Saturday, January 15, 2011

In the Less Quotable Games...

Just because NFL playoff forecasting is a futile exercise when I do it is not enough reason for me to stop doing it.

Choosing between the Ravens and Steelers is a particularly futile exercise, as there are years of evidence indicating that the difference between the two teams in any given day depends on biorhythms, astrology, or particularly whimsical decisions of the pagan Gods of the ancient Greeks and/or Norsemen.

Howsomever, today's game is at Pittsburgh, and in an otherwise excellent season, the Steelers have been more than a trifle soft at their home field, where they lost to the Patriots, the Jets, and more to the point, the Ravens. This minor tendency is enough to lead me to believe the Ravens will prevail. This means that for WEEI and 98.5, exit Antonio Cromartie, enter Terrell Suggs.

More prognosticators who unlike me are getting paid for football opinions are choosing the Packers over the Falcons. Why? Well, many of them picked the Packers to make the Super Bowl before the season began, so they're striving for consistency and intellectual honesty. Or, for those of you who prefer an explanation more grounded in our own space-time continuum, experts are picking the Packers because of the "we saw them win the wild card, so we expect them to keep winning" fallacy, and because, frankly, few football followers have paid much attention to the Falcons this year.

I'm no exception, but I do note that every time I DID bother to catch some of an Atlanta game, they won it. One of them, if I recall correctly, was against the Packers. So I'll go with that memory.

The Seahawks won't beat the Bears. I wish they would, as the idea of a sub-.500 NFL champion should appeal to all sports fans with a taste for the ridiculous, and because it would give me much pleasure to hear Boston sports commentators be forced to admit Pete Carroll knows what he's doing. But after the wheel comes up on double zero once, it seldom does so on the next spin.

Still, the chance of Jay Cutler morphing into his evil, make that incompetent, twin in his very first playoff game is not negligible. And for those motivated by the love of money, double-digit playoff point spreads are an excellent reason to avoid betting the favorite.


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