Tuesday, January 18, 2011
NFL PICKS - Conference Championship Games
College Football Season Results: 50-44-6
Mark My Words Divisional Playoff Results: 1-3
Mark My Words Results Season to Date: 35-46-3
Conference Championship NFL Picks (winners in parentheses):
At Chicago -3.5 Green Bay (Green Bay)
At Pittsburgh -3.5 New York Jets (Pittsburgh)
Mark My Words: (I'm not saying that the NFL is pulling for a Green Bay-Pittsburgh Super Bowl, which would probably break every single ratings record, but...well yeah, I'm saying it). Here's how I'd bet the NFL Conference Championship games, and why:
Green Bay -3.5 over CHICAGO/Under 44 points - Even with their home win last week against Seattle, I'm still not a believer in Chicago. Had they not been handed a victory that they did not earn in Week 1 over the Lions on the ridiculous ruling that Calvin Johnson did not "complete the process," the Packers would have topped the bears for the NFC North division title based on the 4th NFL Tie-Breaker for "strength of victory." Without winning the division title the Bears would have likely had to travel in the playoffs, which would have likely precluded any realistic chance at playing for the NFC Conference Championship. As for the match-up itself, don't get caught up with Green Bay's offense. Chicago is going to play bend but don't break and make Green Bay beat their "Tampa Two" zone, while Green Bay has the playmakers on defense to shut down Jay Cutler and Chicago's skilled position players on offense. Even though Green Bay is on the road I still think that they are a better cold weather team than the Bears. Look for Green Bay to beat Chicago 21-17 in a low scoring game, but if one team does break out offensively it will be the Packers.
PITTSBURGH -3.5 over New York Jets/Over 38.5 points - Pittsburgh and the Jets match-up pretty evenly on defense, but Pittsburgh has the better quarterback and a significant home crowd advantage. Even when they were down to their 5th and 6th string tackles against Baltimore's blitz the Steelers proved they could adjust with quick screens and swing passes over and around the rush. I look for the Steelers to win in a 24-17 game that is higher scoring than one would expect given the reputations of the two defenses involved.