Sunday, January 26, 2014

2013 - teams built to win - results

Reviewing an earlier post on teams built to win for the 2013 season I wanted to review results of the 7 teams that were viewed as teams built to win and their results for the 2013 season.

Notable teams that have 8 or more players with $6+ mil contracts:

DAL  - another disappointing underachieving season with an 8-8 record. Until management comes around to a major change, they appear to be heading toward futility.

PHI   - won their division with a 10-6 record, loss in the wild card round, 1st week of the playoffs at home to NO. Still they will be viewed as being on the plus side of the ledger for the 2013 season.

CHI  - another disappointing underachieving season with an 8-8 record. Some will view this as a good start, but does anyone remember they fired Lovie Smith for a 10-6 record? To me, this team, this staff, is still searching for itself, are they an offensive team? a defensive team? and they also declined with their ST play as well. We'll wait for the draft to form a stronger opinion, but as of right now. They are still chasing GB and DET may have already eclipsed them with their firing of HC Schwartz and hiring of HC Caldwell. MIN will definitely be much better on D with their new hire of HC Zimmer.

ATL  - a highly underachieving season with a 4-12 record. Is ATL personnel decision on the decline? They did bring in Scott Piolo this off season who worked with their current GM. ATL letting go Abraham (who thrived at ARI) and Grimes (who solidified MIA secondary) were the two key cuts from their team last year which will be be viewed as highly questionable. Think of it as the remaining cast of personnel not being up to snuff without these two and you really wonder about player evaluation by staff. Who's responsible and who's making recommendations? They don't seem to have the requisite insight into players and playing at the NFL level of competition. 

TB  - their disappointing season with a 4-12 record resulted in the firing of HC Schiano, with reports this off season coming from players of tuning out their HC during the season (though this could be surmised from media reports during the season). Their new hire of HC Lovie Smith points towards an uptick for this team at least defensively in the near future. Their offense will need to be seen to be believed in, so we'll reserve judgement for later on.

SEA  - a 13-3 record, two playoff wins and seeking their third win in SB 48 this team is on the rise. Their's even talk of a dynasty, but media speculation may have jumped the gun. They first need to win a Super Bowl first, then win another Super Bowl in two of the next 3 years, before 'dynasty' talk will be relevant.

SF  - a 12-4 record, two playoff wins and a disappointing 4th quarter performance (3 turn overs - fumble, two interceptions) in the NFC Conference Championships at their division rivals (SEA) home stadium. Seems 'finishing' consistently well is their only problem, which points to their QB Kaepernick. SF window may have closed, they'll likely be in the playoffs again, but Super Bowl talk should wait until their offense can gain more consistency from the QB position. The injuries to Iupati and Bowman may hamper SF this upcoming 2014 season. Maybe SF HC Harbaugh gave up on QB Alex Smith too soon, we'll see if KC does well next year as they also suffered from injuries in their playoff game.

So overall, only 3 teams reached the playoffs, PHI, SEA, SF and the rest (DAL, CHI, ATL, TB) are still saddled with high 'debt' and nothing to show for it. I guess we'll see more purging of players from the 'disappointed' teams, but will it change anything? Constructing a teams seems to be more art than science or the main ingredients for team success are unknown and the owner needs to find another recipe since the current one isn't working and not likely to succeed.

Their is hope with TB, CHI still has a year or two to get better. ATL is on the down slope and DAL is just lost in their own self glorification, that they can't see their own selves and their bumps and warts to make the right decision.

You don't need all those high salaries to win, most notably NE a very young team and IND this year stuck out as having great support staffs that coached like no one else. So those teams with a lot of high salary players may be 'built to win', but not all can win and thus we'll always note the disappointing teams and their underachievements. If it works, the teams will try to keep the players and coaching staff together, if it doesn't I expect a purge of players and staff.

2013 International games - results

My original post can be seen here:

Let's review my original angle of picking teams:

International games:

wk04 PIT vs MIN @Wembley, England
wk08 SF vs JAC @Wembley, England
wk13 ATL vs BUF @Toronto, Canada

The disadvantage: An extra road game vs out of conference opponents

The expected outcome: all 'home' (MIN, JAC, BUF) teams lose

The actual outcome: MIN gets the unexpected WIN

PIT 27 MIN 34
SF 42 JAC 10
ATL 34 BUF 31

Comment: PIT and MIN were 0-3 heading into game, MIN wanted it more. PIT won their next 2 games and turned it on in the 2nd half of the season, while MIN continued to fade away and eventually fired their HC at the end of the season.

