#CheddarBay Divisional Week.

***BESTPIX*** Wild Card Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts

What does Andrew Luck have left for this week?

Bang it here for latest news and rumors (as they say at ProFootballTalk).  Cheddar Bay news and rumors only here.

Here’s your lines.

Since there are only four games, I’ll just list them here:

  1. Saints +9 at Seahawks (435pm Saturday, Fox);
  2. Colts +7 at Patriots (815pm Saturday, CBS);
  3. Niners -1 at Panthers (115pm Sunday, Fox);
  4. Chargers +9 at Broncos (440pm Sunday, Fox).

Your picks, essays, everything are due to CapGG and Zara via email by SATURDAY at 3:35 pm.

Sudden death update.

We say good bye to USFCollin whose valiant run came to an ignominious end.  Having missed my first three picks the thought occurred to me on Sunday:  “If you have to have a lobersterita, it’s particularly bad to have it on the week that is worth 35 points.”  You don’t come back from that and Collin didn’t.

The other three on death watch also booted essays but Acto did better (perfect, actually) on the rest while Pate and GRR both hit three.  SO those two carry their sudden death status into this week.  Bear down.

Do you still have a shot?

Frowns took a commanding lead last week, well done.  Do you have a chance?  Let’s look at past years:

  • 2012:  HarbaughHandshakes won with only three playoff misses and hitting all essays last year.

If there’s a better logo, I haven’t seen it.

  • 2011:  BigDood had four losses, but hit all four essays on way to this win.
  • 2010:  p_forever actually had six misses and an essay miss in 2010 but she hit the Packers’ Super Bowl (again, the only winning SB picker) and squeaked past tom_rr88.

So do you have a chance?  (More specifically do I have a chance?)  I’m thinking I have to win out and if you had three or more misses last week, you should probably plan not to miss any more picks also.

War Damn Eagle.

I will miss you Auburn.  It seems like we’ve had some players who have had nice runs on favorite teams in the past, but the 13-01 success I had with Auburn this year is -I think- unprecedented.  That was fun; I’m going to keep the avatar a bit longer.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.48.49 AM

Click to see this guy’s work.

Talent will tell.

Hats off to Zara, winner of the Cheddar Bowl project.  He came into the year picking 56% ATS in the two years prior before an uncharacteristic run in this year’s go.  Good picking on the bowls, Zara.

Alrighty good luck this week.

One more item:  if anyone is looking for quick and dirty stats in a very easy-to-digest format, here’s a developer who’s taken basic PFR data and made it visual.  Good stuff.

  1. Thirteen Cheddar points, not thirteen wins. [back]
  • ive flipped the saints/seahawks spread issue to capgg and zara and asked them to reach concensus without my involvement.

    • Capitalgg

      The acting executive committee has reached a verdict we think is fair. If a player specified the number in their picks, they get credit for that number. All players that did not specify a number get the +/-9 as the official number.

      So it is written, so it shall be done.

      • thank you. ok,

        i have chuck and hth using 8, scoring them pushes.
        on saints +9 (win): acto**, FHCF, concierge, nick, oxr, grr
        on seahawks -9 (lose): TPF, kanick, pate, squeak.

        and i sure am sorry.

  • Saints – Acto
    Seahawks –
    Colts – Concierge, Kanick
    Pats – GRR
    Niners – ChuckK, FHCF
    Panthers – HTH
    Chargers – Pate, Oxr, Frowns
    Broncos – Squeaky

    pretty even in the essay distro.

  • Capitalgg

    I think that is everyone. Posted in order from the bottom of the standings to the top (so TPF would be on top if you sort by newest). Heading out for a family dinner. Hit me up on the Twitter box or email box if I missed something.

  • Capitalgg

    The Prohibited Favorite’s Cheddar Bay 2013 Divisional Round Picks

    ESSAY: Chargers +9 over Broncos: This video –>

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D36NSYUNPhg <– is the most important piece of artwork of modern times and it strongly predicts a Chargers Super Bowl run. Mike McCoy knows Peyton Manning and this offense as well as any opposing head coach would, and defensive coordinator John Pagano has a bit of experience with it as well. The Chargers defense has gotten a few key players back from injury since mid-season and its secondary played exceptionally well last week against the Bengals. On the flip side, the Chargers were the third best offense in the league by DVOA, and the best by far at keeping the ball away from opponents. All the pressure is on Denver here. Love the points. Love #TeamBolo.

