Green Bay Packers VS. Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl 45 Free Pick: It is tough to go away from the Steelers as an underdog in the Super Bowl, so tough I don’t think I can do it. At first I thought the Steelers were obviously the best value on the board, getting points in a Super Bowl – being as good as they are, there was no other way to go. Then I thought about it and realized, by making them the dogs, Vegas was begging people to bet on Pittsburgh, meaning they obviously think Green Bay is going to win this one.
But I’m not real in to going with Vegas just because, and there’s something to be said for having been there and done that. The Steelers have, and the Packers haven’t. Aaron Rodgers is a stud, and it looks like a good match-up for him against the Pittsburgh corners, but I still have to go with the Steelers here – if anything, they rarely get the wrong end of the refs. Also, Big Ben has not only plodded through to Super Bowl victories, he’s led last minute comebacks and even thrown a touchdown late in the game to get a ring and hold the trophy. He keeps plays alive, and that’s big with a press/blitzing team like Green Bay across the line of scrimmage.
These teams are very-very similar. The Packers score 25.2 points per game and give up 15.3. The Steelers score 23.9 and give up 15.3 – the Packers are 13-6, the Steelers are 14-4. Both teams have 12 wins against the spread – both teams are good at home, but Pittsburgh was 7-1 on the road this season – while the Packers are 6-5 counting 3 playoff wins on the road. So they were 3-5 away from Green Bay during the regular season.
Both teams beat some great teams on their way to the Super Bowl, but this is the NFL, that always happens. Green Bay took out Philadelphia, #1 seed Atlanta, and possibly the best defense in the NFC, Chicago. The Steelers outlasted the Ravens and Jets, two of the most physical teams in football.
The Packers have been playing “playoff football” since Week 16 when they had to beat the Giants to stay alive in the playoff race. Then Chicago in Week 17 was the same thing. And of course the three playoff rounds that got them to the Super Bowl – they’ve played 5 must-win games in a row, and they’ve won them, obviously. And while that’s impressive, there has to be a breaking point somewhere.
These teams are very-very even – in my opinion, and I see no chance of a blowout. In a close one, I’ll take the points, the experience, and the quarterback that’s led a game winning drive to take home the trophy.
I didn’t dominate in Week 1, that’s for sure, the dogs didn’t have enough bite to make me a winner but I snagged two underdogs from the pound while three got away from me. I still have game, a master plan, and if I can get my mind around that damned Cruella Deville I’ll find all the dogs!!! Okay, so that’s a little overboard, but I’m borderline too old to be thinking of witty stuff, so give me a break. The Ravens and Texans pulled off my two upsets in Week 1, while the Panthers, Eagles, and Raiders fell short. I could argue that the Eagles didn’t stand a chance when their starting QB went down with a concussion, but that’d be a lie, Mike Vick instantly made that team better. Here’s what I see in Week 2 sports betting action. PS – I titled this article, “Underdog Growlers” – this is great!
Week 2 Free Picks
Pittsburgh Steelers (+5) @ Tennessee Titans: I guess I don’t get it. I’d say this one is at least 50-50 as to who should win, and one team is getting five points – shoot, sounds like a good deal, I’ll wheel, I’ll deal, hell, I’ll just take it. The Steelers can win without Ben – shoot, “Win without Ben in 2010″ sounds like a hell of a slogan, I should get paid for this crap!
Buffalo Bills (+13.5) @ Green Bay Packers: Yeah, yeah, yeah- the Packers are awesome, they’re going to a Super Bowl, don’t worry about their stud RB out for the season, their back up will be even better… blah, blah, blah. The Packers have always thrown too much and not run enough, they play one of the best young secondaries in the league – I say this is a match made in heaven for the Bills at +13.5, seems like an easy low-scoring cover to me. I wish I had real steel huevos, I’d take the Bills +450
Miami Dolphins (+6) @ Minnesota Vikings: Hey, they stop the run really well, they can run against anyone, and the Brett Favre show is still in park. I like 6 points in another low-scoring affair – that Dolphins defense is better than we all think. I mean, better than you think – what I think is what is right. Trout!!!
Chicago Bears (+8.5) @ Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys haven’t clicked offensively yet this year, and that includes in the pre-season. Their offensive line is struggling, and while I don’t trust Mike Martz with baby powder, I do think the Bears defense is good enough to limit the Cowboys’ scoring chances. 14-17 points won’t cover this game for Dallas.