Expectations: 2-1 ATS

noted: all games went OVER the total

Total (Over/Under) Season Wins - results

Checking back on preseason posts, I thought it might be nice to see how I did with Total Season Over/Under Wins for 2013. The prior post can be seen here:

I did fairly well, mostly even in the AFC with the exception of the AFC North where I picked all correct. As for the NFC I was either great (NFC North 4-0, West 3-1) or I sucked (NFC East 0-4, South 1-3).
So for the AFC I ended up 10-6 and the NFC 8-8, overall 18-14, a money making investment over the season for picking total wins.

You'll notice in my early season post, that I didn't pick either Over or Under for STL. I did make a note that I thought it was just right, but I should have made a notation of 'no pick' or 'even', thus no bets on STL total season wins. Thus my overall record could be viewed as 17-14 since no bets were made on STL.

I also should have kept my pick for DAL as Under instead I changed to Over. First instincts are often correct.

Biggest disappointments: HOU, ATL, TB
Biggest surprises: CAR, ARI, KC, PHI

AFC East line pick actual result
BUF  6½ Under 6-10 WIN
MIA  7½ Over 8-8 WIN
NE  11½ Under 12-4 LOSS
NYJ  6½ Under 8-8 LOSS

AFC North
BAL  8½ Under 8-8 WIN
CIN  8½ Over 11-5 WIN
CLE  6 Under 4-12 WIN
PIT  9 Under 8-8 WIN
AFC South
HOU  10½ Over 2-14 LOSS
IND  8½ Over 11-5 WIN
JAC  5 Under 4-12 WIN
TEN  6½ Under 7-9 LOSS

AFC West
DEN  11½ Under 13-3 LOSS
KC  7 Over 11-5 WIN
OAK  5½ Under 4-12 WIN
SD  7½ Under 10-6 LOSS

NFC East line pick actual result
DAL  8½ Over 8-8 LOSS
NYG  9 Over 7-9 WIN
PHI  7 Under 10-6 LOSS
WAS  8½ Over 3-13 LOSS

NFC North
CHI  8½ Under 8-8 WIN
DET  7½ Under 7-9 WIN
GB  10½ Under 8-7-1 LOSS
MIN  7½ Under 5-10-1 WIN

NFC South
ATL  10 Over 4-12 LOSS
CAR  7 Under 12-4 LOSS
NO  9½ Over 11-5 WIN
TB  7½ Over 4-12 LOSS

NFC West
ARI  5½ Over 10-6 WON
SF  11½ Under 12-4 LOSS
SEA  10½ Over 13-3 WON
STL  7 Even 7-9 WON

Friday, January 24, 2014

A keeper - Franchise Season Plots (Advanced NFL Stats)

Here's a link to an article from Advanced NFL Stats, reviewing their Franchise Season Plots . see
and here's a link that goes straight to plots

The plotted graph by years for O and D does take getting used to as a view, but the separate line graphs for each teams Offense and Defense are much easier to understand.

For me, I would like to see below each year - Head Coach (HC), Offensive Coordinator (OC) and Defensive Coordinator (DC), instead of relying on my memory. Of course, others would like to see key player arrivals-departures or even injuries, but that my be a bit subjective for each team as well as very time consuming. HC, OC and DC shouldn't be too hard to include, with an asterisk for teams that fired HC, OC or DC during that season.

SEA D this year may be the most dominant we've seen in years to play in the Superbowl, but that doesn't mean the team with the 'lesser' regular season defensive stats can't win. These past two years winners, BAL and NYG didn't have the best regular season, but did have great playoff runs. Of course it would be nice to see this in a graph for each team in the playoffs, but again it may take considerable time.

