Emily DiDonato Picks Winners…

...With Her Eyes Closed.

…With Her Eyes Closed.

This is the last real football Sunday of the year.  The Super Bowl is more of an event.  There are parties, unless you are lucky you don’t have a real rooting interest and there’s no guarantee the game will be any good.  So, if you like settling in and watching football all day, this Sunday is your last chance for long time.  We certainly lost some glamour last weekend.  Green Bay and Peyton Manning were dismissed.  It left us with some less than desirable Super Bowl Matchups.  My choices, in increasing order of preference:

4.  Atlanta vs. Baltimore.  I’m not sure what the story line would be here aside from Ray Lewis.  Also, Atlanta is a total embarrassment as a professional sports town, so you never like to see that rewarded.  I honestly can’t think of another sentence to write about this game.  Predicted Line:  Atlanta (-1.5)

3.  Atlanta vs. New England.  This would be the sixth Super Bowl of the Brady/Belichick era and the Pats’ seventh total in what, 17 years?  That’s pretty incredible.  This game would be all about legacy.  Belichick’s place among the all-time great coaches and Brady’s among the QBs.  Of course, if the Pats lost, I’d be very interested to see the reaction in New England.  It’d be three straight Super Bowl losses for the one-time dynasty.  Predicted Line: New England (-4.5)

2. Baltimore vs. San Francisco.  The Harbaugh Bowl.  It actually might be the best matchup, but two weeks of Harbaugh coverage terrifies me.  I think we’ve just scratched the surface on how much of an abrasive weirdo Jim Harbaugh can be.  Two defenses with good reputations that haven’t stopped anyone and Joe Flacco with the chance to prove everyone wrong and win a Super Bowl.  Can we live in a world with Flacco as a Super Bowl Champion?  Predicted Line: Pick ‘Em.

1. New England vs. San Francisco.  At first glance, it’s an easy choice, but then you remember that New England blew out San Fran in the regular season.  We’ve been spoiled with some good Super Bowls lately, and I’m afraid that even though Kaepernick is exciting and Brady is the best QB still in the field–this could be a blowout.  Predicted Line: New England (-7.5)

On to the Picks…Just a note, when I sent the line out for the Baltimore/NE game it must have been peaking at that moment.  Since, it’s been dropping daily and has now bottomed out at NE (-7.5).  But, we always stick with the original spread for the picks.

Nichols, 3-5 Playoff Record:

  1. Atlanta (+4) over San Francisco
  2. Baltimore (+10) over New England

DC, 4-4 Playoff Record:

  1.  Atlana (+4) over San Francisco
  2. Baltimore (+10) over New England

***

Big Dub, 3-5 Playoff Record:

Atlanta (+4) over San Francisco.  This falls into two categories that I love. 1. Grossy’s stystem of a team playing its biggest game in franchise history at home and getting points. This game isn’t bigger than their Super Bowl, but it is by far the biggest game they’ve ever played at home and they are getting points against a rookie QB. 2. This goes against the public is all over the 49ers in a disgusting way.

New England (-10) over Baltimore.  I still can’t believe Pey-Pey didn’t carve this defense up. Brady is playing with revenge at home with the chance to go to the Super Bowl. We’ve all seen how this ends for Flacco. He’s the white McNabb.

***

Kraft, 6-2 Playoff Record:

San Francisco (-4) over Atlanta.  The dirty birds have struggled mightily vs QBs who can run. That does not bode well for Sunday. I heard a stat that for the year they give up 9 yds per run vs QBs. Harbaugh will have the answers for Matt Ryan. SF by a touchdown.

New England (-10) over Baltimore.  I’ve gone back and forth on this one. But, Baltimore’s D has to be spent, which doesn’t bode well vs the NE hurry up. I think they run out of steam and there are no more Flacco miracles left.  Sorry Harbaugh family, no reunion in NO.

***

Grossy, 7-1 Playoff Record: 

San Francisco (-4) over Atlanta.  When this line came out on this one my initial thought was SF in a romp.  Road teams usually aren’t favored in Conference Title games and especially by more than a field goal.  Then as the week went on I encountered two opposing forces.  First, my gut was wrong twice last week.  I initially had Green Bay and Denver.  And, everyone was suddenly in love with SF.  They’re the new Seattle.  But, Seattle did cover last week.  So, for me it comes down to how bad Atlanta looked in that 4th quarter.  I don’t think San Fran spots them 20-points.  Michael Turner’s renaissance ends and San Francisco wins nice and comfortable.

Baltimore (+10) over New England.  During the current era, there’s been exactly one blowout in this matchup and that was Baltimore’s blowout win in the 2010 playoffs.  They’ve played twice in the last 12 months, split the games and the combined score is New England 53, Baltimore 51.  Baltimore showed they can score some points last week and would have beaten Denver comfortably if they could cover a kick.  I think the Patriots will win this game, but not by more than a TD.

 

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5 thoughts on “Emily DiDonato Picks Winners…

  1. I guess we know why Vic Fangio isn’t a head coach candidate. Falcons can’t run the ball at all and they’re still getting picked apart through the air. Good defense in the NFL is a myth.

  2. That was a strange game. NE really left a lot of points on the board early and then after that big Welker drop on 3rd down the momentum shifted for good.

    I was really hoping a stud QB would win the Bowl this year, so it’d be 10 straight with no Dilfers or Johnsons, but I guess we were due for one. Unless Kaepernick wins and turns into a real stud. Not holding my breath on that one, though. And, Flacco is the only guy who can be totally be locked in and still go 21/36.

  3. Ravens/Pats was an odd game- I couldn’t understand how NE only mustered 13 pts. Watching that game, the Ravens were definitely not swarming Brady with an unrelenting pass rush, they didn’t seem to blanket the WRs, they really didn’t seem to force NE to do anything, yet you look at the scoreboard and 13 pts? Obviously the difference was red zone performance, but there didn’t seem to be anything you can point to. Welker had a couple huge drops (Tom can’t throw it AND catch it!) and they just didn’t make plays when they had to.
    SF was definitely the better team yesterday, if Crabtree doesn’t fumble on the 1 inch line that’s a nice cover. Thomas Decoud had a memorable ‘suck it’ on the 1st drive as well.

  4. It was a strange game. The Pats left a ton of points out there in the early going. They were really in control. I was impressed with how well their defense was playing, considering how maligned they can be at times.

    I wonder exactly how much Gronk being out hurts them in the Red Zone. They usually score on drives with a bunch of plays and usually score from in close. That’s really Gronk’s territory, and having him out there opens things up for the other guys. Seems like they got bogged down a few times down there and the drops were huge.

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