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Championship Week

 

Volume VII, Week Divisional

January 19, 2006

2005 Results

      

Week

Year to Date

%

Ben's Picks

+26

1-3 45-42-6 52%
Ben's Power Rating (BPR)

2-0

60-61-6

50%

 

Over/Unders

2-2 33-43-1 43%
Teasers 2-1 72-19 79%
HD's v Opposite Turf 0-0 14-25-1 36%
The Rant

      

        It was a rude introduction to the Divisional Playoffs last week as my opening 5 selection went down, by ½ point, and it was an uphill climb to a 1-3 weekend. The lone winner was Carolina, going into the Windy City and declawing the Bears defense. Chicago had no answer for WR Steve Smith and by the time QB Rex Grossman shook off the rust, it was too late. The ½ point loss was by the Redskins +9½, hopefully some of you were able to take advantage of some +10’s that were out there, but I have to count this as a loss because the closing line at the Stardust was +9½ . The Skins missed a gimmie 30 yard field goal in the 4th quarter that was especially hard to swallow. Indy was a disappointing loser and there weren’t too many people out there that gave Pittsburgh any kind of chance at all. The Steelers went out front early, on the arm of “Big” Ben, then the Iron Curtain took over and made Manning look like “Little” Peyton. The Colts got every break in the book, from the officiating, to a last minute fumble by the ever reliable Jerome Bettis, and still couldn’t get it done. Talk about chokers, between Peyton Manning, Herm Edwards and Mike Vanderjagt you could take your pick for the Heimlick poster boy that’s hung up in every restaurant. If those guys couldn’t get it done there, will they ever? New England finally ended their Championship rein in Denver, as the Pats made an uncharacteristic 5 turnovers. The most glaring one was the interception thrown by Tom Brady that turned the game around. Champ Bailey returned it a 100 yards and I still say that ball should’ve have been a touchback for the Pats, not Denver ball at the 1. That was just one of the bad calls that game, there were several others, including a phantom interference call on the Pats in the end zone that catapulted the Broncos to their first TD. It was all very fishy if you ask me. The NFL even apologized for an overturned call on an interception by the Steelers. That call would have put the Colts one hoof into the grave, but mysteriously it did not count. Do you think the NFL would’ve admitted their mistake if the Colts went on to win the game? I don’t, that’s why it makes you wonder sometimes what the hell is going on out there. Is it football or wrestling?

        The BPR made a nice comeback last week going 2-0, with Denver and Pittsburgh coming out on top. I know my two selections went against the BPR, but the way it’s been going lately, it’s hard to have confidence in the numbers. The BPR is now 2-1 in this years playoffs and it looks as though there will be no selection this week, unless the lines move drastically. The O/U’s split going 2-2 and there were no HD’s v Opp-Turf. The Teasers finished the week at 2-1, Washington and Carolina covered and the Pats lost.

        It was very tough to make the selections this week. It seems as though these teams are fairly equal in talent and coaching, so it was hard to separate them. Hopefully we’re on the right side, but either way be conservative in your plays. These playoffs games are the toughest because the lines are right on. Everyone knows all there is to know about these teams so it’s hard to find an edge. Thanks and Good Luck, Ben

 

 
Potential BPR Plays

    Remember compare the BPR [Ben’s Power Rating] to the spread and if there’s a difference of 4 points or more, in your favor, then that’s a potential play. Below are the potential plays for this week; I have already added the 4 points. (Check individual game BPR's for any  line movements):

 

  • Pittsburgh +7.5 or greater
No Play
  • DENVER +1 or greater
No Play
  • Carolina +8 or greater
No Play
  • SEATTLE Even or +
No Play

Total = 

0 - 0
 

Closing Lines and Final Scores

 
Ben's Picks

All trends are ATS (Against The Spread) unless otherwise specified.