San Francisco 49ers (+5.5) @ HOME vs. New Orleans Saints: Hey, I’m not ready to give up on the 49ers just yet. Last year, they played their toughest games against the toughest opponents, and I think they have a real good shot to upset Drew Brees and the Saints in San Fran this week. After last week, they will come out firing on all cylinders.
Okay, I just wanted to point some things out…
1. It’s not always good for your X-Rays to be negative: That’s right – for example, Daunte Culpepper and JaMarcus Russell were two guys that should have been praying for their X-Rays to come back positive and bussed to the IR. Both of those guys are on teams that make life even more dangerous for them than normal NFL players. Some others that weren’t so lucky and might play again this year, Kellen Winslow, Jerome Harrison, and Steven Jackson has likely been hoping for weeks that one of his multiple ailments would find him a safe warm spot on the IR – no luck SteJack – but you do get the Seagulls later this week. Good luck!
2. The Seahawks receivers have started to get healthier, but only because the baton has been passed to the running backs in Denver. Tatum Bell – yes, that Tatum Bell – will be the starting and basically only running back this coming week when the Broncos do work against the Carolina Panthers in Carolina. It should be interesting, but then again, who in their right mind thought Peyton Hillis would be the guy rushing for 100 yards in Denver? Remember, he started at FB and LB earlier this season. Now that’s a man.
3. The Cardinals clinched the NFC East – by default. Yep.
4. I lost a fantasy playoff game this week by 6 points. Tony Romo started for me and threw 3 interceptions. My opponent had Pittsburgh’s defense. Thanks for all the memories Tony.
5. Brett Favre had 137 passing yards against the 49ers, and that sucked – however, it was the Jets playcalling that really got me down. As Thomas Jones rushed for a 17 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter, I began to think the Man-Idiot had figured it out. “We win if Thomas gets the rock.” I sweat it makes perfect sense. But at the end of the day, a team with two capable running backs (TJ and Leon Washington) decided to run the ball 12 times. 10 carries to TJ, 1 to Leon, and 1 to Brett – good idea. How’d that work out Man-Idiot? How do these guys keep jobs?
6. Shaun Hill had 285 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Jets – but how was that possible? I know – the 49ers ran the ball 33 times – and the Jets had to commit to stopping that. Take a damn not Mangina…
7. Tim Hightower had 12 carries for 32 yards and a score. The answer to the Cards running back questions? I’m thinking no, not this season anyway. He was touted as the next great rookie after just breaking 100 yards against the Rams last time the Cards spanked St. Louis – but how have his numbers looked since then? Told you.
8. Losing isn’t always a bad thing. Take the Hawks for example, that 21-13 lead they had going into the 4th quarter was a fat lie. Sure, the teams want to win, but fans – you should be rooting for them to compete until the end and then blow it. Do you want Michael Crabtree or do you want the Raiders to sign him? For Crab, and for the Hawks – the answer is “lose the rest of your games please!” – I feel for any guy that goes to Jail in Oakland.
9. I said last week that you shouldn’t pay much attention to Joseph Addai going up against a bad run defense that doesn’t tackle well. I hope you listened – 10 rushes for 26 yards. If you started him anyway, please tell me how the outcome of your first fantasy playoff game went.
10. The Ravens remind me a lot of the Steelers in Big Ben’s first season. They might not be 13-3, hell, they might not even make the playoffs – but this is a good defense and a young quarterback and a running game that might not be flashy, but gets the job done. I just think they might have a tough time if they do get into the playoffs. We’ll see.
Here you go folks, a couple bright emails sent in from readers and answered by me… Just like that.
David from the Midwest writes, “I need to pick up some receivers but I can’t seem to grasp which one or two I should grab. How would you rank the following Galloway, Bryant, Avery, Morgan, and Walker. Give reasons for how you ranked them. I like Galloway,but Gruden has said Bryant will continue to start. Avery, Walker, and Morgan intrigue me. Let me know.”
