Monday, January 10, 2011

2010-2011 NFL Playoffs Round 1 Recap (sport, gambling)

Even though my picks against the spread didn't perform well (2-2 sides, 1-3 o/u), it felt like I did a good job describing how the games were going to go and what they would come down to. The running game certainly was the deciding factor in most of the games.

NO 36 SEA 41

Although I was one of the few who gave Seattle a live chance to win the game outright, I did not expect them to win in the manner that they did. I thought they would try to slow the game down, but instead they threw it over the top and scored on some big plays. The running game did matter, with Marshawn Lynch's magnificent run proving to be the difference, as well as the Saints' inability to convert a 3rd and inches. It was a fun game to watch and that Seattle crowd really brought it I thought.

NYJ 17 IND 16

The running game really came through here for the Jets, as both Tomlinson and Greene had more than 15 carries each, and Sanchez continues to underperform once it gets late into the season. Although there was less overall scoring than I had predicted, the game did play out the way I thought it would, with a back and forth struggle that came down to the wire. However, Peyton Manning had TWO chances and came up short on both. With less than 5 minutes to go, they had to settle for a 50 yard FG, which is really at the edge of Vinatieri's range. Then, even after getting the ball back, they couldn't sustain a drive enough to eat up the clock. Could it be that Peyton Manning is on the decline and we haven't been able to admit it yet? While his team was riddled with injuries, he did have his worst interception numbers and quarterback rating since 2002. He's 34, and has played in every game of his career. I doubt that he's going to be able to perform at such a high level for much longer.

BAL 30 KC 7

The writing was on the wall by halftime. Despite a long run for a TD off a turnover at midfield and a goal line stand, Kansas City still found themselves down at the half. So when Baltimore got the lead to double digits and the Chiefs felt they had to throw it, it became a blowout quick as Cassell threw three interceptions.

GB 21 PHI 16

This game lived up to the expectations of a McCarthy-Reid chess match. A back and forth game where neither team really felt like they were going for the win. There were a few interesting calls there in the 4th quarter. First was early in the 4th quarter, where Reid went for the FG down 11 instead of going for it on 4th and 1. The obvious excuse is that it cuts it down to one possession. But even if they managed to keep Green Bay from scoring again, which they did, they still need a 2 pt conversion to tie the game, and that's one play for two yards, as opposed to a play for one yard. Next was going for it on 4th and goal from the Green Bay 1 with 4 minutes left to play. This was a really close decision for me. I think if it was 3 yards or more, you have to kick it. My reasoning is that if you don't get points from this possession, the game is over. Green Bay can kill clock, take a safety, and still be up 2 possessions without giving up too much in field position. This was a situation where you needed to make it a one possession game because of how little time there was left. I'm also interested in the play calling in Green Bay's last possession. It seems normal to run it twice to kill clock, then see how far the third down is and decide to go for the kill or not. I just feel that there's a really good surprise factor in going for the throw on one of the first two downs, with bigger upside. Perhaps a team with a better short passing game like the Patriots would do something like that.

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