Ron Rosenbaum

Football picks

Wild Card weekend and I’m ready. Thank God for playoff football. I need something to take my mind off the real world. Love watching pro football, often watch–or have on–three games a weekend, plus one on Monday night, and playoff football is the best.

When I say I love it, I don’t mean I’m a “fan”, one of those people whose self esteem is bound up by what happens to the team that plays nearest his house. Fandom is for chumps if you ask me. I think people who really love the sport, or the televised realization thereof (Watching it on tv is for the true purist, going to a game you miss televised slo-mo replays and highlight reels) are not “we’re Number One!” type fans.

I don’t root for a team, I root for overtime, for drama, for great games, heroic comebacks, underdog surprizes, fantastic plays. I like to bet occasionally because it’s a test of my tv-gleaned knowledge. Over the past couple years I’ve been making small bets on playoff games with Gil Roth, proprietor of the estimable Virtual Memories blog.

But this year I’m not feeling strongly about the point spread on any of the games, i.e. I think the spread is wickedly on target in most cases which doesn’t leave many tempting betting opportunities. My weakness as a bettor is putting money on underdogs to beat the spread, and the way it looks to me on Wild Card weekend, the favorites will both win and beat the spread.

But, for what it’s worth, and at risk of major sports humiliation, here are my thoughts on the four games. The point spreads I’m quoting are from Saturday morning’s papers. Gil Roth and I agreed (I think) to put $25 down on whatever games we disagree on. Go to his blog to see what his thinking is and I’ll probably be back with rueful excuses after the weekend.

SATURDAY:

Kansas City at Indianapolis. Colts favored by 7. it’s shocking to read that Indiana has the NFL’s worst run-defense this season, but despite KC’s great running back, Larry Johnson, I just can’t see Peyton Manning not revved for a blowout to start the drive to the Superbowl he’s never won. TAKE THE COLTS MINUS 7.

Dallas at Seattle. Loved Parcells’ Faith Hill act last week. If his sheer rage alone could propel Dallas it would be no contest. But the Seahawks woulda/shoulda won last year’s Superbowl, if they hadn’t been robbed by refs’ phony holding calls, so they’ve got collective rage going for them. Plus the crowd and the ‘droid-like uniforms. TAKE THE SEAHAWKS MINUS 3.

SUNDAY:

Jets at New England. New York teams always break the hearts of their fans/bettors. Okay not always. But Tom Brady vs. Chad Pennington? Come on. TAKE NEW ENGLAND MINUS 8 1/2.

Giants at Philadelphia. Did I mention that New York teams…Right, I did. And it sure looks like Eli is no Peyton Manning. TAKE THE EAGLES MINUS SEVEN.

I’ve never done this before. Picked four favorites to cover the point spread. But every once in a while you have to try to be smart rather than sentimental.

Over to you, Gil.