Still this visualization tool, could become a good predictor for next season, you just need to add in "moves, adds, and changes" for each team's HC, OC, DC and 'key' players to come up with a 'predictor'. Highly time consuming, but it may prove to be invaluable for the season totals bettors aka season wins-losses. Each year the sportsbooks put out their projected W-L records (adding or subtracting in half a game just to ensure a win or loss for the bettor and sportsbook) and their are always some numbers that by instinctive picking appear to be too high or too low and if you're willing to wait for a five-six month investment to cash, this can be highly lucrative.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2013 - week 21 - Super Bowl picks

The betting angle that WON SU 3 weeks in-a-row
Bet on the higher scoring efficiency O-D rating:

This week:
SEA(17%) DEN(17%)

note: from last week SEA +0% (no gain), DEN +2% gain

DEN designated home, we should review both teams as road teams

O-D scoring efficiency
SEA 11% (@home 25%)
DEN 13% (@home 27%)

DEN holds an edge on the road and at home as well

QB rtgs
DEN 22.175 SEA 40.7125
SEA 26.2375 DEN 29.8875
note: the much larger difference for SEA (14) as compared to DEN (7)
performance wise this appears to indicate an advantage for DEN

02/02 6:30 PM
101 SEA 48 UNDER
102 DEN -2½ **

Everyone will instantly recognize the match up of #1's DEN O vs SEA D, but how many are really analyzing the match up of 


ST coverage and return teams need to be recognized as well.
SEA holds an edge w/KO coverage, they are just faster and stronger w/opponents who dare to take it out of the end zone often not reaching the 20 yd line (their opponent should have kneeled and taken the touchback)

SEA holds an edge w/KO return as I wonder if DEN will allow Holliday to return KOs

DEN holds an edge w/punt coverage, their punter Colquitt has been exceptional at times, often dropping the ball inside the 10 yd line w/coverage team downing the ball inside the 5 yd line

SEA holds an edge w/punt return, I just don't like DEN WR Decker as the PR, if he's ON he's OK, if he's OFF he can be bad. DEN really should just let Holliday be the PR

NO edge between kickers as they are both capable of kicking in bad field conditions, weather and making long FGs.

TV time outs plays a part in the total for the SuperBowl. TV timeouts extend the game often giving offenses an extended view of their opponents D and giving offenses to change it up and attack in the last 2 min of Q2. Still I chose the under due to SEA O relying on their run game and short passing to play keep away from Manning and Co. This really is the only proven method of beating DEN QB Manning. Lessen his opportunities w/the ball as Manning does not make many mistakes.

If SEA wins, it'll be more of a team effort than any one individual, though there will likely be standout performances. SEA has probably the 2nd best young QB (I rate IND QB Luck higher). SEA uses a bruising run game, stifling D and an opportunistic ST play to win games. SEA is not built to come from behind by more than two scores.

If DEN wins, it's likely they get the lead and don't relinquish it. Everyone knows of their record setting O, but their D is not so shabby itself and their ST can be exceptional.

The one factor that may change my mind, the weather and if a starter is replaced due to whatever happens from now until game day. I may then update my choices.

1/21 more thoughts:
Everyone knows the way to beat Manning and Co. is to play keep away. A sound running game and good play calling in the red zone will go a long way for SEA to beat DEN. SEA has the requisite D to make it tough on any QB in the NFL, thus to beat their D, a 'short' game is required as well, mixing in runs with short quick throws is what Manning is best at doing. I'm relying on Manning and Co. overall greater experience at playing the NFL game. I think Manning and Co. will play the short, quick game until they get a lead, where they will then toss a long one or two, just to keep SEA D 'honest'.

SEA QB Wilson maybe forced to throw the ball more often on than they would like as DEN run D has played well these last two games. If so, my best guess SEA goes as Wilson goes, if he fails to gain yardage on long distance downs, this game could be a one sided affair.

It's strength vs strength and weakness vs weakness, I just view SEA weakness on passing downs hard to ignore. If SEA ST steps up and takes over the game, this will at least keep it close for a bit, but ultimately, I see far more scenarios that work for DEN than for SEA. Their will probably be somewhere between 8 and 10 possession in the game by both teams, maximizing these possessions has been more of DEN forte this season than SEA, it'll take TDs to win game as FG's just won't cut it.

SEA may have an emo edge for this game, but how long will it last? If they can't keep pace w/DEN, then an emo edge won't last that long even for a well rested team.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2013 - week 20 - results

NE @DEN, CBS, as I suspected the game, did not go over the total as NE had a tough time running the ball on DEN D and DEN O was much more efficient than NE O. DEN ST were a bit fortunate, it was a bit curious to me w/WR Decker returning punts and not Holliday, who though has fumbling issues at times, I still think would be better than Decker. DEN lost their best CB in Q1 and NE their best CB in Q2, but the teams both stuck to their running game and thus the total never had a chance of going over. The ending score was closer than I thought it would be as I thought DEN would end the game w/a 3 score lead. During the game they did have a 3 score lead, but NE rallied a bit and DEN O sputtered in the second half. DEN wins ATS and the winning total is UNDER.
Peyton looks determined as confetti rains down from AFC Championship presentation/celebration.

