The Patriots opened as 8.5- point favorites as they prepare to host the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. Again.
After going 2-6 through the first two weeks of the playoffs and predicting this line would be no higher than -6, I’m prepared to admit that I have no idea what is going on in the NFL right now. Up is down, left is right, dogs and cats are living together. And these two teams, who haven’t changed substantially in the past twelve months in which they have played two games decided by a total of four points, are suddenly a significant mismatch. I don’t get it.
One edge for the Pats is the fact that the Ravens haven’t really seen the feverish pace the New England offense has adopted in the last half of the season. Baltimore has seen the hurry-up, but the Patriots have pumped it full of steroids and Mountain Dew. Teams always think they have it figured out. Then when the bullets start flying, they are left wondering what the hell happened. The Ravens can whine about it ahead of time as much as they want, but stopping it is a whole ‘nother problem.
The Ravens are coming into the game healthy and motivated, and they don’t have nearly as many deficiencies on defense as the Texans last week. They’ve effectively complained about the officiating to the point that they are actually upset when they don’t get every ridiculous call in their favor (although they are still getting the lion’s share … just ask any fan in Denver). And the whole Ray Lewis story means they are going to continue to get every call imaginable. I’m not sure New England can overcome that disadvantage to win, let alone cover a two-score spread.
Nothing would make me happier than seeing the Patriots smear the Ravens and send a murderer to a premature retirement. But this week, I’m taking Baltimore to cover, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for taking the Ravens moneyline at +325.
Falcons (+4) vs. 49ers
Again, I don’t know where this line comes from. I understand that Colin Kaepernick spent 60 minutes repeatedly whipping the Green Bay defense in the face with his dick last week, but he’s not Moses. The 49ers offense averaged a little over 26 points per game in his 7 regular season starts, which is only slightly above average. They’ve given up about the same number of points when they’ve faced teams that boast an above-average offense. The Falcons are among the healthiest teams in the league, and they are playing in a stadium where they are 14-2 over the past two years in meaningful games. This should have been a pick ‘em, so I’ll take the points.
2012 Record ATS: 31-30
Record ATS since 2010: 102-95-4