Mock Draft 1.0 (Ginger King)

[NFL fan, could be you]:  Where the Hell have you guys been?  Aren’t you guys a little late to the draft party?  I’ve seen tons of mock drafts already.  How come you guys haven’t put one out yet?  Kiper already has, like, 20 out.  What’s wrong with you guys? 

[Ginger King]:  While we appreciate the mock draft enthusiasm, note this:  mock drafts before free agency are absolute horseshit.  Don’t believe me?  Look at this tweet:

citing our own Tweets…so meta.

My kids don’t know their street address (or an emergency contact number), but they do know this:  Free agency shapes the draft.  Period.  How many (pre-free agency) mock drafts did you see with Jacksonville taking a quarterback?  All of them.  You think that’s happening now that they just signed Nick Foles and his (allegedly) ginormous trouser snake?  Da Raiders just signed Antonio Brown (and Tyrell Williams).  You think they’re going to draft a receiver with any of their three (3!) first round picks???  [side note: laugh all you want at Gruden and his questionable coaching decisions…but they just acquired the game’s best receiver for a bag of chips, AND have three first round draft picks].  I’m Team Chucky on this. 

And LOL at that Kiper shit.  Our streak of more first round picks right than Kiper (and McShay) is guaranteed to continue.  Book it.

Anyway, here’s my Top 10…just the tip for now…it costs extra to see my full mock (believe me, my full mock is HUGE.  The best.).  Anyway, enjoy St. Patrick’s Day (fucking amateur hour) and make sure to celebrate it the right way (blind drunk).  As soon as Roid Rage gets out of his Leprechaun costume, he’ll post his Top 10. 

Round 1 Team Pick
1 Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) QB
2 San Francisco 49ers Nick Bosa (OSU) DE
3 New York Jets Quinnen Williams (Alabama)DL
4 Oakland Raiders Josh Allen (Kentucky) Edge
5 Tampa Bay Bucs D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss) WR
6 New York Giants Montez Sweat (Miss State) DE
7 Jacksonville Jaguars Rashaan Gary (Michigan) DE
8 Detroit Lions Christian Wilkins (Clemson) DL
9 Buffalo Bills Jawaan Taylor (Florida) OL
10 Denver Broncos Ed Oliver (Houston) DL
I’m this big!

Instant Analysis:  If you were to ask me one week ago, I would have told you the Kyler Murray to Arizona talk was a total smokescreen.  Now…call me naïve…but I’m totally buying this.  Sure, Arizona traded up in last year’s draft to get their quarterback of the future in Josh Rosen…but that was soooo last year.  New Coach new quarterback.  Simply put:  Kyler’s Kliff Kingbury’s guy, and if we know anything about Kliff Kingsbury, it’s that he picks the right partners.

Good eye for talent.

San Francisco should take about 1 second to get to the podium, as Nick Bosa is an absolute no brainer.  I also think Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen are no brainers as well.  Things will get interesting at 5.  Tampa could go in a number of directions, but this is Jameis’ last stand, and pairing D.K. with Mike Evans would be a solid 1-2 punch (or at least enough cover for the front office to draft Tua next year). 

Speaking of a number of directions, the Giants are at 6 and everyone is screaming qb.  However, David Gettelman has a plan, and that plan involves re-building with a 38-year-old quarterback.  This pick (and their other first round pick) will be defense, as the Giants finally remember a long-forgotten football mantra:  Defense (and Saquon Barkley) wins championships.  I also think the Giants will trade for Josh Rosen.  His price will only go down the closer you get to the Draft, so hold tight G-Men.

Rounding out the rest of the Top 10, the Bills luck out by the run on defensive players and grab the best tackle in the draft with Jawaan Taylor.

Also, this Top 10 assumes no trades.  No way that’s going to happen.  If Dwayne Haskins slips past the Giants, there’s a good chance a qb needy team like Miami or Washington sneak in to the Top 10. 

Super Bowl Prop Bet Extravaganza!

Tomorrow either the Patriots (barf) or Rams will hoist the Lombardi Trophy and become World Champions. But let’s get onto what really matters (no, not the commercials!), the GAMBLING!

