Tag Archives: san francisco 49ers

I Predict a Riot

The NFL playoffs are here.  I was thinking about what I should write for my final non-“what did I learn here?” post of the year, and I thought playoff predictions would be perfect.  I’ve done it throughout the year, and I have to make them anyway, so why not?

I’ll give my predictions for each round of the playoffs, along with a score for no good reason.  I’d like to tell you all that I usually do pretty well in my annual playoff pick ’em, but that would be a lie.

One thing I know will be true, though: these should be some really good games.

AFC WILD CARD PLAYOFFS

#6 San Diego Chargers at #3 Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals are a really good home team, while the Chargers got into the playoffs despite needing about 38 different things to happen.  Yet, for some reason, I sense a Chargers upset here.  Why?  Well, there is a quirky little thing involving the team that plays the Philadelphia Eagles in the Eagles’ home opener: in each of the last three seasons, that team has won the Super Bowl.  That team has also lost to Washington and defeated Dallas and the New York Giants.  Only one team meets that standard in 2013: San Diego.

Chargers 23, Bengals 21

#5 Kansas City Chiefs at #4 Indianapolis Colts – These two met a couple weeks ago, and the Colts cruised.  The Chiefs started the season 9-0, then lost four of the next six.  With their seed locked in before Week 17, they sent their reserves out onto the field and almost (maybe should have) beat the Chargers.  Of course, those guys won’t be playing in this game.

Colts 20, Chiefs 16

NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFFS

#6 New Orleans Saints at #3 Philadelphia Eagles – Yes, I’m a homer.  But Drew Brees and the Saints really struggle on the road, and this game will be played on a Saturday night with a raucous (read: probably drunk) crowd and temperatures in the 20s.  There may be snow on the ground from a storm earlier in the week.  Just saying.

Eagles 35, Saints 31

#5 San Francisco 49ers at #4 Green Bay Packers – The 49ers went 12-4 this year.  The Packers went 8-7-1.  However, because the Packers won their division, they get to host this game.  That seems unfair, but hey, the Saints won one more game than the Eagles and they have to go on the road as well.  Normally I would look at how good the 49ers are and say it doesn’t matter, but Aaron Rodgers returned from a broken collarbone in Week 17 and threw a game-winning touchdown pass to put Green Bay into the tournament, and if there’s anyone who can swing a game like this, it’s Rodgers.  But he won’t.

49ers 24, Packers 13

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

#6 San Diego Chargers at #1 Denver Broncos –  I just have one thing to say about this game: the Chargers beat the Broncos a few weeks back.  It won’t happen again.

Broncos 42, Chargers 20

#4 Indianapolis Colts at #2 New England Patriots – These two franchises used to meet in the playoffs all the time, but while Tom Brady still runs the show in New England, it’s Andrew Luck at the helm of the Colts offense.  I want to pick an upset here, but I don’t see it.  Not in what will surely be a night game in Foxboro.

Patriots 28, Colts 20

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

#5 San Francisco 49ers at #1 Seattle Seahawks – This could be the best game of the entire playoffs.  Divisional rivals that really don’t like each other, they split their two games this season, with each team team winning at home.  The Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in the league, maybe even all of sports, and that will be the difference here.  Make sure you watch this one.

Seahawks 17, 49ers 14

#3 Philadelphia Eagles at #2 Carolina Panthers – It’s strength against strength if these two get together, as the Eagles’ dynamic offense battles the Panthers’ stalwart defense.  On the other side of the ball, while Cam Newton is tough to handle, the Panthers have struggled on offense at times, and are hoping Steve Smith returns from a knee injury in time for the game.  If he doesn’t, I don’t think the Panthers will win.  If he does…I still don’t think they win.  Yes, I’m a homer.

Eagles 26, Panthers 17

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

#2 New England Patriots at #1 Denver Broncos – Ah, there it is.  Manning vs, Brady, Episode #3,907.  The Patriots seem to be missing all of their key guys, but keep winning.  You expect the shoe to drop at some point, and this is that point.

Broncos 34, Patriots 24

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

#3 Philadelphia Eagles at #1 Seattle Seahawks – I know the Seahawks don’t lose at home.  Except they did, just last Sunday, to the Arizona Cardinals.  And that’s with Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throwing four interceptions.  How do you pick a guy off four times and lose?  Nick Foles won’t throw four interceptions.  And the Eagles also have LeSean McCoy, who led the league in rushing yards.  Add in that the Seahawks have a weakened offensive line, and don’t really have a healthy playmaking receiver to capitalize on the Eagles’ weak pass defense…it doesn’t sound so crazy now, does it?

