- Gary Porpora
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND
2021 FINAL REGULAR SEASON TALLY
Week Eighteen Tally: 8 – 8
2021 Regular Season Overall Tally: 140 – 131 – 1 .517
Week Eighteen Totals 3 – 3 Cumulative Totals: 68 – 42 .607
Weekly Specials 1 – 3 Cumulative Specials: 37 – 34 - 1 = .521
GAME OF THE WEEK 8 – 10 LOCK OF THE WEEK 8 – 9 – 1
UPSET SPECIAL 12 – 6 O/U OF THE WEEK 9 – 9
PREMIUM PICK CUMULATIVE 105 – 76 – 1 .580
PARLAY WINS – 4
2021 FINAL REGULAR SEASON TALLY
We began the year in a deep hole and spent the last half of the season clawing our way out. We damn near did, to, almost like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill II punching her way out of a grave.
Fell a little short of the .525 break-even mark on our Weekly Calls, and were .004 shy of it on our Season Specials. The losses at our 20.00 unit level for both, while regrettable, didn’t break our bank. We did win three late-season Throw Away Parlays that netted 300.00+…We also made some dumb wagers that made tracking our success more difficult—but the results speak for themselves.
We rebounded from a rare off year in 2020 on our Totals Pick, breaking the coveted 60% threshold. On the most important stat, we come in at a very solid .580 with our Premium Picks, meaning we made some profit for the post-season run.
CBS EXPERTS OR SCHMEXPERTS?
Every year we like to see how we stack up against the so-called experts over at CBS and there has never been a year when yours truly didn’t out perform at least five of the eight writers there. This year, no different:
· Pete Prisco beat us by four picks
· Ryan Wilson was on a legendary pace a month ago, but ended up at 147 wins…
· I was one or two up on four of the guys and beat two others fairly handily…
Remember, these guys get paid a lot more than me and can subscribe to every database or site they want.
If nothing else, the comparison shows just how difficult it is to pick ATS and against Vegas. The real Sharks in the business immerse themselves in a statistical swamp and study algorithms—some actually make a living at it. Most of us enjoy it as a hobby.
Let’s get to the games…
SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND
Las Vegas Raiders 10-7 @ Cincinnati Bengals 10-7 (-5.5, 49) LW [U]
The Raiders rank 27th in Red Zone TD scoring and dead last in Red Zone scoring defense. They are coming off a full Overtime game at home against a hated division rival and they travel to a frigid Queen City to play the best young quarterback in the game.
These aren’t Marvin Lewis’ Bengals—or John Madden’s Raiders.
Cincy’s 5th rank run defense can force Derek Carr to win the game—and he is not a clutch football player—or hasn’t yet earned that status. Just look at 4th quarter scoring if you don’t agree with my assessment of Derek Carr. The Raiders are the 8th worst at 5.6 PP4Q; Cincy is 8th best at 8.2 PP4Q.
The Raiders only real shot is to exploit the Bengals vulnerable pass protection—31st in QB Sacked percentage—and put Burrow on the ground. The Striped Cats will give the Silver & Black a heavy dose of Joe Mixon and hope Carr makes one of his patented, ill-timed mistakes.
If that doesn’t work, the NFL’s Comeback POY—Burrow—will find the soon-to-be-named ROY, Jamar Chase zipping, uncovered, down the sideline. Nobody in the Vegas secondary has the speed to keep up with him.
Fun Fact from the CBSsports.com Pick Six Podcast: In two college playoff games Joe Burrow threw for 956 yards and 12 TDS and ran for two more scores—no picks, no fumbles…
It will be a long cold night in Cincinnati for the Raiders. Lay the 5.5; I’m playing the Under.
New England Patriots 10-7 @ Buffalo Bills (-4, 44) 11-6 O/U
No, I will not be one of these sycophantic sports guys that wash the balls of the NFL’s most prolific and sanctioned cheater—even as I grudgingly respect his talent as a great football coach and GM.
I’m talking about Bill Belichick.
I have a feeling Sean McDermott and his excellent young quarterback, Josh Allen, feel the same way.
