Mythical Picks – NFL – Weekend of 2/3/13

Back in the mid-1960s when I was a youngster – and mastodons still roamed the Earth – Chad and Jeremy had a hit record entitled A Summer Song. The refrain from that song went like this:

“They say that all good things must end someday
Autumn leaves must fall
But don’t you know that it hurts me so
To say goodbye to you
Wish you didn’t have to go
No, no, no, no…”

That is sort of the way I feel about Mythical Picks which has been an end-of-the-week event for me ever since we returned from our narrowboat adventure back around Labor Day. This is the last one – until next Fall…

Here is the rundown on the Mythical Picks from two weeks ago in the Conference Championship Games:

    I liked the Niners -4 over the Falcons. The game was a Push.

    I liked the Ravens +8 against the Pats. Ravens won outright. Yes!

    I liked Ravens/Pats Over 51. The game went Under. Boo!

Therefore, two weeks ago was a mythically unprofitable weekend with a record of 1-1-1. Despite that mediocre showing, Mythical Picks remains in the mythically profitable realm for the season with a cumulative record of 140-116-8.

Notwithstanding a profitable record from Labor Day forward, one would need to be outstandingly stupid to take anything here as sufficiently insightful such that one would use it as even a small part of one’s decision making process regarding how one is going to wager on the Super Bowl game this weekend. Here is what I would have to say to someone who did anything like that:

    If you spoke your mind, you would be mistaken for Marcel Marceau.

General Comments:

The Falcons practiced choking a playoff game away against the Seahawks three weeks ago but did not quite do it thoroughly. Against the Niners two weeks ago, they got it completely right.

Please note – and give me a small measure of credit for ignoring the Pro Bowl game and any of the wagering opportunities that it provided. The game was – as usual – a farce. Here is how Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald summarized the Pro Bowl Game:

“In the NFL Pro Bowl, the NFC defeated the AFC 62-35. I felt like I tuned in to the Pro Bowl and an Arena League all-star game broke out.”

I want it noted for the record that I went the entire two-week span that runs up to the Super Bowl without commenting on any of the Super Bowl “news items”. I said on the day after the conference championship games that I was already tired of the “Harbaugh-bowl” hoopla and the fact that Ray Lewis asserts that this is his final game of pro football. Trust me; nothing that has happened in the last two weeks has changed my mind about either topic…

Moreover, I am not alone feeling this way. Here is what Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune had to say about these two storylines:

“Raise your hand if you believe the Harbaugh family storyline has been exhausted. I believe we’ve heard from Mom and Pop Harbaugh, the brothers and the sister. Unless Manti Te’o proclaims he is now going steady with an imaginary Harbaugh sibling, I think that’s it.

“Moving right along, raise your hand if you’ve also had enough of the “Ray Lewis’ Last Game” storyline. Great player. Maybe the best of all time at his position. But I’m done with the idolatry and especially listening to the scriptural adoration from a man who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a double-murder.”

Syndicated columnist, Norman Chad’s view of the Harbaugh family story line was also interesting:

“Sure, brothers coaching in the Super Bowl is a big deal, but everyone is overlooking the once-in-a-lifetime general manager angle. When Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome played with the Browns in the late 1980s, Marty Schottenheimer was the coach. When 49ers GM Trent Baalke was a scout for the Redskins in 2001, Marty Schottenheimer was the coach. This is the first time that two general managers who once worked for Schottenheimer have met in a Super Bowl. Wow.”

Here is the first of two Super Bowl Trivia Questions that I have for you here. Answers are below so there is no need for Googling…

    Mike Clark and Jim Turner share a Super Bowl record that CANNOT be broken this weekend. What is it?

Here are three quotes from folks in the past about the intense focus on the Super Bowl Game:

“Losing the Super Bowl is worse than death. You have to get up the next morning.” [George Allen]

“Usually the team that scores the most points is going to win it.” [John Madden on game planning for a Super Bowl game.]

“If it’s the ultimate game, how come they are playing it again next year?” [Duane Thomas]

OK, here is the second of your two Super Bowl Trivia Questions:

    Name the three defensive linemen who have been named Super Bowl MVPs.