Seahawks 23, Eagles 20 (OT)

(I’m a homer, but I also know how to hedge my bets.)

SUPER BOWL XLVIII

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks – It’s going to be cold in New York, er, New Jersey, on Super Bowl Sunday.  That might be a factor.  It might not.  Look, I don’t know, and I don’t know why you’re still reading this after I tried to talk you into the Eagles winning in Seattle.

Broncos 27, Seahawks 13

Enjoy the playoffs!

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You’re the Best Around

I figured I would talk a little about the Super Bowl, but it’s been two days, they’ve already had the parade…what more is there to say?

I did, however, want to give a long-distance fist-bump to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.  Before the season, he made some remarks in which he said that he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL.  Now, if you’ve ever watched an NFL game, you know Joe Flacco isn’t the “best” quarterback in the NFL.  The idea that he is is borderline ridiculous.

Or is it?

What’s the job of a quarterback?  Lead drives.  Protect the ball.  Don’t make mistakes.  Win games.  Flacco did all of those things in this postseason, and he did them almost flawlessly, to the tune of 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions.  The Ravens scored 17, 38, 28, and 34 points in their four playoff games.  Which, of course, were all wins.

He led drives.  He protected the ball.  He didn’t make mistakes.  And he won games, including the biggest one of all.

People made a big deal about how the blackout during the Super Bowl helped the 49ers.  I feel like it only helped the 49ers because it hurt the Ravens.  When you take into account that the 49ers had the ball at the end of the first half, there was a lengthy halftime, the Ravens returned the opening kick of the second half for a touchdown, and the the power went out during the ensuing 49ers possession, Flacco and the Ravens offense went nearly an hour and a half between drives.  There’s no way it’s a coincidence that the one period where the Ravens struggled, the third quarter, was right after that long break.

What I’m saying is, the Colts, Broncos, Patriots, and 49ers defenses could not stop Joe Flacco in the postseason.  Even an act of God/oversight by the planning committee/lack of preparation by the Superdome could only slow him down.

So for now, Joe Flacco, you are the best quarterback in the NFL.  Congratulations, Joe.  Now go get paid.

P.S. Shout out to Lindsey Vonn.  We had a brief fling during the last Olympics – okay, so I basically told everyone who would listen that I had a crush on her but whatever, same thing, shut up – and it’s a shame her season ended in such a scary way.  Stay strong, champ.  And call me. ::winks::

Don’t Be Sad, ‘Cause Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Let’s revisit my picks from yesterday, shall we?

• The first kickoff was indeed a touchback. Easy peasy, like I said.

• The 49ers out-penaltied(?) the Ravens, 33 yards to 20. However, I picked the Ravens because I expected a pass interference call against Baltimore, and if you ask the 49ers…or watch the game tape…you can see how I might have been on the right track. An ‘A’ for the process, but alas, a loss is a loss.

• Lionel Messi: one goal. Frank Gore: one touchdown. Winner winner! Research pays off!

• As for the game…see? I told you! I’m the best bad gambler ever! I picked the Ravens solely because I thought the 49ers were better. I give the process a ‘C,’ but the result is a winner!

I may have more thoughts on the game itself tomorrow. Or not. Depends if the power goes ou

Gambling Only Pays When You’re Winning

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, an unofficial holiday here in the United States.  Tonight, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will meet in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans to decide who calls themselves “world champions” of a league that is contained in one country and a sport that is really only played on one continent.  American exceptionalism, indeed.

I like sports, as I’ve mentioned, and I will almost always enter just about any contest that asks me to predict what’s going to happen at a sporting event.  What I don’t do, however, is place bets with bookies.  For two reasons: 1) I am a terrible gambler, and 2) those people are so good at what they do.  Their lines are incredible.

Anyway, despite that, here are three of my favorite prop bets that are certain to be sure-fire winners tonight (unless they aren’t):

Will the first kickoff of Super Bowl XLVII be a touchback? Yes (-170) – Two strong-legged kickers kicking indoors?  Yes please.

