05 January 2014

Sunday Wild Card Preview: SD/CIN and SF/GB

By Pauly
New York City

Saturday's Wild Card games are in the books. Both Indy and New Orleans advanced to the next round. Indy had an unbelievable comeback after KC choked and blew a 4-touchdown lead. But Andrew Luck shrugged off a couple of bad passes to secure his first-ever playoff win. Both Saturday games were squeakers decided by two or fewer points, so whatever number you got was crucial. I'm lucky we secured KC +2.5 when the lines opened. Although we won a small wager on the Saints, we fell short on the OVER on Philly/NO. When both teams fail to score in the first quarter, you're doomed to miss your OVER.

Sunday's action includes two games featuring a potential Ice Bowl 2.0 in Green Bay where Arctic temperatures were expected to be worse than the original Ice Bowl.

Don't forget to check out Buffalo66's Wild Card handicapping video he posted yesterday that included his thoughts on both of today's games. FYI... Buff66 likes the GB moneyline.


Fear the Ginger
San Diego (9-7 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) at Cincinnati (11-5 SU, 10-5-1 ATS)
Opening line: Cincy -7.5 and 46
Current line: -7 and 46

San Diego backdoored the playoffs. They're damn lucky to be still playing. Is a token postseason berth enough for them, and will they roll over and die? Or will they try to put a monkeywrench in Cincy's postseason hopes?

Cincy drew a tough draw the last two postseasons with road games in Houston (and Andy Dalton played like crap with zero TDs and 4 INTs). This year, they have the benefit of hosting a playoff game at home, a comfortable place where they went 8-0 this year. Everyone talks about how tough it is to win in Seattle or New Orleans, but the Bengals' den is vastly overlooked.

San Diego is a strange team because they won games you didn't expect them to win, but looked meh against terrible teams. San Diego will try to steal a win in a shootout against a gritty Cincy D that is much better than you think. They'll have their hands full with Phil Rivers and his new favorite toy Keenan Allen. SD's offense eats up a lot of clock and they are successful at extending drives (they are one of the best teams in the NFL at converting third downs into first downs). SD beat Peyton Manning and Denver by keeping the ball out of Manning's hands, while Rivers and the offense kept moving the chains.

I like Cincy to advance but can they cover such a high number? The San Diego Super-Chargers are a team that can generate a significant amount of points, plus they're getting almost a TD. That's hard to pass up. The contrarian in me wants to take SD with the points, but they'll have to head into the jungle and beat Cincy on their own turf.

I'm wary to back west coast teams playing an early east coast game, especially so late in the season. Plus you have a warm weather team playing under frigid conditions. In the end, it's all up to Rivers. He's always been a hothead. If he gets fired up and comes to play, then it's going to be a long day for Cincy's secondary. But if Rivers gets out of sync early on, then he tends to give up. Then again, this is the postseason so you expect Rivers to bring his A-game to southern Ohio.

Cincy's D is too tough and Andy Dalton has too many weapons at his disposal. Can anyone on San Diego stop AJ Green? If this game was in San Diego, I'd be all over the over. Since it's in Cincy, I'm staying away from the total. This game has the potential to be a blowout... in favor of Cincy.

Disclaimer...when the line moved to -6.5, I took a small position. But I really don't like laying so many points. I'm considering a teaser with Cincy and SF.

San Francisco (12-4 SU, 11-5 ATS) at Green Bay (8-7-1, 7-9 ATS)
Opening line: SF -2.5 and 49
Current line: -2.5 and 45.5

Welcome to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. It's so fucking cold in Wisconsin that even Green Bay lifelong season ticket holders are staying home to watch the game in the comfy confines of their heated homes and local pubs. I don't blame them, but the show must go on. How cold is it going to be by game time? Temperatures are predicted to bottom out somewhere around Ice Bowl levels (game time temp was -13), not including wind chill.

Historically it's tough to beat the Packers at home in January in Arctic-like conditions, then again, if you're familiar with Mark Twain, he summed up the weather in the Bay Area the best... "The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco."  Mark Twain never really said that, but he's become synonymous with that quote so we'll just let it stand. It's myth accepted as fact like the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field. Yeah, I said it... cold weather is overrated. But both teams have to play under these not-so-optimal conditions. Let's not overlook the swirling winds at Candlestick Park outside SF. Kaepernick and the Niners have no choice but to face the tempestuous and constantly changing Bay Area weather, so they should have no problems conquering the frigid temps.

Aaron Rodgers is not 100% and still banged up. He's one hit away from ending Green Bay's postseason hopes. I doubt that the Mighty Flynn can take the Packers to the promised land, so expect the Niners' swarming D to do everything possible to rattle Rodgers' bones.

On paper, this game looks like it could be a shootout because both teams have sketchy pass defenses. Green Bay's D has more holes than Swiss Cheese, and don't get me started about the Niners' problems.

The Niners secret weapon is not-so-secret. His name is Frank Gore and he's a workhorse. Expect Gore and the rest of the RB corp to have a field day against Green Bay's porous run D with some classic smashmouth football.

The Packers would love a shootout. Rodgers is the more accurate gunslinger and has a far superior arm than Kaepernick, who has been erratic at times. Then again, you never know when Kaepernick is going to light it up... either on the ground or in the air.

Disclaimer... I took a small position on SF earlier in the week. I know Buffalo66 likes the OVER and the GB moneyline, but I cannot ignore Harbaugh on a mission to return to the Super Bowl. The Niners feel as though they got robbed last year and they want revenge, plus the Niners know how to beat the Packers, something they did three times in the last two seasons.


Buffalo66 said...

I like GB as the better side of a coin flip. Teams are evenly matched IMO.

Grange95 said...

"San Diego is a strange team because they won games you didn't expect them to win, but looked meh against terrible teams."

Funny thing, you could sub in Indy in that sentence. Both teams have enough talent to beat the Big Dogs, but have enough flaws to drop a stinky deuce every now & then. Neither will be an easy out this playoffs.

I hate betting bad weather games (rain, cold, snow, hot, whatever). I always feel like they end up as unpredictable blowouts. One team has a couple of early turnovers, gets down, and packs it in because they just want the game over. Eh, Go Pack Go!