Sportbook William-Hill is offering more than 440 prop bets on the big game. We’ve scoured the prop sheet to cherry-pick our favorite action (you won’t find the over/under on the length of the National Anthem, or the color of Adam Levine’s shirt), without further ado…..

PropGKRR
Opening Coin Toss WinnerRamsNE
First Pass by Tom Brady: Complete or IncompleteCompleteComplete
First Reception by Julian Edelman, (O/U) 9.5 yardsOU
First Rush by James White, (O/U) 3.5 yardsUU
Total Rushing Yards by Tom Brady, (O/U) 1.5UU
Total Rushing Yards by James White, (O/U) 17.5OO
Longest Reception by Rob Gronkowski (O/U) 20.5OU
Total Completions by Jared Goff (O/U) 24.5UO
Total Touchdown Passes by Jared Goff (O/U) 2OO
Longest Rush by Todd Gurley (O/U) 20.5UU
First Reception by Todd Gurley, (O/U) 7.5 yardsUO
First Rushing Attempt by CJ Anderson (O/U) 3.5 yardsOU
Total Receptions by Josh Reynolds (O/U) 3.5OO
Longest Reception by Robert Woods (O/U) 22.5 yardsOU
What will happen first, Rams score or puntScorePunt
More Completions: Brady or GoffBradyBrady
More Gross Passing Yards: Brady or GoffGoffGoff
More Touchdown Passes: Brady or GoffBradyGoff
Jersey Number of First Player to Score a Touchdown (O/U) 26.5OU
More Points: Gostkowski or ZuerleinZuerleinZuerlein
First Team to use Coach’s ChallengeNENE
Total QB Sacks by both teams, (O/U) 3.5UU
Shortest Touchdown of the game, (O/U) 1.5 yardsUU
First Team to ScoreRamsNE
Longest Field Goal of the Game (O/U) 47.5OO
Longest Touchdown of the Game (O/U) 49.5OU
Team to score last in the first halfNENE
Game will be decided by exactly 3 points (Y/N)NN
Total Number of Players to have a passing attempt, (O/U) 2.5OO
Will there be a Special Teams or Defensive Touchdown (Y/N)NN
Total punts by both teams (O/U) 6.5UU

The Los Angeles Rams are going to win the Super Bowl….

…and that’s not just the delusional Bills fan in me speaking.  They are going to win because they are the better team (expert analysis!).

Let’s get it on!

Before I dissect the reasons (spoiler alert, there’s only one reason the Rams are going to win, but it’s a big fuckin reason.  So feel free to skip the next  800 words or so if you’re in a hurry or if you’re like me and the only chance you have to freely read sports articles is while on the shitter), I’ve got to throw a Tuesday Teabag at this:

Juuuust when you thought you couldn’t hate this cheatin’ kalehole anymore he doubles down on the douche.  He’s leading the charge, and dropping the mic, on the ‘we’re not going anywhere underdog’ platform?!  I just threw up all over the keyboard.  Pre-season favorite to win the AFC.  GOAT Coach.  GOAT QB. 3rd consecutive trip to the Super Bowl (geez, I’m only adding to Ginger King’s argument here). But yeah, they want the underdog role too.  GTFO!

Recency bias is a dangerous beast, and it’s causing NFL fans to forget everything that happened prior to the Conference Championships.  The lasting image fans have of the Patriots:  they went to Arrowhead and beat Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs.  Forget the fact that they played a perfect game, got a fortuitous bounce (it hit Edelmen’s thumb btw), and seemingly had every replay review go their way.  And they still needed overtime to pull off the victory; an overtime that included winning the coin flip (about the only thing Belichick hasn’t found a way to cheat….yet), converted three 3rd-and-10’s, and got an inexplicable defensive off-sides that negated an ugly Tom Brady interception.  It also helps when you’re coaching against a Walrus.  Good God, still waiting for that defense adjustment Andy Reid.  Maybe mix in a blitz or two.  Enjoy those timeouts you get to take with you to the links.

And on the flipside, the lasting impression of your NFC Champion LA Rams: you don’t belong.  You don’t deserve to be here.  You got a free call.  A non-call, which don’t get me wrong, was historically egregious, but it didn’t/wouldn’t have ended the game.  Honestly, the Saints piss pour clock management (incomplete pass on 1st down) set themselves up to have to throw in that spot.  The Saints, like the Patriots, won the stupid coin toss in overtime.  Was that blown call still clouding Drew Brees’ judgment when he tossed that lame duck pick?  The Rams caught a break, but they won that game.