    Seahawks -9 over Saints: A lot went bad for the Saints the first time these teams played, but the Seahawks defense probably had a lot to do with this. I enjoyed this read on Seattle’s secondary and support Richard Sherman: http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2013/story/_/id/10259323/nfl-playoffs-seattle-secondary-comes-first I think this Seattle team is probably a really bad matchup for the Saints and the idea of having to root for Keenan Lewis to hit someone today after last week gives me a headache. Payton should have hired Mangini as D-coordinator.

    Niners -1 over the Panthers: Speaking of the Mangenius, I’ll volunteer to be the guy this week who says, “I just really can’t see any way the Panthers win this game.” At which point a wise man says, “that usually means, hold on to your pants.” I will. I will hold on to my pants. Niners at Seahawks next week is something that needs to happen (unless the Saints want to re-open Candlestick for another game, which would be fine).

    Patriots -7 over Colts: This is a tough one. I really love the idea of #TeamBolo rolling into Foxboro next weekend so I’m going to go with it. Andy Reid’s blueprint for shredding this Colts defense is probably something that Belichick and Brady can use.

    Sorry this writeup isn’t as tight as last week’s. Was a hell of a week at the mine and I’m just not seeing a whole lot here. Good luck and enjoy, y’all.

  • Capitalgg





    Niners – 1

    Tough slate (it’s supposed to be) and a tough game here because I like Carolina and Carolina’s makeup. But I’m a believer in momentum and experience and I think the 49ers have the edge in both here. Like the first game it should be a low-scoring, field position, straight-ahead battle, and like last week I think the road team is favored for a reason. Who knows if there’s any science to prove this but I think teams playing in the wildcard round has been beneficial in recent years and I think not only do the 49ers have the coaching edge, the Panthers might be a year away. I’ll stay away from built-in excuses and try to ride the wave here.

  • Capitalgg


    ****Saints +9 at Seahawks**** Super Terrific Happy Funtime Hour Essay

    I really like Russell Wilson, but he is merely a better looking version of Drew Brees, other than that it is tough to tell them apart, hard to give an edge there. Earl Thomas is very good, but he has been playing over his head all year and Richard Sherman despite his exemplary education, is a meltdown looking for a place to happen. Sherman has the “Diva Receevah”, (to be said aloud in your best Tallulah Bankhead voice), personality while playing cornerback, he has talent and speed, but he needs to develop a case of amnesia and an introverted personality. Rob Ryan will make certain that MarShawn Lynch does not dominate the game, from there it is difficult to see Seattle winning by more than a touchdown.

    I know New Orleans is terrible on the road

    I know it is very difficult to play in CenturyLink Stadium

    I know the Seattle defense is too tough

    I know it is obvious that New Orleans does not have a chance,

    BUT, CenturyLink sucks, I am still not sold on Pete Carroll or the vaunted Seattle Defense and I like Payton and Ryan. Nine points is way too much for this game.

    Colts +7 at Patriots

    Niners -1 at PanthersChargers +9 at Broncos

    Just realized that I selected all of the road teams, that has to assure A Grim and Certain Death.

    Am I still in the Sudden Death playoff?

  • Capitalgg


    Saints +9 at Seahawks (435pm Saturday, Fox);


    Supposed to be crazy weather, 100% rain, 50 mph gusts. This would seems to negate a couple keys which otherwise might have made this my essay (and essay for the Seahawks): Seattle’s #1 pass coverage unit AND their #1 ranked pass rush unit plus Seattle’s league leading takeaway defense. While I still think Seahawks takeaways will lead to a cover, I was pretty impressed that the Saints’ defense held Philly to 80 yds rushing. My eyes love Marshawn Lynch and Okung+Unger figure to be great anchors, but the data doesn’t quite back it up. Saints have a hell of a lot of heart, Ingram/Thomas/Sproles run damn hard. Getting 185 rush yards on the Eagles shows the Saints not a one-dimensional offense.

    Ok, that’s enough, just stop right there: the Seahawks make the Eagles look like the London Sillinannies.

    Lookit, I like Sean Payton. But Seahawks are the best team in the NFL and Pete Carroll will have them perfectly focused. I like Jimmy Graham; and he got only 40 yds on nine targets in the Seahawks’ romp last month. Seahawks’ turnover ratio way ahead of Saints. Brandon Browner suspended? Plug in (6-feet-1-inch,-24-bench-reps-drafted-in-the-6th-round-wtf-why-can’t-we-pick-guys-like-this?) Byron Maxwell and his numbers pass cover numbers are actually better than Browner’s. And finally, here’s the Brees record indoors and Wilson’s record at home… advantage Wilson today.