Boy, Avery, Morgan, and Walker all kind of interest me too – and for much different reasons. Morgan probably is the biggest sure thing for numbers as he’s supposed to continue his starting ways for the season and Martz seems to love him and you know Mikey is going to throw the rock – but Galloway and Bryant are both good receivers that have proven legit options over the time of their careers. Tough call really. I would rank them like this… Galloway, Morgan, Bryant, Avery, Walker – but they are all very close in this ranking. The space that seperates 1-5 isn’t all that much. Galloway is old and has been injured a lot, plus there’s a chance he doesn’t even start when he gets back (which I think is crazy) – still, he’s shown his upside, and he’s one fast receiver even as old as he is. Morgan is very young and has just one decent game in his career, but I like him. Bryant was certainly a nice PPR option a few times, he was a top pick, but also a guy that’s warn out his welcome numerous times – but he has been the most productive this season. Then you have Walker – shooit, all the talent in the world but he’s been a head case has a tough team to play receiver for, and he faces Baltimore this week. Avery is lightning and has been getting open a few times a game, and Dallas hasn’t shown anything. Maybe I’d drop Galloway down, but it’s hard because he’s so proven. Tough call man – good luck in your choice.
Red Red Ryan writes, “Okay, I’ve paid my homage to the powers that be. I found an old set of Ninja Turtles and have them all looking up to a Mike Shannahan coaching football card. Warren Moon got a fan-mail from me recently, responded with a “thank you, this and that, this and that” and as for Shannon Sharp, I stopped by a farm recently and fed some horses grass. That should do it eh? That being said, who should I start this week? Brandon Jacobs or DeAngelo Williams? Oh, wait, Addai’s out, I’ll start them both… Ouch. Okay, who would you start at QB? Big Ben or Jake Delhomey? Thanks for the advice, I’ll need the good ju-ju this week.
Red Red Ryan – you probably still need to dye your hair, but you’ve done well young student. I’m going to keep this short, because I don’t think I can compete with your actual question/statement. You are quite the fantasy enthusiast, and while Big Ben will have to throw against the Giants, so will Jake against the Cardinals. I don’t see the Panthers running around well at home this week, but Jake should have nice numbers. With his full compliment of receivers, I like him the best this week. Good luck!
Two weeks, two winners. That’s right, for the second straight week I picked every game the NFL had to offer and came out on top of the books. A little luck, a lot of plusses and minuses to consider, and here I am, 8 games over .500 after two weeks. My first week, 10-6, my second week, 9-5-1. That puts me at 19-11-1. This is how Week 2 went wild.
Oakland Raiders (+4.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (WINNER) “I think the Raiders will go back to the drawing board and see that running the ball will work for them.” Fargas got hurt, but he was off to a nice start before he went out. McFadden rushed for 160 yards and Michael Bush toted the rock for 90 yards himself. Needless to say, the Raiders relied on the run and it carried them to an easy victory over the Chiefs. I WIN!
Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers (-3): (PUSH) Not much to say here, it was a tough game to cap and this is why. The Panthers aren’t a great home team, they don’t play well when favored, but the Bears are just the Bears, and not much to be worried about. It came down to the wire, but Jonathan Stewart’s touchdown put the Panther’s up 3 to stay and I pushed.
New Orleans Saints (+1) @ Washington Redskins: (LOSS) Up 24-15 going into the 4th quarter, the Saints were looking like a nice selection right around a pick’em. But the Redskins fought hard at home, and Jim Zorn got his first victory of the season. New Orleans was back to running the ball very poorly and Washington threw all over the Saints’ secondary as Jason Campbell put up over 300 yards through the air. The Redskins scored 14 unanswered in the 4th and took home the win.
Indianapolis Colts (pk) @ Minnesota Vikings: (WINNER) “I like the Vikings to exploit the Colts run defense, but this game comes down to the wire and Peyton Manning, with one regular season game under his belt, can do enough against a suspect Viking pass defense to take this game on the road.” As it was Adrian Peterson went off for 160 rushing yards but it wasn’t enough as Peyton lead his squad down the field to win this one late. Peyton still has his rust, and it might not be warn off by next Sunday, but he had enough to make my prediction ring true, 300+ yards for the dumpy faced Colt QB.
New York Giants (-8) @ St. Louis Rams: (WINNER) The Giants seemingly did anything they wanted to the Rams, and this wasn’t a close contest at all. St. Louis looks really bad, and I have to believe that Scott Linnehan’s future is starting to look grim in St. Louis. Eli followed the lead of his fellow poo-faced brother and really tossed the ball around the Rams secondary, putting up 40+ points on the Rams to show what the Eagles did wasn’t a fluke.