Choppa style

So the narrative is born:  The Greatest Destiny ever assembled vs. the team that doesn’t belong.   And the Rams are going to have to hear that ALL.WEEK. LONG.  If that doesn’t put a chip on their shoulder, nothing will!

If this game were played at a neutral location, at ANY point during the season, the Rams would be favored.  Probably by a field goal.  Yet, the line is Patriots -2.5 (hullo value bet!).  And 78% of the money has come in on the Patriots, which means Vegas stands to make a boatload of money if one of these three scenarios plays out:

Rams win.

Rams lose by 1.

Rams lose by 2.

I think siding with the books is what they call “smart money”.

Offensively, the Rams are going to be able to move the ball.  Belichick’s MO has always been to “take away the other team’s best player”.  The Chiefs gameplan was a clinic.  Double-team the best player (Tyreek Hill); put Gilmore in one-on-one coverage against the other team’s No. 2 receiver (Watkins); crowd the middle of the field to take the read away from the tight-end (Kelce) and make RB’s and No. 3 WR beat you while twisting and stunting your defensive linemen to generate pressure.  Except, the Rams don’t rely on a number No.1 guy, they spread the ball around to Woods, Cooks, and Reynolds (who’s picked up the slack after they lost Cooper Kupp).  McVay, the boy genius, has no qualms committing to running the ball (48 carries [!] for 273 yards against the #5 Dallas rush defense/ 26 carries – despite falling behind early-  for 80 yards against the Saints #1 rush defense).  Moving the ball and scoring points has never been a problem for the No. 3 overall offense in football.  It also doesn’t hurt that they have the best special teams unit in the NFL, a pro bowl punter (who’s not afraid to fake it) and a kicker whose nickname is ‘The Leg’.

Greg the Leg for the win!

But like I said, there’s one reason, and one reason only why the Rams are going to win this game:  their DEFENSIVE LINE.  A nasty defensive line is the ultimate cheat code to beat the Patriots!  It’s their kryptonite.  It’s shooting your shot at the Death Stars’ one weakness!  A stroll down memory lane shall we:

2002 SB36 New England 20, St. Louis 17 W
2004 SB38 New England 32, Carolina 29 W
2005 SB39 New England 24, Philadelphia 21 W
2008 SB42 New York Giants 17, New England 14 L
2012 SB46 New York Giants 21, New England 17 L
2015 SB49 New England 28, Seattle Seahawks 24 W
2017 SB51 New England 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 W
2018 SB52 Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England 33 L

Look at those 3 (soon to be 4) big fat L’s and tell me what they have in common.  No, not that they are all NFC East teams, smartass.  All the teams that beat the Patriots had sick defensive lines.  Remember Tuck, Strahan and Umenyiora harassing the shit out of Brady all game long (Ginger King sure does).  Last year’s Eagle line played behind the line of scrimmage all game long.  And speaking of those Eagle, the Rams front four is eerie similar:

Cox  = Donald

Bennett = Suh

Long = Fowler

Graham = Brockers

’bout to go on that TB12 diet

In fact, the Rams front four is MORE talented.  Aaron Donald is the non-QB MVP of the league with his league leading 20.5 sacks (from the DT position!)!  Donald consistently beats double teams with his blend of power, speed, and quickness.  And if you double him all game long (which you should), you’re leaving Suh one on one.  Suh is a beast…when he wants to be.  Sure, he takes of plays/games/months and is the Santa Claus of dirty plays (always seemingly pulling a new one out of the bag), but when motivated, the big man still gets after it.  As such, he was a difference maker in both of the Rams playoff games this year.

Sure, the Patriots have “experience” on their side, but that shit doesn’t matter.  Doug Peterson and Big Dick Nick didn’t have experience last year.  But they were aggressive, took the fight to the Patriots, went for it on 4th down and scored touchdowns, not field goals.  Yeah, I think McVay will be just fine.

“Yeah, I think McVay will be just fine”

So give me the Rams straight up and let me enjoy those Gisele Bundchen tears once again!

