January 16, 2016

Welcome back to L.A., Rams + Playoff picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

We knew it was going to happen and we knew that there would have to be some compromise: The Rams are moving back to Los Angeles, the city they abandoned 20 years ago.

And they could have company, too. The Chargers now have a year to decide if they’ll stay in San Diego or become roommates with Stan Kroenke’s crew at his Inglewood stadium.

The Chargers and Raiders, of course, had a joint bid to move to Carson together, which was voted down by the NFL owners.

If the Chargers don’t bite and move up north, the Raiders will then have the same opportunity.

With it looking very likely that we’ll be seeing the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers in 2017 – both playing out of the L.A. Coliseum while the new stadium is being built, ready to open in 2019 – the Raiders have two options: Build a new stadium in the Bay Area, which could happen thanks to a little extra cash from the league, or move somewhere else. San Antonio is the hot candidate for a team but now you can’t rule out St. Louis getting them. The NFL was quick to return a team to Cleveland after the Browns became the Baltimore Ravens and the Midwest market is one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Ironically, it was St. Louis that tried the hardest to keep its team out of the three.

While you have to feel bad for the fans that lost their teams, there’s another real shame going on here: This was a perfect opportunity for the Rams to go back to their classic yellow and blue uniforms instead of keeping the rather average blue and gold getup. Considering the history of the team, it would be an excellent idea to trot out those throwbacks full time.

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

NEW ENGLAND -4.5 over Kansas City

Both teams have some injury issues heading into this one, but the Chiefs are more banged up despite having blown out the Texans last week. K.C. is riding an incredible winning streak, but haven’t had much in the way of opposition during it. The Pats, even with most of their offensive playmakers questionable, should be able to move the ball quite well and have clearly been saving something for when the games really matter. Without Jeremy Maclin, the Chiefs offence once again becomes one-dimensional and you have to wonder how much Doug Pederson’s head is going to be in this game after taking the head coaching job in Philly this week.

ARIZONA -7 over Green Bay

Let’s not get too fired up about the Packers finally regaining their form after going down early last week in Washington. The D.C. Potatoes aren’t a great team and were in the playoff by virtue of their terrible division. Now, Green Bay faces an Arizona team that is well-rested and already crushed the Pack at home in Week 16. The Pack still aren’t healthy and will have trouble protecting Aaron Rodgers while, on the other side, the Cards should run wild again and won’t take their foot off the pedal.

Seattle +2.5 over CAROLINA

The Panthers aren’t getting any respect here despite the fact that they went 15-1, are playing at home and have already beaten the Seahawks this season – in Seattle no less. The last four times these teams have played it has been incredibly close, with each contest being decided by four points or less. Seattle gets Marshawn Lynch back, which should boost a rushing attack that has been lacking while the passing game has grown in recent weeks. While you hate to bet against likely league MVP Cam Newton, the Seahawks seem like the better choice here. Maybe next week their fans won’t have to watch them play at 10 a.m.

Pittsburgh +9 over DENVER

With Antonio Brown out and Ben Roethlisberger playing with a pretty bad shoulder injury, it’s difficult to see how the Steelers will move the ball against a great defence like Denver’s. Not to mention that DeAngelo Williams is also ailing and Pittsburgh will have Jordan Todman and Fitzgerald Toussaint toting the ball once again. On the other side, Peyton Manning makes the start, for better or worse. He’s not the same QB that he once was and it might have been smarter to give Brock Osweiler the shot. But here’s the thing: Pittsburgh’s defence is very capable of keeping this game close. Landry Jones could be a serviceable game manager and Pittsburgh still has Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton out wide. This is too many points to turn down.

Last week: 1-3

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