Picking NFL, bowl games
December 28, 2006
Five weeks ago San Francisco was 5-5, and some people were talking about the 49ers possibly making the playoffs. But now at 6-9, San Francisco is back where it belongs, one of only 12 teams already eliminated.
You see, when a team is in the bottom third of the lowly NFC in both offense and defense like the Niners are, that team truly deserves to finish in the bottom third record-wise as well. In fact, if ex-USC quarterback Matt Leinart had not started his career in Arizona with four consecutive losses, the 49ers would be in their rightful home – last place in the worst division in football.
At least San Francisco can take solace in knowing that the team has improved. Last season the 49ers’ offense and defense both finished dead last in the entire NFL.
We’ll see what happens next year, but right now the “S” on the 49er helmets still stands for “sad,” “sorry,” etc.
When wagering this Sunday on the NFL, it will be important to know which teams have the most to gain by winning, and which teams have nothing to play for. Some will depend on the games being played this weekend.
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For instance, if the New York Giants lose Saturday, St. Louis, Carolina and Green Bay will all be playing meaningful games for the final NFC Wild Card spot. Atlanta needs help from those teams to make its effort in a 1:15 game against Philadelphia meaningful. If the Giants win, only Green Bay would also have a chance to grab the final spot, but it would then take a miraculous set of results for that to happen.
If Dallas beats Detroit, Philadelphia needs to beat Atlanta to win the NFC East. Chicago, New Orleans and Seattle have nothing to gain.
The NFL and its networks did a good job with the AFC contenders by juggling the schedule. San Diego, Baltimore and Indianapolis will all play meaningful afternoon games. New England cannot earn a playoff bye.
Finally, there are six teams battling for two AFC Wild Cards. Of those teams, only Denver could be possibly playing a meaningless afternoon game.
There are 17 college football bowl games from today until next Friday.
Bet on the teams that are more motivated and happy to be where they are at, play under better coaches, avoid key injuries and suspensions, have strong senior leadership, own offensive and defensive advantages over their opponents, come from stronger conferences, and have experienced recent bowl game success.
Music City: Clemson -10 points against Kentucky.
Sun: Missouri +4 and Over 53 points against Oregon State.
Liberty: Houston and South Carolina Over 56.
Champs Sports: Maryland Pick against Purdue.
Insight: Texas Tech -7 against Minnesota.
Meineke Car Care: Boston College and Navy Under 46.
Alamo: Texas -10 against Iowa.
Peach: Virginia Tech -3 and Under 37 1/2 against Georgia.
MPC Computers: Nevada +4 and Under 42 against Miami-Florida.
Cotton: Nebraska + 1 1/2 against Auburn.
Outback: Penn State +4 1/2 against Tennessee.
Capital One: Wisconsin and Arkansas Over 45.
Gator: West Virginia -11 against Georgia Tech.
Rose: Michigan +1 against USC.
Fiesta: Boise State and Oklahoma Under 51.
Orange: Wake Forest and Louisville Over 52.
Sugar: Notre Dame and LSU Over 56.
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