Arizona rumbles into Tampa Bay in the most anticipated NFL match up of the century. And Rumpole says ….OK just kidding.
THE NEW ENGLAND CHEATERS PLAY THE DEFENDING SUPER BOWL CHAMPION INDIANAPOLIS COLTS.
The Champs versus the Cheaters.
The Champs are playing at home and are 5.5 to 6 point underdogs.
The Colts are getting no respect despite having arguably the best QB in the game (Manning) , the best WR in the game (Harrison) , the best number two WR in the game (Reggie Wayne) and one of the best pass catching TE’s in the game (Dallas Clark).
The Cheaters have arguably the best QB in the game (pretty boy Brady), the best WR in the game (Moss), the best number two WR in the game (Stallworth) and one of the best pass catching TE’s in the game (Watson).
The Cheaters have the highest ranked offense in the NFL, and the Colts have the second or third ranked offense depending on the stats you use.
That’s why Rumpole says Colts 6 - Cheaters 3. Bank on it.
No, seriously, there is some more you need to know before making a decision.
The Colts play what is called a Cover 2 offense. Tony Dungy got his start in football as a DB with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1979, and Coach Noll gave him his first coaching job in 1981. The old Steeler 4-3 cover two philosophy runs strong in Dungy (just as the Dark Side of the force runs strong in Coach Cheater). Cover 2 simply means the two safeties- Free Safety and Strong Safety - divide the deep part of the field in half, with each safety responsible for deep coverage on his half of the field.
The Cheaters will try and force the Colts to commit to a mismatch in coverage- having a safety cover TE Watson going deep or even better, flooding one side of the field and sending Moss in motion to try and get him single coverage with a safety. When that happens don’t expect pretty boy Brady to miss it too often.
When the Colts have the ball, they will be running Harrison deep and often, forcing the Cheaters to roll the safeties to help double Harrison- when that happens look for Manning to throw it to Reggie Wayne in single coverage. In the past the Cheaters have gambled with Ty Law working Harrison man on man, and shutting down the rest of the Colts weapons with double coverage. If the Cheaters can pull that off on Sunday, it’s going to be a long day for Peyton and his pals.
Here is the wildcard in all of this: make no mistake that Belichick built this team in the off season with one purpose in mind: to run score for score- TD for TD with the Colts. Recall that the Colts and the Cheaters had a shootout in last years AFC Championship, with the last team getting the ball scoring, which in last year’s case was the Colts. Cheater Bill had two choices- build up the defense to shut Manning down or build up the offense to run with the Colts. In this day and age where the offense has the advantage over the defense vis a vis the rules, Cheater Bill made the decision to run with the bulls and turn Brady loose.
So why aren’t we picking the Cheaters in a rout?
Two reasons: one- we really hate the Cheaters and we just don’t want to live in a world where they go 16-0; two- this is not the Super Bowl, and winning the Super Bowl is the goal. Call us crazy, but two years ago, during the Steelers 15-1 run, the Cheaters went to Pittsburgh in the regular season and were thoroughly whipped. Two months later the Cheaters returned to Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship game and were a different team, and embarrassed the Steelers at home. Did Cheater Bill (that evil genius of the dark side) hold something back in the regular season game to avoid giving the Steelers a look at all his weapons and to make them over confident in the playoffs? We wouldn’t put it past him. We reviewed some films of those two games and this much is clear- in game one the Cheaters played a basic offense and their defense in game one was entirely different then the defense in game two. In the first game they played a blitzing 4-3 and Roethlisberger picked them apart. In game two they played a cover two 3-4, and a nickel 2-4-5 and made Big Ben throw into coverage. The results speak for themselves. So will Cheater Bill be holding something back today in anticipation of another game in the playoffs against the Colts? In Cheater Bill’s mind, only the Colts stand between his team and another Super Bowl victory.
So here is the play today: the Colts are 5.5 to 6 point underdogs at home. Yet the money line is -110: meaning you have to bet 110 to win a 100. The money line is out of wack. Usually underdogs get favourable odds, something like +115, meaning you bet 100 to win 115. But in this game both teams are -110.
What does that tell you? It tells us that while the public loves the Cheaters (thus the books are forced to give the Colts points to get people to bet on them to even out the number of people betting on each team; remember that a books goal is to have an equal amount of money bet on each team, and the book scoops off 10% from the losing bets.) the books think this game is dead even. If both teams are -110, the books don’t want to give you money odds favoring the Colts which they should do with the Colts as an underdog.
That’s enough for us: we are contrarians. Whatever the public does, we do the opposite. Take the 5.5 or 6 points (since the pros believe it should be even with no points) and bet a few retainers on the Colts. Not a lot. Things could turn ugly fast for either team. But just enough to have some fun.
Rumpole Picks the Tampa Bay Bucs over the Cardinals.
Tampa -3.5 is one of our picks. We also like the Under 37 in Carolina at Tennessee, Green Bay +2.5 at KC, and yes, under 56 in NE at Colts.
And just for the record, CK should have picked the Steelers at home over the Ravens. The Ravens beat the Steelers silly twice last year and this is a different team looking for revenge. We may well add the Steelers as a Monday Night pick during Monday.
CK wrote us:
This is a very tough week to pick a winner. Of course, as your record shows, you are much better than me at doing this, and you might not think that it is such a hard week. At any rate, I have a hunch that this is the week that our contest will reach its end. I have narrowed my field down to three choices. The obvious choice for me (since I still have not used Pittsburgh) is Steelers over Ravens on Monday night, but I have a weird feeling about this game--it is a division match up between two teams that hate each other, and, while they definitely have offensive problems, the Raven still have a volatile defense. The game is too dicey for me. The second choice is Atlanta at home after a bye week against San Francisco, but I really don't trust Atlanta to do anything right, and I don't want to put my eight game winning streak on the Falcons shoulder/wings. The third choice is Kansas City off a bye week at home over Green Bay, and this is the game I like. I have watched Green Bay play a lot this year and can't believe that they have been able to win six games with no running game to speak of. Kansas City has an above-average defense, and with an extra week to prepare will have a good game plan ready, much as the Bears did when they played their arch-rival and beat them. Brett Favre has been relying on 8 yard cross route passes to move the Packers all year long, and it is going to catch up with him this week. Of course, maybe I am just tired of having to make a pick every week and am letting my irrational hatred for Favre and the Packers overwhelm my better judgment. Nevertheless, my pick is K.C. over Green Bay, and I can't wait to see what your pick will be. Whatever happens, it has been fun matching wits with the handicapping master of the RGJB.