Playoff wk 3, Championship Round.

Pats keep rolling even after trading people.

Coming down to the wire here at Cheddar and an interesting bunch has formed at the top of the standings.
Lines below, picks due to Pete and me via email by 2:00pm Sunday.
Good luck!

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  • LucyLaw
    1. Pitt +5.5
    Hoping Big Ben and the offense will look as sharp as I know they can. Taking Ben on the road in Foxsboro is slightly terrifying but I cant resist the points.

    2. Essay Atl -5
    Every time I tell someone I am taking Atlanta over GB their reaction is “your going to go against the hottest team in football!?” I can understand their argument but my reply is Atlanta might actually be the hottest team in football right now but seems to be flying under the radar, as they have all season. As a Browns fan, its amazing to watch how much both Mack and Gabriel have helped the Falcons. If Rodgers has any drives stall I believe that Matt Ryan and crew (Julio, Sanu, Gabriel, and the two headed RB) will make GB and their dismal secondary pay. I took them because I legit think they will score some sort of pts on every drive and I dont think Rodgers will be able to keep pace with them. In an ideal world, a few sacks by Mr Beasley to knock Rodgers off his game would be an ideal start and then just sit back and watch Matty Ice left it fly all the way to the super bowl.

  • bnasty
    Atlanta -5
    The offense has more weapons than I realized last week and put up 36 against a top 5 pass defense. That being said they have those same weapons against the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL. Matt Ryan and the falcons at home are stupid good, and they really have the ability to score on every drive this week. They get 1 stop and this could cause Rodgers to be playing from behind all day long. I think the magic runs out here for Rodgers and the pack, but hey solid run from being 4-6. Give me falcons -5.

    New England -5.5 ***Essay***

    All of the numbers and history are telling me to take the patriots, so why would I go any other way. It also doesn’t help that the steelers have been dealing with antonio Browns antics this week. So back to the numbers and historical stats. Tom Brady is 9-2 against the steelers in his career. His numbers look something like this 26 TD’S and only 3 INT’S in those 11 games. Not to mention he has never lost at home being a perfect 5-0 at Gillette. On top of that he has picked them apart since tomlin has become head coach. With a steeler defense who hasn’t been great this year like they were in the past, I think Tom Brady continues his success and they will dominate this game at home again. In those 5 homes games he has thrown 17 TD’S and 0 INT’S. Numbers never lie and these are just too good to pick against. Tom Brady makes it to his 7th super bowl and I think he does it in a dominating performance which should come as no surprise to anyone watching this game. It’ll be crazy to see 2 huge streaks end in the same week but all good things must come to an end sooner or later. So Give me Tom Brady and Belichick giving the 5.5 and I’ll take it every time. If nothing else this has been a solid year for my first run at things. Hopefully it continues!

  • cwonder
    Steelers +5.5
    Essay: Falcons -5

    I didn’t expect them to be this good, but Shanahans play calling is great for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. They will dink and dunk the ball down the field while utilizing their RB duo. Rodgers has been great and it’s hard to bet against him. I just don’t think their defense is very good. They had the game against the Cowboys in control but almost let it slip. Playing in the dome, the Falcons are positioned to win this one and head to their first Super Bowl since 1998. ATL 35 – GB 24

  • trashy
    Falcons -5

    essay Pats -5.5 over Steelers

    A wise man (shouts Pattakos) once told me that there is something wrong with your slate if you take all the favorites. Pretty sure that doesn’t apply to championship Sunday.

    I feel pretty strongly about both these picks for…reasons. For me the Falcons diverse passing attack should be strong against this depleted secondary of the Pack. Of course, I don’t think you will find anyone who would debate that. For me, this is about 2 things – Falcons pass rush and injured packers receiving corps. The Falcons pass defense is not going to be great in this game. But I think they are just good enough to give the Falcons the advantage.

    Now, if we flip over to the Pats-Steelers game, I see two specific pieces of information that is pushing me to the Pats. #1 Pats offense will take on just about anybody and come out looking solid. #2 Steelers got 6 FGs on the Chiefs last week. That is some downright Browns level efficiency right there. Now that KC pass defense is significantly better than the Pats, while the Pats run defense is much better than KCs. I see similar results this week as Ben continues his pretty average play, and the Pats target Brown and Bell with extra bodies to keep them from beating the Pats. I don’t think Sammie Coates Hunter Hill and Eli Rogers are going to be able to get it done for the Steelers.

