• Wagers & Lagers 2015 Wild Card Weekend: Can't You See

    MK: This week, we're talking about the road teams.


    We're also talking about getting burned.


    We're all pretty far from home, one way or another.

    Chiefs (-3) at Texans, o/u 40
    AFC Wild Card Round—January 9, 2015
    4:35 (ET), Houston, Tx.—ESPN

    RG: Like Bill Simmons and their rest of the guys on the internet trying to pick games ATS, I have always aspired to go 11-0 SU in the playoffs. I have never done better than 8-3, but never worse than 5-6. Of course, the first game greets us with a dilemma. In fact, the whole weekend is interesting in that every road team started off as favored. I am sure that hasn't happened since I've been doing this and I'd wonder when and if it had happened before. The low O/U tells us that Vegas agrees with the idea that the game should be a slugfest. With Justin Houston telling us he is going to try to play and with the loss of Daune Brown, the Chiefs find themselves at a unique advantage in that they could win the game despite not having the best player on the field on either side of the ball. I think Kansas City breaks the streak of 8 playoff losses this week. Their last playoff win? In Houston, against the Oilers. PICK: Chiefs, Under

    PS: This is the WC which scares me the most. I am taking KC everywhere and I am not backing down. The Texans' loisng OT Duane Brown should be huge against a Chiefs defense on a nasty run. But, damn. I mean, JJ Watt.... PICK: Chiefs, Over

    MK: JJ Watt is right. The Texans have the best player on the field in this football game and it's not even close. The Chiefs cruised to an easy win against Houston to open the season, if y'all remember that, and for some reason Bill O'Brien benched Brian Hoyer for Ryan Mallett during that game. Maybe it's not coming up because the Chiefs lost five in a row after before winning their next ten, and it's not like the Texans—who are 7-2 since the end of October—don't look like they've played two completely different seasons, either. This might be stupid, but Chiefs have no turnovers in six of their ten wins, only one on another occasion, and never more than two. I think Houston's going to force Kansas City to make mistakes. PICK: Texans, Under

    Steelers (-3) at Bengals, o/u 45.5
    AFC Wild Card Round—January 9, 2015
    8:15 (ET), Cincinnati, Oh.—CBS

    RG: I just can't get past the idea that Martavis Bryant is ready to have a huge game even if the Bengals are able to handle Antonio Brown in relative check for the third straight game. I do think the game is close and a push is possible, but I'd rather be on the side of the bet with the team with the overall advantage. Both running games are likely to struggle, but the loss of Dalton hurts the Bengals more than the loss of DeAngelo Williams hurts the Steelers. If Pittsburgh is able to pressure the young McCarron, then I think the cover here is much easier. However, I like the over simply because I think both teams will have success through the air. I bet Bryant, Green, Eifert and Brown all get 10+ targets in the game. PICK: Steelers, Over

    PS: I will make this simple. I am rolling with Ben and the Steelers against the fightin' McCarrons in primetime. PICK: Steelers, Under

    MK: Look, the Steelers just don't lose to guys who aren't really NFL starting quarterbacks in the playoffs, even if they're on the...


    Oh. Seriously, the Steelers are 7-3-0 ATS against Cincinnati since the Bengals because their run with Green, Dalton, & Co. in 2011. Clearly, Cincinnati has been improving throughout that time, but as much as I'd love to see the Bengals eliminate the Steelers, I don't see it happening. PICK: Steelers, Over

    Seahawks (-5) at Vikings, o/u 39.5
    NFC Wild Card Round—January 10, 2015
    1:05 (ET), Minneapolis, Minn.—NBC

    RG: I really do get all the things that can happen for Minnesota to wreck this line. I get that the weather may be 20 degrees colder on the Seattle sideline during the game due to the angle of the wind expected. I get that Peterson is the type of back to win a playoff game on his own. We've seen it before. I get that the Seahawks are less effective without Marshawn Lynch. Still, the Vikings are a team that can't throw downfield and are less able to hold a lead if the Seattle defense knows what is coming. This is not confidence in Seattle's offense. This pick is confidence in their defense. PICK: Seahawks, Under

    PS: The last time these teams met, MIN was missing some serious defensive firepower. Those guys are all back & ready to rock. Add in a healthy dose of Mother Nature, some slick stadium construction by the Golden Gophers and this dude called Adrian Peterson, and I am chasing the home 'dog in a close battle. PICK: Vikings, Under