SF @SEA, FOX, and we got fireworks from the get go (1st play on 1st drive), SF D gets the TO, with a sack, strip, fumble recovery by OLB Smith. SEA D holds and forces a FG. SF ST gets great punt coverage and downs the ball on the 1 yd line. SEA run O comes to life and gets help from officiating w/penalty on SF D, though it was a clean hit by SF S Whitner on SEA TE Willson.  A make up call? SEA OL holding.... SF Bowman gets a sack, add another one for SF D Q1 is over SF leads 3-0.
Q2, SF ST gets lucky recovering a muffed punt by RB James, huge hit by SEA WR Lockette. Costly TD for SF? All Pro Guard Iupati injured (Lknee?). Q2 SF leads 10-0 and at the half SF up 10-3.
Q3 opens up w/SF O and SEA D controls them. SEA RB Lynch gets a big run and TD from 40 yds out. Game is tied 10-10. SF get's big plays from their QB and WR to gain the lead w/a TD, SF up 17-10. SEA ST WR Baldwin huge return, but SEA O bogs down and settles for a FG, score SEA 13-17. SEA D plays inspired and SF O goes 3 and out. SF seems to be a bit luckier than SEA in this game. Officiating is average at best, too many mistakes (they miss a roughing the kicker penalty for 15 yds and 1st down for SF). Q4 begins w/SEA curious non-FG try and waste a timeout, but SEA O gets a TD on 4th down w/huge TD pass and take the lead 20-17. SF QB Kaepernick fumbles and SEA recovers on 10 yd line. SF LB Bowman recovers ball, gets injured (left knee) and officials give the ball to SEA, OUCH! another officiating mistake. SEA goes for it on 4th down, but the beast (Lynch) fumbles and SF gets the balls on the 15 yd line. SF Kaepernick throws an interception, game over? SEA scores a FG extending lead 23-17. Last chance for SF? they go for it on 4th down and get the 1st down. 2 min warning, but again Kapernick causes another TO and SEA gets the win. No love lost between these teams, SEA CB Sherman is talking angry about SF WR Crabtree after sealing  game with a batted ball which his team mate recovers in the end zone. Whew.... what a game....  SEA covers and OVER the total wins (note, later in the week the total climbs to 40, so you may have had a push [a tie] for totals).
Key SF personnel injuries really affected them and SEA was fortunate not to have any as well as officiating going their way at times.

I end up 1-1 ATS and 0-2 for totals, not really good at all this weekend. On to DEN vs SEA in the Super Bowl XVLIII (48). Playoff records 6-3-1 ATS and 7-3 totals which is not bad at all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 - week 20 - Conference finals - picks

The older team angle (based on starters)
** SF, DEN **

The betting angle that WON SU 2 weeks in-a-row
Bet on the higher scoring efficiency O-D rating:

This week:
SF(13%) SEA(17%)
NE(11%) DEN(15%)

** SEA, DEN **

SF won again and is keeping the streak alive from the L3Y of a WildCard team going to SB and winning
SEA D dominated again, but O appears to be ineffective at times

NE dominated early, cruised in Q3, then put it away in Q4
DEN D came out and really dominated, WINDY game, Q4 SD made a run, but 'to little, too late'.

Last week SEA, SF and DEN D goose egg'd their opponent for 3 quarters:
SEA allowed 15pts Q4
SF allowed 10pts Q2
DEN allowed 17pts Q4

This weekend is best of the young QBs and best of the old QBs

Last week NE faced best of the young QB's, this week best of the old QB's

Last week D's of SEA and DEN went against better QB's (NO and SD)

01/19 3:00 PM
301 NE 55 over
302 DEN -4½ ***

NE @home won wk12 34-31

good? weather

After their week 10 bye week, NE only losses were to CAR and MIA on the road by the identical score of 20-24
After their week 9 bye week, DEN only losses were to NE (road) and SD (home) by the scores of 31-34 and 20-27

approx 12-14 possessions, >4 scoring drives

In their wk12 match up, DEN led 24-0 at the half. I suspect something similar will happen, but this time DEN will finish the game in the second half. It must weigh on DEN psyche, they had NE beat, but let them back into the game. This time NE 
won't be able to come back.

