For Entertainment Purposes …

January 1st, 2011

Now Joe is sure all his readers fly to Vegas to wager legally, versus placing bets with the guy whose cell number changes every week. 

Regardless of how or why you wager, Joe knows there are many aspiring handicappers reading. So to please the gambling crowd, Joe has turned to superpicker Bob Fox. A writer for various sports publications over the years, Fox flashed his stellar picking skills back in 2008 on, when Joe had a contest here among sports media members.

Fox gives you a few games every week. To date, Fox is 38-25 on the season.

By BOB FOX analyst

Wisconsin Badgers 31, TCU Horned Frogs 17
The Badgers (11-1) are going to their seventh Rose Bowl, while the 12-0 TCU Horned Frogs will be going to their first ever trip to the “Granddaddy of them all.”  TCU gets to play in Pasadena over a Pac-10 team – the traditional selection to face the Big Ten representative — because the Rose Bowl was obligated this year to select a team from a non-automatic BCS qualifying conference, if one was eligible and not playing in the title game. This should be an excellent game. The Badgers steamrolled their competition down the stretch, piling up 83 points (and 338 rushing yards) vs. Indiana, 48 points (and 357 rushing yards) vs. Michigan and 70 points (and 329 rushing yards) vs. Northwestern. The Badgers are led by QB Scott Tolzien, as he won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for his performance in 2010. He completed 74.3% of his passes and had 16 TD passes, compared to just sixinterceptions for 2,300 yards.  But the calling card for the Badgers is their ability to run the rock, led by the three-headed monster of running bakcs John Clay, James White and Montee Ball. They average more than 247 yards a game. Combined the three backs have 44 rushing TDs. The main reason for the success on offense for the Badgers?  Their mammoth offensive line, led by Outland Award winning LT Gabre Carimi and All-American LG John Moffitt. On defense, the Badgers are led by a guy that Bucs fans should look at…DE J.J. Watt…as he will most likely declare for the draft. Watt leads the team in sacks (7), leads the teams in tackles for losses (21), has an interception, has recovered two fumbles and forced three others. Did I mention that Watt blocked three kicks as well? The Horned Frogs lead the country in total defense and in total pass defense. The Badgers will try to exploit the TCU defense as it is undersized across the line (6-2, 265 average) and will do what they do besrut — run the ball. The TCU offense is ranked ninth overall in the country. The offense is led by QB Andy Dalton, who has thrown 26 TD passes, compared to just six picks for 2,638. Dalton can run too, as he has 407 yards rushing and five TDs. The main man running the rock for the Horned Frogs is Ed Wesley, who has 1,065 yards rushing and 11 TDs. The key to the game for the Badgers defense is keeping Dalton in check and forcing him into mistakes. Bottom line, I see the Badgers forcing their will on the Horned Frogs, and although it will be a spirited game, I see the Badgers bringing back their fourth consecutive Rose Bowl trophy.   
New Orleans Saints 24, Tampa Bay Bucs 20
The Bucs (9-6) are still hoping for a playoff berth, but there will be a lot of dark clouds that will surround the Pewter Pirates on Sunday. For one, the Saints are going to go all out in this game, as they hope to secure the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs after they beat the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.  The Falcons will be facing the Carolina Panthers at the same time the Bucs and Saints will play. It’s very unlikely that the Dirty Birds will lose, but who knows? To get into the playoffs, the Bucs must beat the Saints, plus have BOTH the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers lose. The imploding Giants will play the Washington Redskins on the road. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears, who will face the Pack at Lambeau Field at 4:15 Eastern time, already have the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs secured, and will probably have no reason to play all their starters the entire game vs. the Packers if the Falcons beat the Panthers, which would make da Bears’ chances of getting the No. 1 seed an impossibility. Now, I LOVE what I’m seeing from the Bucs as of late, and they will play much better than they did the last time these two teams met (I predicted a Bucs victory then by the way), but I just don’t see the Bucs getting enough pressure on Drew Brees to stop the Saints vaunted passing attack. Yes, I know that Marques Colston is probably going to be out (knee scope), but Brees still has plenty of weapons at WR and TE, and that also includes RB Pierre Thomas, who is back to form now. Josh Freeman is playing at a top notch level at QB, but one of his main weapons of late, WR Arrelious Benn, is now out with a knee injury. Freeman still has WR Mike Williams, TE Kellen Winslow Jr. and RB LeGarrette Blount on offense to help out the cause, but I can’t see the Bucs outscoring Brees and the Saints (6th ranked overall offense). The Saints defense is also very opportunistic (5th ranked overall). The Bucs will play hard, but I don’t see them winning this game in the Big Easy. 