 

Sunday 3:00 EST

Winner - 4* Pittsburgh v DENVER --- The Steelers surprised everyone last week, with a convincing road win over the high flying Colts. Pittsburgh accomplished that feat on the carpet and with the refs making some dubious calls in the Colts favor. Big Ben came out throwing, building up an early lead, then handed the ball off the rest of the way. The defensive game plan was also inspired, getting in Manning’s face and forcing him to make quick decisions. The Colts didn’t have any answers and were lucky to only lose by 3. The Steelers have gotten to this point despite being the 6th seed in the playoffs and no team has won the Superbowl and 3 playoff road games. Pittsburgh is a defensive, run oriented team that is tailor made to play on the road, hence their 14-3 SU road record the last 2 years. Pittsburgh is 1-4 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in Championship games, all at Home. There is definitely a choke factor involved with Bill Cowher and Company, and they lost last year to the Pats in the Championship game, despite being 15-1 SU in the regular season. That 1-4 SU Home record in Championship games is a cause for concern, but look at it this way, the pressure is off the Steelers because they’re on the road and no one expected them to be here. Denver has been flying under the radar all year, but they are 14-3 SU and won a very tough AFC West Division going away. Last week Coach Shanahan sleighed his playoff demons, sans John Elway, with a win over the resilient Pats. The Broncos got that Win with the help of 5 uncharacteristic New England turnovers and despite being out gained 420 to 286 yards. Don’t forget the fact that the Refs gift wrapped several calls in the Broncos favor. It is also worth noting that the Broncos only netted 63 yards on 4 of their scoring drives. That is not the stuff of champions. I am also very leery of QB Jake Plummer, he has cut down his mistakes tremendously this year, but a leopard can’t change it’s spots, and I believe Jake will have a little trouble with the Pittsburgh pass rush. If Peyton Manning couldn’t handle it, what’s Jake going to do? I like the Pittsburgh Road Warriors plus the 3 points.

 

 

 

 

Sunday 6:30 EST

Loser - 4* Carolina v SEATTLE --- The Panthers made the vaunted Bears defense look like Swiss cheese last week, accumulating 29 points in the process. Carolina lost RB Deshaun Foster early with a broken ankle and obviously he will not play here. Third string RB Nick Goings stepped in to pick up the slack and the Bears had no answer for WR Steve Smith. Smith was all over the field and you would think a defense like the Bears would have a plan B, but that wasn’t the case. Carolina has also gotten here winning 2 road games, the first victory coming in a shutout win over the Giants. It is worth noting that the Giants and Seahawks have similar offenses and that the Giants barely lost to these Seahawks at this site. Carolina’s defense is solid from the front 4, to the Safeties and any team that wants to get by them will have their work cut out. The Panthers also have a conservative offense and Jake Delhomme does not make very many mistakes. It should be noted that this is basically the same team that gave the Pats all they could handle in the Superbowl 2 years ago. Last year they were decimated by injuries in the first half of the year, then finished the season 6-2 SU. The Panthers are also road warriors, going 8-2 SU on the road. Coach Fox has also proved his playoff metal with a 5-1 SU tally and he is an astounding 6-0 ATS in the postseason. The Seahawks took care of business versus the game Redskins last week. RB Shaun Alexander literally got knocked out of the game early, but the Seahawks didn’t miss a beat and slowly wore down the Redskins. Late word out of Java-ville is that Alexander will be ready to go here. Seattle is here due to their impressive 14-3 SU record, which includes going 8-0 SU at home. The Hawks are a good all around team, QB Matt Hasselbeck has finally grown into his role and Alexander posses a serious run threat, but the WR’s are still not Championship caliber. The Seattle defense was retooled this year, with some great results, but due to injury there have been 2 backups in the starting rotation at defensive back. Yes, the Seahawk numbers are impressive, but I can’t get over the fact that they have not played very many good teams and the ones that they did play gave them a hell of a time. They lost to Jacksonville and Washington, during the regular season, and barely got by the Giants and Cowboys at home. I think the Panthers are the better team and have been battle tested, the Seahawks make me nervous. Take Carolina plus the points in what should be a down to the wire decision.

 

 

Total = 1 - 1  for  0*
 
The O/U's

 

  • Pittsburgh v DENVER OVER
Winner
  • Carolina v SEATTLE UNDER
Loser

Total = 

1 - 1
 
Teasers

  (Teasers MUST include key numbers: 3, 6, 7, 10, 14, etc.)

 

  • Pittsburgh +10
No Play
  • Carolina +10
No Play

Total = 

0 - 0
 
HD's v Opp-Turf

 

  • None
 

Total = 

 
   
Championship Game Trends

(All tends ATS unless noted otherwise)

Home Teams 28-23-1, but 13-16-1

Home Teams 7-9 SU + 5-10-1 ATS

Better SU Record (Denver + Seattle) is 16-12-1

Teams off a 3 point Win (Pittsburgh) are 9-1-1

Teams that beat former Champs (Denver) are 0-8 SU + ATS

 

Closing Lines and Final Scores

 
The Skinny

Legend is available below.

