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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 27, 2011 11:29 AM. The previous post in this blog was Last Buck-a-Hit Day charity selected. The next post in this blog is The O says, "Kill the Lake O. streetcar". Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The first 'dogs of 2012

The pro football oddsmakers appear to have taken yesterday off, and so we presently have lines for only a few of the games in our charity underdog contest:

12 BUFFALO at New England
9 WASHINGTON at Philadelphia
4 INDIANAPOLIS at Jacksonville
3 HOUSTON vs. Tennessee
3 KANSAS CITY at Denver
3 SAN DIEGO at Oakland
3 SEATTLE at Arizona
3 DALLAS at New York Giants
2.5 CINCINNATI vs. Baltimore
1.5 NEW YORK JETS at Miami

Bucs/Falcons, Steelers/Browns, Bears/Vikings, Niners/Rams, Lions/Packers, and Panthers/Saints are all still up in the air, but probably not for long. Players should keep checking back here, as we'll continue checking out what Vegas is saying.

This is the last week of the regular season, after which the games get fewer and the point spreads get smaller. There are no more Thursday games, and so this week all picks are due by 10 a.m. Pacific Time Sunday, New Year's Day. Good luck with the 'dognostication, folks.

UPDATE, 11:18 p.m.: Here are some more:

12 TAMPA BAY at Atlanta
10.5 ST. LOUIS vs. San Francisco
9 CAROLINA at New Orleans
3.5 GREEN BAY vs. Detroit

Bears/Vikings is a pick 'em, and by rule that means it's off our board. Steelers/Browns could still surface, depending on Ben Roethlisberger's status. We'll keep checking through Thursday.

Comments (8)

Last night's game, and especially it's ending, foreshadows a big likely rematch between New Orleans and Atlanta in The Big Easy in the 1st round of the NFC playoffs:

Record stirs debate over unwritten rule
Drew Brees made NFL history on Monday, but the way he did it was anything but classy
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=jc-cole_saints_brees_record_dan_marino_falcons112711

An excerpt:

For their part, Falcons players didn’t seem too upset. Then again, it’s hard to act indignant after you just allowed your opponent to put up 45 points.

“No man, it’s our job to stop them,” said linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who missed New Orleans running back Darren Sproles on the record-setting play. “I can’t say I’m upset by them running up the score or anything like that when I had a chance to make a play.”

Said wide receiver Roddy White: “We didn’t make plays. We had to make plays, stop them and do our job, not worry about what they’re doing. Now, in a couple of weeks if we have to come back here, I might feel different. [But] not now.”

Playoff picture: Saints may meet Falcons again

The Saints wrapped up the NFC South with a big win against the Falcons, leaving three division titles and one wild-card spot up for grabs in the season’s final week.

If the standings hold, the Falcons will return to the Superdome in two weeks. But the Saints still could earn a first-round bye if the Rams beat the 49ers, and the Falcons can sneak up to the No. 5 spot if the Packers beat the Lions.

And MORE on the NFC and AFC playoff possibilities at: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ys-nfl_playoff_picture

Meanwhile, the Bengals-Ravens game this weekend should be a doozy!

And, back in college, there's this news out of Oregon:

Oregon's Rose Bowl Unis Channel Darth Vader
http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/dish/201112/darth-vader-playing-rose-bowl

Browns will probably be a +7.

Cleveland was a +7.5 in Thursday's USA Today -- did they make your deadline time, Jack? Not that it's a good pick this week, though.

"Mojo's Best Bets" comin' up soon!

No, Steelers/Browns is off the board. Every time our oddsmaker checked on Thursday on the designated site (http://sportsdirect.usatoday.com/odds/usatoday/nfl.aspx), there was no line for that game.

"Mojo's Best Bets"
The Mayan Calendar Edition*

"Best Bets"-- Go West, young underdog!
(Last week: 1-1; overall: 13-20)

SAN DIEGO (+3) at Oakland -- California's two original AFL rivals clash in this one. The Raiders must win to have any chance to make the playoffs. The Chargers have a lot to prove and may be playing to save beloved Coach Norv Turner's job, as well as to end their nightmare playoff-less season on a positive note. The chargers defense is making plays and Philip Rivers has seemed to recover his outstanding performance skills after a horrific mid-season slump. The Raiders are the most penalized team in the NFL and they have trouble holding on to the football. Just lose, baby! Al Davis will be watching this one from his mid-level box in Purgatory. Hopefully there velour sweat suits are banned.

