Encrotchment, Divisional Playoff Round, with Eddie Gobbo

DiCaprio: The Oscar's Buffalo Bills

You Know I’m Your Hero

4-0 last week, my friends. 

Okay, 3-1.

I know! I was crazy to pick the Vikings.

Lost my shirt betting on.

Of course, in certain instances, it’s better to lose your shirt than your jacket.

R.I.P., Random Jacketless Old Guy. 1897-2016

No Law But J-Law

This is the toughest game for me to pick this week, but I have to go in chronological order, or else I get yelled at by Decibel. They think you’re not intelligent enough to jumble dates and times in your heads, unless it’s on an MDF leaflet.

I loved KC last week. They made good and rolled a Texans team that showed a great amount of heart this season, but ultimately fell short in the talent department when the chips fell. In last week’s instance, I was betting just as much against the Texans as I was on the Chiefs. I am always weary of playoff teams that win divisions by what I feel is process of elimination. I’ve never once felt the Texans were the best team in the AFC South this year. Their playoff berth was a gift from the Colts, who just couldn’t get their shit together all season.

The antithesis of this argument is the reason why I liked the Chiefs last week. They haven’t been given one gift all year. They fought through injury, most notably to their star player, Jamaal Charles.  Also, can you name a team in NFL history that ran off 10 straight wins to close the season and did NOT get a bye week, let alone win their division?

Insane!

That said, we have them going in to a skidding New England team, unhealthy, showing up at police stations half-naked, stoned out of their minds, and with a coach with a mysterious black eye.

No one knows how head Coach Bill Belichick got said black eye, but it wasn’t from forgetting to ask. When asked yesterday by one random female reporter, let’s call her April O’Neil, “How’s your eye and what happened to it?” Belichick responded, “Great.”

Reminds me of the one time someone asked me, “What’s up?” and I responded “Good.” Actually, come to think of it, that literally happens to me every week!

LISTEN TO THE FUCKING QUESTION BEFORE RESPONDING, EDDIE, YOU ASSHOLE!

Unlike me, we all know Belichick heard the question and was being his normal defiant self on the podium. Him and Jennifer Lawrence should team up for a buddy cop film, entitled Bad Cop/Bad Cop.

Put on sunglasses and walk slowly toward the camera for Mr. Russell, Mr. Belichick. 

Long story short, I don’t like it when the Patriots walk around with undisclosed mysterious injuries before big games. Last time that happened, Tom Brady was walking around in a walking boot before the Super Bowl.

But all in all, I look at two things in determining the outcome of this game:

The first is the coaching battle between Andy Reid and Bill Belichick. I often refer to Reid as the bizarro Belichick. He’s there mentally with Belichick, but simply has never properly had the personnel. This team is no exception, frankly.

The second is Alex Smith’s play. I noticed a horrific stat about Smith from last week that worries me greatly going in to this game: In a 30-0 win, Smith threw for 190 yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception. When was the last time you saw a QB winning by 30 points with these stats? Another dangerous Smith stat exists in receiver production. Out of those 190 yards he threw for last week, 128 of them went to Travis Kelce. The second highest was Jeremy Maclin (3 catches for 29 yards). This team simply can't rest on the production of Kelce. He’s a good player. Possibly a pseudo-great player. But he’s not a guy like Gronk, who can literally take over an entire game at will.

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the Patriots can literally take the defensive approach against them that every team takes: double-team the TE, shut him down, and make lackluster receivers beat you.

Wideout production and the D holding New England’s offense to under 20 points is what the Chiefs need to win. That’s the magic formula. Sadly, I don’t see the Chiefs maintaining this sweet spot for a win in this game.

Pick

Pats. Hotness usually comes with a few dark truths attached.

Rubix Ball

Okay, so is Aaron Rodgers engaged to whatshernuts or not? Asking for a friend.

By the way, we’re about a Packers loss this Sunday and an offseason away for these two being nonexistent nine months from now. They’re just too happy together to last. Believe it or not, that’s a thing.