    Impact rookies: Terron Armstead (LT, 3rd rd, Saints), Kenny Stills (WR, 5th, Saints). Seahawks only team this weekend without an impact rookie (traded three picks (Xavier Rhodes + 2 in 2014) for Percy Harvin).

    Colts +7 at Patriots (815pm Saturday, CBS);

    ***COLTS +7***

    Bob Kraft is paying $28M for a lot of guys not to play for him today. Vollmer, Kelly, Wilfork, Mayo, Gronk, Spikes. (and Wilson. and Hernandez.) That’s a lot of talent to lose and you can make it through the AFC East without them but you won’t go too too far in the playoffs. It looks like it’s been telling on Brady; I’ve noticed him barking at his teammates more than ever and his play has been down. Still good, but the stress of carrying the team is stressing him. Every time he throws to Amendola he’s thinking why ain’t you Welkah? Kenbrell Thompkins (hurt today) and Aaron Dobson (out today) are a nice find and Julian Edelman is gutty but you wonder if he wonders if he’ll ever get a chance to play with a Josh Gordon type. I like LeGarrette Blount; I don’t like that Mankins was in a walking boot last week. Losing Brandon Spikes though could be the straw that breaks the back. He was Pats’ best LB, he’s out.

    You get idea. Pats are a half a team and they’re playing a team on the up and feeling invincible.

    Don’t forget that the Pats really totally lost to the Browns and not the Brian Hoyer Browns either.

    This *is* The Year of Andrew Luck.

    Impact rookies: Jamie Collins (2nd rd, Pats); Hugh Thornton (3rd rd, Colts).

    Niners -1 at Panthers (115pm Sunday, Fox);


    Hardy-Lotu-Johnson with Kuechley behind them is how you draw up defense construction. Kuechley’s best games this year were the biggest games (Sea, Az, SF). Kaepernick is rated last out of 26 QBs using PFF’s ‘passing under pressure’ metric. Charlotte is going to be totally nuts. Seattle-level nuts. Steve Smith, for me, is a top 5 all-time big game clutch performer with some gas left in the tank. (His knee is fine. PROTIP: 13 year vets don’t tell the press corps that a bad knee hurt worse from practice.) Niners have struggled against good teams. Kuechley’s best games were their biggest games (SEA, AZ, SF). Kaep was shut down in first game (46 pass yds) but I gotta discount that because no Crabtree and Davis got concussed and didn’t play the second half. I don’t discount that the Panthers will bring pressure, if they get 16 hurries as in week 10, last in the last game

    Impact rookies: Eric Reid (FS, 1st, Niners), Star Lotulelei (NT, 1st, Panthers).

    Chargers +9 at Broncos (440pm Sunday, Fox).


    Mike McCoy is uniquely equipped to play the Broncos having started as a Carolina assistant back in 2001. Philip Rivers is probably the QB of the year. Chargers weren’t supposed to factor this year but here they are with a playoff win starting four rookies. We’ve got another windy game and that could be a problem for both QBs but moreso for Manning who I think is banged up more than is let on. The Chargers’ win at Denver was behind Ryan Matthews’ running (127yds, 1td) not Rivers’ arm (12/20/166, 2td). Matthews ankle is ding’d up, I’m squirrely about that. Neither QB is great in the cold. But ultimately SD is the team on the rise with the hot QB. They’re shaping up as this year’s Ravens. Not saying they’ll win in Denver, but they don’t have to.

    Impact rookies: Sylvester Williams (1st rd, DT, Broncos); Keenan Allen (3rd, WR, Chargers).

  • Capitalgg


    Indy Essay




    Andrew Luck is 14-2 in games decided by 7 points or fewer. I truly believe that INDY has a legit chance to win this game outright. It does make me nervous that Bill Belichick has had an extra week to prepare and no one is more clutch in the playoffs than Tom Brady, but this game has a different feel. These are not the patriots of years past. New England doesnt have the weapons that they once did and they are going to be with out 5 starters on defense. I can see Luck having a field day against that D, especially without Spikes and Mayo..

