- Gary Porpora
SUPER DELUXE SUPER DUPER REALLY COOL WILD CARD WEEKEND - SUNDAY EDITION
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND
2020 NFL TALLY SHEET – THRU WEEK SEVENTEEN
WEEK FIFTEEN ATS 9 – 6 – 1 2020 Overall ATS 129 – 123 – 4 .512
Weekly Totals 3 – 1 Cumulative Totals: 49 – 57 – 4
Weekly Specials 3 – 1 Cumulative Specials: 37 – 31 – 2 .544
GAME OF THE WEEK 14 – 2 – 1 LOCK OF THE WEEK 7 – 10
UPSET SPECIAL 7 – 10 O/U OF THE WEEK 9 – 9 – 1
PREMIUM PICKS 6 – 2 CUMULATIVE 86 – 88 – 8
SUPER WILD CARD ROUND
SUNDAY, JAN. 10 2021
BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5) @ TENNESSEE TITANS +3 54.5 [O]
After a three game skid from Week 10-14, the Baltimore Ravens reeled off five straight wins, cemented their playoff credentials, and earn the semi-official title of “hottest team headed into the post-season.”
I’m not so sure about that.
A quick review of their schedule tells a different tale. The season’s first nine weeks were book-ended by quality wins over a Browns team still searching for themselves and a two touchdown win against the Horseshoes—their other wins came against awful teams.
Baltimore’s five game win streak leading to their playoff trip to Nashville featured a five point win against Cleveland . The Brown scored 42 points and the Magpies pulled it out the way a hungry crow pulls out the intestines of a fresh road kill.
Their other four wins came against Dallas, the Jags, Cincy and the G-Men. None of the AFC North teams can brag about their schedules—and neither can Nashville. However they crushed Buffalo, out-dueled Chicago, and split the series with division rival Indy. The Titans only bad loss was the Week 16, 40-14 shellacking authored by Aaron Rodgers and the Pack…
To be fair, Baltimore didn’t lose any game by more than six points.
The Ravens were the number one scoring defense in football, 7th in Opp. YPP and per game, and 4th surrendering yardage per opponents pass attempt.
Tennessee’s strength lies in its offensive balance—they can play any game a given opponents plays and win.
Yet, as much righteous bragging as the Titans can bring about Derek Henry’s rushing power, and his ability to put teams away after pounding them for 50 minutes—in Week11 he ran for a 40 yard touchdown to murder the Crows in OT—the Baltimore Ravens were the #1 rushing team in football, in every major statistical category.
Obviously Mike Vrabel and his band of unlikely gods have Baltimore’s number—but I’m betting this time the John Harbaugh’s beat the Mike Vrabels at their own game.
Lamar Jackson has trouble throwing accurate balls under pressure---Tennessee is dead last in Sack %.—and therein lies the key to predicting this game. Last year, the Titans were a couple ticks below average on defense—this year they’re barely a couple ticks above awful.
Look for Jackson to set a playoff record for QB rushing yards; J.K. Dobbins scores two rushing touchdown, and the Magpies put it away with five minutes to play.
Play the Over...
Ravens 41 Titans 31
CHICAGO BEARS (8-8) @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-4) -10 47.5
There is not one statistic split, matchup or efficiency profile that catches your eye and suggests the Chicago Bears are anything other than a barely average football team. Okay, the Bears are fifth best at Red Zone defense, 8th in allowing 3rd down conversions; 9th in YPR allowed—and a decent 11th in YPP surrendered at 5.4.
BUT, when you are an abysmal 27th in YPP gained, 31st in converting third downs and 22nd scoring RZ Touchdowns—you aren’t taking advantage of any help your very pedestrian defense manages to create.
Mitchell Trubisky won’t keep one Saints player from getting a good night’s sleep. Khalil Mack is the only man on either side of the ball a Chicago opponent must account for.
The Bears are tossing and turning over Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, Alvin Kamara, Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas. I won’t even mention Cameron Jordan leading a top five scoring and yardage defense.
Handicapping playoff football is hard—most of the time. This contest is not one of those times. It does scare ‘Cappers when any team seems so mismatched even with 9-10 slashes of the Chalk.