    MK: I realize the Vikings were shorthanded in these teams' most recent meeting, but the Seahawks don't have to beat them by four touchdowns again for this line to prevail. It's worth noting that Minnesota only scored because of a 101-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson and only managed 125 yards of total offense against Seattle. Harrison Smith and others being out might have kept Seattle on the field longer and might have made Norv Turner forget to give the ball to Adrian Peterson more than eight times, I suppose, but the Seahawks are just dominating time of possession right now. Since their Sunday Night loss to Arizona in Week 10, Seattle has held the ball for more than thirty five minutes in four separate games and for thirty four in another. The only two exceptions came against Pittsburgh (whose offense can do many, many things that Minnesota's cannot) and St. Louis (who always gives the Seahawks fits). PICK: Seahawks, Under

    Packers at Redskins (-1), o/u 45
    NFC Wild Card Round—January 10, 2015
    4:40 (ET), Landover, Md.—FOX

    RG: This ended up to be the toughest game of the day for me. I have gone back and forth much like how this line moved from -1 for Green Bay to -1 for the Washington Football Club throughout the week. Green Bay is going to miss Sam Shields, but the return of David Bahktiari is comforting in that Aaron Rodgers may have more time to do something when Washington comes with blitzes paired with press coverages on the outside. I'm giving the Packers offense just one more chance. PICK: Packers, Over

    PS: I'm chiming in after Matt on this game, so I'll simply refer you to his comments.
    PICK: Redskins, Over

    MK: I'd have to look to make sure, but I'm guessing that in every 50/50 game we've picked that's involved the Packers this season, I've given the benefit of the doubt to Green Bay and it's done nothing but burn me. Does anyone really believe that Washington wouldn't be laying more points if the opponent had looked like Green Bay had for the second half of this season but was wearing different uniforms on Sunday? I might regret writing this, but everybody has an off year once in a while. PICK: Redskins, Over

    GAMETIME GRUB

    PS: Sadly, for most, grilling season is over. The beautiful aroma of burning coals and the scent of a nice steak as it sizzles on a steel grate is intoxicating. But riddle me this Bathumans, did you know a grill is not the best vessel to get the most out of your meat? That's right. You are going to need a nice, well-seasoned cast iron skillet, some butter & oil, some fresh garlic, herbs, spices and some gorgeous steaks (NY Strip is best, here, but I'll steak type up to you).

    A hot iron skillet distributes heat evenly over the surface of the steak, letting you get a rich, deeply flavored crust. Instead of charring it, pan-searing caramelizes the meat, locking in the juices. Here’s how to make your next steak the best one you’ve ever had.

    Pan Seared (or "Indoor" Steak)


    1 ea. 1 lb NY Strip (you can do two if you have a large iron skillet, just increase the ingredients below by half)
    Olive Oil
    3 tbsp butter, cut into chunks
    2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled (optional)
    4 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

    Prep (starts at least six hours prior to cooking

    - Brush a light coat of olive oil on your steak then hit it with a generous amount of S&P
    - Put your steak on a wire grate on a plate and put it in the fridge for at least five hours
    - Pull steak/grate/plate contraption out and let it rest for an hour or so. This will let the meat come up to room temperature. This will keep the edges from burning while you wait for the insides to finish cooking. Trust me. This is the best piece of advice I can give regarding cooking steak.
    - Paste your garlic & chop your thyme. Cube your cold butter. Make sure you give yourself a nice mise en place. Once this steak hits the heat, you need your goodies right by and ready.
    - Get your skillet on the heat. Use medium-medium high heat (7 out of 10 if your stove has numbers). Let it get nice & hot.

    Now that your pan is hot and your steak is rested, it's time to cook. Oh, and there will smoke. Fire up your hood vent. On high.

    - The butter is for flavor. The oil is to keep the butter from burning. Add a couple cubes butter and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Toss in half your garlic & thyme.
    - As soon as your butter is melted, it's time for the show. lay your steak right on that melty godness and listen to the sound. Mmmmmmmm.
    - Now. Here is the hard part: DO NOT TOUCH YOUR MEAT. Let it sear for 3 or so minutes.
    - When you are ready to flip drop a few cubes butter and drizzle of oil. Once melted, lift out your steak, toss in the rest of your garlic & thyme, swirl the mixture together and get the steak back in the pan.
    - Sear 2-3 more minutes for a nice medium rare, a couple more for medium.
    - Baste steak with butter/oil. Protect your hand from heat. Tilt the pan so the liquid pools and repeatedly spoon the browned butter over the meat for a minute or so prior to removial.If you want your steak done past medium, you'll need to finish it in the oven.