  • Capitalgg


    Seahawks -8 (vs Saints)

    Patriots -7 (vs Colts)

    Broncos -9 (vs Chargers)

    Essay: 49ers -1 (at Panthers)

    Well, well, I picked all favorites. Seems like I have no chance of going the necessary 4-0. But I am arguably mixing it up by going with at least 1 road team by rolling with the 49ers 2 weeks in a row. I read a nice article over on Grantland by Bill Barnwell about how the Panthers are being disrespected by national opinion in being home dogs, especially since they are 12-4 and have won most of their “big” games this year. Nonetheless, the article touches on a point that I will cling to: Cam Newton is still the same ole Cam Newton. His numbers are basically the same for the last 3 years (those numbers arent great). The key difference this year is that Panthers defense, which had its best game in a 1 point win over the 49ers at home earlier this year. HOWEVER, that game saw no Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis got injured in the first half. So basically, the best weapons for Kaepernick were not playing. And when you consider how nice Crabtree looked last week, he is a huge deal. Add in that Davis’s replacement dropped a key pass in that game and I have to assume the result would be different.
    Lastly, some will say both teams are equally “hot” since that Panthers win, but a deeper look favors the 49ers: the 49ers have won 7 straight in impressive fashion (single wins digits vs packers/cardinals/seahawks, double digit wins vs falcons/bucs/rams/dc), while the Panthers have a couple nice wins (patriots/saints) but a few signs of weakness (1 point win against falcons when playing for the division crown and they got pounded by the Saints).

    Therefore, I will take the hot and playoff-tested 49er hand over the Panthers.

  • Capitalgg


    Saints +9 at Seahawks

    Pats -7 vs Colts

    Niners -1 vs Panthers

    Broncos -9 vs Chargers***

    Denver-San Diego’s week 15 matchup was my favorite play of the year, so it’s hard for me to go the other way this time around. Can San Diego play another masterful game of ball control this time around? I don’t think so, Matthews is not 100%, and Denver will be more prepared. San Diego’s OC, Ken Wisenhunt, who I wouldn’t mind as the Browns HC, has spent his entire week interviewing for head coaching jobs, which is really strange. I want to go with the team with its coaches not flying around the country all week interviewing for jobs, like Denver’s Gase. I’m don’t care about last week’s game because Dalton played like shit and gave the game away in the 2nd half. Peyton Manning’s struggles in the playoffs are well documented, but he doesn’t have a lot of these chances left, he’s an all time great and I’m predicting a full blown evisceration game from him.

  • Capitalgg

    oxr cheddar picks

    Saints +9 over Seahawks
    Colts +7 over Patriots
    Panthers +1 over 49ers

    Chargers +9 over Broncos

    I did not set out to pick all four underdogs, but this is how it has ended up. After last week I’m a fair distance out of the money, so I need not only to get lucky but also to convert some picks that go against the prevailing wisdom. So, while I can see arguments for either the Seahawks or the Patriots blowing the doors off here, I am uncomfortably going the other way – nine points is a lot in the playoffs and if the good Colts team show up the late game could be competitive. The Panthers are, admittedly, no better than a toss-up but I like getting them as home underdogs – and I’m guessing this’ll be another contrarian pick. I’m nominating San Diego for my essay pick, though, at least in part out of pessimism: I am a Broncos fan, I’ve watched them a lot on defense, and it’s a liability, especially without Von Miller. In a way, their woes on that side of the field have been a blessing, as it kept Manning in several games to rack up more TDs, but that doesn’t matter this week. It is not necessarily predictive that the Chargers came into Denver and beat them in week 15 (in a game that really mattered to the Broncos, let’s not forget) but it’s definitely a proof-of-concept: to beat Denver you have to get pressure on Manning (offensive line injuries have increasingly been an issue) and San Diego has the personnel for that. The Denver and San Diego offenses are not that different in terms of DVOA. All signs point to a shootout. And if the Chargers are scoring, nine points is even more than usual. (If they’re not, then it isn’t.)

    Of course, I’ll be rooting against my own pick here, but at least if it turns out to be a massacre I’ll be perfectly happy either way. I still have the San Diego game from last year where the Broncos came back from 24-0 down at halftime on my DVR.

  • Capitalgg

    Grand Rapids Rustlers

    Saints (+9) over Seahawks – I can’t put my finger on it but I just feel like something is off with the Seahawks. Have no clue who wins this game but 9 points just seems like way too many in this situation. Side note: Maybe the Browns could look at Rob Ryan. He’s only 1,000 times more qualified than any of the names they are down to now. If you can’t get excited about Ryan and Manziel drinking together in the muni lot before kickoff I just can’t help you.

