SUPER DUPER DELUXE IMPROVED WILD CARD WEEKEND
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND
Here’s Gairzo’s final 2020 regular season Tally:
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
Last week yours truly wrote that Dave Richards over at CBSsports.com was having a great year—excepting the last couple weeks of the regular season when he spit the bit. Bottom line, we were as good or better than the CBS Crew—a couple pct. points north of the top five at CBSSports.com and way ahead of the worst three.
Vinnie Iyer at thesportingnews.com had three more correct game calls than we did; his six less bad call and four more Pushes gives him the close pct. point win.
The point of comparing records is not only to brag if you’re up on other so-called experts, but also to show the readers just how difficult it is to beat the Boys in Vegas.
We were competitive all year and were above the .525 minimum percentage on our Specials—but if you break that down, we were .500 on the Weekly Totals and a poor .412 on the LOW and Upset Special. We saved our ass with a phenomenal 14-2-1effort on the Game of the Week.
Just a reminder—our handicapping methodology utilizes 10 stats we believe reveal any given teams strengths/weaknesses at that moment in time and relative to their earlier performances against their late season push. Teams, coaches, and players fluctuate in performance as games, months, and seasons unfold.
Handicappers have to evaluate the evolution of a given team or match up as time passes.
Here are our main criteria:
· Match Up Stats
· RZ Offense/Defense
· YPP/YPG Margins and Differentials
· Pass Rush Win %
· Pass Blocking Win %
· Turnover Margins
· Scoring Defense
· Sack % O/D
· Running game Performance
· Pass Win rate
· QB Rating and Performance Graph
· HC and Staff
· Trends and general stat profiles
· What your eyes see…
Criteria not ranked in importance—deliberately, because some may be more meaningful in one match up than in another. For example Phillip Rivers relative lack of success in the playoffs and Josh Allen’s complete lack of post-season pressure and game speed experience are a wash because Rivers is still a formidable passer and Allen is in his third year and has performed well in some big games—ask Pittsburgh.
In the Rams/Seahawks contest Wilsons experience and success give him a big edge even if Jared Goff plays.
SUPER WILD CARD WEEK PICKS
Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021
SUPER WILD CARD ROUND
OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK
Indianapolis Colts (11-5) @ Buffalo Bills (13-3) -6.5 5i [O] Time: 1:05 p.m. ET TV channel: CBS
These are two superbly coached teams and sustained career success and his HOF worthy stats don’t stop me from giving Buffalo’s three year in, Josh Allen a marked advantage at QB—the kid can kill you on the ground or through the air.
Indy’s second ranked run defense—90.5 YPG and only 3.7 YPP—could be the fly in Buffalos victory ointment. Although the Bill’s second year RB, Devin Singletary, has shown flashes and usually gives defenses someone besides Josh Allen to think about, the Bills tilt way too much toward the air game. Their lack of balance might be Buffalos biggest obstacle to a long playoff run. Allen has to come up big. I don’t think he minds the pressure at all—his team has only averaged 38 points in their last five games
This will be a high scoring affair
Frank Reich wants to make rookie RB Jonathan Taylor a problem for Buffalo. If the Bills can’t put their defensive focus into neutralizing the pocket loving Rivers, he will make plays and score points.
And Rivers is, if nothing else, still capable of chucking the football all over the field. He’s become even less mobile if that’s possible and even more of an enigma because smarter people than me still can’t figure out how the man can throw a football as accurately as Rivers with his trademark shot-put motion. The guy has been the same QB for 16 years; has thrown 421TDS against 209 picks—the universally accepted 2:1 ratio for great quarterbacks. His 2020 stat profile mirrors his career long ratio and TD output. He’s never had a great defense or a great receiver compared to Eli Manning or Big Ben; that’s why he hasn’t sniffed a Lombardi.
Indy’s pass defense allows opposing passers almost 61% completion rate. That won’t cut it against the cannon-armed Allen who is beginning to look like he’s on a date with Destiny--and even if she isn’t the hottest dancer at the local strip joint, Ol’ Josh isn’t about to settle for a kiss at the door.
He’s looking to see what’s on the breakfast menu.
We think Josh get’s his foot in the door and the Bills pull away in the fourth quarter. We’re calling the Over…
Bills 36 Colts 27
L. A. RAMS (10-6) AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (12-4) -3.5 42 [U]
Time: 4:40 p.m. ET TV channel: FOX
The first few weeks of the season these teams were much different than they appear to be now—at least that’s the conventional wisdom—both once prolific offensive juggernauts, now relying on stingy defense.
