Wild card weekend is over, and it went mostly as expected. Here’s the recap.
Bengals at Texans: It looked like the Bengals were in control early, but it swung pretty definitively to the Texans in the second half. Yates wasn’t devastating, but he was effective and didn’t turn the ball over. Andy Dalton, on the other hand, threw three interceptions and the Bengals run game never got going. In the end, the Texans won as predicted. I had the right numbers in my predictions but accidentally said there was a preference for the Bengals; the Texans covered as Luigi predicted. Luigi didn’t like either team for the moneyline, so no result there. And Luigi happened to be right about the over. This game went pretty much perfectly.
Lions at Saints: The second half of this game was tough to watch. The Lions were ahead after the first half on the strength of two fumble recoveries, and it was obvious that they would have to keep getting turnovers to keep up. The Saints were scoring so long as they didn’t lose the ball, whereas the Lions were only scoring mostly at will. In the second half the Lions dropped two potential interceptions and that was that. The Saints won as predicted, which means the Lions moneyline pick didn’t turn out. The Lions didn’t cover either, since the Saints kept the pedal down and turned their 10 point lead into a 17 point cover with 3 minutes left. And, the two offensive juggernauts lived up to expectations and put up a total of 73 points. So Luigi was wrong about everything except for the Saints winning. Hopefully the Lions improve their defense next season; that would make them a real contender.
Falcons at Giants: The Falcons basically laid an egg here. It was a really boring first half, and the second half was boring too but at least the Giants scored. The Falcons never did anything, and didn’t even take enough chances to end up with an interception. They should get credit for trying short 4th downs, but they failed to convert. The Giants weren’t looking so hot either, but they broke open some big plays in the second half to turn the game into a laugher. I really wish the Lions had gotten the 5 seed. Luigi correctly pegged the Giants as the winners, but was technically wrong about the spread. The line was close to the prediction though, so this is a game I would have stayed away from. The same is true for the moneyline. And Luigi was looking for more than 47 points, but that didn’t happen.
Steelers at Broncos: This was the most exciting game of the weekend (potentially second depending on your opinion of the Lions-Saints game), but I actually fell asleep during the first quarter. The Steelers looked poised to grind out one of their ugly wins with a couple of early field goals, but the Broncos started getting big plays in the passing game and ended the half up 20-6. The Steelers started looking more Steeler-like and tied it with a little under 4 minutes left in the game. Tebow couldn’t make the magic happen and it looked like Roethlisberger was going to instead until he fumbled to bump the Steelers out of field goal range. Then the Broncos won the coin toss and Tebow caught Demaryius Thomas on yet another big play, where Thomas turned a medium route into an 80 yard touchdown. The new overtime rules came into effect for the first time this game and I guess they worked; the Broncos didn’t dink and dunk their way into field goal range. Instead they broke one fortunate play and still won without the Steelers touching the ball. I don’t honestly care about overtime being ‘fair’ or not, but I’m not sure this is really what the rule change had in mind. Luigi obviously missed the winner here, but did get the Broncos to cover. It was also right about the Broncos on the moneyline and the game going over 33.5.
So overall Luigi was 3-1 in picking outright winners (which I imagine is what most people did). It was 1-1 on the moneyline, which was enough to come out ahead thanks to the Broncos. It was 2-2 against the spread in all games, but would have skipped one and thus went 2-1. And Luigi was 2-2 against the over/under. Bill Simmons went 4-0 with his picks, so his perfect postseason is still alive. He also picked up 2 games on Luigi, but I’m still ahead by 11 on the year overall. I’ll be rooting for Bill to go 11-0 though; it would make him so happy.