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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grandma got run over by an underdog (updated)

I had a wonderful weekend in the pro football underdog pool in which I play. Aided and abetted by comments from several alert readers, I had a big winner on Sunday with Buffalo over Denver. The two people ahead of me in the pool both went wrong -- one with the Panthers and the other with the Rams -- and so now I am back in serious contention for the top money prize in the season-long pool. I am just 1 point out of second place, and a mere 3½ points from the top spot. The nearest player behind me is now 20½ points back, and so my main focus is getting ahead, not avoiding falling behind.

The oddsmakers were a little sluggish, but at this hour we now have all the games rated. See any underdogs (in caps) that can win their games outright? The point spreads are relevant only in that that's how many points I'll rack up if I pick correctly:

15 ST. LOUIS at Atlanta
13 OAKLAND at Tampa Bay
12.5 JACKSONVILLE at Baltimore
10.5 CLEVELAND at Pittsburgh
9.5 DETROIT at Green Bay
8.5 DENVER at San Diego
6.5 BUFFALO vs. New England
6.5 NY GIANTS at Minnesota
6 SEATTLE at Arizona
3 KANSAS CITY at Cincinnati
3 INDIANAPOLIS vs. Tennessee
3 NEW ORLEANS vs. Carolina
3 WASHINGTON at San Francisco
2.5 MIAMI at NY Jets
2.5 CHICAGO at Houston
1 DALLAS at Philadelphia

All this week's games are on Sunday, so there's no question about putting in for an early 'dog.

The pool continues through the playoffs, but this is the last weekend of a full slate of games, where big point spreads are seen and pool players go in all directions. It's the last chance for anyone to make a big move -- not that trying to do so is necessarily a good thing at this point.

Readers, you have been a great help with this all season long. Push me across the goal line so that I take the top prize! Whom do you like this week?

Comments (24)

I'd say Miami but that's not enough points to really make a move. Maybe the Seahawks will upend a resting Arizona?

The whole resting thing makes for an interesting dynamic in the last week.

I don't think the Jets will lose at home, mostly because they'll never get off the field alive if they do. Jets fans are nuts, and I don't mean that in a good way.

New England.
49ers (seriously.)

Crenell in Cleveland??? How do you view him, they have not scored an offensive touchdown in over a month, but he wants his job and Pittsburgh may be resting players according to network. If the players want him back, they may try really hard.

Seattle - Holmgren's last home game, Arizona is in, they are playing for ????

I guess I would put faith in Shanahan over Norv Turner. and go with Denver.

Denver, Seattle, Cleveland (???? they also lost last year at Cincinatti when they needed to win for the playoffs and they don't need that this year - so I call it off...) DENVER, SEATTLE, REDSKINS - I like Zorn's attitude.

Holmgren's last home game

That was last weekend, against the Jets.

I realize the Giants have clinched the NFC and may be resting people, but how can the Vikings be giving them 6 1/2 points? That's showing a lot more faith in Tavaris *&@!$#% Jackson than I think is warranted.

Speaking of the Jets, aren't they collapsing? They've lost 3 out of 4 and Buffalo had to work hard to lose their game with them.
As much as I'd like to see Brett Favre get this done, I also sense Pennington - the man he chased out of town - could have football justice on his side.
I don't think the Giants will try coasting. Wow, the Vikings have let some great opportunities go by the wayside late.
My ridiculous long-shot pick is Oakland to beat Tampa Bay, but that's only because the Eagles need that to happen, and I'm an Eagles fan.

The last thing the Jets needed last week was a West Coast trip. Favre has lost more than a step from his heyday. But I think he's got one more win in him -- at least an ugly one.

The G-Men will be trying to prove to themselves and to the world that they've got Pistolgate behind them now. Hard to see them as 6.5-point 'dogs, even in a pretty meaningless game in a dome.

Denver and Buffalo still both look intriguing, at least on Tuesday.

J'ville, go for broke.

Oakland won last week, beating a Houston team that had been hot. Tampa Bay played itself out of the playoffs against San Diego last week.

I might be tempted to play Oakland.

I thought Tampa Bay was still alive.

After a dispiriting 41-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay, once 9-3 and now 9-6 with one to play, needs a victory next Sunday over Oakland and help from the other NFC contenders to earn a spot.

I think they're in if they win and Dallas loses to Philly later in the day.


You can always count on the Vikings to fade late in the season.

I've heard the Giants credit their approach to the final regular season game last year against New England as the springboard that got them to the Super Bowl. They played really hard, even though it was meaningless in the standings. Honoring the football gods put them in the right noble frame of mind to beat the Patriots in one of the great Super Bowls ever.
Translation: They're not going to rest against the Vikings, especially with a week off to get rusty the following week. The Vikings are in trouble and AP can't hold onto the football right now.

Denver. BTW, what's our share?

Denver is tempting but the NFC west is on the line and the loser is eliminated. The Chargers lost to Denver on a fluke earlier in the season but I would not bet against the Chargers at home with this much on the line. (Should be a fun one to watch) The Seahawks seem the most intriguing. This is a game against #1 in their conf. They will be fired up to win for Holmgren and respect.
Arizona has clinched and if Seattle brings some intense (smash mouth) play, do you think the Cardinals will keep their starters in for a meaningless victory?

Fun fact: Last week, nine 'dogs won and only seven lost.

The Giants. They are out-of-sync and need to get it together before the playoffs, so expect them to bring it. Plus, Min is a choke.

clarification (I communicate my thoughts terribly)

With the strength of Seattle's play in Holmgren's last home game and the fact that Arizona is playing for nothing (I believe), plus the fact that Arizona is choking lately -- I would pick Seattle.

Instead of Washington, though. The Giants, I remember their "loss" to New England last year and boom... They were superbowl champs. They are missing a few, but they were so good and just went for it. Seattle, Denver, and NYGiants

The toughest choice for you is whether to go for first or second place. There are plenty of good bets at 3 points or less, but everything north of that is a long shot.

Of the longershots, I like Buffalo at home against NE. They'll get to reach .500 on the season and knock a division rival out of the playoffs. Whereas the Pats aren't even guaranteed a playoff spot if they do win.

Kansas City.

I'd just like it noted - i called the Oakland/Denver game.

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