Wild Card Weekend

Ten Reasons I Am Writing This Column

  1. I like to gamble.
  2. The NFL Playoffs are about to start, which is convenient.
  3. I told myself I would write more often.
  4. I find lists lazy and unprofessional, and believe them to be a cheap way to draw viewers to a page and give host sites more advertising revenue.
  5. I enjoy irony.
  6. My reasoning for picking NFL games is usually scatterbrained, and combines actual facts with gut choices and personal vendettas against specific players (see: Manning, Eli).
  7. Lists provide me with an easy excuse to combine all of these ideas in one forum while not making me seem totally insane for jumping from point to point to point because each point has a number between 1 and 10 in front of it and that makes readers comfortable with completing the list regardless of what weird directions it goes in.
  8. Rocky was on HBO, giving me focus and strength.
  9. Bill Simmons has said on repeated occasions that his dream is to go 11-0 against the spread throughout the playoffs, so I need to try it, just in case I go 11-0 and can use this as my in at Grantland.
  10. I want you all to know how good at gambling I am.

Home teams in bold.

Bengals (+4.5) over Texans

  1. It is by far the trendier pick.
  2. If you look at these pictures, Andy Dalton looks like a shark and Matt Schaub looks like a doofus.
  3. The Bengals defense was the best in the league over the second half of the season.
  4. I am 100% confident that AJ Green will get his.
  5. Andre Johnson burned me in fantasy football two years ago and I still haven’t let it go.
  6. The last time I bet on the Texans was Sunday Night Football against Green Bay. In Vegas. For my 21st birthday.
  7. Andy Dalton didn’t ruin my birthday.
  8. It would be fun if Benjarvis Green-Ellis got to play against the Patriots later on in the playoffs and we could pretend that they have beef.
  9. I thought the spread would be 3, and Vegas is giving me an extra point and a half.
  10. Domata Peko’s hair and smile.

Vikings (+7.5) over Packers

  1. I know what a Viking is; I do not know what a Packer is.
  2. Something crazy always happens in one of the Saturday Wild Card games (#TEBOW last year)
  3. Adrian Peterson has already rushed for 409 yards against the Packers this season.
  4. This tweet about Adrian Peterson:
  5. It will allow me to use the phrase “I’ve been pondering Christian Ponder…”
    at least three times this weekend.
  6. I hate the “Discount Double-Check” Commercials.
  7. Seven and a half is a lot of points.
  8. Blair Walsh > Mason Crosby
  9. The opportunity for a backdoor cover.
  10. My fear of betting against AP +7.5 > My fear of betting against Aaron Rodgers -7.5 because NFL players don’t care about covering the spread.

Colts (+7) over Ravens

  1. Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano is currently winning his battle with Leukemia, and the team has adopted the tagline “ChuckStrong” as something of a war cry this season.
  2. This will be his second game back as Head Coach.
  3. Pagano used to be the Ravens Defensive Coordinator.
  4. The Ravens Defense is pretty awful now.
  5. I don’t care that Ray Lewis is retiring.
  6. #ChuckStrong will be trending on twitter both before and after kickoff.
  7. My opportunity to tweet this after some crazy miracle ending: “I don’t often believe in God, but when I do, it usually has to do with sports. #ChuckStrong”
  8. Andrew Luck
  9. Andrew Luck’s silly voice.
  10. Seven points is a lot.

Seahawks (-2.5) over Redskins

  2. RGIII’s knees.
  3. The Seahawks ranked top 5 in Offense (4th), Defense (4th), and Special Teams (3rd ) this season according to an advanced statistic called DVOA provided by FootballOutsiders.com
  4. They were the only team that finished the season in the top 5 of all three categories.
  5. The people that are running Football Outsiders are way smarter than I am.
  6. The Redskins were helped by an easy division; the Seahawks played their butts off in a tougher one.
  7. This sets up for a potential rematch between the Packers and Seahawks, and then the refs can blow another call, and twitter can blow up which is all I ever really want.
  8. “Redskin” is a racist name. “Seahawks” are pretty cool.
  9. I am used to the people of Washington DC being disappointed.
  10. RIP Supersonics.

10 Things I Realized While Making These Lists

  1. I picked all of the road teams without realizing it.
  2. I don’t mind that at all; road teams are 132-118-6 against the spread this year, so I’m on the right side of the percentage.
  3. I will most likely pick underdogs if I write a gambling column while watching Rocky on HBO.
  4. I rely way more on abstract ideas about football and humanity than on facts when gambling with money I worked for.
  5. I need to change a lot of things in my life.
  6. .gif files should be easier to upload to WordPress.
  7. If one Google’s “Adrian Peterson highlights” there are a lot of results worth watching.
  8. Rocky Balboa knocking down Apollo Creed for the first time gives me chills even when the TV is on mute.
  9. I was right when I said that lists are cheap, lazy, and unprofessional.
  10. If I go 4-0 this week, I will write this column the exact same way I did this week.

Let’s just hope Rocky is on again.

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