Sometimes lifepresents you with an unexpected gifts. Accept those rare gifts with grace and a smile.
Play the Under; Chicago might only get a field goal or two.
Saints 33 Bears 13
GAME OF THE WEEK 14 – 2 – 1
CLEVELAND BROWNS (11-5) @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4) -6 47.5 [U]
Suffice it to say this rivalry has added some accelerant and has recently been heating up year-by-year and game-by-game.
Although a year has passed, Myles Garret’s attempted murder of Steelers back-up QB, Mason Rudolph will never be forgotten.
There are no secrets, no new looks, and no quarter given; the beautiful hatred is enjoying a rebirth.
Let’s examine the game…
Pittsburgh is deeper, with equal talent at the skill positions, but not on the offensive line.
The Browns are a top three rushing Juggernaut with Nick Chubb and Tyreek Hill. Chubb burned Pittsburgh for a 45-yard touchdown in Week 17 and it looked like the Steelers wanted no part of tackling the human fire hydrant. For this game though, O-Linemen Wyatt Teller and Joel Bitonio are out, as is OBJ, other linemen, the towel boy, his father, etc. Sorry, my strained humor, trying to convey, the Browns are a hurting bunch—20 players on IR.
Their head coach will be a Covid casualty for this game; defensively they’re missing one of the NFL’s great young corners and safety, Ronnie Harrison Jr.
Baker Mayfield throwing to Jarvis Landry, his backs and the tight end trifecta of Austin Hooper · Harrison Bryant · David Njoku makes the Browns offense a match-up problem against the leagues best defense against the pass—top three in every other category.
The difficulty in handicapping this game is due to athe lack of home field advantage, the effect of Covid, and normal football injuries.
The Steelers really have had no bye week this season and have performed like they are fatigued; they lost their last four of five games and are the playoffs biggest question mark team.
Earlier in the year they lost their defensive signal caller and most talented LB, Devin Bush. His replacement, playing lights out, was injured the following week—that’s why teams began exploiting their run defense. But Mickey, er, Robert Spillane returns for this one. The Men Of Steel also welcome back NT, Tyson Alualua, CB, Steven Nelson, and ILB and run stuffing demon, Vince Williams.
Cleve QB, Baker Mayfield social mediaed, “It’s no big deal” the team’s head coach and play caller—who has authored the instruction manual leading to the Browns resurgence—won’t be allowed to contact the team at all during the game.
That Mayfield believed it was necessary to make his statement as soon as his coach’s fate was announced shows us he knows damn well Stefanski’s absence is a significant obstacle.
The Steelers should come out the cooler more experienced team and could jump on the Brownies early.
Injuries and Covid just exacerbate the Browns troubles. We have no idea in what mental state they’ll run out of the tunnel.
It feels like a Browns victory can only be the result of a miracle—or the result of a miraculous or strange turn of in-game events.
All a Pittsburgh victory will do is fulfill expectations—or will it?
Too many racist Steelers fans are rooting for a loss, so they can continue to call for Mike Tomlin’s firing.
Yeah, I know, disgusting, but they’re the same kind of cretins that stormed the Capitol only five days ago… just another weird bit of toxic fairy dust swirling around this game.
Strange vibes, in a strange year—a Steelers win would be a sign normalcy is returning.
Consider it our fervent hope rather than a safe bet.
Take the Under.
Steelers 23 Browns 16
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND
OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK 9 – 9 – 1
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-5) @ BUFFALO BILLS (13-3) -6.5 51 [O] L. A. RAMS (10-6) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-4) -3.5 42 [U]
LOCK OF THE WEEK 7 – 10 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (11-5) @ WFT WOOD CHOPPERS (7-9) +7.5 47.5 [U]
BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5) @ TENNESSEE TITANS (11-5) +4.5 55 [O] CHICAGO BEARS (8-8) @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (12-4) -10 47.5 [U]
GAME OF THE WEEK 14 – 2 – 1
CLEVELAND BROWNS (11-5) @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS (12-4) -6 47.5 [O]