There are three games left in the NFL season, which is majorly depressing, especially now that we know the #Budluminati controls their outcomes. What do you say we numb that soul-crushing reality by picking those football games, everyone? Great. Away we go.
A quick note before we get started. I currently sit at two games above .500. This means that I need just one win of the final three games to ensure an above .500 inaugural campaign. While just finishing above .500 isn't enough to turn a profit, nobody looking to turn a profit would ever bet on every game in the same way that I picked every game since I started this experiment in Week 8. In other words, I'm pretty psyched to even be close to .500.
BRONCOS (-5) over Patriots
New England comes into this game having blown out the Colts last week, while Denver nearly blew a 17 point lead in their win over San Diego. While the Patriots looked more impressive last week, let's not let that distort things when looking at this game.
First of all, Tom Brady threw zero touchdowns last week. Patriots fans have responded to this by saying something along the lines of "he didn't have to," but he's going to have to against the Broncos, who presumably won't let LaGarrette Blount rush for four touchdowns. But will he be able to do that against a Broncos defense who did a solid job against Philip Rivers and a strong Chargers offense?
Meanwhile, you know what you're going to get from the Broncos on offense. Peyton Manning is going to throw the ball a lot, his receivers are dynamic and can beat you both short and long, and their rushing game is serviceable enough to fill in the gaps when called upon.
The weather, fortunately, won't play a factor in this game, by the way. I say that it's fortunate because we are all being spared hours of narrative about how Peyton Manning can or can't play football proficiently in cold weather or something stupid like that. When the game is over tomorrow, the Patriots will wish it was colder, and that they could travel back in time to a decade ago, the last time they won a Super Bowl.
49ers (+3.5) over SEAHAWKS
I know, CenturyLink Field is going to be as loud as a jet engine, a monster truck rally, or one of Jason Whitlock's farts or something. Sharp money is also on the Seahawks, after the line moved a half point from the original three point spread, despite nearly two thirds of bettors being on the Niners. It doesn't matter, because it never matters when it comes to the 49ers.
First of all, it's worth noting that Russell Wilson only completed half of his passes against the Saints, for a lame 5.72 yards per pass attempt. Only two players who have attempted a pass this postseason have a lower average than that: Niners wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Niners punter Andy Lee, both of whom are 0/1 passing in the playoffs.
It's not much of a stretch to say that San Francisco's defense is vastly better than the Saints' D. Whether Seattle has had success at home against the Niners or not in the past, it's hard to ignore that the Niners are in form defensively, while Seattle is not on on offense.
All of this ignores the most glaring discrepancy between these two teams, and that's the difference in coaching talent between Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll. It is entirely possible that Carroll will do something to screw up his team's chances to win. Harbaugh, on the other hand, is absolutely brilliant. At worst, he'll help keep this thing close.
Last Week: 1-2-1