Buffalo Bills (+6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: (WINNER) ”without three of their starting offensive linemen, the Jaguars just don’t seem like a good favorite to bet on. I think the Jags will be better against the Bills than the Hawks were, but Buffalo’s physical play is a nice match-up for a physical Jags team. There aren’t many teams that will try to out-tough the Jaguars, and the Bills might just do that in Week 2. Take the points in this battle.” This one was close, and even with a poor offensive effort the Jags were leading headed down to the final minutes. But, Trent Edwards showed what he can do and orchestrated a nice game winning touchdown drive to end this thing. This was a solid bet.
Atlanta Falcons (+9) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (LOSS) I still think I capped this game right. The Bucs were definitely out to make Matt Ryan beat them, and he couldn’t do anything close to that. Tampa stacked their line against the run and shut down Week 1′s rushing leader, Michael Turner. Earnest Graham looked legit again in less than 20 carries of action, and the Brian Griese led Bucs iced the Falcons and just wouldn’t allow touchdowns. Anyway, I’ll take the loss here.
San Francisco 49ers (+9) @ Seattle Seahawks: (WINNER) What can I say, when it rains, it floods the Hawks, that’s for sure. As if the fact that they were starting Logan Payne at receiver wasn’t bad enough, the Hawks lost Payne to a season ending knee injury in the first quarter. Ridiculous. I read somewhere, “Was Brett Favre on the cover of Madden ’09 or was it the Seahawks receiving corps?” Good accurate question there. Seattle still had a chance late, but really, they looked bad throughout this contest. THe only guys that looked good were Julius Jones and John Carlson. Either way, the 49ers won and my +220 bet I made felt really good when that game winning field goal went through the uprights. Your +9 looked brilliant throughout I’m sure.
Miami Dolphins @ Arizona Cardinals (-6): (WINNER) “I expect Kurt Warner to air it out a little more against a suspect Dolphins secondary, as his two receivers look to have big games. The Cardinals are the best team in the NFC West, and while that doesn’t say much, it does mean they can handle the Dolphins with ease.” Warner was 19/24 for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bolding caught 6 balls for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns. Larry Fitzgerald caught 6 balls for 153 yards. Seems like I took care of this game before it happened. Gotta love that.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (LOSS) The Steelers looked like they dominated this game, but they never scored again after Hines Ward’s touchdown, and 10 was enough to keep the Browns winless to start the season. Ben’s shoulder hurt a bit and it showed, as the Steelers just did their best to run out the clock. I really feel like I got a raw deal here, but since I did pretty well this week I’ll just shrug it off.
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Detroit Lions: (WINNER) “Come on, this seems like an insulting line. This is definitely one of my picks of the week.” This game was easy to pick, but then the Lions fought back, but they then decided to be the Lions again and lose by a 48-25 margin. Brilliant. This was basically free money, and I hope you cashed in.
Tennessee Titans (+1.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals: (WINNER) “Free Money – even with Kerry Collins at quarterback. The Titans and the Bengals are on a different level, same league, but different level. For example, the Titans have 11 starting defensive players that can really tackle. The Bengals have one, and he’s a rookie. The Titans have a solid offensive attack despite quarterback trouble -the Bengals have a talented quarterback with previous success that looks lost because of how bad his offense is. Things are going bad in Cinci, and a Titan beat down isn’t going to make them feel any better.” Uh, yeah. When I said “free money” i meant “free money”.
San Diego Chargers (pk) @ Denver Broncos: (LOSS) The Chargers didn’t deserve to win this game despite the terrible call that handed the Broncos a victory late. That may sound weird, but the Broncos dominated this contest, and if it weren’t for some amazing plays down the stretch the Chargers wouldn’t have been close. Shanny’s balls to go for it to win the game… priceless. I lose this one, but it was as close as it gets, no doubt about that.
New England Patriots (+2.5) @ New York Jets: (WINNER) “At least there was something good out of Tom Brady going down with an injury – we get this spread to play with. I’ll take the Patriots as a dog against the Jets and laugh it all the way to the bank.” I am still giggling a bit, as the Patriots made Brett Favre’s addition look like a meaningless free agent signing. That’s right folks, even without our favorite quarterback, the Patriots are still one of the best teams in the league. Viva la free money!
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys (-6.5): (LOSS) Wow. What a game. The Eagles held the lead after a couple Cowboy mistakes early, but after McNabb put the ball on the turf in the 4th quarter, the Cowboys took the lead for good. A late drive couldn’t cut it for the Eagles, but they did cover, making me a loser for the 5th time this week. Still, after 15 games I was 9-5-1, not too shabby.