January 21, 2011

Why the NFL home teams will win this weekend

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Two tickets to Dallas will be punched this Sunday. Well, it’ll probably be a lot more considering that there are a lot more than two people on each team that wins. Also, you have to figure in the amount of fans that will book their flights after a victory. Plus, you can’t rule out people that have non-football related reasons to fly down to North Texas. But the real point is that with the conference championship games going Sunday, we’ll find out who our Super Bowl combatants are.

The lines are from the Vegas and the home teams are in CAPS.

PITTSBURGH -3.5 over New York Jets
After a week’s worth of trying to rattle the Patriots with trash talk and trying to get them to flinch – a plan that worked – the Jets are now trying to kill the Steelers with kindness? How much sense does that make? I thought this team had found their niche as a really good team that could cause enough distractions to gain enough of an advantage to win on the weekend. Since when did praise ever catch a 265-pound linebacker off guard?

The Steelers also have the deep ball threats that the Pats didn’t and that will allow them to stretch the field and allow more cushion in the Jets’ mid-range zones.

You do have to be worried about the Steelers’ offensive line, but Big Ben is as good as they come at both absorbing hits in the pocket and escaping the grasps of oncoming pass rushers. Plus, if the Jets bring blitzes, Roethlisberger knows where to go with the ball quickly.

Also, can you really trust Mark Sanchez to move the ball against this Steel Curtain defence? Just two weeks ago he was sailing passes eight feet over receivers’ heads.

CHICAGO +3.5 over Green Bay
Ever week in the playoffs, something really weird happened. First, Seattle, a double-digit home underdog defeated the defending champion Saints. Then, the heavily favoured Patriots couldn’t stand up to the Jets after beating them 45-3 the last time they met. Now, what would be more screwy than seeing the league’s current darling go down to its rival?

These two teams hate each other as much as any two rivals in the league. You could argue that it might be the biggest rivalry in the league perhaps. Oddly, it will be the first time in 70 years that they’ll meet in the playoffs.

These teams split the season series, but both games can have an asterisk on them. In the Bears win early in the season, Green Bay set a franchise record for penalties, something you don’t see very often from a team that has been around as long as they have. In the second tilt, the Bears had nothing to play for having already been locked in to the No. 2 seed. Sure, they did play their starters, but their hearts probably weren’t fully into it.

So with a fairly even recent history, how can you not take the points in what should be a close game? The Packers may have killed the Falcons last week, but they were also a last-minute INT away from going to overtime with the Eagles.

Everyone saw what Aaron Rodgers did last week in Atlanta’s dome, but can he do it against a fierce defence in the Windy City? I’d be sceptical about that one.

Last week: 3-1
This playoffs: 5-3

Leave a Reply