Polls and Picks

Here Comes Brian and the Bears

Before we get to our picks, there was some somewhat scary report coming from the Pew Research Center on Wednesday. Not even a third of Americans are following the Bush and wiretaps story, which is down right frightful. The President is pretty much illegally spying on Americans, and most Americans seem not to care. The question now becomes why this is the case more than anything else.

Less than one in five people are following the Abramoff corruption case and the Alito hearings, but that’s to be expected. The Abramoff story is really just beginning to break and until names are named, expect this to be some what of a back burner that will linger and then explode. The Alito hearings were pretty dull, he didn’t say anything off the wall… so he’s conservative, we get the point. That doesn’t make him wrong or a bad guy, just someone who’s conservative. Deal with it.

But what is scary is that 81% of Americans think that corruption between Congress and the lobbyist as common place. In other words people not only accept this as a fact of life, but they’re willing to live with it. Coming from Chicago, VFLOAB has seen this attitude. But at least Chicago works. At least the garbage is picked up, the parks clean, the hospitals are open, and the city looks ‘nice’ (schools could use a lot of improvement, but this is a national problem). It’s hard to say the same thing about the USA right now. There isn’t too much to get excited about in this country at the moment (shit, even our baseball team looks to be in bad shape come March).

But back to the wiretaps, it almost appears that people are willing to give up their rights, their freedoms in exchange for supposed security. As Bush said, "If somebody from Al Qaeda is calling you, we'd like to know why." Well sure of course, but that doesn’t allow anyone, including the President, to break the law. There are plenty of means of legally getting a wiretap, and there is no reason why this should be any different for the President or the executive branch.

Bush’s numbers are still pretty bad (under 40% still), and people rightly have no love or faith in Congress. What this all means… a lot more bad blood here in DC and across the country.

Moving on and so this doesn’t get too long, let’s just move to the picks, and this being the Divisional playoff round things are usually pretty easy… take the favorites. Just check out the last five years (home teams last).
Divisional Playoff: New Orleans Saints 16, Minnesota Vikings 34
Divisional Playoff: Philadelphia Eagles 10, New York Giants 20
Divisional Playoff: Miami Dolphins 0, Oakland Raiders 27
Divisional Playoff: Baltimore Ravens 24, Tennessee Titans 10

Divisional Playoff: Oakland Raiders 13, New England Patriots 16 (OT)
Divisional Playoff: Baltimore Ravens 10, Pittsburgh Steelers 27
Divisional Playoff: Philadelphia Eagles 33, Chicago Bears 19
Divisional Playoff: Green Bay Packers 17, St. Louis Rams 45

Divisional Playoff: Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Tennessee Titans 34 (OT)
Divisional Playoff: New York Jets 10, Oakland Raiders 30
Divisional Playoff: Atlanta Falcons 6, Philadelphia Eagles 20
Divisional Playoff: San Francisco 49ers 6, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31

Divisional Playoff: Tennessee Titans 14, New England Patriots 17
Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis Colts 38, Kansas City Chiefs 31
Divisional Playoff: Carolina Panthers 29, St. Louis Rams 23 (2OT)
Divisional Playoff: Green Bay Packers 17, Philadelphia Eagles 20 (OT)

Divisional Playoff: New York Jets 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 20 (OT)
Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis Colts 3, New England Patriots 20
Divisional Playoff: St. Louis Rams 17, Atlanta Falcons 47
Divisional Playoff: Minnesota Vikings 14, Philadelphia Eagles 27

2004: Home teams/Favorites were 3-1 (only the Steelers didn't cover)
2003: Home teams/Favorites were 0-4 (this will probably never happen again)
2002: Home teams/Favorites were 3-1 (Titans were giving 4)
2001: Home teams/Favorites were 2-1-1 (Bears were giving 3, Pats also)
2000: Don't have the lines in front of me, but I'm going to guess that
the favorites (aka, home teams) went 4-0.