01/19 6:30 PM
303 SF 39½ ***
304 SEA -3½ under

rubber match - split series
SEA @home won wk2 29-3
SF @home won wk14 19-17

approx 11-12 possess, 'less than'(why can't I use less than mathematical sign?) 4 scoring drives

Still unsure of who I think will win SU. SEA O does appear to be ineffective at times, even though they have the 'better' QB. I don't think either team will get away from their style of winning, so who's better? It appears SF is better at this time. It will be a strength on strength game. SF O vs SEA D and SF D vs SEA O, ST appears to be a near wash, but I think SF holds an edge w/punt coverage and less miscues. 
The way to beat SEA D may be to run the ball more and not pass so much, ball control (small ball) and wear them out.
The way to beat SF D is to attack the edges, with an occasional deep one thrown in.
Clearly SEA secondary is the best part of their D even w/o Browner, to beat SEA D, SF O needs another player to step up, beyond Gore, Davis, Boldin, Crabtree - I think either McDonald, Celek or Dixon will become more involved.
SEA O, beyond Lynch, what is there really to fear? They already play small ball (too much IMO) SF D has a much more defined plan as far as stopping SEA O. So in the end I'll take SF SU and ATS, with UNDER the total the better betting angle.

If you really wanted to be safe, tease SF and total +6, you would then have SF +9½ and UNDER 45½, this pays around 11-10 (bet $11 win $10)

 If you wanted to include the early afternoon game as a +6pt tease, take DEN +1½ and OVER 49

A 4 pick +6 pt tease, I think pays around 1-2.6 (bet $10 win $26 aka double your money)

 A normal 4 pick pays 1-11 (bet $10 win $110), sometimes this is more, it depends on the sportsbook.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 - week 19 - results

NO @SEA, FOX, SEA D goose eggs NO for 3 quarters, then let NO back into the game to make it a bit interesting in Q4, but not really SEA wins 23-15 SU, but does not cover ATS.

IND @NE, CBS, another wet game w/rain. NE run O is dominating, Q2 the game seems to be getting boring w/NE up 21-10 and their ST center has a really high snap, causing their punter to chase ball and he ends up fumbling the ball out of the end zone for a safety. NE D safety and CB interfere with each other interception of QB Luck, IND really lucky. Last 2 min and NE D isn't getting to IND QB Luck, but the ball bounces off their FB (ball appears to behind target) and NE D gets another interception. It's NE QB Brady's turn with 74 seconds to score before the end of half, but NE ends up punting and IND O gets the ball back with 37 sec left. So why run the ball on 1st down w/IND? Really odd since they also used a TO earlier to save time for IND O. At the half NE 21-12. Q3 and IND out scores NE 10-8, so at the end of Q3 NE leads 29-22. NE owns Q4 and wins going away 43-22 on two rushing TDs and w/more IND ints(2) this game is done.
NE CB Dennard starts and ends the game with interceptions.

SF @CAR, FOX, game pretty much goes as expected, CAR does get a nice TD (Q2 scoring for CAR), but for the most part SF D stifles CAR O (goose eggs CAR O Q1, Q3, Q4) and CAR D needs to stop the run better as well as pass. CAR ST played much better than SF ST. SF one glaring weakness. One other note CAR OC should be placed on the carpet for play calling when inside the 5yd line twice and no score.

SD @DEN, CBS, DEN D is playing inspired, it's really interesting CB Bailey is finally playing but is taking on the slot WR, instead of #1 WR. First TO of the game goes SD way, but they can't move the ball and miss a FG(it's really windy). SD punter gets injured, this game is really going DEN way. Another uncharacteristic TO by DEN in the endzone stifles another scoring opportunity for DEN. SD kneels and goes into the half down 14-0. DEN D goose eggs SD for 3 quarters, but Q4 SD scores 17 pts, but it's not enough to overcome DEN 24 pts.

WOW, a perfect weekend 8 for 8 on my picks, perfect ATS, perfect TOTALS, I need to remember this, I think I have, I just didn't blogged it. Now at least it's for all to see, this can be done. You too can win ATS and on Totals during the playoffs.

I'm now 5-2-1 ATS and 7-1 Totals for the playoffs.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

another MMQB gem - CB Sherman top 5 smartest QBs

really nice read and acknowledgements for those he left out - notably Brady

I wonder where he would rank Rivers(has had his best season in a long time)?

or Eli Manning(probably had his worst season of all time[trying to hard?])?