2018 Fantasy Football Rankings – RB

Rank Player Team
1 Le’Veon Bell PIT
2 Todd Gurley LAR
3 Ezekiel Elliott DAL
4 David Johnson ARI
5 Saquon Barkley NYG
6 Alvin Kamara NO
7 Kareem Hunt KC
8 Melvin Gordon LAC
9 Leonard Fournette JAC
10 Devonta Freeman ATL
11 Christian McCaffrey CAR
12 Dalvin Cook MIN
13 LeSean McCoy BUF
14 Joe Mixon CIN
15 Jordan Howard CHI
16 Derrick Henry TEN
17 Jay Ajayi PHI
18 Marshawn Lynch OAK
19 Mark Ingram NO
20 Jerrick McKinnon SF
21 Lamar Miller HOU
22 Jamaal Williams GB
23 Rashaad Penny SEA
24 Dion Lewis TEN
25 Carlos Hyde CLE
26 Tevin Coleman ATL
27 Chris Carson SEA
28 Alex Collins BAL
29 Royce Freeman DEN
30 Kenyan Drake MIA
31 Corey Coleman PHI
32 Gio Bernard CIN
33 Isaiah Crowell NYJ
34 James White NE
35 LeGarrette Blount DET
36 Sony Michel NE
37 Marlon Mack IND
38 Devontae Booker DEN
39 Theo Riddick DET
40 Latavius Murray MIN
41 Ronald Jones TB
42 Chris Thompson WAS
43 Ty Montgomery GB
44 Duke Johnson CLE
45 Rex Burkhead NE
46 C.J. Anderson CAR
47 Rob Kelley WAS
48 Darren Sproles PHI
49 Doug Martin OAK
50 Jonathon Stewart NYG

2018 Fantasy Football Rankings – WR

Can’t go wrong.

Rank Player Team
1 Antonio Brown PIT
2 Julio Jones ATL
3 DeAndre Hopkins HOU
4 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG
5 Michael Thomas NO
6 Keenan Allen LAC
7 A.J. Green CIN
8 Davante Adams GB
9 Mike Evans TB
10 Jarvis Landry CLE
11 Brandin Cooks LAR
12 Stephan Diggs MIN
13 Tyreek Hill KC
14 T.Y. Hilton IND
15 Allen Robinson CHI
16 Doug Baldwin SEA
17 Larry Fitzgerald ARI
18 Adam Thielen MIN
18 Amari Cooper OAK
19 Demaryius Thomas DEN
20 Danny Amendola MIA
21 Julian Edelman NE
22 Sammy Watkins KC
23 Robert Woods LAR
24 Golden Tate DET
25 Alshon Jeffrey PHI
26 Emmanuel Sanders DEN
27 Kelvin Benjamin BUF
28 Marquis Goodwin SF
29 Willie Snead BAL
30 Jamison Crowder WAS
31 Randall Cobb GB
32 Chris Hogan NE
33 Michael Crabtree OAK
34 Devin Funchess CAR
35 Sterling Shepard NYG
36 Cameron Meredith CHI
37 Nelson Agholor PHI
38 Will Fuller HOU
39 Cooper Kupp LAR
40 Jordy Nelson OAK
41 Pierre Garcon SF
42 Calvin Ridley ATL
43 Marvin Jones DET
44 John Brown BAL
45 Ju-Ju Smith Schuster PIT
46 Allen Hurns DAL
47 Corey Davis TEN
48 Maquis Lee JAC
49 Michael Gallup DAL
50 Josh Doctson WAS

Mock Draft FINAL (Ginger King)

Let’s get it on!

