I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and the football served up. Well done to those of you who managed to catch the Bears/Packers game live on the 25th…I had to rely on NFL Game Pass the next day and it’s been a time of having to catch up whenever I can.
However, the best news I received over the holidays was when my girlfriend presented me with a trip to Seattle in February. Yes, my beloved Seattle!
It’s a joint Christmas/Birthday present as I hit the landmark age of 40 on January 13th and, having never been before, how quick do you imagine I want it to come around so that I can walk around CenturyLink Field? Not to mention being surrounded by fellow ‘Hawks for a week.
So, for making my year, I dedicate this post to Sarah Newman and here’s to jet lag that leaves me sleepless in…you get the picture!
Like last week, I’m away this week too and having to use any means necessary to access technology in order to bring this to you and it will be, much to my chagrin, an abridged version of what I normally like to write so I hope it reads well and brings us a little success as 2012 opens.
NEW YEAR’S PLAY
WASHINGTON at PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles are hot, well, they’ve been hot, but that was then they still possessed a feasible chance of making the playoffs. Now that they’re officially out, will their almost season long lack of chemistry surface all over again? It’s not to be discounted. Looking at the spread quickly though (Eagles -8.5), how can we doubt that Philly won’t cover? This is tricky and I liked going against the ‘Skins last week when I also said not to be surprised should MInnesota pull the upset in Washington, which they duly did. Over the last three games, the Eagles haven’t just covered the spread, they’ve pretty much smashed it and I like them to cover for the fourth week running to close out the season.
SAN FRANCISCO at ST. LOUIS – The 49ers can’t afford to lose if they want to retain the number two seed in the NFC. Should they slip up here (which, let’s face it, really shouldn’t happen), they’ll have to hope that Cam Newton has a bumper day in New Orleans to help thwart the Saints. Vegas is asking San Fran to give up 10.5 points here, which appears skinny for what will be a highly motivated team against a very poor one. I’m often tempted to back a home team when given a double digit start, but the gulf in class between these two is vast and I can’t advocate putting any hard earned on the Rams. It’s San Fran for me and a winning margin of fourteen.
CHICAGO at MINNESOTA – Here’s a frightening thing for Vikings fans: Adrian Peterson’s injury (ACL & MCL??? Wow) could see him miss the start of next season. That’s a horrible thing and depriving us of seeing him at full pelt (ever again?) is equally horrible. I wish him a full recovery as he’s a true star in this league. Minnesota are favoured by one point here and despite their bad news this week, I actually like them to cover the spread.
DETROIT at GREEN BAY – You can bet on the Packers +3.5 this week at home to the Lions. What’s going on and how can this be? One word of advice here: leave this game well alone. Both teams will rest starters so it’s almost impossible to call. However, if the Pack with points at home is too much to resist for you then get on, but this one is like betting on two rain drops on a window.
CAROLINA at NEW ORLEANS – The Saints know that the 49ers will find it hard to lose in St. Louis so they’re pretty much resigned to holding the number three seed in the NFC. However, that does guarantee them a home game on wildcard weekend, which is something at least, especially when you consider their wildcard shocker in Seattle last year. That aforementioned feeling of resignation makes me like Cam’s Panthers +8.
TENNESSEE at HOUSTON – The Titans are favoured by three points here, purely because the Texans can’t do anything but remain as the number three seed in the AFC, no matter what happens on Sunday, either here or elsewhere. However, we’re only two weeks removed from Colts 27-13 Titans so I’m not enamoured at having to ask Tennessee to win by four on the road. That said, Houston’s on a poor run itself heading into the playoffs so, much like the Lions/Packers contest, leave this one well alone.
INDIANAPOLIS at JACKSONVILLE – What may be a little known fact is that the Colts are covering the spread left, right and centre at the moment and we can have them here plus four points against a poor Jaguars team? I don’t see why that shouldn’t be snapped up.
NY JETS at MIAMI – As you may be aware, I’ve been a huge fan of the Dolphins over the second half of the season so I love the fact that all we need to ask them to do this week in order to cover the spread is win by a field goal. The line opened at Miami -1 so to anybody who managed to snare such value, I doff my cap to you. The Jets have been horrible over the past two weeks in losses to the Eagles and Giants and I don’t see any reason why that would suddenly change this week. The Fish -2.5 looks good with or without salt and vinegar.
BUFFALO at NEW ENGLAND – The Bills +10.5 looks attractive when you consider how the Patriots struggled in the first half at home to Miami last week. In addition, Buffalo’s coming off a 40 point outing against the Broncos so I’m sorely tempted by the points on offer. However, betting against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady can prove foolhardy so I would urge caution if you’re tempted to do so. The cold weather in Foxborough shouldn’t really affect any team from Buffalo, which does push me further towards the Bills, but I believe this spread to be spot on so it’s one I’m looking not to be a part of. Still, I’m going to take a punt regardless so it’s a few pennies on the travelling Bills.