Offensive line woes, injuries have hurt both these teams—but I reviewed their respective schedules and I am not seeing two dominating defenses, I don’t care what the stats say.
Each team played the putrid NFC East and the decidedly average AFC East with only two winning records among those eight teams—now add two more winning records in the their own tough division and the picture that emerges is revealing:
· The Rams played five quality teams with winning records…
· Four, if you don’t count Seattle twice…
· During the last six weeks of the season, the Number One Defensive Juggernaut was 3-3, losing at home to San Fran and the Jets, then in Seattle…
· They were 3-2 against teams with winning records…
I know, the Big Horns have Aaron Donald who may go down as the greatest defensive player in history—and HC, Sean McVay, may be fresh out of puberty, but is still a legitimate offensive guru.
Their franchise QB has a busted thumb and John Wofford may start in his place. Can someone please give me Mr. Wofford’s bio? I’ll wait…
You know what, don’t bother.
I’ll give an overrated team 3.5 points against Russell Wilson, who has repeatedly shown he can put up a forty double bacon cheeseburger on anyone.
Knowing Aaron Donald could very well take over any game he plays, I still think this is a high value pick---we’ll cautiously take the Under.
Seahawks 30 Rams 10
LOCK OF THE WEEK
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5) @ Washington Wood Choppers (7-9) +7.5 47.5 [U]
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET TV channel: NBC
Let’s review, shall we? Last week I kindly offered WFT owner Daniel Snyder, nickname suggestions due to the unnecessary delay in naming his team.
Although I still think “The Washington Never Liars” is a legitimate option due to it’s invocation of one of our founding myths centering on one of our most respected founders—George Washington—it lacks the, shall we say, “teeth” of The Wood Choppers. Here was my take from last week’s post:
How about the Wood Choppers!!?? You have the manly act of wood chopping, the less direct connection with George Washington’s cherry tree incident—AND the bonus of an exquisite double entendre which plays on Old George’s dental travails—The Choppers.
I love it.
Humor aside, there is kind of a poetic symmetry about the name not to mention the several bulging veins of marketing gold. Think of the logo…
Imagine George Washington bulked out on HGH, brandishing an AXE like Thor does his hammer, in mid-swing ready to strike. Couple of cherries falling to the ground…Perfect…
Let’s get to the playoff game….
Match up stats tell us The Choppers have one of he most promising defenses that could provide the up the gut pressure that has been Tom Brady’s kryptonite. Washington’s defense is no joke; their legit Top Five in every passing category and were one of only two teams to hold opponents under 304 YPG with a Sack % above 8.15—10.39% at home.
Strangely, Washington’s Pass Rush Win Rate ranks only 25th in the NFL---their line tends to get hot, then ramps up the pressure in a given game. Problem is, Tampa Bay is 3rd best on the PRWR, and has two guys—Vea and Barret—in the Top Ten as individual rushers.
Both defenses can count on three sacks per game; splash plays will determine the more effective defense—and who wins the game.
Can the WFT pass rush get to Old Man Wonder enough while Alex Smith tries to decipher a beatable Matey pass defense?
I just don’t see Washington running on Tampa’s NFL’s best rush defense put together by Bruce Arians—it’s Smith, the NFL Comeback Player of the Year having a breakout performance or the Bucs will win this game by three TDS.
Alex Smith doesn’t have the tools to fashion a breakout performance.
Brady has Rob Gronkowski, AB, Charles Godwin, and Mike Evans.
I know a lot of pundits and models have the WFT covering the Spread, but if they can’t and won’t run against the best rushing “D” in the league, Smith will be walking the Matey’s plank all day long.
To all of the above, add this: of the Wood Choppers seven wins, the Cowboys and Eagles account for four; they also beat injury plagued Cincy and San Fran. Their only quality win was against the Steelers who dropped seven passes and were stopped at the goal line. Don’t get me wrong-the WFT earned that game; came to play and did what they had to do to win; they earned the “W” and kudos to them.
But one win against a quality opponent has to concern Ron Rivera---it hit me hard enough to change my initial thinking that this might be an Upset Special to a very confident Lock of the Week. We're playing the Under.
Buccaneers 31 Wood Choppers 15