The Bills have the superior defense and quarterback, and learned a lesson in a December game against the Pats. The wind that day was so bad accurate passing was impossible.
The weather for this playoff matchup will just be historically cold with temps in the single digits and a 10 MPH wind to make things even chillier.
Mac Jones has impressed as a rookie quarterback and is the best of his class, but he doesn’t have a superstar wide receiver to throw to—and has never played a game any where near below freezing. Beyond that, Jones has spit the bit the last month of the season going 1-3 and throwing five picks against six touchdowns.
We’re laying the points and taking the Bills in a low scoring yawner. The Under is a Premium Play.
Philadelphia Eagles 9-8 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-4 (-9, 46) [U]
Everyone and his mother is touting Philadelphia’s defense as one of the keys to an Eagles Upset. I wish it were true, given my well known hate affair with the Cheater’s apprentice, Tom Brady.
What stats breakdowns are they reading? These are from Team Rankings...
Unless the Jameson’s I’m drinking is more potent than usual, the above stats show the Mateys not only have the better defense in nearly every important category, but also field a far superior offensive machine the Bald Birds can, right now, only dream of…
And don’t start with the Philly has the best run game schlock. The Eagles lean on the run because Jalen Hurts is woefully inconsistent at quarterback. That’s not a recipe for success against Tampa Bays 3rd best rush defense.
History provides a sliver of hope for this overmatched Eagles squad in the form of another fun stat from John Breech via the CBS Podcast: Brady is 0-5 ATS and 2-3 SU against the NFC East in the playoffs…In each case, the winner went on to win the Super Bowl.
Tampa Bay has the talent to win the game anyway they want to. The only drama will be what Bucs' diva will melt down and give us a strip show to relieve the boredom of the week’s biggest blowout.
We like the Mateys to win big and we’ll go with the Under…
San Francisco 49ers 10-7 @ Dallas Cowboys 12-5 (-3, 51) [O] GW [U]
Oh goody, we’ve come to our annual—sometimes semi-annual—rant on the myth, the mirth, and the mirage that is your Dallas Cowboys.
The same Cowboys who have achieved relentless notoriety, have become the NFL’s premiere franchise and the bane—or envy?—of nearly every other fan base in the NFL.
Jerry Jones has provided his Cowboys with the glitziest stadium, the most modern training camp facilities, the coolest weight room equipment, the hottest cheerleaders, and the most obnoxious, boot walkin’, Stetson wearin’, Bible thumpin’, sons-a-bitchin’ sports fans in 'Murica….
Excepting those loyal fans, the Dallas Cowboys, replete with the sparkles and glitz are nothing more than the NFL’s version of the most voluptuous, surgically altered, and grotesquely made-up American road-house strippers—when you get them out from under the disco-ball into the harsh light of reality, their warts and scars, and history are almost painful to see.
The Cowboys are just another example of a Great American Delusion…
Since 1997—25 years—The Cowboys are:
· 3-9 in playoff competition…
· Only two teams—the Washington Wood Choppers and Buffalo Bills—have won fewer playoff games (2)…
· They haven’t sniffed an NFCCG
Yet, no other team plays in more primetime games, enjoys more network exposure, or appears in more NFL promos than Dallas.
At least Jerry Jones knows why we mock him—and respect him for his marketing prowess.
WHAT ABOUT THIS YEAR?
I admit I thought the Cowboys could be a legit Super Bowl contender, until I did some research for this week’s column.
Dallas’ point differential of 176 is second in the league to Buffalo’s 194, but when I broke that stat down, I discovered 135 of those positive points were at the expense of the Cowboys three NFC division rivals—the worst division this side of the AFC South. When we omit their 40 point thrashing of wretched Atlanta, the Cowboys were 5-5 against better NFL teams
Let’s keep it real, with the destined DROY in Mica Parsons, and Trevon Diggs’ 11 interceptions, Dallas fields an aggressive big play defense that keeps them in every game.
With a couple of breaks, the Cowboys could turn this into a blowout.
I don’t think they will.
The offense has blipped out on occasion due to Covid, injury, or inconsistency. Still these Cowboys could win a Lombardi—but maybe not this year.
