by Mr. Brutal, Special to Buffalo Sports Page

Every year, Bob Gaughan & Mr. Brutal engage in a cross border competition of picking each week’s NFL games against each other with unknown, yet very high stakes on the line for the year end.

 

………… Saturday, January 5, 2018 ……………..

……….. AFC Wild Card Playoff ………………..

……… 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time ………..

Indianapolis Colts @ HOUSTON TEXANS (-1.5) 48.5

All year we marveled at the Colts and Andrew Luck’s progress. QB Luck had a long road to this comeback. He went from throwing Nerf balls in his living room for almost two years to fifty yard bombs to WR T.Y. Hilton before October ended. Most impressive has been the improvement of the Indianapolis offensive line that is now ranked in the top three in the NFL.

This is the rubber match between divisional rivals who each beat the other by a field goal this season. However, the Colts lost at home when head coach Frank Reich went for two points on a conversion instead of playing for the tie. Houston has had a great season behind QB DeShaun Watson and their all star defensive line, but we think Luck and the Colts will find away to pull off a victory over the “Dead Cow Heads.”

Mr. Brutal: Colts +1.5
Bob: Colts +1.5

 

…….. NFC Wild Card Playoff …………….

……… 8:15 pm Eastern Standard Time ………

Seattle Seahawks @ DALLAS COWBOYS (-2) 43.5

Dallas surprised us last week by playing their starters till the bitter end and winning a basically meaningless game against the New York Giants on a last second, fourth down end zone catch that was in bounds by a crashing knee. In the second half, the Cowgirls had to know that Minnesota was likely to lose to Chicago and they would end up with the Seahawks coming to Jerry’s Taj Mahal to play them in this game.

So one had to conclude that this was the opponent they wanted to play. The Seahawks may make them regret that decision. Seattle is as hot as anybody coming into this game. Surprisingly, they have a top five offence that people constantly underestimate. The Cowgirls have a great defence, but Seattle’s own stopping unit is sufficient enough to force Dallas’ offence and QB Dak Prescott away from running Zeke Elliott and throwing more than they want to score some points.

Russell Wilson scrambles and creatively finds a way to tranquilize the Cowgirls and win this tight game, …. and if they don’t, they’ll cover the spread and lose by one.

Mr. Brutal: Seahawks +2
Bob: Cowboys -2

………. Sunday, January 6, 2019 …………….

……… AFC Wild Card Playoff ………

………. 1:05 pm Eastern Standard Time ……..

San Diego Chargers @ BALTIMORE RAVENS (-2.5) 42

The unproven Lamar Jackson will have to beat the Chargers twice in less than a month. A lot is made of the H.G. Wells Time Machine/Bio Rhythm disruption that infects West coast teams when they travel east to play these “Before Sunday Church Service” body clock games in the Eastern Standard time Zone.

The one team that it doesn’t affect is the Orange County Chargers, who are on the road every week in an existential paradigm, thanks to their small fan base who doesn’t buy half the tickets to their “home” games. They play them in a Southern California enclave that worships gluten free enemas, multiple face-lifts and three Strudel Wagon BMW’s, Mercedes or Audi’s in the driveway to go with the wife’s Prius ( to keep up the image of environmental concern ), and the Tesla that is still on back order.

Phillip Rivers and his team are 7-1 this year on the “real” road away from the indifferent confines of their “La La Land” soccer stadium. Their defence held the Baltimore offence under control in their last game in the far reaches of the Los Angeles suburbs, but came up a little short on offence in a game decided by a few points.

It’s tough to beat a good team two in a row, so we like the more experienced San Diego transplants to upset the one dimensional Ravens who relentlessly run the ball and their battering ram quarterback like they’re trying to breech the door to a large castle on the Lebanese coast during the Crusades.

Mr. Brutal: Chargers +2.5
Bob: Chargers +2.5

………. NFC Wild Card Playoff ……….

………. 4:40 pm Eastern Standard Time ………..

Philadelphia Eagles @ CHICAGO BEARS (-6.5) 41.5

Chicago surprised us last week by playing their starters till the bitter end and winning a basically meaningless game against the Vikings. A lot of people liked the Bears anyway, but we thought the 21st Century progeny of Harold Hardrada, Ragnar Lodbrok, Bjorn Ironsides and Ivar the Boneless would answer the call and win that game at home in the Valhalla Dome.

We were wrong. The Bears wanted that win and got it. If they had lost, they would have had the Norsemen play them in this rematch at Soldier Field. It would have been a game against a familiar rival that they had seen twice this year already and one that is also, imminently beatable. It seems like Dallas, they wanted the win more and another opponent instead.

One has to wonder why. The Eagles and QB Nick Foles are on a roll. The same type of roll that won them the Super Bowl last year. They’ll have to do it with Foles wearing a flak jacket to protect some bruised ribs, but when has adversity stopped him or the Eagles in the last two years? This is the largest spread of the weekend and we see Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky having to open up more than he wants to at some point during the game. The Eagles will then pull off one of their opportunistic pick sixes and win this game in typical unexpected fashion.

( …. and if they don’t, they’ll at least cover the largest spread of the weekend.)

Mr. Brutal: Eagles +6.5
Bob: Bears -6.5

Bob Gaughan

Bob Gaughan has worked in Buffalo media for over 25 years. He spent 15 of those years as a staple on WGR radio as a talk show host and sports director. Currently, Bob works for UB Athletics on the radio broadcast of football and women’s basketball. Off the air, he has been an adjunct professor for over 20 years at Buffalo State College where he developed and has taught a class on how to be a talk show host.

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