Friday, February 6, 2009

The Pro Bowl Pick (No, Seriously)

For the first time in 30 years, ticket sales at the Pro Bowl are lagging to the point that the game is in danger of being blacked out locally in Honolulu. Considering that Aloha Stadium only holds 50,000 people, and that Hawaii is trying to convince the NFL to continue to hold the game there (plans are afoot to put the game in the bye week before the Super Bowl, and on the mainland, in future years), this is officially regarded by the league as Proof Of That Bad Old Economy, and they've got a point. Mainlanders just aren't visiting the Volcano Vomitorium right now, as part of their whole Never Spend Money Again thing, and the locals just don't seem too willing to separate themselves from $85 to see guys trot around in breathtakingly awful uniforms and mismatched headgear.

But that's not why you're reading this, are you? No, you want to see whether there can be such a thing as a structured and detailed breakdown of the game, to the extent that you'd be comfortable making a wager. Hell, I'm a little curious myself. (And intrigued, and a little flattered by the attention...)

And with that... on to the FREE NFL Picks! (Line provided by

AFC (+2.5) over NFC and the OVER (which is 64)

The case for the NFC: A lot of continuity. You've got Kurt Warner throwing to Larry Fitzagerald and Anquan Boldin; one suspects that they all know where they are going to go. You also have Adrian Peterson, who is young enough to care about this and bent enough over the fact that QB Tarvaris Jackson made his playoff run hopelessly short. He also wants to wrap up the #1 overall fantasy pick in 2009 from the surprising Michael Turner, who is his back-up in this game. Bet on bitterness. Also, AP is running behind Steve Hutchinson, who will probably take some grief if he phones this in.

Also, there's this. The AFC skill players are comparatively lacking. Peyton Manning might be the king of the Pro Bowl, but he's also not as sharp/good as he used to be, and when he hands the ball off to Thomas Jones, you'll realize that Jones got to Hawaii for the strength of his year, rather than his talent.

Finally, don't underestimate the fact that Andy Reid's the coach of the NFC team. It says something about how few people care about this game that people in Philadelphia aren't riding the Fat Man's need for a paid Hawaii vacation -- this is his *fourth* in the last eight years -- over his need to, you know, win a freaking Super Bowl. Not that we're bitter.

The case for the AFC: Even though Brett Favre won't play, it could still be the last time that an NFL telecast could spend the entire telecast talking about him. This also ensures that the refs will be in the tank for him and his teammates; I think if Bretty just starts sobbing on the sidelines, they'll change the score to see if he brightens up.

There are two players to watch on the lines in this game -- Carolina's Julius Peppers and Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth. Peppers is good, but Haynesworth is an unstoppable defense machine, and this is his last chance to show every team in the NFL why they should break the bank for him. I'm thinking he's going to make some plays.

Finally, there's this -- you can't blitz in a Pro Bowl. (Hell, you can barely tackle. There's a reason why the only memorable play in the entire history of the thing is below.)

So it helps to have the best secondary... and the AFC has Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asomugha and Cortland Finnegan, while the NFC makes do with Charels Woodson, Antoine Winfield, Nick Collins and Adrian Wilson. Advantage, strong, to the AFC. If nothing else, they're more likely to get a pick.

Oh, and if you think it's crazy to wager on the Pro Bowl... um, you do realize that the Cardinals nearly won the Super Bowl, right? Sanity and gambling were not on speaking terms this year, folks.

And in the final analysis... As much as I'm tempted in Jebus throwing Warner a give back, the AFC is more likely to avoid INTs and get their own. I'm seeing Ed Reed in the highlights.

AFC 38, NFC 31


SSReporters said...

AFC should cruise to victory...

Andy Reid will throw 60 times even though it's an exhibition game.

Steven Gomez said...

That is one of the most awesome hits I have ever seen. Bryan Moorman will want a raise before he ever runs another fake again.

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