Did you know that more food is consumed in the US on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the calendar year except for Thanksgiving? That is just fine, but what I would like to see is some hard data on the surge in water flow in the metropolitan sewer systems in the first minute after the halftime whistle blows in the Super Bowl game…

I do want to take a moment here to make a comment about Tim Brown’s remark earlier this week suggesting that Raiders’ coach Bill Callahan “sabotaged” the Super Bowl game ten years ago against the Bucs because Callahan was good friends with Jon Gruden who was the coach of the Bucs. Fundamentally, I do not believe that. However, if one is prone to take conspiracy theories of that type seriously, imagine the degree so scrutiny that this Sunday’s game will command. After all, no matter which coach/team wins, there is clearly the sub rosa plot out there to “sabotage” the game in favor of your brother. Tim Brown’s head may explode by Monday morning…

It is now Super Bowl Trivia Answer time:

    Jim Turner and Mike Clark hold the record for the shortest field goals in Super Bowl history. Each kicked a 9-yard field goal. With the goalposts now at the back of the end zone, it is not possible to kick a 9-yard field goal – let alone a shorter field goal.

    Randy White and Harvey Martin of the Cowboys were co-MVPs of the Super Bowl and Richard Dent of the Bears was also named Super Bowl MVP.

The player I will be watching most intently and analytically in Sunday’s game will be Colin Kaepernick and it will have nothing to do with any wagering interest or adulation factor. People have talked in recent years about how Michael Vick was going to “change the quarterback position”; in this season we saw two mobile rookie quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, have very high levels of success very early in their careers. However, Kaepernick looks different to me. He looks like what Griffin and Wilson might become when they grow up; he looks like Michael Vick except he can do everything Vick does just a little bit better than Vick can or could. Can Kaepernick win the “ultimate game” against a competent and motivated opponent? That is what I want to learn by watching him on Sunday…

Meanwhile, syndicated columnist, Norman Chad, provided this reason to keep a close eye on Ravens’ QB, Joe Flacco in the game:

“Let’s take a moment to celebrate the oft-maligned Joe Flacco. The Ravens quarterback has won a playoff game in all five of his NFL years, he has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions in this postseason and he just beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on successive win-or-go-home weekends, which is like out-acting Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in back-to-back mob films.”

Before I get to making my mythical picks for the game, consider these words from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“Perspective, please:

“A 30-second ad during this year’s Super Bowl will cost $4 million — or roughly the payroll of five WNBA teams.”

The Game:

(Sun 6:30 PM EST) Baltimore vs. SF – 3.5 (47): The spread opened at 5 points and has been dropping slowly for the last two weeks. The Totals Line opened at 49.5 points and settled in at this level about 10 days ago. The most common money lines for this game are:

    Niners – 175
    Ravens +160

The LVH says that 60% of its action this weekend is likely to come from proposition bets on the Super Bowl and LVH has three hundred of them. I will not even try to list all of them but there are a few that are interesting as mental exercises if not as wagering opportunities.

    Will both teams make 33-yard or longer field goals?

      Yes +155
      No -175

    Total Interceptions by both teams?

      Over 1.5 +105
      Under 1.5 – 125

Now if you want absolutely arcane prop bets just consider this one – and there are more than a dozen like it:

    Who will have more (points by Big East basketball teams playing that day) – 45.5
    Ravens total Net Yards on Offense +45.5

    (By the way, the Big East teams in action on Sunday are Louisville, Marquette, Providence, Villanova, UConn and USF.)

For those who are interested, here is a link where you can see all of the LVH prop bets for this year.

The comeback win by the Niners last week in Atlanta was most impressive. When a team trails the #1 seed in the conference by 17 points, that team is not likely to come back and win the game – which is exactly what the Niners did. One difference between last week and this week is that the Niners were able to run the ball efficiently and effectively when they needed to and that established the fact that the Falcons had to commit to stopping the run giving Colin Kaepernick the opportunity to average 11 yards per pass attempt for the game. I doubt that will happen this week because I think the Ravens defensive front will make the Niners struggle to run the ball as well as they did against the Falcons two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Joe Flacco’s performance against the Patriots was otherworldly. Every time the Ravens needed a play to put themselves in a short yardage position on third down or needed a play to make a first down, Flacco made the throw. I doubt that will happen this week because I think the Niners’ defense is a better unit than the Pats’ defense is.