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Sam Darnold (USC) QB
2 New York Giants Saquon Barkley (PSU) RB
3 New York Jets Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) QB
4 Cleveland Browns Bradley Chubb (NC State) DE
5 Denver Broncos Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) OL
6 Indianapolis Colts Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama) CB
7 Tampa Bay Bucs Derwin James (FSU) S
8 Chicago Bears Roquan Smith (Georgia) LB
9 San Francisco 49ers Mike McGlinchy (Notre Dame) OL
10 Oakland Raiders Vita Vea (Washington) DT
11 Miami Dolphins Tremaine Edmunds (VA Tech) LB
12 Buffalo Bills Josh Allen (Wyoming) QB
13 Washington Redskins Da’Ron Payne (Alabama) DT
14 Green Bay Packers Calvin Ridley (Alabama) WR
15 Arizona Cardinals Josh Rosen (UCLA) QB
16 Baltimore Ravens D.J. Moore (Maryland) WR
17 Los Angeles Chargers Josh Jackson (Iowa) CB
18 Seattle Seahawks Denzel Ward (OSU) CB
19 Dallas Cowboys Courtland Sutton (SMU) WR
20 Detroit Lions Harold Landry (Boston College) DE
21 Cincinnati Bengals Frank Ragnow (Arkansas) OL
22 Buffalo Bills Marcus Davenport (UTSA) DE
23 New England Patriots Leighton Vander Esch (Boise St.) LB
24 Carolina Panthers James Daniels (Iowa) OL
25 Tennessee Titans Billy Price (OSU) OL
26 Atlanta Falcons Isaiah Wynn (Georgia) OL
27 New Orleans Saints Lamar Jackson (Louisville) QB
28 Pittsburgh Steelers Rashaan Evans (Alabama) LB
29 Jacksonville Jaguars Jaire Alexander (Louisville) CB
30 Minnesota Vikings Will Hernandez (UTEP) OL
31 New England Patriots Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) WR
32 Philadelphia Eagles Mike Hughes (UCF) CB

Instant Analysis:  Alright, alright, alright.  My final mock draft.  Changes galore.  A lot of noise about Baker to Cleveland at #1, but I just don’t buy it.  This has smokescreen written all over it, trying to get the Jets to trade up for Broadway Baker.  If Cleveland stays put, this pick has to be Darnold.  He’s the most complete package of all the quarterbacks in the Draft.  Maybe Roid Rage will have the balls to go with Baker (he’s still living off his fame of DHB at 7) but my money’s on the Browns picking the surest thing.

While I think the Browns will use smart money, I don’t think the Giants will.  Smart money says take Bradley Chubb, shore up your defense, and then take a running back in the second or third round.  However, I think the Giants are going all-in.  By that, I mean give Eli Manning the last remaining offensive piece for one more run (let’s be honest, Eli’s got 2 at least two years left, he’s 37 people, that’s not old (neither is 39, btw)).  Gettleman wants a gold jacket player…that’s Saquon.  Yes, yes, I know, you can find great value at running back in later rounds.  Le’Veon Bell (2nd Round), Shady McCoy (2nd Round), Alvin Kamara (3rd Round), and last year’s leading rusher, Kareem Hunt (3rd Round).  However, there’s also Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Leonard Fournette, all picked in the Top 10 and all of whom instantly elevated their team to the playoffs.  Yes, you could take Chubb, and then hope that Sony Michelle or Derrius Guice are there in Round 2.  But fuck it, throw caution (reason and logic) to the wind and roll them dice!

Can you imagine???

Elsewhere, both Josh Rosen and Josh Allen slip out of the Top 10, but not too far.  Bills Mafia will have no problems with Josh’s tweets, and will welcome him with open, drunken, arms.  Also, if the Bills can get Davenport at 22, that would be an ideal first round.  I think Arizona is as far as Josh Rosen will fall.  My concerns with him are less his millennial outlook on life (read: spoiled brat hated by his peers) and more about his injury history.  Two concussions in a year and shoulder surgery.  That’s what’s going to make him fall.

Wait, you mean people will hold you accountable for things you say online? I’ll be right back…

Ok folks, that’s it from me.  Time to go to my war room dive bar and get ready with some game tape chicken wings and Coors Light.  We’re hours away from the biggest (non-sporting) sporting event of the year!  We’ve been so geeked up about the actual draft, we forgot to even mention that it’s in Dallas!  You know Jerrah will spare no expense…at the very least expect a Rhinestone stage and (multiple) Elvis impersonators.