KANSAS CITY (+3) at Denver -- This one is a compelling Homeric matchup, in both senses of the word: Greek ("The Odyssey:) and Geek ("The Simpsons"). In this last-week-of-the-season tilt for the AFC West division title, it pits Denver's beginning of the year starter, but rejected and waived QB Kyle Orton, now returning to Denver as the starter for the KC Chiefs. Orton has brought the Chiefs stability and success in an injury-plagued 2011 campaign), and will have the opportunity to vindicate himself versus his former replacement in Denver, the controversial Tim Tebow. With KC having a more powerful and dynamic defense and special teams, Orton and the Chiefs will have Denver GM (and former Broncos QB, the NFL Hall of Famer John Elway going "Doh!" at least once before this one's in the book. But, I do expect San Diego to upset Oakland, and if so Denver would make the playoffs anyway. Ah yes, Homeric!


"Upset Special"
(Last week: 0-1; overall: 3-15 -- gosh, it's tough to pick a big underdog (>6) outright every week, isn't it?)

CAROLINA (+9) at New Orleans -- Since the Saints have the 3rd seed in the NFC locked up and can only move up a spot in the unlikely event of the 49ers losing to the Rams, superstar QB Drew Brees is unlikely to play more than 1 quarter to maintain his 190 yard lead over the Patriot's Tom Brady for the 2011 NFL passing yardage title. NO will undoubtedly rest a lot of starters in this game to prepare for the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Panthers have lots to play for, including revenge for a close loss at home earlier this year to the Saints. Also, this is runaway NFL Rookie of the Year, Carolina QB Cam Newton's last show this season and he will be highly motivated to make the best of the opportunity and add to his record-setting rookie QB rushing and passing stats. The Carolina cat people will be putting out the fire of this season -- with gasoline!

"Gamblers Corner"

WASHINGTON (+9) at Philadelphia -- The Black-and-White-Redmen just don't have the horsepower to pull this off, especially on defense and even if Eagles' RB LaSean McCoy is questionable due to injury. While Washington's top LB London Fletcher is expected back, he alone cannot cover Michael Vick and his speedy talented receivers. Add to that Phildelphia's excellent pass rush, and Washington QB Rex Grossman is in for a rough day as Philadelphia takes out their season's frustrations and wrings in the New Year.

ST. LOUIS (10.5) vs San Francisco -- The Rams can't stop the run, can't stop the pass, and pass much themselves. and have many other problems to deal with. But, if they lose, it'll help a lot: they get the 1st pick in the draft (to use in a mega-deal for any team who wants to obtain the rights to the #1 overall draft prospect, Stanford QB Andrew Luck). Now THAT's something to go for! 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh is going to want to go into the playoffs on a roll and will run up the score on the Rams. That's just the kind of guy he is.

BUFFALO (+12) at New England -- Buffalo's got too many insufficiencies to pull off another upset against the Patriots this year. The Patriots will treat this as a bona fide tune-up for the playoffs, especially on defense, while QB Tom Brady tries to overcome Saints' QB Drew Brees 190 yard lead on him for the 2011 NFL passing yardage crown. The Bills are 0-9 all-time against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Make that a perfect 10!

TAMPA BAY (+12) at Atlanta -- To quote The Falcoholic:

It couldn't be a more anticlimactic game. The Buccaneers are terrible right now, having lost nine in a row and quitting on their belligerent coach, who is almost certainly getting fired when January 2nd rolls around. The Falcons are not in control of their own playoff destiny, and if the Lions beat the Packers, they could just decide to rest the starters. The Buccaneers may not even want to win this one for any reason besides pride, because a loss here would put them in position to get an elite player in the 2012 NFL Draft.

If the Lions do lose, though, this quickly becomes a critical game. The Falcons should push hard for the fifth seed in the NFC if at all possible, setting them up to avoid a rolling Saints squad and putting them against the winner of a shaky NFC East. For all their numerous flaws in 2011, if the Bucs have a chance to play spoiler for a division rival, they'll be gunning to do so. Mike Smith won't take these guys lightly.

The Lions are not likely to lose to the Packers, so if you're a gambler, you might go ahead and take this game just in case Green Bay does win or Tampa Bay finishes it's disintegration in the way a young team sometimes does.

The Cure ~ Lullaby
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSRKhfolyd0


* The Mayan Calendar is widely misunderstood, btw. See, e.g.:

Mayan 2012 Predictions: Apocalypse or a Game of Telephone?
By Rick Kearns December 31, 2011
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/12/31/mayan-2012-predictions-apocalypse-or-a-game-of-telephone-70191

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's passing record but can Tom Brady set the new mark in Week 17?
By Ben Larsen, MassLive.com
http://www.masslive.com/patriots/index.ssf/2011/12/drew_brees_broke_dan_marinos_p.html


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Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
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