 

NFL WEEK Championship

SUNDAY JANUARY 22, 2006

Potential BPR Plays in Bold

EST

Line

BPR

Play If

Notes – Trends ATS (Against The Spread)

Pittsburgh Steelers

3:00

41

 

+7.5

13-5 SU / 11-7 / 5-1 / 4-0 R / 9-7-2 O-U / 8-2 R SU + ATS / 3-1 O-U / 9-5 R Playoffs / 2-8 O-U R / 14-3 SU R / 24.5 PF – 16.3 PA / 36-19-4 R / 23-10-1 D / Cowher 1-4 SU Championship Games, 10-9 SU Playoffs , 8-9-1 Playoffs / Ben 23-3 SU + 18-8 ATS / 4th R game in 5 Weeks / B2B2B R / Defense allowed 1 100yd rusher all year / LB Harrison ?

Denver Broncos

3

-3.5

+1

14-3 SU / 12-4-1 / 10-7 O-U / 9-0 SU H / 5-1 H / 6-2-1 H / 0-4 O-U H / 4-1 SU v Pitt / 12-2 SU + 10-4 ATS H Playoffs/ 3-6 O-U H/ Shanahan 8-4 SU + 7-4-1 ATS Playoffs / 27.8 PF – 16.5 PA / 43-31-3 H / 11-4-1 F / Plummer cur down mistakes ? / 28th Red Zone Defense / OG Carswell OUT /

Carolina Panthers

6:30

43.5

 

+8

13-5 SU / 11-6-1 / 11-7 O-U / 8-2 SU R / 5-0 R / 3-7 O-U / 6-0 Playoffs / 20-3 D / 25-11 R / #3 Defense / 24.6 PF – 15.6 PA / 19-7 SU / Fox 5-1 SU – 6-0 ATS Playoffs / RB Foster OUT, DE Peppers ? /

Seattle Seahawks

4

-4

Even

14-3 SU / 10-6-1 / 11-5-1 O-U / 1-5 O-U H / 4-1 H / 7-2 H / 3-1 H playoffs / 25-35-1 F / 13-17-2 v Non-Div / 27.8 PF – 16.5 PA /Holmgren 10-8 SU + 9-4-5 Playoffs / Holmgren 1-3 SU + 2-1-1 P-offs w/ Seattle / #2 Offense and #28 Special Teams / RB Alexander ?, G Locklear Prob, WR Jackson-LB Lewis Prob /

 

2005 Final BPR Rankings

 1  Indy Colts

+6.7

17  Buffalo Bills

-0.2

 2  Chicago Bears

+6.5

18  Dallas Cowboys

-0.4

 3  Seattle Seahawks

+5.6

19  Miami Dolphins

-0.4

 4  Denver Broncos

+4.8

20  San Fran Niners

-0.4

 5  Carolina Panthers

+4.7

21  Detroit Lions

-1.9

 6  Pittsburgh Steelers

+4.4

22  Houston Texans

-2.1

 7  Jacksonville Jags

+3.0

23  St. Louis Rams

-2.2

 8  New York Giants

+3.0

24  Baltimore Ravens

-2.5

 9  San Diego Chargers

+2.6

25  New York Jets

-2.6

10  Cincy Bengals

+1.9

26  Cleveland Browns

-2.8

11  Wash. Redskins

+1.6

27  Philly Eagles

-3.0

12  Kansas City Chiefs

+0.8

28  Oakland Raiders

-3.3

13  New England Pats

+0.8

29  Green Bay Packers

-3.6

14  Tampa Bay Bucs

+0.5

30  Tennessee Titans

-5.0

15  Atlanta Falcons

+0.4

31  Arizona Cardinals

-5.7

16  Minnesota Vikings

  0.0

32  New Orleans Saints

-8.8

 

 

Information Purposes Only - Not Intended For Anyone Under 21 Years of Age

The Legend

ATS – Against Spread

aft - after

bfr - before

[BPR] - Ben’s Power Rating

B2B – Back To Back

BOUNCE – Opp. result

D – Dog

Def - defense

DDD – Double Digit Dog

DDF - Double Digit Favorite

DIV - Division

F – Favorite

L - Loss

SAND - Sandwich game

 

H – Home

HD – Home Dog

HF – Home Favorite

HOME TEAM – In Capitals

LW – Last Week

LY – Last Year

N-DIV - Non Division

O/U – Over /Under

OFF – Offense

R – Road

REV – Revenge

SU – Straight Up

V - Versus

W - Win