Mock Draft 1.0 (Roidrage)

I know I’ve got my work cut out for me to catch up with Ginger King, but don’t be fooled, despite the 1.0-tag this is like my 17th rough draft.  The Big Board is set, but there is so much fluidity and fragility in sorting out the noise and honing in these mocks.  Let’s get right to it:

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
3 Chicago Bears Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
6 NY Jets Jamal Adams (LSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE

The future Face of somebody’s Franchise

10 Buffalo Bills Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
11 New Orleans Saints O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
12 Cleveland Browns Malik Hooker (OSU) S
13 Arizona Cardinals Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
15 Indianapolis Colts Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DT
16 Baltimore Ravens Kevin King (Washington) CB
17 Washington Redskins Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
18 Tennessee Titans Tra’Davious White (LSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
20 Denver Broncos Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
21 Detroit Lions Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
22 Miami Dolphins Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
23 New York Giants Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) S/CB
24 Oakland Raiders David Njoku (Miami) TE
25 Houston Texans Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB

HYBRID

26 Seattle Seahawks Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Deshaun Watson (Clemson) QB
28 Dallas Cowboys Obi Melifonwu (UConn) S/CB
29 Green Bay Packers Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) RB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Takk McKinley (UCLA) DE
31 Atlanta Falcons Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
32 New Orleans Saints Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB

Instant Analysis:  Why wouldn’t the 49ers take Mitch?  New GM, new Coach who fancies himself a QB-guru and a Depth Chart populated with the likes of Brian Hoyer and Matt Simms.  Yikes.  What, I’m suppose to believe they are going to wait around to hopefully land Kirk Cousins.  Yeah, no.  They lock up their Franchise QB right out of the gate and have the rest of the draft to go BPA.

Obviously, I’m not a big believer in Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore;  he plays too stiff and I will struggle with faster WRs at the next level.  That said, he could easily land in the top-10.

I have no idea where to slot Jabrill Peppers.  He is a tremendous athlete and a really good pure football player.  But where exactly do you play him?  I think he’ll go in the 20-30 range as a luxury pick for some team.

If you’re keeping track at home: that’s 2 RBs in the Top 10 (4 total in the 1st Round);  1 QB in the Top 10 (3 total in the 1st Round).

Oh, this guy sneaks into the backend of the first:

Go down swinging!

There’s no sugar-coating this.  This is disgraceful.  Just awful.  If a team drafts him, regardless of the round, or signs him as an UDFA, there is going to be a backlash.  Your PR department will be working some overtime.  Buuuut, our attention span is short and talent has a way of helping us “forgive and forget”.  Talent-wise, Mixon is a Top-10 pick, so I feel the end of the first already has a hefty discount baked in.

NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

It's go time!

It’s go time!

While the AFC may be a foregone conclusion (Roid Rage does his best, but if even he is picking the Patriots, then it’s a sure thing), the NFC is wide open.  Both teams are playing top level football.  The Falcons dismantled the Seahawks last week, and Green Bay won an instant classic against the Cowboys (thank you).  Is there any doubt that kicker is the most intense, pressure-packed job in all of sports?

Wait, can we talk about that Dallas/Green Bay again for a second?  That’s everything you want in a game.  Home team down 15 in the fourth quarter, they claw back, tie it up, and then Green Bay hits a pair of 50+ yarders.  And that throw and catch.  Hot damn.

Damn.

Damn.

The best part?  All of these videos (and believe me, there are tons of them)

Seriously, I could (and did) spend a whole day watching the misery of others passionate football fans commiserate a loss.  What does that say about me?  And then seeing this tweet from Skip Bayless, sad, sad, Cowboys homer.

Is there anything more annoying than a pompous sports writer who won’t accept defeat?  Joe Buck?  Just kidding Joe, we love you.

We love you, Joe!

We love you, Joe!

Anyway, let’s get right to the matchup, which should be a good one.

Green Bay at Atlanta (+6), Sunday 3:05 pm

Three words:  Bet.  The.  Over.  What’s that, you say?  The O/U is 61?  I don’t care.  Bet.  The.  Over.  Need proof.  In each of their last 5 games, Atlanta and Green Bay have scored at least 30 points (Atlanta topped 40 twice).  Not surprisingly, the teams are a combined 10-0 over those games.

And the scoring will not let up come game time.  Forget what you’ve heard that defense wins championships.  Both teams are ranked in the 20’s in overall defense.  Sure, that’s a risky strategy that’s ultimately unsuccessful, regardless of the sport (see 2016 Golden State Warriors), but hey, it’s worked so far for both teams.  Why stop now?  Ride that pony.

Get it?

