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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 3, 2012 11:51 PM. The previous post in this blog was Feds turning up heat under Portland cop violence. The next post in this blog is It's Rosenblum vs. Holton for Oregon attorney general. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Oh, the 'dogs dwindle down to a precious few

There are only four games to choose from in our charity pro football underdog game this weekend. The first of these kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday. All picks are due by then!

Here are the lines. Despite the paucity of games, there are still a couple of fairly hefty pooches available, including one home 'dog:

11 DETROIT at New Orleans
8.5 DENVER vs. Pittsburgh
3 ATLANTA at New York Giants
3 CINCINNATI at Houston

Good luck with the prognostication, players.

Repeat: All picks are due by 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday!

Comments (10)

I can't believe the spread is only 8.5 points for the Denver game with Pittsburgh. Tim Tebow is going to need a lot of help from dog spelled backwards to stay that close.

Bill,
I hear that Tim has Dyslexia, so he is in good shape.

Ha! Well, they don't call it the Mile HIGH City for nothing.

But, seriously, the spread is only 8.5 because the Steelers come in without their #1 RB, and a number of injuries on the OL, and with their QB still recovering from a high ankle sprain. Denver's defense will give Pittsburgh's sputtering high octane offense a tough fight. Pittsburgh has a poor record in playoff games in Denver, btw, and will probably be missing a key player and punishing tackler, S Ryan Clark, due to his sickle cell disease and near-fatal last game there that cost him a couple of internal organs. The Broncos could cover the spread, but beating the powerful and playoff-experienced Steelers is too much to expect. But then, that's why it would be such an upset. I like Cinci this week.

I'm aware of all these problems, but Tim Tebow has to face some great and violent Steelers defensive players. And that's after 3 points against Kansas City.

But I'm not saying the outcome is a lock. I gave up on locks after New Orleans lost a playoff game to the Seahawks a year ago this week.

Frankly, I'll be pulling for Denver to win, but it's tough fitting a halo into a football helmet.

I would have finished in the top five last year if it wasn't for that frickin Saints loss.I gave up on "locks" after that game also....

Alas, Denver's already losing to Pittsburgh, and it's only Wednesday:

Coach Fox Appeals To Fans To Not Sell Tickets To Steelers Fans
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/01/03/coach-fox-appeals-to-fans-to-not-sell-tickets-to-steelers-fans/

Thanks, Bill. You reminded me of this fun piece:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxE9MriSy4I

"Mojo's Best Bet" & "Upset Special" should be up before midnight. Fie, fie, fo, fum....

"Mojo's Best Bets"
The Wild Bunch Edition

"Best Bet"
(Last week: 2-0; overall: 15-20)

CINCINNATI (+3) at Houston -- QB Andy Dalton, a surprise rookie star in the NFL this year, is the only first-year quarterback not drafted in the first round to start all 16 games of the regular season and lead his team into the playoffs. In last month's close 20-19 loss to the Texans, he was 16-of-28 for 189 yards and a TD. This week stacks up as a classic "revenge game" for the Bengals. Who Dey!

This is the Texans' first playoff game in team history. Houston will be entering the game starting their 5th-round draft choice, 3rd string rookie QB, T.J. Yates, after rising star QB Matt Shaub went down with a season-ending injury in November, followed onto the IR list shortly thereafter by his backup, Matt Lienhart. Though Yates has performed admirably, even winning a game on a last play TD pass, the Texans' strengths are their running attack, with the 1-2 punch of the great Arian Foster and the impressive Ben Tate, combined with an intense, overachieving defense, ranked #2 overall in the NFL.

This game features a marquee matchup of WRs: Houston's Andre Johnson and Cincinnati's A.J. Green. Green, 23, is a younger version of the 30-year-old All-Pro, Johnson. The Bengals have a clear edge at QB, so if Dalton & Green get into a groove, which they have at times this season, they could break the game wide open in minutes.

But, just like the last time these teams met a few weeks ago, it will be a tough defensive contest, with the Bengals' #7 ranked defense -- #10 against the run, #9 passing -- having the edge the second time around against the Texans' #13 ranked offense (#18 in passing), especially if they can control the Texans' running game and make key stops at key moments. I believe that they will.

This game will probably be decided by a field goal or a turnover or special teams splash play, such as a kick return or blocked punt.

Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis is a class act and gentleman of the first order and after many years of hardships, bad breaks, and too many knuckleheaded, petulant, jackass players like Pacman Jones, Carson Palmer, and Terrell Owens -- just to name a few -- Marvin Lewis deserves to win this game and advance with a team that is very good and responding superbly to the craftsmanship of Lewis and his coaching staff.

A good guy to root for!

"Upset Special"
(Last week: 0-1; overall: 3-16 -- and it doesn't get any easier, kids!)

