Well, that frankly sucked. I can't remember a wild-card weekend filled with so little excitement and intrigue. It just wasn't good football. Connor Cook was just as bad as anyone would have expected, and the Texans, who have clear issues of their own, won by default. Detroit started out okay but then quickly decided that they didn't belong in the playoffs and took the rest of the afternoon off. Miami's defensive line was notably absent, and that made things impossible against Pittsburgh. And the Giants went into the dressing room at halftime but chose not to return for the second half. Just plain lousy from top to bottom.
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Not only did all four home teams win, but all four covered the spread by at least 6.5 points - and they were all solid favorites to begin with. The good news, I guess, is that it would be almost impossible for the Divisional Round of games to be that bad again. I hope.
With that disgrace in the rearview mirror, it's time again to revisit our Super Bowl predictions. Now much has really changed from my perspective, but prices have shifted a bit, so that's worth discussion. ( Odds to win the Super Bowl are from BetOnline ):
New England (+165): Tom Brady is playing as well as he ever has, the defense is very sound, and after a bye week they get another virtual rest in playing against Brock Osweiler. The games will inevitably get tougher after this weekend, but I still maintain that the only team that can beat New England this year is New England - and they won't. They are my pick to win it all, but I wouldn't bet them at this price.
Dallas Cowboys (+450): They didn't play last week and yet their chances in the eyes of oddsmakers decreased - they were at +400 heading into last weekend. The shift is no surprise - Green Bay was dominating over the weekend, so Dallas has their hands full more than, say, New England. My respect for the team remains high, but my concern hasn't changed - Dak Prescott is still a rookie, and rookies don't win Super Bowls. If he is all-World this weekend I'll revisit my apprehension, but for now I remain respectfully skeptical.
Atlanta Falcons (+650): They were big movers this week, dropping from +800. It makes sense. Seattle didn't overwhelm us last week, though the offensive line was clearly improved. Meanwhile, Green Bay and Dallas will beat each other up, and Atlanta will potentially face a weakened winner there as a result. I still don't trust Matt Ryan and the rest of this team in clutch time, and a week off hasn't changed that.
Green Bay Packers (+700): Green Bay's odds didn't shift, and they shouldn't have. They looked strong in their win, but the Giants were so distracted and self-defeating that it was hardly a fair fight. They play a very tough game at Dallas which is, to my eyes, the NFC Championship Game a week early. I'll say this - I believe in them a little more than I did at this time last week, which I guess means that they are a little more attractive at this price. I'm still not really buying it, though.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+700): You know what I liked most about their win against Miami? They just did what they wanted. The offensive line was dominating in the first half, so they didn't even pretend to throw the ball. Every play was a rush, and every play worked. It was just a giant middle finger to the Dolphins, and only a team that likes where they are would do that. They play back-to-back brutal games, though, with Kansas City and then, presumably, New England. Rough. I love the swagger but not the price. They were +850 last week, and that was a little easier to like.
Kansas City Chiefs (+900): I like how they came into this spot, and I like a whole lot about the team. Like I just said about Pittsburgh, though, this team has a brutal path to the Super Bowl - at home against the Steelers and then at New England. Still, at least in relative terms, this price is nice - though not as nice as the +1000 from last week. I like this as my value play right now, though I would argue that there is less value here this year than in any year I can remember.
Seattle Seahawks (+1100): I like that the offensive line looked more like a pro unit than they have all year. And yet I have no faith that they can sustain it. They are the worst NFC team remaining, and I don't see that NFC winning the Super Bowl. That sure would make it hard to bet on them at this or any price.
Houston Texans (+5000): I feel bad for Jadeveon Clowney. Really bad. He is playing far too well right now to be stuck on a team led by Brock Osweiler. They have no hope this weekend, never mind to win it all.
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