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.