Head-to-Head: Jags and Chiefs Hoping for Holiday Miracle
by Jordan Adams and Drew Mangione - 12/28/2006
Each week two of Doc's Sports gambling aficionados will give their alternating perspectives on the key games and interesting issues in the game at both the college and professional levels. You may not agree, they may not agree, but it should be interesting!
Jacksonville at Kansas City (-1)
Drew: Jacksonville's playoff dreams are fading fast. The Jags need a win, a Jets loss and a loss or tie from both Cincinnati and Tennessee. Kansas City needs the same sort of miracle, just trade a Jets loss with Denver. The Chiefs are 5-2 at home and the Jags are just 2-5 on the road. The Chiefs are 7-1 against the spread playing teams with a winning record. You play to win the game!
Prediction: Chiefs 22, Jags 17
Jordan: This Jaguars team is struggling so badly they can't even follow their own pathetic trends. Come on Jack Del Rio, you lose on the road, now you're suppose to at least show up at home. After getting controlled by the Patriots they have no chance to contain Larry Johnson and the Chiefs. Kansas City doesn't lose at home in December, well except against Baltimore.
Prediction: Kansas City 24, Jacksonville 14
Atlanta at Philadelphia (-7.5)
Drew: The Division Champion Philadelphia Eagles? Nice. It's true if the national birds beat the dirty birds or the Cowboys get eaten by the Lions. Andy Reid may not want to leave anything to chance, but this game will decide two fates for Atlanta: Mora's future and Vick's status as anything but a coach killer. Which he is! The Eagles got back in the hunt as an underdog, but have been 1-4-1 ATS as the favorite.
Prediction: Falcons 19, Eagles 14
Jordan: Something really is wrong in Atlanta when Mike Vick can't best Chris Weinke. Seriously, that is flat out embarrassing. And please stop telling me how successful Vick is at running. I don't care one bit that he broke the record for most rushing yards for a quarterback, nor if he and Warrick Dunn are the first duel 1,000 rushers on the same team since the Browns in the 80s.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Atlanta 16
Who will earn the final playoff spots (two AFC and one NFC)?
Drew: Please, please, please, hear the plea of a disheartened sports fan. I know that the balance of more prayers for one team or another is not how God picks a winner. That's far too democratic and therefore a waste of prayer, but hear me Lord, may the Jets beat Oakland. With that one settled, I'm pulling for a KC win, a Cinci loss, a Denver loss, and a Tennessee win. Vince Young in the playoffs! But alas, that's never how it works. As for the NFC, can you write a better script than Favre making noise in the playoffs?
Prediction: I've been bad this Christmas. Denver wins. Jets lose. Cincinnati wins. Green Bay wins. New York loses. Broncos, Bengals and Packers move on.
Jordan: If I had my druthers it would be Tennessee and Kansas City out of the AFC and the Rams out of the NFC. The Titans are obvious, who doesn't want to see what Mr. Invincible can do in the playoffs. The Chiefs were a Super Bowl stretch of mine, so I'd prefer not to look like a total idiot and I think the Rams would be a tough out with that offense clicking with Bulger and Steven Jackson..
Prediction: St. Louis needs to win and have the Giants, Falcons and Panthers all lose. That will happen, thus pushing the Rams into the playoffs. The Jets and Broncos lock it up in the AFC.
Michigan vs. USC (-1)
Drew: A Wolverine versus a Trojan. Pound-for-pound the little furry buggers can be the most vicious animals on the planet. The Trojans, of course, were defeated at the height of their civilization by a fake horse. Sounds like one for the fuzzy little northern animal with its jaws. Cute and vicious, how fun is that? However, there is something else at play here: Pete Carroll is the far better coach here. Plus Michigan hasn't won ATS in its last six games versus a PAC-10 opponent.
Prediction: Trojans 38, Michigan 35, OT
Jordan: Objectively breaking this one down and leaving my UM bias on the side, the Wolverines are the stronger and more complete team. Give me Henne over Booty, give me Hart over their trio of backs and even though the Trojan defense is much improved, Michigan has the best defense in the country, with the exceptional of those Bayou Bengals. It can be argued that Michigan should be playing Ohio State again. They have everything to play for to prove voters wrong.
Prediction: Michigan 27, USC 20.
Phoenix Suns at Detroit Pistons
Drew: This is a possible NBA finals preview. Of course, when it's this early, so is any Golden State vs. New York game. Sure, the Warriors-Knicks series is about as likely as the Bush Administration admitting a mistake, but it is possible. As for this game, Nash has made a habit of running up big scores against quality Eastern Conference point guards (Kidd, Arenas). However, this one should feature some defense, a part of the game the Wizards and Nets have lacked. The Pistons give up less than 95 per game, even with the triple overtime scoring spree in New York.
Prediction: Pistons 117, Suns 111
Jordan: This is not the same Pistons team from the past couple of years. Ben Wallace took the swagger along with his Afro when he bolted for Chicago. Detroit has no bench and no longer has that perfect starting five. Meanwhile, Phoenix is loaded this year and I don't see any reason why they don't cash in as my preseason champion selection.
Prediction: Phoenix 107, Detroit 95