bama have a great day against the front seven for the Irish, this will be a blowout. I don't see that match-up being any more than a stalemate, which would still give the Tide the overall edge, but not by 9.5 points when I think 20 points scored will win the game. Pick: Notre Dame.

    MK: It's kind of depressing that I've been trying to figure out if I think Notre Dame is for real this entire season and I still don't have an answer. Contrary to popular belief, Nick Saban has lost a bowl game before, and several of them in fact. You'll have to take my word for it that I did really well on New Year's Day, but I don't think I'd go running anywhere with this pick because this is a coin flip. I know some of you are thinking that I'm giving the Notre Dame too much credit here, but when the pairing first became obvious, I thought it would either be the Irish close or the Tide in a rout. Now, I'm outsmarting myself. It still feels like an Alabama win, but it doesn't feel like a rout. The obvious comparison for Notre Dame is the 2002 Ohio State team, at least in terms of results, but I don't see a Maurice Clarett for this team to lean on. At the same time, though, this Alabama team doesn't feel like a Miami of the same year, but they have run over all but three of their opponents (who are all ranked in the top 10). Pick: Notre Dame


    I almost skipped this, but then I had extra brisket last weekend and made this:



    -2 lbs. Brisket, chopped
    -3 {14.5 ounce} cans diced tomatoes
    -1 cup beef broth
    -6 ounce can tomato paste
    -2 tablespoons brown sugar
    -1 medium onion, diced
    -3 cloves garlic, pressed
    -½ cup hot sauce
    -1 to 2 tablespoons pepper
    -2 tablespoons cumin
    -2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
    -2 tablespoons paprika
    -1 teaspoon oregano
    -1 to 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
    -1 tablespoon of celery salt
    -Cheddar Cheese, shredded {optional}


    -Dice the onions and press the garlic. Add it to your crock-pot
    -Add the remaining ingredients to your crock-pot and mix thoroughly
    -On low, cook the chili, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 hours. Add extra spices as needed to satisfy your tastes.
    -Enjoy a bowl full with a sprinkle of your favorite cheese on top, or even sour cream.
    -This is a spicy chili. Add beer or something else to sweeten, if you like.


    I've been a fan of Left Hand Brewery for a while. This English Style IPA is one of my favorites of theirs.

    LAST WEEK: RG 3-3, MK 1-5
    RG: 59-48-1
    MK: 39-33
    PS: 5-7

    Comments 4 Comments
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Yep. Outsmarted myself.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Lets pretend our ND pick never happened just like ND never got off the plane.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Lets pretend our ND pick never happened just like ND never got off the plane.
      But rich, you were 100% correct when you said this "I think 20 pts scored will win the game".

      The second bama hit 21pts, that game was officially over.

      Nd was so not ready for what they were about to have happen to them. Blinded by the speed, blown off the line, and just plain out coached. They were playing above their weight class. Quite far above it. Even when the defense was in perfect position to make a stop, the speed and power of the rb's left them flailing at air, or laying on their backs.

      Picking against an SEC team in the national championship game, and more aptly a saban coached SEC team is a bad idea. ND certainly wasn'tthe team to finally knock the SEC from their pedestal. That game looked more like an out of conference early season cupcake game, not a national championship game.

      I know you guys were just picking ATS, but didn't you still have trepidation in doing so with it basically betting on nd keeping it within one.score?
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Yeah, I didn't love this pick, but wow. Oh well, 4-1 in NFL is what I was hoping.