Basically, the favorites will cover three of the four games. This is about as close as you can get to a guarantee. So find that one team that will cover... Three road teams have won, that's it. The road/Wild Card team is 3-17. And two of those wins were in 2003 when nothing made sense.

If you throw out 2003, only 3 games have been decided by less than 10 points (3 out of 16). Even if you include 2003 (maybe the greatest football weekend ever), it's still only 7 out of 20. In other words, these games are rarely close. So give the points.

SEAHAWKS (-9.5) over Redskins
I’ve enjoyed this week being in DC and all. In fact I was just outside and it seemed like every other male had some sort of Redskin gear on. The city just has a bounce in it’s step right now. And that’s always fun to be in a place that feeling good about itself.

But they’re going cross country to a damp Seattle and playing a team who’s had a week off. And it’s not like the Redskins looked so great last week that there’s reason to believe that they’ll be able to knock off the Seahawks. I know the Redskins think they can beat the Seahawks, but how many points do they have to score to win? At least four touchdowns right? I don’t see that happening.

I know Seattle hasn’t won a playoff game since 1984, but last I checked none of the guys who are on the Seahawks were with the team in 1984. But if that’s the reason why people are picking the ‘Skins, I’ve got bad news for them. It isn’t going to happen. The ‘Skins are a bit beat up and I can’t see them scoring more than 20 points. That’s not enough to win.

Vegas wants us to take the points, but I’ll let them keep the points, this game is probably over by 6pm est.

Seahawks 31, Redskins 13

Patriots (+3) over BRONCOS
You know, I could see the Pats getting beat by 10 points or something, but I’m not going against Brady and Belichick until they finally lose. And even if the Pats lose tomorrow, it’s going to be close game in all likelihood.

Here’s the thing though, if this game is close going into the 4th quarter, and it probably will be, the Patriots have Tom Brady. The Broncos have Jake Plummer. The difference between Jake Plummer and Tom Brady is like the difference between Abraham Lincoln and William McKinley.

I’m going with Abe.

Pats 31, Broncos 27

COLTS (-9.5) over Steelers
Again, Vegas wants you to take the points. I just can’t see the Steelers winning this game, in fact I can’t see them keeping this one that close. The Colts are on a mission, and the real test comes next week for them when either the Patriots or the Broncos come to Indy. Not to say they’re over looking the Steelers, but I just can’t see the Steelers being able to put up enough points to keep this game close enough to win. And this is probably the most uninteresting game this weekend. So let's move on.

Colts 35, Steelers 23

BEARS (-3) over Panthers
Oh no. I don’t like this feeling. It’s a feeling of anxiety and nervousness.

It’s something I haven’t felt since October. That’s right, when the White Sox were on their way to winning the World Series.

Not saying that the Bears are on a march towards Super Bowl victory, but it’s the first time I’ve actually felt something about this Bears team.

It’s been a weird year for me. As the Bears have gone though an almost magical season, I’ve followed enthusiastically, but without much feeling. The White Sox had wiped me out. They took pretty much all my emotion, fan dedication, and feeling out of me. I was so emotionally spent after the World Series, that the Bears and I were just going though the motions. And while I was able, from time to time, to muster some feeling during games; I couldn’t actually invest myself. I was that wiped out.

But then today, slowly but surely, I started to get worried. And I’m sure by game time I’m going to be pulling my hair out, pacing back and fourth, maybe even drinking heavily. And this is a good thing, let the roller coaster begin.

I can’t go against the Bears. Come on. The Panthers played too well last week. People are a little too high on them and expect to run the ball as well against the Bears as they did against the Giants (have we forgotten that the Giants started three line backers who shouldn’t be in the NFL?) The Bears are at home, they’ve had a week off, Soldier Field is going to be rocking, people believe in this team, and their D is so good and makes so many plays. And that’s going to be the difference. The Bears D makes at least one big play, racks up a few sacks, forces three turnovers, and they march to victory.

Bears 20, Panthers 6

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