Sides: 6-2 Note: This goes to 9-3 if you include my Dumpster Baby aborted College Bowl selections.
In the "Moneyball" world of sabermetrics they call it "Regression to the Mean" or for those who can't recall their 7th grade math it's the reason a 20 HR-a-year guy like Raul Ibanez can jack 34 at age 37 then go back down to 16 (in 61 more ABs mind you) the very next year. Of course, a couple shots of Miguel Tejada's special "B-12" may have helped, but that's neither here nor there. As Dusty Rhodes once felt the need to remind Georgia Championship Wrestling fans, "there ain't a stee-roid runnin' through this body" (though it couldn't have hurt in trying to reduce that giant goiter on his stomach) and I similiarly am drug free- at least as far as the NJ Department of Education is concerned. That means I'm subject to the same "regression" that old Raul suffered in 2010 or in other words it may be time to jump on my Totals predictions and go against the Sides. You be the judge, but as always remember when you're daughter asks why she has to go to Community College don't curse my name and point to the Island of Curacao on a map.
First let me say I'm getting a little tired of this "J-E-T-S" chant that's filling every watering hole in the tri-state area. If I want to be subjected to an Elementary spelling competition I'll turn on the Game Show Network and watch a plastic-faced Chuck Woolery and that big titted, too hot for porn, too skanky for Soap Operas bimbo host Lingo!. If you want a team cheer at least come up with something witty like the University of Texas cheer squad did when they used to play Rice University every year in the old "if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" Southwest Conference:
Texas Cheerleaders: "What comes out of a Chinaman's ass?"
Longhorn Fans: "Rice! Rice! Rice!"
Now that's a cheer. Nonetheless let's get to the real issue here- how will this game play out?
As we mentioned before Rex Ryan is one of the cockiest coaches around which should come as no surprise considering he was hired by an owner named Woody Johnson (that's irony Alanis Morrisette, not a fly in your soup, that's just unfortunate). Confidence, brashness the ability to motivate a team to play beyond it's ability are great qualities in a coach, but attitude and pep talks can only take you so far past your talent level. So is today the day Rex's cockiness gets Lorena Bobbitt-ed? Sadly we think so (sorry Brian).
Mike Tomlin may not be as colorful as the "John Kruk of the Toe Suck", but he can also coach up some D. In their November meeting the Steelers held the Jets to 276 total yards, outgained them by over 100 yards and that was without difference-maker Troy Polamalu who will play today. Additionally the Jets were not exactly Hawk and Animal (that's Road Warriors, I'm on a 1980's wrestling jag today) in the second half of the year. They should have lost back-to-back away games at lowly Cleveland and Detroit, then were demolished at New England. They righted the ship somewhat with the win in Pitt, but then were gashed for 38 points and three 25+ yard TD passes in the third quarter alone at Chicago.
And that last point may be critical. The Bears have vertical threats in Johnny Knox and Devin Hester who hauled in those three TDs. The Colts "field stretcher" Pierre Garcon went for 117 yards in the Wild Card round, but the Patriots had no such option beyond the Methusalean Deion Branch. Pittsburgh, conversely, sports the perfect complement to cause trouble for the Jets in possesion man Hines Ward and full blown deep threat Mike Wallace. Add this to the fact that I'd much rather support Ben Roethlisberger than ride the Mark Sanchez rollercoaster (62.4 QB Rate vs. Ind., 127.3 vs. N.E.) in a big game. If the Steelers somewhat makeshift OL can play Viagra and keep Big Ben reasonably erect we like their chances against a Jet team that may have peaked for their Patriots grudge match. We'll call it STEELERS and UNDER-follow at your own risk.
Green Bay -3.5/42.5
In the Bizarro Universe that is the parity of the NFL we have here a #6 seed on the road vs. a #2 and giving more than a FG. This is solely because the sports world at large has finally "discovered" Aaron Rodgers which creates a multi-dimensional dilemma in our thinking. Having had Rodgers on our Fantasy teams the last two years we adore him with the kind of love that's usually reserved for Rectories after Altar Boy practice. Still we hate to jump on a bandwagon because they tend to overturn with the fat, zit-faced tuba player usually landing right on top of us- metaphorically speaking. We would also love the under in Lock of the Year fashion if it weren't for that 10-3 game that might have the public leaning that way today.
So to hell with it all. Like John Prine's protagonist in "Often is a Word I Seldom Use", I literally am "cold and tired and can't stop coughing" (damn those mucus-addled students) so I'm gonna say PACKERS and UNDER hoping that Vegas will balance the books and the aforementioned regression will rear its ugly head after the Over went 4-0 in last week's contests. Eat, drink and be nauseous- Enjoy the games!