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Wild Card weekend. Wow, I can't believe the NFL playoffs are here. I am currently in Miami Beach, trying to freshen my tan and recapture the magic that is my summer look for a few days, but I couldn't miss previewing Wild Card weekend. Before we go in to this weekend's games, a few notes from Week 17 as we tie a bow on the regular season:
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a mess. Even though they won week 17, they missed the playoffs. For a team that was top 10 in DVOA, that's an embarrassment. Right on cue, Antonio Brown is making noise as he missed practice before the game; he straight up didn't show up and was benched for the game against the Bengals. That was a must-win game by the way—a terrible look for him and the Steelers. It looks as if the Steelers might try to trade him, which will be tough given his contract (that has a major trade kicker), and the fact that he's a top 5 WR in the league, so to get equal value will be hard. But, if he is as much of a diva and a crappy teammate as being reported, Pitt has to do something.
The Ravens are zigging when everyone else is zagging. The rules favor passing offenses in a big way, yet the Ravens are running the ball and controlling the clock. If Lamar Jackson makes just one or two plays in the passing game, they are dangerous, especially with the way they play defense.
Baker Mayfield and the Browns are going to be a problem for years to come. Again, the Cleveland Browns, yes those Cleveland Browns, have the brightest future for any non-playoff team. Hell may freeze over as a result.
The Bears defense is relentless. Flat out relentless. The more I look at the Bears, the more I like them. What they did to the Vikings this last week was ruthless and I loved it.
Kirk Cousins may have the worst contract in all of pro sports. At 84 million dollars guaranteed... yikes.
And now on to Wild Card weekend. Just a quick note beforehand: After a major cold stretch, the last two weeks I was 7-2-1. Pretty good as Larry David would say, so let's keep the momentum rolling. Here we go, Wild Card picks (note the lines are from late Thursday night via the Oddshark website):
Seattle +2 against Dallas: You all know how I feel about Russell Wilson (best QB in the NFC). Jason Garrett, well, is Jason Garrett. I just think the Cowboys are due to let down their fans once again. I like Seattle to win outright, so obviously take the points here.
Baltimore -3 against the Chargers: The Chargers have been really good on the road this year, but it will be cold and the Chargers are traveling East—and they play the early game. Baltimore won the first time they played, and I think they do it again as Lamar Jackson makes big-time throws that are the difference in the game.
Chicago -6 against Philly: The Nick Foles thing is real. It's amazing how much energy he gives the Eagles. Foles is also banged up (ribs) and the Bears defense is fierce. This could get ugly fast. Bear weather = Bear down.
Texans -1 against the Colts: I'll admit, I don't have a great feel for this one. What I do know is that the line opened with Houston being a two and a half-point favorite that has been bet down to one. So naturally, I'll go the other way. Give me Hopkins, D. Watson, Jadeveon Clowney, and JJ Watt.
Good luck to all the bettors out there, and yes, more NBA content to come soon.