Get it?

On paper, the edge goes to Atlanta.  They have the most offensive balance (read:  they actually have a running game).  Don’t call Devonta Freeman a change of pace back.  He’s a legit #1 back, and he and Tevin Coleman form the best 1-2 punch in the league.  That keeps the defenses up front, which opens up the passing game for Matty Ice (it’s cool to call him that again).  And that passing game is more than just Julio Jones, although you don’t really need much more.  Mohammed Sanu is a solid #2, and we love what Taylor Gabriel brings.  He’s the real X-factor in their offense, and he tied with Julio for most receiving touchdowns.

For Green Bay, it’s all about Aaron Rodgers.  Everyone wants to talk about his home life, and his estrangement from his parents (note:  I’d choose Olivia Munn over my family too), but Aaron Rodgers is the hottest quarterback in the game.

Totally worth never talking to your parents anymore.

Totally worth never talking to your parents anymore.

The Packers are riding an 8-game winning streak, during which Rodgers has thrown 21 touchdowns passes and only 1 interception.  Daddy may not love him anymore, but who needs your parent’s approval with numbers like that.  Papa don’t preach!

Replacement Dad.

Replacement Dad.

Oh yeah, these two played each other, Week 8, in Atlanta.  The Falcons won 33-32, on a late touchdown pass to Sanu.  Green Bay was up for most of the game, but Atlanta scored with 31 seconds left to squeak out a one point victory.  In that game, the Packers shut down Julio, who only had 3 catches for 29 yards.  The Pack will have to contain Julio again.  He’s got to be doubled plus you got to keep Clay and linebackers up front to respect the run.  That will leave lots of open space in the middle and one-on-one coverage for Sanu and Gabriel (nerd alert:  I love the chess match aspect of the NFL).

So who will win?  This one is tough to call, but there’s a reason we’re paid the big bucks.  To make these sorts of decisions.  Because we’re super reliable.  Like, it’s 3 in the morning.  Do you know where our kids are?  Probably at the neighbor’s house.  Anyway, we just can’t trust the Falcons.  Kyle Shanahan already has one foot in San Fran (good luck with that clusterfuck of an organization) and [NFL conspiracy theory alert] what better way to get ratings up than to have the Packers back in the Super Bowl, the beloved franchise from the heartland.  The Machine’s money is on Green Bay to win straight up.  But if you want a real bet, keep reading.

Bet of the Week [only true gamblers need read on]:  Tease the Packers and the over.  Then you get Green Bay +13 and O/U 54.  For the truly degenerate devoted, tease the Packers and the under too (+13 and O/U of 68).  Print that money, homie.  Not to toot our own horn (read: totally tooting that shit) but if you’ve been betting on our playoff picks, you’ve been cleaning up (you’re welcome).  We were 2-0 last week ATS (and straight up).  Time to start making that money!  That deck ain’t gonna pay for itself.

Final Score:  Green Bay 34, Atlanta 30

Insert Farmer's daughter fantasy.

Insert Farmer’s daughter fantasy.

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND – NFC (SATURDAY)

Wow, what a collective dud last week’s wild card games were.  All home teams won easily.  Now, things get a little trickier (unless you’re the Patriots).  Seriously, a 16 point favorite???  I hate New England.  Anyway, let’s look to today’s NFC matchup.

Seattle at Atlanta (-4.5), 4:35 p.m.

Can Atlanta finally translate regular season dominance to post-season success?  Atlanta won 7 of their last 8 and ran away with the NFC South title, and they did it with the one thing this team has lacked in past years:  balance.  You knew Julio would get his…ending the year 2nd overall in receiving yards with 1,409.   But now that have a running threat.  Devonta Freeman is a legitimate running back.  He ran for over 1,000 yards, good for 9th overall.  And, Matt Ryan had a fantasy career resurgence, throwing for 4,944 yards, bested only by Drew Brees.  Take note, NFL:  You have a Top 10 rusher, receiver, and passer.  That equals balance, and balance gets you a bye and a home playoff game.

Change of pace back my ass.

Change of pace back my ass.

You know what also helps?  Scoring a shit ton of points.  The Falcons lead the league averaging over 33 points a game.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the defense.  Perhaps more importantly, the Falcons have found balance defensively as well.  Vic Beasley lead the NFL with 15.5 sacks.