Who will have the most penalty yards? Ravens (-125) – Both teams are among the five most-penalized teams in the league (discipline wins games!) but I am making this selection based entirely on the fact that I expect the Ravens to draw a massive pass interference penalty at some point that totally skews the number of penalty yards.

Which total will be higher: Lionel Messi goals vs. Valencia or Frank Gore touchdowns? Frank Gore +0.5 (+140) – I did a little research into Barcelona’s matches against Valencia the last couple seasons.  I saw a couple one-goal games for Messi, a four-goal game, and a surprising number of zero-goal games.  I think Messi gets one today, and Gore takes one into the end zone, meaning that half-point will make Frank the winner.

As for the game, I think San Francisco has the better offense, the better defense, the most dangerous player in Colin Kaepernick, and the advantage of deploying that weapon on the artificial surface at the Superdome.  They’ve been the better team all season.

That is what I think, so my prediction is Baltimore 27, San Francisco 21.  I told you, I suck at this.

In the Georgia Dome on the 50-Yard Line

I like sports.  A lot.  I watch them all the time.  Last night, I attended a basketball game, while following another basketball game, and listening to the NFL playoffs, on my phone.  Like I said, I like sports.

As a result of watching them, I also know a fair bit about them.  I know who the better team is, I know what teams do well, I know what they don’t do well, and I have a pretty fair idea of who’s going to win.

Except I don’t.

In my NFL playoff pick ’em contest, I got three of four games last weekend, and the one I missed was the one I was least confident about.  No big deal, I still had my final four teams available.

Well, as of this writing, the Texans and Patriots are in the first quarter of the final divisional round game of the weekend.  So far, I’m 0-3.  As are the majority of pundits.

How does this happen?

How do people who watch game every week, people whose job is literally to know who is going to win games, can be so wrong, while the old lady in the office who picks based on mascots or jersey colors takes home the money?

The easy answer is, “bro, you overthink it.”  That’s patently false.  The Denver Broncos were far and away superior to the Baltimore Ravens this season.  The only area in which the Ravens were better than the Broncos was special teams…and the Broncos returned two kicks for touchdowns during the game.  And yet, when Denver missed an opportunity to take a 14-point lead into halftime and instead the game was tied, well, you had to know it would come back to bite them.  Final score: Baltimore 38, Denver 35, in double overtime.

Then in the late game, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown two minutes into the game.  All he did after that was shred the Packers’ defense for 181 yards…rushing.  Another tie game at halftime turned into a rout as the 49ers took it, 45-31, despite Green Bay employing Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl winner and one of the consensus top three quarterbacks in the league, and Kaepernick making something like his eighth career start.

Side note: I picked the Broncos over the Packers in the Super Bowl.  HIGH FIVE!

Then this afternoon, the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons took a 20-0 lead over the red-hot (and arguably better) Seattle Seahawks.  Nobody believed in the Falcons, yet here they were dominating the Seahawks, a chic pick to make it to the Super Bowl.  However, we quickly saw why the Falcons had no respect, as 20-0 and 27-7 leads turned into a 28-27 deficit with less than a minute to go.

All Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan did was drive the Falcons down to the Seattle 31-yard line with 13 seconds to play.  Kicker Matt Bryant came out, took a field goal attempt…and missed it wide right.  BUT!  In a display of one of the most controversial tactics in football (studies have shown it doesn’t work, and actually hurts the team doing it), the Seahawks called a timeout to “ice” Bryant.  Instead, he got a mulligan, split the uprights, and the Falcons won.

I don’t know how I feel about icing the kicker, but I know how I feel about what happened today: it’s bogus.  The Falcons lined up, the Seahawks called timeout, the official near the sideline blew the whistle, the other officials blew their whistles, a second or two went by…then snap, kick, miss, oh well, let’s do it again.

There should be a delay of game penalty for teams that take practice kicks well after the whistle when a timeout is called.  I understand that in the heat of the game, often with the result on the line, it can be tough to hear the snap.  But that was ridiculous.  The whistles blew, time passed, and THEN the Falcons took a practice kick.

(Obviously, I picked the Seahawks to win, and for 45 minutes they did not deserve to win.  That being said, I can’t stand to see tight games decided on crap like that.)

And now, it’s 3-0 Houston.  Rob Gronkowski just left the field and went to the locker room.  Patriots fans…do I even have to tell you who I picked in this game?