We’re back for Week 2 of the Bet the Farm Playoff Challenge! Which is… what, exactly? The perfect chance for all you degenerates to get your fix without hurting your wallet! Here’s how the game is played:
– Each week we’ll list the current point spread and total for each playoff game when this goes live. Those are the spreads/totals everybody will use for their picks that week, no matter when they pick (even if the spreads/totals change officially).
– You must make one wager on each playoff game. You can wager either the spread or total, but not both, for any single game. You must bet every single game during the postseason.
– You get one point for each Wild Card and Divisional Round game you guess correctly, two points for each correct Conference Championship Game, and four points for the Super Bowl. However, you will make each of these wagers the week of that specific game.
– Once during the playoffs, you may identify one game as your “lock.” If you get that game right, you get two extra points. You only get one lock for the entire playoffs, so the maximum final point total is 18.
– You can jump in at any time (even now), just try to use the same handle throughout the entire playoffs.
(* indicates a player who has used their Playoff Lock)
King Daddy Crunch*: 5
Scott P: 4
Blake Fusion: 3
Josh Carey*: 3
Nick S: 3
Phil*: 3 (I’m counting “lock of the year” as a “Playoff Lock.”)
Darth Ripken: 2
Lambeau Leap: 1
And King Daddy Crunch shows us how you get ahead by correctly using your Playoff Lock. Despite technically picking fewer games correctly than Scott P, Mr. Crunch vaults to the top of the leaderboard by virtue of his Playoff Lock Seattle coming through against the Redskins (though, I have many, many angry things to say about Mike Shanahan screwing me out of at least a push in that one). However, with four points to be awarded in each round of the playoffs, there’s still plenty of time for anybody (yes, even Sky) to catch up and find their way to the top of the leaderboard. (Note: After points, the leaderboard is purely alphabetical. If you think I mis-graded your games, leave a note in this week’s comments and I’ll double check).
Bet the Farm Official Lines for the Divisional Round
Denver -9 vs. Baltimore. O/U: 46
San Francisco -3 vs. Green Bay. O/U: 44.5
Atlanta -2.5 vs. Seattle. O/U: 46
New England -9.5 vs. Houston. O/U: 47.5
Josh Carey’s Picks
Denver/Baltimore OVER 46: Talk about not knowing what to do with a spread. Denver winning by ten seems just about right, but there’s enough ambiguity there that I’d rather play for the over. I could see the Ravens doing enough to hang around in this one, losing by a touchdown in a 27-20ish game, or maybe grabbing a garbage time TD en route to a 35-13 loss. But while those scenarios both end up on different sides of the spread, they do hit the over. So I’m going to go with the higher-scoring option here.
San Francisco -3: If Yahoo’s pick’em contest can be believed, most of the money (and I suspect, picks down below as well) are going in Green Bay’s direction. I think a lot of this has to do with the manhandling of Minnesota we just saw Green Bay lay down last week. What did we see from San Francisco? Nothing. The week before that? A 27-13 home win that was viewed largely as a failure because the 49ers didn’t cover a ridiculous spread. If Colin Kaepernick can make like Alex Smith and avoid mistakes while also adding a dynamic element to the San Francisco offense, then I see the superior 49ers defense getting them past the explosive Packers attack.
Atlanta -2.5: This is pretty much what I just wrote about the 49ers all over again. We’ve had a week to forget about a Falcons team everybody wanted to hate anyways, while getting to drool over Russell Wilson outdueling Robert Griffin III (disregarding, of course, that the latter was more hobbled than a pirate with a peg leg for most of the game). But if injuries prevent the Seattle pass rush from disrupting Matt Ryan’s pocket presence, he should have no trouble finding at least one of his talented receivers (there are at least three after all). And I still refuse to bet with Seattle on the road, even when they’re getting points.
New England -9.5: Unlike the Denver pick, I am going to run with the crowd here and take the huge home favorite. Arian Foster’s Twitter bulletin board material aside, Houston hasn’t exactly looked like they’re in the Patriots’ league this season – including a drubbing at Foxboro earlier this season. It would take a spectacular effort from the defense to keep Matt Schaub in this game, and I just don’t see it coming.
Denver -9: Peyton Manning vs. Baltimore Ravens: Nine consecutive victories over the legendary Ravens defense; two playoff wins by 17 and 9 points respectfully; a 34-17 destruction of the Ravens in 2012 as a Denver Bronco. As per the definition of the word ‘owned’ listed in the urban dictionary, Peyton Manning has total and undeniable dominance over the Baltimore Ravens, making them ride in the middle of the back seat of Peyton’s Cadillac. Speaking of middles, Peyton will make Ray Lewis wish he retired the game before, as he will expose the Ravens’ weakness in the middle of the field. Broncos 34 Ravens 17.
San Francisco -3: I don’t have a real feeling for this game, as I can make a case for both teams to move on to the next round, but I’m going to roll with the 49ers as my pick. Just like the game before, I’m taking the team who won their regular season meeting to win the post-season match up as well. Home teams did well last week and there is no reason to buck that trend with better home teams hosting in round two. Colin Kaepernick, while similar to Joe Webb as an athletic running quarterback, can actually throw the pigskin. The Niners versatility on offense, and their stout defense, will get the W for San Francisco come Saturday night. 49ers 27 Packers 21.
Atlanta -2.5: Seattle has received a lot of praise for their performance last week and their form over the last month of the season. Let’s look at some of these games: last week they got to play three quarters against and injured and immobile RG3; spanked the Rams, Bills, and Cardinals, two of which already fired their GM and head coach; beat San Francisco at home in the rain, after the Niners traveled all the way to New England to play the Patriots, then had to travel all the way back to play Seattle. Needless to say, Seattle has had some favorable match ups to get them to where they are now. I think Atlanta’s explosive offense make enough big plays to win this tilt in the dome, where the Falcons are pretty good. Falcons 28 Seahawks 21.
Houston +9.5: Trends don’t trend for too long, and new fads come along and get fatter, until another angle comes along and zooms in on your bets. In other words, I’m taking a road team to win along with the opposite of what happened in the regular season tilt. Even though the Texans got spanked in New England earlier in the year, I think they have the skill and game plan to win in the rematch. One: they can run the ball, control the game, and keep this game low scoring and close. Two: Houston’s defense has the talent and ability to round back into earlier season form, putting some pressure on the quarterback and creating game changing turnovers. Three: I really hate the Patriots. Four: Texans 27 Patriots 24.
Now, take your shots in the comments below!