    Serve with a slow roasted Vidalia onion and a side of asparagus. Second best piece of advice (this has been printed here often but bears repeating, repeatedly): Let tthat steak rest a few minutes before slicing. The fibers need a bit to recover those wonderful juices. Slice it too soon and you end up with a blood filled plate and a dry ass steak.

    BEER OF THE WEEK



    RG: This Rye Ale with a bunch of hops comes from the fine hills of southern Ohio. In fact, Jackie O's is from Athens, Ohio, the same place as Peter King's alma mater of Ohio University. Known for a Halloween (toned down a bit since my time in school) that rivals Mardi Gras, it was only a matter of time for a brewery to start pumping out quality beer. This one comes as advertised. With rye malts and plenty of hops, the beer does finish dry. However, before that, you get plenty of citrus taste that gives an interesting and satisfying brew. I haven't found a beer that I dislike from them yet.

    STANDINGS:

    RG: 6-3-0, 60-58-2
    PS: 7-2-0, 59-59-2
    MK: 3-6-0, 57-61-2

    Rich Gapinski, Patrick Sullivan, and Matt Kocsan are staff writers at FootballPros. Each week, they pick the most difficult games of the week based on the Tuesday morning lines and produce this column for their—and hopefully your—amusement. You can follow them on twitter @PolishedSports (Rich), @GoBigOrGoHome2 (Patrick), and @kocsan (Matt).

    Comments 27 Comments
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      So, homemade 5-bean soup w/ ham and Shock Top Seasonal Variety 12-pack for me. Also a bye. I'm good. Whatever happens, happens!
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Ah, ByeWeekitis. Nice problem to have.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      Well, at least I picked the under.
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      I saw two minutes of the CBS pre-game show and tapped out.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Bengals fans cheering and throwing garbage at him as an injured Big Ben is carted off with injury. Classy!

      There must be some weird chemical component to the rain tonight. These fans are rabid! Ugly!
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Burfict was always going to be a key player in this game.

      That play, no matter the context, was dirty.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      Burfict was always going to be a key player in this game. That play, no matter the context, was dirty.
      A penalty yes, dirty, highly questionable. Ridiculous that the Burfict and Willams hits were flagged and the shazier and Blake hits were not.


      Absolutely no consistency to the personal fouls called in the game.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Not to mention Joey porter pushing players on the field, where him simply being on the field was penalty worthy.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      Boomer- "I am a former Bengal, I am embarrassed by the way this game ended, by the way these guys acted on the field...if Marvin Lewis can't control his players, then maybe Marvin Lewis shouldn't be standing there on the sideline coaching that drek..."

      Bill Cowher- "That is the head coach... that goes on the head coach."

      Tony Gonzalez- "Absolutely embarrassing... stupid"

      Bart Scott- "Selfish"

      James Brown- "And tomorrow on CBS..."
    1. Matt Kocsan's Avatar
      By the way, sometimes the best cooking advice is to just leave the bastard alone in the pan. Are you exclusively an S&P man on your steaks, Patrick?
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Matt Kocsan View Post
      By the way, sometimes the best cooking advice is to just leave the bastard alone in the pan. Are you exclusively an S&P man on your steaks, Patrick?
      No way. For this particular recipe I am. The garlic & thyme are pretty potent. I have been known to sprinkle a touch of brown sugar on the strip right before the flip. It adds a kiss of sweetness and a bit of crunch to the sear. Nice.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      C'mon Sendejo. You gotta snag that.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Going into the last game, I think we have:
      PS: 4-2
      RG: 3-3
      MK: 2-4

      I think this thing will be decided by some crazy Super Bowl stuff.

      And, um.... Holy S#$%
    1. Amy's Avatar
      WOW.

      What an ending!

      Seattle goes to Carolina next week.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      2 outta 3 very exciting playoff games so far. Wonder what GB/Skins will bring? Something supernatural. Maybe an alien invasion.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      feel horribly for Zimmer.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Anyone have a stat telling us the eventual winner of postseason games where the first score comes on a safety?
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by brauneyz View Post
      2 outta 3 very exciting playoff games so far. Wonder what GB/Skins will bring? Something supernatural. Maybe an alien invasion.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      Thx for the X-Files reminder. Two weeks to go!