Interestingly, the Falcons have not been dominant at home.  They were only 5-3 at home this year, and had a better road record of 6-2.

Seattle has a losing record on the road this year.  However, they are piquing at the right time.  They looked dominant last week in their playoff win over the Lions, and found some balance of their own.  Russell Wilson threw for 2 scores, Thomas Rawls ran for 161 yards, and Doug Baldwin topped 100 receiving yards.  But they will have a much tougher task against the Falcons.  No doubt the matchup of the week will be these two:

The Machine thinks, despite Matt Ryan’s wretched 1-4 playoff record, that Atlanta just has too much firepower for the Seahawks to contain.  The Legion of Boom is down a member, and will have their hands full with Julio and Co.  The spread is set perfectly at 4.5 (it’s like these Vegas guys know what they’re doing).

Final Score:  Atlanta 28, Seattle 24

I love the South

I love the South.

WILDCARD WEEKEND – NFC (SUNDAY)

New York @ Green Bay (-5.5), Sunday, 4:40 pm

Wildcard Weekend ends with the game everyone will be watching.  Both teams enter the playoffs on the rise.  The Giants haven’t been in the playoffs in 4 years, and their defense is poised again to make another run.  Oh yeah, and this guy.

Money!

Money!

Ok one more:

You know he caught that, right?

You know he caught that, right?

If there’s any team hotter than the Giants, it’s the Packers.  At 4-6, the Pack were left for dead and everyone was wondering is this the end of Aaron Rodgers, and when will Mike McCarthy get fired.  Perhaps folks got a bit ahead of themselves, as Green Bay won their final 6 games and clinched the NFC North and a home playoff game.  And Aaron Rodgers threw 40 tds and he and Jordy Nelson are still a lethal 1-2 combo.  Once again, the discount double-check is cool.

Wait, that's not the discount double-check.

Wait, that’s not the discount double-check.

This game is going to be close.  You’ll hear a lot of the “experts” talk about how neither team runs the ball well, but that’s a bit misleading.  Sure, no one on the Giants or Packers ran for more than 600 yards this season, but the running game for both teams has improved as of late.  Last week, the Packers ran for 153 yards.  The Giants ran for 161 yards.  Establishing a running game will be important, as controlling the clock will be key.  In that department, we give the edge to the Giants.  Look out for Paul Perkins, the Giants rookie (5th round) draft pick out of UCLA.  He could be the difference maker.  For Green Bay, converted WR Ty Montgomery has stepped up huge in Eddie Lacy’s absence.

These teams played each other this year (at Green Bay) in Week 5, which seems like ages ago.  The Packers won 23-16, but the game wasn’t even that close.  Green Bay dominated, running for 147 yards, and Rodgers threw 2 touchdowns.  But throw that out the window.  We’re talking playoffs.

And while we’re talking playoffs, the edge goes to the Giants.  In each of their last two Super Bowls, the Giants won on the road in Green Bay.  Who could forget those cheeks?

Ain't nobody got time for the cold.

That’s not normal.

So who wins?  Well, we’ve talk about some of the difference makers…Rodgers, Odell, Jordy, but there’s one guy we didn’t mention yet [cue: Superman music]

eli-manning-playoffs

That’s right.  Playoff Eli.  He will be the difference maker.  The stage is perfectly set for him.  Eli’s had a so-so year, which has led many to questions whether he still has it (or ever had it), and that his role is changing to that of a game manager.  [sidenote: does any two time Superbowl MVP get more shade than Eli?]  But if Eli loves one thing, it’s proving people wrong, and the playoffs is where he’s done that.  Over his last 9 playoff games, here’s Eli’s stats:  15 tds, 4 ints, 8-1 with 2 Superbowls.  Oh yeah, and the Giants were after thoughts in both the ’07 and ’11 Superbowl runs.  We pray, hope, stay up at night wondering whether it will ever happen again, think that Eli’s got some gas left in the tank, and he and his dad bod are ready for another run to glory.

Final Score:  Giants 24, Green Bay 20

Who wants to build sandcastles?  We can use my Superbowl rings as shovels.

Who wants to build sandcastles? We can use my Superbowl rings as shovels.