Is Wilson really that deserving of a #4 rank? I'd rank Luck above him as Luck has had to 'make more with less' IMO.

You also wonder where Big Ben would rank in a top 10 list

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

2013 - week 19 - Divisional playoffs - picks

Going out on limb, with a few picks, taking NE to cover due to emo win by IND, normal season game I probably wouldn't do so. Taking pts w/NO, I just don't expect the same game they had earlier this season.
The betting angle that won ATS last week
Bet on the older team (based on starters):

This week:
**NO, IND, SF, DEN**

note: there is a 1 yr difference between SD and DEN, SD hold edge w/career starts, all other categories DEN holds edge

The betting angle that won SU last week
Bet on the higher scoring efficiency O-D rating:

This week:
NO(10%) SEA(16%)
IND(7%) NE(11%)
SF(11%) CAR(7%)
SD(9%) DEN(15%)

** SEA, NE, SF, DEN **

The betting angle that won for totals last week
indoor game OVER, nice playing environment
outdoor game UNDER, frigid(WC19), cold and wet, frigid(WC-10)
(WC = Wind Chill)

This week:
all outdoors, UNDER????

Other notables from last week:
in two games the team(NO,SF) that had the ball last scored and won the game NO @PHI and SF @GB
SD D maybe the most underrated this year as CIN O really sputtered at home, putting up goose eggs in Q1, Q3, Q4
IND first half was dismal, dominated by KC, IND second half the most memorable for the weekend

01/11 4:35 PM
111 NO 48 *
112 SEA -8½ **UNDER**

SEA won wk13 @home 34-7
open dome?
I keep thinking give up the pts, but taking the pts - seems to be the prudent thing to do, I'm expecting a close game as NO is playing really well w/O, fairly well w/D and not so bad w/ST
SEA O can be a mystery to me, sometimes playing well and sometimes not, if they stick to their ground game, UNDER the total is the better bet

01/11 8:15 PM
113 IND 53 over
114 NE -7½ *

IND was very lucky to win last weekend vs KC, perhaps the luckiest to win.
NE should be well prep'd to finish the game, even if they attain a two score lead.
All of NE losses this year have been on the road, I don't expect them to lose, but will they cover?
Interesting pick up w/IND acquiring former NE WR Branch, seems to me this will help IND D.
I'm much more undecided w/total, first choosing under, but after some thought picking OVER.

01/12 1:00 PM
115 SF -2 **
116 CAR 43 ***UNDER***

CAR won wk10 on the road 10-9
I'm just thinking SF gains the season series split, CAR O especially on 3rd down appears to be ineffective for most of the game, this time SF D may goose egg CAR O.

01/12 4:40 PM
117 SD 55 *
118 DEN -9½ under

split series, road team wins
wk10 DEN 28-20 
wk15 SD 27-20

an even colder place to play for SD
noted: This year DEN has losses to the remaining AFC PO opponents IND(6pt), NE(3pt), SD(7pt)

A safer bet would be to tease(+6) the side and total, 
bet SD+6 [+15½], Total UNDER+6 [61]
or DEN+6 [-3½], Total UNDER+6 [61]

I'm thinking DEN wins SU, winning by 10+pts maybe tough to do vs SD HC McCoy who is very familiar w/DEN players

Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 - week 18 - Wild Card weekend - results

KC @IND, NBC, costly loss for KC? RB Charles (out Q1), WR Avery (out Q2), CB Flowers (out Q3), RB Davis (out Q4) LB Houston (out Q4) CB Robinson (out Q3?4?) and knicked up WR Hemingway. KC D and O dominates 1st half with a 31-10 lead, stretches it to 38-10, but Luck and Co storm back w/28pts. IND also lost players during the game, notably mid Q4 S Landry w/a concussion. I thought KC should have used McCluster more, as I recall a very tough player as a RB, with explosive speed and moves. IND grabs lead w/TD pass to WR Hilton 45-44 and holds on for the win. WOW IND gets the comeback win, but KC won ATS, surprisingly a very high scoring game w/a total of 89pts easily over the total of 46.5 mid Q3. An epic win to add to the lore of QB Luck heroics. As for KC, blame the loss on injuries and execution/playcalling (scored FG's instead of TD's) on offense cost them a game they should have won.