Besides that, trust me, I’m not ripping on the Packers at all this week. They looked great in their win against the Skins on Sunday, especially in the second half. They got the all-important Eddie Lacy train rolling. Another nice thing to see was the Pack’s trademark ability work with a lead rear its head. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is known to roll the dice when playing with a lead. The Pack D sacked Kirk Cousins six times on Sunday. It’s not a coincidence that any game this year that the Pack had six or more sacks, they had multi-score leads in the second half. Basically, they don’t play conservative when they have a lead, which is a great quality to have. It’s playing to win, not playing to not lose. Lastly, and no disrespect to the Skins with this, but the Pack also summoned the ability to “Muscleball,” a term I coined. It basically means muscling around and beating a team that, all things considered, there’s no doubt you’re better than.

You like that term, right? This week, I also came up with the term “Weakball.” It’s a term I invented in order to troll Powerball culture. I was proud of myself for inventing said term, until my friend came up with, “Weakcube,” which is obviously WAY better than mine. That’s the end of that.

By the way, check out this clip of a clan of people running around like asses for 20 minutes thinking they won the Powerball jackpot. The numbers they read were wrong. They actually won nothing. 

I remember MY first scratch-off.

But the Arizona Cardinals are not a team the Pack can play Muscleball with. The Packers are actually the inferior team in this particular game; hence them listed as six-point underdogs .

Now, if you’re a gambler, six points is a lot. Almost too much considering an interesting fact: the Packers offensive line, which has been the weakness of the team over the last two months, will be sort of back to full strength. LT David Bakhtiari, a very underrated member of the squad, is returning in this game. 

Protection in a dome is a good idea. Remember that the next time you’re giving dome to someone and choose NOT to use protection.

On the other hand, I’m floored by the media’s anointing of the Cardinals as a Super Bowl favorite. I agree, they are playing outstanding football. They’ve won nine out of their last 10, and I’d argue that the final game of the season that they lost 'cause they really didn’t give a fuck.  

The proper motivation is there. Make no mistake about the 2015 Arizona Cardinals: This is a team bent on redemption. Carson Palmer career should have been a Hall of Fame QB at this point. Injuries and incomplete teams have deterred him from his destiny. Larry Fitzgerald, a Hall of Famer in his own right, is still stewing over a Super Bowl he had stolen from him in 2009. Fitzgerald, a loyalist, has stayed with his team through thick and thin, and they him. This may be his ultimate payoff.

All signs point to this being a really good game, especially since the Pack got blown out by this team a mere few weeks ago: A Once Bitten, Twice Shy mentality, if you will.

But there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the 2015-2016 Packers: They’re a one-step-forward, one-step-back team, that ultimately doesn’t have rocks they can lean on like previous years, including Rodgers.

Pick

A mistake-free game from Palmer. Huge game from Fitz. Pack gets rolled.

American Horror Story: Field Goal

If I asked you what the biggest controversy to come out of this past Sunday was, you’d probably say Blair Walsh’s missed chip-shot field goal to send the Vikings into round two of the playoffs. But you’d we wrong. It was actually Leo DiCaprio laughing at Lady Gaga when she went up her to accept her Golden Globe, by a hair.

Couple things I feel about Leo/Gaga incident:

1)   There’s history there that we're not privy to. They once had sex or, worst case, Lady Gaga threw herself and him and he denied her.

2)   The whole “I’m Italian, you're Italian” angle was played up by Gaga. I’m Italian (unfortunately), and I know other Italians (unfortunately). They’re always thinking they should be together. God, go back to the old country already!

3)   Lady Gaga will make a great Old Lady one day. No, not the Sons of Anarchy variety. I’m talking about an actual old lady. Look at her hair and velvet dress. Not to mention her half-mile-an-hour cautious walk, like she’s going to trip, and paranoid face. She reminds me of the mom from Requiem for a Dream.

Gaga won for her role on this year’s American Horror Story: Hotel, which was aptly named this year, by the way. That show's about a season away from ending, mark my words. Favorite AHS: Freak Show.

Speaking of American horror stories, again, Blair Walsh missed a chip shot keeping his team home this week, and giving the Seattle Seahawks new life in a season that should be over.