The Niners played in a tougher division and they have a superstar in Deebo Samuels who is a challenge to any defense.
The matchup stats tell us while the Gold Miners are number one in Red Zone Scoring, have the league’s 7th best rushing attack and gain 8.2 YPPass which tops the NFL; Dallas gains an elite 7.4 YPP, is 2nd in PYPG, and brings a top eight run game.
Defensively, San Fran is the superior group—top six in passing, rushing, and total yard defense—and #3 in Sack percentage. Dallas sets the game’s standard in every turnover category you can think of –and that is the NFL’s most determinative stat.
By far, this will be the closest and hardest hitting matchup, easily worth GOW status.
If Dallas wants to shut critics like me up, they need to win this kind of game—and then two more.
We’re going with the Niners to pull off the natural Upset with a field goal in Overtime.
This trend helped me make up my mind:
SINCE 2017, WILDCARD UNDERDOGS ARE 15-3 ATS
The defenses will tamp down scoring; we’re calling the Under.
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7-1 @ Kansas City Chiefs 12-5 (-13, 46.5)
Well, now, hell, pardner, I’ve been to the Great State of Kansas City more than once and was never surprised when the unmistakable fragrance of bullshit wafted into my beak…
After all, if you want a taste of the best steak in the world, you gotta pay the price…
But that was nothing compared with the Bullshit Big Ben was mucking up this week.
Bring a shovel and check this out:
I didn’t know Pittsburgh hosted the rodeo…Gee, things have changed…
Not to be outdone, Chiefs HC, Andy Reid offered this mountain of dung on your 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers:
· “If you have a chance to play that team again, you have to start from scratch, especially if that team is playing so well. These guys are playing like a No. 1 seed right now. We have to make sure we are ready for that.”
I mean, is it just me, or is the odor is unmistakable…?
When you get down to it, the only reason I’m taking Pittsburgh is because they come with 12.5 points and have a T.J Watt led defensive line—he’s healthy for this game—that could torture Patrick Mahomes all day.
Otherwise, there is no logical reason to think the Chiefs can’t win by, say, 26 points or something like that. And make the Steelers regret Brandon Staley’s Blunder that impelled them to a post-season Fate didn’t want them to have.
ORRRRR…Pittsburgh can enter the Arrowhead Stadium so pissed off that Reid chose to so blatantly patronize them, they might just kick the living shit out of the Chiefs.
Steelers Cover—Over the Total…
Arizona Cardinals 11-6 @ Los Angeles Rams 12-5 (-4, 50) [U]
This baby is the toughest game of the week to handicap.
Too many unanswered questions and too many unknowns for both teams—bitter division rivals who split their season series with each team winning on the road.
The Rams stacked their team with OBJ on offense, and coaxed Eric Weddle out of retirement to fill in for the injured Jordan Fuller, to go along with All-Everything DE, Aaron Donald, MVP candidate WR, Kooper Kupp, and QB Matt Stafford, acquired from the Lions specifically to lead the team to this Super Bowl, this year—in the same stadium this game will be played in.
Stafford has looked too much like Jarrod Goff in the last half of the season and the Rams offensive line couldn’t handle the Red Bird’s defense at home in a Week Four 17-point loss.
Will Kyler Murray be able to maintain the luck that has seen him fumble 13 times this season—and not lose one?
Will Matt Stafford be able to put a deficient Big Horn running game on his shoulders and will this team to victory?
Will the Cards continue their road dominance against a Rams squad dying to host the Super Bowl?
This will be one of those excruciatingly close games involving division rivals that will be low scoring—even though it has real potential to become a blowout orchestrated by quarterbacks who have never tasted victory at this level.
L.A.'s Aaron Donald and the Arizona running backs have the talent to seize the game by the throat and squeeze out a win. 'Zona will get JJ Watt back, even though there is no way his mangled shoulder can be healed in three months.
L.A. hosts this playoff game winning five of their last six, while the Cards struggled losing four of their last five.
I still have more faith in Murray than I do in Stafford.
I’m taking the Cards -4 and the Under…