Green Bay Packers 27, Chicago Bears 17
This game is very simple for the 9-6 Green Bay Packers. Beat the Bears (11-4) and they are in the NFC playoffs. Da Bears will know before kickoff if they have any shot at securing the top seed in the NFC playoffs, which is probably not going to happen, as the Falcons should beat the Panthers at home with relative ease. Then, no matter what head coach Lovie Smith says he will do before the game, I don’t see them playing their regulars more than a half or so.  However, even if the Bears decide to play their starters the entire game, I still don’t see them winning this game. When the two teams met earlier in the season, the Packers thoroughly outplayed the Bears but lost. Why? Too many mistakes and a Devin Hester punt return for a TD. I don’t see that happening this week.  QB Aaron Rodgers had maybe the best game of his career last week vs. the Giants when he threw four TD passes and had over 400 yards passing. Overall for the season, Rodgers has 27 TD passes, compared to 10 picks for 3,693 yards and a 101.9 QB rating. That still wasn’t enough to get Rodgers an invite to the Pro Bowl.  Josh Freeman knows the feeling, too. The Packers defense also forced six turnovers against the G-Men. The Pack has great balance as they have the eigth-ranked offense and the No. 9 defense in the NFL. The Packers can also rush the passer, as they have 41 sacks, led by the 12.5 QB putdowns by Clay Matthews. Nobody in the NFL has been sacked more often than Jay Cutler (46 times). Cutler has been protected better as of late, but still the offense for the Bears has been dreadful for the most part, as they are ranked only 30th in the NFL. One key to this game is will be special teams play. In other words, don’t punt the ball to Hester. When it’s all said and done, I see the Packers capturing the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs with their win.  
St. Louis Rams 17, Seattle Seahawks 10
Can you believe that this game will be the game of the week on NBC on Sunday night? What a horse manure division the NFC West is this year. The Rams (7-8) will be facing Seattle (6-9) for the division crown. The Rams have the 25th-ranked offense in the NFL and have the 17th-ranked defense. The Seahawks have 28th-ranked offense and the 29th-ranked defense. And these two teams are playing for the right to proceed to the NFC playoffs? While teams like the Bucs will probably sit at home? Oh well. QB Charlie Whitehurst probably starts for the Hawks. Whitehurst has been terrible in limited playing time this year (1 TD pass vs 3 picks and a 54.7 QB rating). The Rams have a pretty good QB meanwhile in rookie Sam Bradford (18 TD passes vs. 14 interceptions for 3,357 yards).  The Rams also have RB Steven Jackson, who is having another fine year (1,196 yards rushing, 42 receptions). The Rams also have a decent defense and I just don’t see the Seahawks winning this game, even at the normally tough venue of Qwest Field in Seattle. I would give the Seahawks a shot if Hasselbeck played, but not with Whitehurst behind center. I know America is football crazy, but this game will probably give NBC the lowest ratings that they have had all season, as the Rams will end up winning the game and the NFC Worst…er…West.

4 Responses to “For Entertainment Purposes …”

  1. BigMacAttack Says:

    Yes and Pierre Thomas re-injured his ankle in practice yesterday. The Saints have several questionable players that Peyton would be wise to hold out one more week until the playoffs, including Ivory.

  2. Tye Says:

    At this point I will be happy if the Bucs at the very least play better than last time…… Without the Saints player hitting Freeman and getting a 30 yard penalty it could have ended with the Bucs scoreless……

    Set aside the Saints offense for a moment, their defense has done well against these same teams the Bucs have lost to….. Not to mention the Saints have been improving as the season has gone along…… They beat the Steelers and we all know what the Steelers did to the Bucs without BEN…..

    IF the Bucs can somehow win this 1, I’ll be impressed…….. If not well then no shock there….It’s been a better season than the last!

  3. Philip Says:

    Superpicker? Really? He is practically in last place in the pick ’em pool. Anway, Bob you are still my boy.

  4. Bob Says:

    It would be great if Dezmon Briscoe and Frank Okam stepped up tomorrow and opened up the offense and defense respectively.