NFL, NCAAF: Mike Kern Teases the Eagles and ’Bama
Yo, it’s time to tease you up a little more. Because everybody needs a little curve ball thrown into the equation every now and then.
Last week I tossed out the Eagles at Washington along with Ohio State in the Rose Bowl as my main choice, and neither disappointed. Even if you did have to sweat out the Buckeyes a bit at the end. Still, they were up by 25 in the fourth quarter. Too bad they barely failed to cover the spread, if you went that way. But that sometimes can be the beauty of the tease. In the right scenario you’re only trying to take the guesswork out of it. Doesn’t always work out, but it does offer some margin for error. Just in case. And it can be the difference.
I also suggested moving the line up on both Central Florida against LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, and Texas versus Georgia in the Sugar, to where each was a big-time underdog. I’m not sure if UCF covered, because the line was right around eight (so it may have depended where you played), but the Knights comfortably covered the 13. And Texas won outright. I actually thought about taking the Longhorns on the money line, because I didn’t think Georgia necessarily wanted to be there after just missing out on the playoffs. Much like I wasn’t sure Penn State wanted to be in Orlando on New Year’s as much as Kentucky. Just something to monitor, for future reference in the never-ending college postseason.
Almost every other team I mentioned as being tease-worthy got the job done. With the notable exception of the Giants. Turns out the Cowboys cared at least a little even though they had nothing to gain or lose, and it still came down to a last-second touchdown pass and two-point conversion. I never said this stuff was an exact science.
So now it’s on to the wild-card round, plus the national-title game on Monday night. I could probably make a case for either side in almost every NFL match-up. But what I like the most is moving the Eagles, and the Nick Foles bandwagon, up to about an 11 or 12-point dog, depending on the line at your book.
I’m not sure the Birds will advance, but almost every game they play seems to be a one-possession thing. So I’ll take my chances getting double digits. They might even be worth some action on the money line, if you truly believe in the magic. The Bears are legit, but this is their first time in the playoffs in awhile. And we saw what happened to the Rams last year in that situation.
In the other games, the Chargers haven’t played well since winning at Kansas City three weeks ago on a Thursday night. And now they’re being asked to fly across country to play at 10 in the morning west coast time. And they did lose at home to the Ravens two weeks ago. That can work both ways. The Ravens have a rookie quarterback who’s only lost once since taking over as the starter, while LA’s Phillip Rivers has never done anything in the playoffs.
In Dallas, you have a Cowboy team and coach that better finally do something. They were given up for dead at mid-season, and now they’re hosting. The Seahawks have Russell Wilson, which means they have a chance. And Pete Carroll probably did one of his best coaching jobs this year. I know who people in Philly are rooting for.
The Colts might be the hottest team in the league, with one of the best QBs. But Houston is home and has Deshaun Watson, so that’s about a draw behind center. So I don’t really want to get involved in trying to pick a side. Sometimes it’s better to simply watch and enjoy the game.
What I would do is put the Eagles with Alabama in the CFP final. The Crimson Tide is about a 5-point pick, with the line actually having come down a bit. That’s because Clemson is obviously real good too. And the Tigers did beat Bama two years ago in the last game on the final play. They also got buried by the Tide in last year’s semifinals. So who knows? But when I get a chance to get Bama just having to win, I’m going to take a shot. The five I’m not as sure about. But I’ll have more on that in a day or so.
The Teaser Pick: Eagles +11 @ BEARS; Alabama (E) vs. Clemson