    On the other hand, I know the Steelers defense has been pretty good and the Pats interior line was exposed against the Texans. That said, I expect the Pats to make the right adjustments to keep the interior pocket clean for Brady and a diverse attack led by Dion Lewis again to put up 30+.

    And just to throw in the DVOA breakdown – Pats offense is #2, defense is #16, and ST #7. Steelers o is 8, d is 11, and ST is 6. Atlanta O is 1, D is 27, and ST is 8. GB O is 4, D is 20, and ST is 20.

  • TSB
    Falcons -5 Essay
    Pats -5.5
    Down to the wire here. Looking like it’s going to take all the points this week to get into the $$$.

    I’ve been sleeping on this Falcons team all year. Their defense is crap, and Matt Ryan seems to struggle under the bright lights. However, this Packers run is over. It was fun while it lasted. Rodgers and company now have the flu, all of their wr’s are hurt, and they are one of the few teams that have a worse D than the Falcons. Plus the Falcons have a running game and two great backs, while the Packers have a running back who wears #88. It may be Ty Montgomery’s birthday today, but that doesn’t make him any tougher to tackle. The public is on the Packers, who are on the road, what else do you need to know? I’ll take ATL -5.

  • dwhalen
    Until forever, I will deny that Eric Fisher held James Harrison. They engagement was so brief, and the call so questionable that a flag never should have been thrown-especially in that situation. Had Harrison not lost his footing, I believe the conversion stands. This isn’t my position just because I was on the other side of the bet. It’s because I’m a football player and fan.

    HOWEVER, as a result of that penalty, I went from a potential first place position to now being back 7 with only 37 points still out there to be had. So this week’s picks are really about trying to pick what I think those above me will not.

    PACKERS +5. I really hope the love for the packers has run out after last week. And money at the books has taken this spread from 4 to 5.5. However, in my meaningless analysis of the picks that have been made thus far by all players and their trends on home v road, dog vs fav, and the confidence in the teams that are still alive, I’ve only got four people taking the Falcons. That said, I’d love to be wrong and see everyone go ATL here. Let’s see what happens. But my money is on Rodgers.

    $$$ STEELERS +5.5. $$$ No idea why, but I’m doing it. It won’t be the popular pick I’m guessing, after barely squeaking by KC on the road, but I’m doing it. Going against, in my opinion, the greatest QB ever to suit up, and the greatest coach ever to coach in the NFL, but I’m doing it. I think Roethlisberger’s body is going to give out soon with all the extra weight he carries and the amount of beatings he’s taken over the years, so he’s probably closer to the end than Brady. At a certain point, your body just quits. And his has to be close. I think my greatest hope comes from Leveon Bell and a running style that I cant remember seeing before-at least not in a long time, if ever. At many points last week in New England, the game looked closer than it should have, the Texans looked like they umm, belonged, or maybe the most plausible is that the Patriots just had an off week. For once. It’s hard to win so consistently, and these teams have won their last 17 games combined.

    • 100% agree on the harrison/fisher call.
      btw, you have the golden ticket. if you hit, you’re in first place.
      interestingly, if you lose both ends, your brother is in first place.

  • hawk
    $$$Falcons -5
    Pats -5.5

    Tough spreads to pick here but I am going with my gut that is telling me the luck has run out for Rodgers and the Pack. Points will not come at a premium in this one as you have two top QB’s and two porous defenses. Both offenses can score at will but I give the edge to Atlanta as they have a better backfield. I think the Atlanta backs will do enough to keep the packers off balance both by running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield. I also have concerns about the flu bug that hit the packers this week, reportedly hitting Rodgers and Nelson (if he plays – he’s been downgraded to doubtful). Look, Rodgers has carried this team on his back, that throw he made last week was unbelievable and Crosby has balls of steel and the Pack is probably the hottest team in the league. I think the Packers are too banged up and it will show on Sunday. It seems like everyone and their brother is taking the Packers here; however, all good things must come to and end and the Packs dream run is over. I like the Dirty Birds 38-27 for the falcons first SB since 1999

  • jmacdaddio
    Last week was likely the end of the season for the ‘Macaddios. At this point, everyone ahead of me has to be wrong, and I have to nail my picks, and more importantly this time of year, everyone else has to be on the opposite side of whoever I pick. I am forced to go unconventional and hope it plays out that way.