A bunch of first graders wrote condolence messages to Walsh upon the miss. Do said kids care about Blair Walsh? No. They’re doing it to spite their asshole parents who threw shade at Walsh the night before.

Don’t worry, kids: you’ll eventually become old and bitter assholes with a hostile sports outlook like your parents. You’ll take it out on all aspects of your life, including your family, which is appropriate considering they inadvertently raised you that way.

"I learned it from watching you. "

So once again, a Seattle Seahawks playoff game ended in dramatic fashion. That’s the third in a row, by my count.

Time to break said drama tradition this week against a very confident Carolina Panthers team, led by the surefire 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton. These two matched up back in October, and Seattle lost 27-23.

This game shouldn’t be much different, score-wise. I like Seattle to keep it close, and both teams to put up significant points. Greg Olsen is an x-factor in this game, much like he was the last time they played (110 yards receiving). He needs to be contained in a double team fashion the whole game or Seattle will lose easily. I believe they will contain Olsen, linger around, and possibly steal another road win. Seattle has to have a slow, methodical mentality in this one. They know that once this game is out of hand, they’re cooked.

It’s important to realize that with proven great teams, a spark is really all they need to go on autopilot and find ways to win in must-win games. Compare this Seattle team to the New York Giants of 2011.

Pick

Seattle PLUS points. Don’t know if they’ll squeeze it out, but they’ll definitely apply pressure. Time for a zit clip.

Wet Sweatshirt Contest

Last week, I said that Marvin Lewis couldn’t lose his job even if he lost against the Steelers. His team playing with a rookie backup QB made him untouchable. However, Lewis brought himself as close as he could to flame with the way his team closed their game on Saturday night.

It was almost symbolic that when Ben Roethlisberger was injured in the third quarter and pulled that the Cincy fans classlessly cheered. They essentially ushered in classless parade, ultimately costing them the game. Shout-out to Vontaze Burfict and Pac Man Jones, for going thug and thugger in the final two minutes, costing their team the game. But it’s cool, 'cause they’re badasses. Like Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson in Spring Breakers.  

Big Ben and Mike Tomlin pulled out yet another win, through thick and thin and a soggy sweatshirt (or wet shirt) that Tomlin refused to changed all game.

Started out a heather gray, ended a charcoal gray.

They travel to Denver this week for a Playoff game for the first time since Tebow-gate.

This one I think is a pretty easy call, with all due respect to the Steelers.

Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are listed as questionable (they will both play, but are banged up). The Steelers are going against a smart, top-three defense in football. This team is far more disciplined than the Bengals. I’d argue they’re the most disciplined team in football, actually.

The weakness of the Steelers is their secondary. Therein lies the key to how this game will unfold. The low score of the Cincy game is misleading and gives those who didn’t watch the game, and maybe the Steelers themselves, the illusion that the D rose to the occasion. They didn’t. They were playing against a rookie QB-led offense in a thunderstorm.

Denver will work that secondary on Sunday. Their defense will also contain the beat-up Pittsburgh offense enough to keep the game from turning in to a shootout.

Pick

The Last Dinosaur.

Random Thoughts

Eight Apparently Isn’t Enough

Five years ago, I heard Jets CB Antonio Cromartie (or Cro, as the cool kids call him) had fathered eight Children in the 26 years he’d been on the planet. Now, it worked for Dick Van Patten, but come on, Cro, it’s the '90s.

Since then, I’ve lost track of Cro’s kid escapades. Turns out he’s now married with two more children (10). He eventually realized this was out of control and had a vasectomy. This week, him and his wife announced that the vasectomy apparently didn’t work, and she’s pregnant with twins (11 and 12).

I’m speechless.
Actually, I’m not.

In the book It, by Stephen King, the character Richie gets a vasectomy, only to find out years later it was botched and he had been having sex for years with his girlfriend and never got her pregnant. We then find out that the evil spirit clown troubling Richie since childhood has made him and his friends impotent. Perhaps an encounter with a satanic clown spirit is what Cromartie needs? Or a reality show, which is actually in the works, from what I’m hearing.

Arch Enemy

And finally this week,

St. Louis: You now have your own Salman Rushdie.

You have your orders. Now get cracking.

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