NO @PHI, NBC, goose egg Q1, NO has two early miscues (1 by Brees), but PHI can't cash in on a TO w/a score. Q2 NO has another TO (by TE Graham), but PHI sputters and NO gets a FG for the first score of the game. Q2 Brees throws another int and this time PHI gets a TD. NO ends the 1st half scoring w/a FG, at half time PHI leads 7-6. NO scores 1st again in the half and lead 13-7, then get another TD running the ball, looks like they'll win. Hmmm late Q3 NO CB Lewis out w/concussion and LB Haralson as well. PHI O comes to life scoring a TD. NO leads 20-14 at start of Q4. PHI gets a FG, score NO 20-17, NO also scores a FG, score NO 23-17. PHI TE Celek injures shoulder? PHI score a TD, takes lead 24-23. NO controls the last possession, eating up over 4 min to score game winning FG and win 26-24. A dome team won on the road in the cold, so much for media hype, why PHI will win. Maybe it just gave NO that much more incentive and focus on game day.

SD @CIN, CBS, SD gets the first score a TD, CIN is being predictable and it appears early on SD has a really good chance to win w/run O and pass O working, ST KR coverage and kick off is less than average but they are SD's only blemish, we'll call it serviceable as long as they don't give up too much field position. Really noticeable is CIN run D playing less than stellar and pass O well... SD QB Rivers is top 5 this year, very near elite at times. CIN ST is about average, punting adequate, coverage ahh?? Q1 SD C Hardwick out, sub Ohrnberger does well. Q2 CIN QB Dalton accuracy issue cropping up (to my eyes), but later on in Q2 is accurate (to TE Gresham) and run O is working. SD LB Teo appears to be a non-factor, just out of position, late reaction? or over pursues IMO. CIN scores a TD, SD run D is suspect. CIN O loosens up, RB fumbles and SD recovers. CIN takes the half time lead w/a FG 10-7, another outdoor low scoring game. Q3 SD scores first w/a TD catch by TE Green and lead 14-10. Another drive stopper w/CIN fumble. RAIN starts to fall, steady drizzle. SD gets a FG 17-10. Another TO w/CIN QB Dalton throwing an interception. Q4 rain and wind pick up, SD scores a FG stretching lead to 20-10. CIN has a bit of hope since SD is not scoring TD's off of TO's, but CIN O execution will need to turn instantly to stellar. SD is in the driver's seat (their players are showing it on the field). CIN QB Dalton, throws another interception, effectively killing CIN chances. SD scores another TD to win 27-10. Another low scoring game, CIN O TO's killed their team.

SF @GB, FOX, it's 5 degrees at kickoff you notice right away that SF is playing the tough guy role vs Mother Nature as GB has much more players w/sleeves than SF. Q1 injuries GB CB Shields out, DE Neal out. SF gets a FG, GB O 3-and-out on their first two drives, SF D dominating. SF run O nearly unstoppable, mixed in w/passing and this O is giving GB D a lot of problems getting a stop. SF QB Kaepernick is wearing a glove on non-throwing hand (left) and gloveless w/right hand. Officiating really favoring GB secondary and SF scores another FG to lead 6-0. Q2 starts and GB has yet to get a first down. GB D gets an interception and O finally gets a first down, 4 more first downs and score a TD. Game ON. SF returns the 'favor' and scores a TD, and leads 13-7. GB gets the last drive of the half and score a FG. At the half SF leads 13-10, SF punts 3x in Q3 and GB doesn't score as well, GB ties the game w/about 5:30 min remaining, but doesn't get a chance to score as SF plays ball control and eats up all the time and kicks a FG w/2sec remaining to win the game (much like NO @PHI).

Hmmm indoor game high scoring, outdoor games low scoring....
The team w/the higher QB rating lost on Saturday and GB lost as well on Sunday.

Which angles won:
SU the team w/higher scoring efficiency differential (at seasons end) won every game: IND, NO, SD, SF
ATS Bet on the older team (based on starters): ** WON **
KC, NO, SD won money the last game ends as a push. Your four pick (11:1 payout) turns into a 3 pick  (6.5:1 payout)

As for my picks results:
1-2-1 ATS, pretty awful...
3-1 Totals, pretty good
note: early posting I made an error w/total results, I checked my spreadsheet and I guess I wasn't so bad after all...

Late notes:  Nearly every road team won their game (KC should have won theirs @IND), this is the best Wild Card parity I've ever seen in the playoffs.