    Falcons -5 (Essay)
    Patriots -5.5 (Belichick is up right now figuring out how to stop Le’Veon Bell)

    I’m in favor of a Super Bowl that’s likely to draw the worst ratings. Why? Funny you should ask. I’d like to see the TV money to dry up, and the game to be somewhat of a game again instead of bread and circuses designed to keep us on our couches Sundays (and Monday nights.. and Thursday nights) and not paying attention to the melting icecaps and the fact that all of our neighbors are addicted to pain pills. This year it’s any contest involving the Atlanta Falcons. They’ve never really taken hold in a city and region where pro football isn’t universally loved thanks to the SEC and I suppose the ACC to a lesser extent. They’re not the Cowboys… or Steelers… or Patriots, all of whom have a national following.

    Aaron Rodgers has been impressive in the post-season. He’s playing like a man on a mission. The Falcons are scoring a ton, and have been impressive too – Seattle isn’t a cupcake last time I checked. I also don’t like Aaron Rodgers in a dome. Something about it seems wrong. This should be a high scoring affair, along the lines of a 1980s Chargers-Dolphins playoff game where one team wins 48-38, with the Falcons on top.

  • pate
    ***Falcons -5
    Pats -5.5

    After viewing the games last week I was most impressed with the Falcons. Matt Ryan is legit as MVP and out of the four quarterbacks playing he is the only one who has no Super Bowl ring. He has more to fight for than the other three. The Falcons scored more points in the regular season than any other team. Great in passing and the run game. There are many major differences between Mike Smith and Dan Quinn, but one of the more noticeable differences is how this Falcons team is consistently aggressive and relentless. Shanahan will most certainly make adjustments to exploit an opposing defense’s biggest flaw. (Good news for the Niners) Rogers has been unstoppable leading up to this game and all the storylines are on the Packers. It should be a great game and let the home team win by 6 and hopefully I have hit on an underdog in these playoffs.

  • thatsfine
    Patriots -5.5 essay
    Packers +5

    Well, basically playing it out at this point as missing both essays and only picking 1 correct two weeks in a row has pretty much torpedoed my season. Best of luck to anyone who still has a shot! Tom Brady owns the Steelers and he’s at home. I saw a stat that he’s 4-1 all time at home vs. Steelers with a 113.7 passer rating. He is just locked in and killing people right now. If he has a few seconds to look downfield it seems like anything is possible, as usual throwing to Julian Edelman and a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of. I think the difference in this game though will be the Pats defense. #3 vs. the run, over the last 4 games giving up 16, 14, 3, 3. For the Steelers, last week’s final was 18-16, but the Steelers dominated that game in yards gained 389-227. Their inability to punch it into the end zone was remarkable to the point of setting a record for FGs in a game. If the Patriots can make a few similar stops there’s no way Steelers keep up and cover here.

  • GRR
    Atlanta (-5) over Green Bay – No way I am getting off Atlanta now. If there is a man who could pull this off on Sunday it is Aaron Rodgers but I just don’t see him finding a way to score 50 on Sunday. The Falcons close out the Georgia Dome in style and get ready for Pittsburgh.

    Essay Pick

    Le’Veon Bell is a free agent. I would love to see the Browns offer him something absurd just to make Pittsburgh uncomfortable. Can you imagine the Rooney family gathering in a panic because they realize they don’t have anything as nice as the Metroparks? Calling Roger in a panic…those analytic guys just offered our best player a park system. Can they do that?

    Logic tells me that the Patriots should win this pretty easily. My heart tells me that I want that Brady and Roger moment on the podium after the Super Bowl. I really thought we were headed for a Chiefs and Falcons Super Bowl and was going to pick the winner of that Chiefs and Steelers game no matter what this week. The thing I can’t get past last weekend is how many points Pittsburgh left on the field last week. That game should have been over at the half. I think they clean it up and if anyone things that a stupid video from a WR is something that the Pats will be motivated by you should probably not be on Patriots. Or Facebook.

    Pittsburgh (+5.5) over New England

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Are there still some kids playing football? Coach Dabo had a lucky year and the BROWNS are sleeping comfortably in Pete’s garage. Could all of Cheddar Nation feign an interest? Are there still games to be played?

    • for us browns fans, there is only the draft game.

      if anyone has a concept on how we might feed degeneracy in draft-focused gaming, i would be happy to host it!

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Substantiated rumor is that the Browns are trying to Billy Beane the league, but there is not a great deal of interest in the first pick. They should take Miles Garrett and leave it at that. I like Garrett, but I would rather see them trade that pick for a couple of first rounders and a third round pick. Could we bet on the respective outcome of this year’s draft?