    49ers (-1) over Panthers – Yeah…the Panthers have their panties in a bunch over a pro wrestler. I’m not going to be the one to tell the fine people of North Carolina that wrestling is not real but the bicep kisser is real…and Crabtree and Davis are healthy. Oh…and if it matters. Phil Dawson. Legend.

    Broncos (-9) over Chargers – I still think the Chargers are the 13th best team in the playoffs. It all sets up for Peyton next week to face his nemesis in what might be the most made for TV AFC Championship in a long time.

    Essay Pick

    A wise man once told me on Twitter (alright it was the damn executive committee) that Cheddar favors the bold and the Tuesday pickers. Well…I’m out of Tuesday games so I guess it’s time to do what I think is the equivalent of pissing into the wind. It’s a sudden death face off for me this week (barring the 6.25% chance that we pick the same damn games) so I’m going all in on this one.

    The Colts gave up 44 points last week.

    They were (-3) in the turnover battle.

    They gave up 30 first downs, 513 yards, and 150 yards on the ground.

    The opposition held the ball for over 37 minutes.

    How the hell did the Chiefs lose that game?

    I have a few ideas on this. The first is that Andrew Luck happened. The second is that the Colts murdered half the Chiefs roster ala the end of a Cyberball game.

    This also may be the last time I can type this in a Cheddar Bay essay: Tom Brady > Andrew Luck

    I like the Patriots and I like them big on Saturday night.

    Patriots (-7) over Colts

  • Capitalgg

    Picks for pateslvrblk





    The Bolts have had great success against Manning and the Broncos so far this season. Only twice this season has Denver been held under 400 yards of offense, and both of those games came against John Pagano’s defense. Similarly, the Broncos scored less than 30 points on offense just three times, with two of those occurring against San Diego including a season-low 20 on Dec. 12. The Chargers beat the Broncos, in large part, by shutting down their offense. Hopefully the Chargers can replicate those efforts once again in Denver on Sunday. I believe coaching matters and no one is more familiar with the Broncos offense than Mike McCoy as he helped build it. From 2009-12, which includes Manning’s first season with the Broncos, McCoy was the offensive coordinator for the Broncos. That’s long enough to gain an understanding of your opponent. The Bolts are not as good as the Broncos, but they have the advantage of a great coach, and that can make all the difference.

  • Capitalgg


    The first week of the playoffs went so well I’m pumped to try this again:

    Essay: Broncos: What makes more sense than deciding a year long handicapping contest by making compulsory picks on games with the sharpest lines you can find. That’s right, nothing. You see, you are never gong to make any money gambling if you subject yourself to the playoff mentality of playing every game because hey, these games are big! Now don’t get me wrong, I do it myself, but I try to keep it under control unless there is a rare standout. Your best chances to make some progress reside in regular season cards where you can distill out a handful of quality picks. Not playing 100% of a 4 game card. Regardless, since this is the asinine way this contest is set up, I’ll go with the Broncos this week. Normally, I would never take them, but the public loves the dogs and all these points. I mean they just saw these teams kick ass last week. It’s definitely happening again. There is also the part that the Chargers have already taken down the Broncos this year. They have the magic formula!! I’m dubious. The Chargers are a schizo squad, and when things go the wrong way, I think they will go way way way the wrong way. I’ll bank on that I guess.


  • Capitalgg


    Essay: Carolina Panthers +1

    Since I crapped the bed last week, all of my picks this week are solely based on going against what I think the league majority is going to do. Don’t forget — for eight Round 2s in a row, at least one road underdog getting at least 4.5 points has won outright. This is why I’ll be picking all four home teams – can’t imagine there is going to be anyone else that picks this way. And since there was a lot of Niners love last week, I’m thinking Carolina will be one of the least picked teams. 76% on San Fran according to iOdds, and I can’t seem to find many in the media giving the Panthers a shot here. Kaepernick is superman again, and round 3 of Seattle-SF seems to be the narrative most are going with for the NFC Championship. As we know, it’s very hard for the Super Bowl loser to get back. Betting that Cam Newton takes the leap and wins this game at home.

    Denver Broncos-9

    Seattle Seahawks -8

    New England Patriots -7

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