I just do not see this coming down to a close game. I think the team that wins on Sunday will win comfortably and so I do not see the 3.5-point spread coming into play much at all. I think that the Niners are the better team overall – but I thought the Broncos and the Pats were the better teams overall against the Ravens in the last two games; yet, the Ravens prevailed. The two offenses are pretty evenly matched; the Niners defense holds a significant statistical edge in terms of yards allowed but those numbers are skewed to a degree by the fact that the Ravens defense had some brutally ugly games earlier in this season. The Ravens have not thrown in a defensive clunker in six weeks.

If you like the Ravens, I would suggest taking them on the money line at +160; that is a generous number.

I like the Niners in this game to win and cover.

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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Comments

  • rugger9  On February 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    The other thing about the fortnight is that it provides a longer opportunity to say stupid things, stuff like what SF CB Culliton said to a shock jock for ratings. To his credit he backed off, we’ll see if it’s an epiphany. It’s something my kids have known for a long time on their own: “tough guy” doesn’t necessarily mean “straight”.

    Randy Moss’ claim to be the greatest is rather stupid, and Jerry Rice showed a remarkable amount of restraint in needling Moss about it. Back when he was playing JR exploded when Michael Irvin’s name was being tossed about as the best in the NFL, maybe he’s mellowed with age. The point is that “greatest ever” isn’t about press clippings or the perceived skill set, something quie familiar to NFL busts over the years like Mandarich, Bosworth, Leaf, etc. It’s about what you actually did on the field with the opportunities you had. I’d rate John Taylor of the Niners ahead of Moss on that score.

    Ray Rice reminded the Niners about the heretofore missing bulletin board material with his comments about the Niner linebacker crew. Abraham Lincoln made the cogent observation that the hen is the wisest of all animals, because she cackles AFTER the egg is laid. In my experience, waging the war on the field silently and anonymously is the best plan, save the bragging for after the game. When players are pissed off they get more motivated and a lot better than you expect. Good luck, Ray, you’ll need it with the bullseye you’ll wear on Sunday. It’s not just Willis you need to watch for, either.

    Go Niners.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      rugger9:

      I plan to write about the anti-gay reamrks and the Randy Moss remarks on Monday or Tuesday after the game. I do not think they added much to the ramping up to the Super Bowl but they do merit some discussion next week once the game is over and folks have begun the decompression process.

      • rugger9  On February 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

        There was a piece on the local radio about the official betting stuff between the cities, it’s not just for mayors anymore. Even the zookeepers are getting into it, as are the librarians and the symphony. SF’s harpist demonstrated Kaepernicking and Baltimore’s symphony did a Twitter video. It might be worth a column, maybe Mr. Collier has some more insight.

  • Ed  On February 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    >“Perspective, please:

    “A 30-second ad during this year’s Super Bowl will cost $4 million — or roughly the payroll of five WNBA teams.”

    Here you go – that 30 second copmmercial will draw more eyeballs than the next 5 WNBA SEASONS….

    I hope when you address the gay remarks, you note how the initial remark sounded like a 17 year old who just flunked out of 6th grade, and the apology sounded like the Harvard valedictorian….

    Marceau… what I remember most about him was his one speaking movie role – the one speaking role in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie….

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      Ed:

      Like every athlete/celebrity/politician of today, when forced to apologize for something stupid, the apology is written by wordsmiths and then it is offered to the public via the mouth of the person who did something for which an apology is necessary. this situation was no different from hundreds of other similar circumstances.

  • Rich  On February 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Only one word was spoken by M. Marceau in that movie, Ed. Will you tell us what it was?

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On February 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm

      Rich:

      I am not a movie fan – - but I love Mel Brooks. The movie was Silent Movie where no one had a speaking role but Marcel Marceau had a line.
      When asked if he would be willing to be in a silent movie, his answer was, NO!”

  • Ed  On February 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    ..and, asked what he said, Mel told his buddies “I don’t know, I don’t speak French”

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