ATLANTA (+3) at New York Giants -- Although the spread here is only +3, which isn't a typical "Upset Special," this one is because: 1) this is the playoffs where upsets are much rarer; 2) the Giants are at home; and 3) the bettors' edge is against the Falcons and favors the Giants because of the comparisons between their last 2 games of the regular season (NY finished strong, and the Falcons had an embarrassingly bad loss on Monday Night Football to the Saints 2 weeks ago).

But, the Falcons are determined to win this playoff game, having lost in the previous two attempts over the past 3 years. Atlanta's QB Matt Ryan is a clutch performer who's career kind of mirrors Giants' QB Eli Manning, who lost his first two playoff games before leading NY to that upset of the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Consider also The Duck Factor: Ryan was mentored for the previous 3 seasons by Bill Musgrave --

Ryan credits much of his success, which includes three consecutive winning seasons, two trips to the playoffs, tying the great Dan Marino for most victories in his first three seasons and a trip to the Pro Bowl, to Musgrave, who left after last season to become the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. -- from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 25, 2011 ("Musgrave, Ryan will be on opposite sidelines Sunday" by D. Orlando Ledbetter)

The Falcons have an excellent RB in Michael Turner, and playmakers at the WR position. The Falcons defense has its vulnerabilities, as Drew Brees exploited 2 weeks ago, but in the NFL teams make the adjustments necessary to resolve them. With the strong pass rushing and run stopping that Falcons' star DE John Abraham provides and inspires in his fellow linemen, the Giants' cobbled OL will be stressed in trying to protect Manning from the crush and also trying to manage any consistency in their terribly inconsistent and inadequate running game.

Atlanta's DBs will be up to the challenge of covering the Giants WRs, with a key matchup coming when NY goes to 3 wideouts, where Falcons' nickel-back, CB Dominique Franks, will be covering emergent new star WR, Victor Cruz. You can be sure that the Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will have prepared his crew for Cruz control.

The Giants' pass defense ranks near the bottom in the NFL at #29 out of 32, and will probably prove to be their undoing in this game. Atlanta's secret weapon and Giant-killer: Future NFL Hall of Fame TE, Tony Gonzalez.

LaVern Baker ~ Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVjDmWpy_gc

"Gamblers Corner"

DENVER (+8.5) vs. Pittsburgh -- While Denver might cover the spread with their sensational running QB Tim Tebow, there's only a remote chance that they'll beat the Steelers outright, and a better chance that Pittsburgh will jump out to a big lead with passes to WRs Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown before halftime. Add to that the dedication to this game that the Steelers RBs & OL will have for their beloved running backs coach,

The Steelers are leaving today for Sunday's first-round playoff game in Denver without their ever-present running backs coach Kirby Wilson, who was hospitalized with severe burns he suffered when fire swept through his Seven Fields townhouse early Friday.

Mr. Wilson, 50, had burns on 30 percent to 50 percent of his body, injuries that are serious but not life-threatening, a team source said. He was flown to UPMC Mercy, where the source said he was in a medically induced coma to shield him from the pain.

From: "Burn injuries to coach upsetting to Steelers," Saturday, January 07, 2012 ~ By Sadie Gurman and Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Just look back to last week's game against the Chiefs defense when Denver scored only 3 points. Against the Steelers powerful and dynamic defense -- #1 in the NFL once again under defensive coordinator and NFL Hall of Famer (and 1958 Rose Bowl Duck-killer) Dick LaBeau -- it's not a good matchup for this young Broncos team. They would need at least 3 Tebows & a Forrest Gump to win this one straight-up.

I say pass on this one, but if you're one of those crazed Tebow fans, you won't understand what that means.


DETROIT (+11) at New Orleans -- High rollers and almost-down-and-outers will go for this game on the hope of picking up a big eleven. But, it's more likely to be craps again.

This could be either the most spectacularly exciting game of the weekend, or the biggest playoff blowout in years. While the Lions are a team that makes splash plays all over the field, they are notoriously chronic slow-starters -- as they showed in many games this year -- and that would be absolutely fatal in a game against the super-explosive Saints and their Big Chief of a QB, Drew Brees.

At least the Lions can enjoy playing in a game with the flashiest teams' uniforms of the whole weekend, with their silver & blue and the Saints' gold & black making for a nice kaleidoscopic effect with all 22 guys running around and crashing into each other when ball's in play. Goo goo g'joob! But by the end of the game, in Detroit many faces will have grown long.

Lavern Baker and Jackie Wilson ~ Think Twice
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itEacFUuZ38

P.S.: Atlanta also has The Beaver Factor in rookie RB Jacquizz Rodgers -- http://www.nfl.com/player/jacquizzrodgers/2495471/profile

And there's a Duck on the Giants' roster, undrafted rookie LB Spencer Paysinger.


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