Now I know what some of you are thinking. “Alex, sure you went 3-1 last weekend but the game you lost was your Best Bet of the weekend. Doesn’t that make going 3-1 a little less impressive?” Great question. My answer: Hell No.
Not exactly the phrase you want to hear from the guy making your gambling predictions but…..I’m torn here. I feel like this matchup can end in every way possible. I think Kansas City could win close or I think New England could win close. I could see New England blowing out Kansas City by double digits and I could see Kansas City doing the same thing to New England. I don’t think any outcome is out of play in this game. So when in doubt, take the points.
I feel like this is an 8 to 10 point spread if New England is healthy but that is not the case here. In their last two games of the season, which were both meaningful to the Patriots for playoff seeding, New England lost to both the Jets and the Dolphins while putting up a combined total of 30 points. Fifteen points per game is not a lot of points when you need to give 5 on the point spread. Now, could Tom Brady and the rest of the offense regain their groove and suddenly become an offensive juggernaut again? Absolutely, we just saw Aaron Rodgers and the Packers do that exact same thing last weekend. Although in between me starting to write this blog and ending it news came out about Gronkowski having to get treatment at a hospital for his knee. Sounds like he's playing but that's another red flag. Ultimately however, I just don’t feel confident giving 5 points with New England against a quality opponent. And I’m going to call Kansas City a quality opponent….but just barely.
New England 20, Kansas City 17
Full disclosure here, I was really hoping the line would be under a touchdown. I was hoping after Green Bay’s impressive win last weekend and with the Cardinals not being nearly as big of a “public” team as the Packers that this line might slide down to the 5-6.5 range. But Vegas is smart man. Oh well. I’m still going to go with Arizona here.
Arizona 30, Green Bay 16
TWO POINTS????? What the heck am I missing here? When I was predicting what this line would be I was thinking it could be anywhere from 5.5 to 8.5 points. Never did I think it would fall below a field goal. I'm even seeing some lines as low as 1 and 1.5. I'm shocked. Isn’t Carolina pretty good? Hasn’t Seattle underachieved most of the season? Isn’t Seattle a choke-job kick away from getting ready for the Pro Bowl instead of the Divisional Round? Isn’t this game being played at Carolina? Doesn’t Carolina have the MVP of the league at QB this year? Seriously, what am I missing here?
Carolina 24, Seattle 14
I got a lot of compliments last week (zero) about my Seattle/Minnesota/Sheaums/Tyler Breeze analogy last week so I thought I’d pull out another wrestling analogy this week. Here it is: Peyton Manning 2015 is the Ric Flair of 2008. This was one of my favorite long-term wrestling angles. Here’s a recap with Peyton’s comparison in parenthesis.
- Ric Flair, the long-time legend and 16-time World Champion, is back on his own for one last run once Evolution breaks up. (Peyton, long-time Colts legend and 4-time MVP, signs with the Broncos for the 2012 season for one last run once the Colts release him after injury)
- Flair has some initial success early in his return winning the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships, as well as being the Lone Survivor on a Survivor Series team. (Peyton has some early success in Denver by winning his 5th MVP and taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl, as well as setting the NFL all-time passing yards and touchdowns records)
- Flair then gets “injured” by the Great Khali and is forced to take some time off. Some “rumors” start to circulate that Flair is going to retire. (Peyton gets injured in Week 10 of the 2015 season and is out the next 6 games with plantar fasciitis. The media begins to speculate that it could be the last game Manning ever plays.)
- Ric returns to Monday Night RAW. It’s teased that he has returned to announce his retirement. Flair gets in the ring and declares that he will NEVER retire. (Peyton comes back from his injury in Week 17. Listed as a backup, Brock Osweiler starts the game but is benched for Manning. Manning leads the Broncos to the win and clinches the 1 seed in the playoffs.)
- Vince McMahon comes out to the ring after Flair announces his Never-Retirement and states that the next match Flair loses will be his last as McMahon would force Flair to retire. (Now in the playoffs, any loss that Peyton has will mean the end of the Broncos season. With retirement a possibility in the offseason for Manning, his next loss could be his last).
- Flair picks up the huge wins and big upsets during his streak defeating the likes of Randy Orton, Triple H, Umaga, Vince McMahon, and many others. It all culminates in a WrestleMania match against Shawn Michaels, where Ric Flair finally loses in one of my favorite matches of all time and is forced to retire at the grandest stage of them all. (Peyton……….)
I mean, that’s a storybook journey folks. Which means Peyton and the Broncos aren’t losing this week. From the time I started writing this blog to the time I ended it the Pittsburgh-Denver line jumped from 7 to 7.5 which is VERY significant. But still, you don’t bet against Ric Flair and I’m not about to bet against Peyton Manning. Saddle up for one last ride Peyton and let’s make it magical. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Denver 27, Pittsburgh 17