Back in the good old days, I used to have almost total recall when it came to nearly everything, except perhaps for items I subconsciously didn’t want to remember. This was something I took for granted. Now that the years are starting to pile up, I have a tendency to get stuck at times. I’m no longer good with names, as anyone who listens to the radio show will attest. It’s actually kind of funny, as I’ll often describe the guy, and will know the number of letters in his last name, but will be totally blank on the actual name.
Last week, while announcing our Mastrioni’s Play of the Day, a feature at the close of each show, it got a little ridiculous. All I could come up with was that the play was against Seton Hall, but I simply came up with air when attempting to name the team we were actually playing on. I actually had to very quickly open one of my betting apps, as I’d already played the game, to discover the play was on Long Beach State. (It won. It’s interesting to note that this is something I can easily recall.)
Anyway, this is a way of explanation as to why I didn’t do my current NFC playoff projections as I was supposed to do on Tuesday. Monday’s piece was on the AFC and I said that I would get to the NFC the next day. And then I completely forgot about it. But the good news is, that for reasons unknown, this omission suddenly dawned on me as I sat down to write this edition of the blog. So here it is.
NFC East: The Giants become big favorites to capture the division with a win on Sunday at Washington. But should Washington win this game, they’re in pretty good shape, as they’re the team with the easier finishing slate. Dallas is done with the Romo re-injury and the Eagles are playing such horrible football, it’s difficult to envision them making any kind of a run. 8-8 could well be all that’s needed to get this division’s one and only entry to the post-season.
NFC North: The Vikings are back in first place with Green Bay losing last night. But I still like the Packers to finish first. They’ve got what I see as an easier schedule remaining and winning at Minnesota sets them up for a potential sweep and the tie-breaker win if this goes to the wire. The Bears have a legit shot to get to 8-8, which to me would be a major surprise considering how bad I thought they would be, but that won’t get them to the playoffs.
NFC South: Carolina has this division locked up, and the Panthers are now solid chalk to be the top seed once the NFC playoff action begins. Atlanta is 6-4, but the Falcons are not playing well and they have two dates remaining with the Panthers. They’re in trouble. Tampa Bay has won two straight to claw their way to .500. If the Bucs win at Indianapolis on Sunday, I think 9-7 becomes a realistic expectation and that might just get them a 17th game if they get a little help.
NFC West: The Cardinals appear to have this division all but clinched. The Seahawks look like favorites to claim one of the wild cards if they can defeat the Steelers this week. They certainly should beat the Ravens, Browns and Rams, so it would seem they’re 9-7 at worst if they get through this weekend.
My calls are as follows: Division winners are Giants, Packers, Panthers and Cardinals. I’ll tab the Vikings and Seahawks as the wild cards. But watch out for under the radar Tampa Bay. If they win on Sunday, they’re in play as party crashers.
Thanksgiving turned out to very rewarding, with a 3-0 sweep. Georgia Tech and Xavier got there in hoops and South Florida was cake on the gridiron. I’m a little upset with myself for not playing the Panthers, but I just couldn’t make what I felt was a good number on Dallas as their stats got wildly skewed due to the first Romo injury. I knew I wasn’t going to be on the Cowboys, but got gun shy on playing Carolina. But obviously, no beefs with the overall results for the day.
If you want to be on the same games I’m playing every day, sent out when I play them, try my December special, which will also include the balance of this month. The +5 guarantee is included. For all the details on how everything works, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to get to it as soon as I weed through all the offers to become a billionaire courtesy of various people in Africa.
Georgia Tech cooperated as the holiday free play. I’ll go with an NBA call for this evening’s comp.
PELICANS at CLIPPERS
Take: PELICANS +6.5
I won’t say these are teams going in opposite directions, but at least for the present, they actually are. New Orleans has finally come to life following the disastrous 1-11 open and the Pelicans arrive at Staples for tonight’s duel riding a three-game winning streak.
The Clippers are currently a mess. Lance Stephenson has been horrible. Paul Pierce is finally looking his age. DeAndre Jordan is not producing as he did when he was in his walk year, playing for the contract he now owns. The team appears to have chemistry issues, which really isn’t a surprise based on the track record of a couple of the newcomers. And oh yeah, they’re 3-8 in their last 11 games, including that utter disaster where they blew a massive lead and eventually got run out by the Warriors. I don’t think they’ve recovered yet from that calamity.
As for New Orleans, they still aren’t fielding a complete lineup, and Tyreke Evans is unlikely to play until Saturday night. But they do seem to finally be settling into the system head coach Alvin Gentry wants to utilize. As devastating as the 1-11 start has to be to their playoff hopes, one good winning streak gets them right back into the fray. I see this as a team that’s now trending the right way but they really need this game with a no-rest trip to the Utah altitude on deck.
The Clippers have an impressive roster as far as talent is concerned. But they aren’t showing it right now, and they’ve been an absolutely horrendous spread team at home going well back to roughly last year’s All-Star break. I’m getting enough with New Orleans to make this a playable spot, so I’ll be looking to fly with the Pelicans tonight.