MARLBORO, NY – This sleepy little corner in Southeastern Ulster County will see up to a foot of snow today, so I’ll be liver-deep in bourbon, watching movies, hockey and yes, the NFC and AFC Championship games. Picking these games isn’t as easy as my bourbon choices (McKenna 10 y.o. bottled in bond and Maker’s 46) but I’ll take a shot in providing a valid argument for this week’s Cheesy Bruin’s FREE NFL Picks, News and Nuggets.
Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints, 3:05 p.m.
There’s much information for me to sink my false teeth into on this rematch of Super Bowl hopefuls. In big games you like to measure the QB/Head Coach comparison first and foremost. The Drew Brees/Sean Payton Project gets a slight nod on experience alone over Sean McVay/Jared Goff. Brees/Payton has been there, done that and the game won’t be bigger than the duo as opposed to how the Rams pair handles the preparation, game, and moment.
The Saints have been sitting in Nawlins since after their December 17th road game. If you don’t think this means anything think again. Athletes like mere mortals are creatures of habit–we like routine and the Saints haven’t been interrupted in the every day the way the Rams have. The Super Dome will be rocking. And there’s the bad taste of last year’s Minneapolis Miracle still on the palate of the Saints for extra motivation.
Consider also Angry Ward alerting us early this week about the Rams owning the worst Championship game record. The Saints are due for a home point-spread victory after dropping three straight to the Las Vegas number. The Rams are 0-2-1 in games with a point-spread three points or fewer. They played the bully well this year but cowered a bit when moving up in class. Oddsmakers have adjusted the spread after the last time these teams met. Back then, the Rams entered New Orleans as two-point favorites and left with a ten-point loss. Today, they’ll enter as field goal underdogs based upon home field advantage and that straight up loss.
LOCK OF THE DAY ALERT! The Pick: NEW ORLEANS -3 over Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs, 6:40 p.m.
I get the feeling that Bill Belichik will approach this game much the same way he did as defensive coordinator when the Giants beat the Bills in the Norwood wide right Super Bowl. If you remember he let the Bills and Thurman Thomas run the ball and thus slowed down the Jim Kelly K-Gun Offense while Otis Anderson was able to chew up clock running the ball themselves. (Click for Jim Kelly cancer update). While the recipe sounds simple it’s easier said than done against this troupe of Kansas City Chiefs skill position players. I’m not so sure who wins this game–it really is a toss up since the Pats were 3-5 on the road this year and Kay Cee 8-1 at Arrowhead. It was a field goal game the first time and might well be again which is why I’m leaning toward a selection on the over/under.
Here’s what has me thinking a play on the total is the way to go. The Pats are 6-11 to the under so far as they have found the running legs of Sony Michel and short dump off passes to James White. This incarnation of the Patriots truly is a move the sticks offense and I can see The Hoodie slowing the game down to further facilitate a chance of winning the game. New England was 2-5 to the under when the total was better than 50 points (it’s 56 points today and down from 59.5 when they played early this season).
This will be close to the number so tread lightly. The Pick: New England/KANSAS CITY UNDER 56.
That’s it. Leave your two bits below and come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who is tired of being confused with Buddy Ebsen (click for cool facts).