Last week, I was 3-1 against the spread and 3-1 straight up. If not for the Saints deciding to swat away Detroit's backdoor cover, I'd have hit a perfect ATS.
I don't like any game as strongly as did I Houston giving the FG last week, but I'll still give you each game in the order of my belief in it.
Houston +7.5 Baltimore (Ravens win)
A week ago, I said Houston would get to Baltimore and lose, but if I were back here for round 2 writing "the Texans are going to the AFC Championship game" don't be shocked.
I'm not writing that, Yates is a third string rookie QB going on the road against a rested Ravens Defense; I'm picking Baltimore to win. That said - this is a field goal game, Houston's just as good as Baltimore; the public undervalues how good Houston was throughout the year and maybe overvalues the current version of Baltimore's defense. I think there's a better chance that Houston wins outright than that Baltimore wins by double digits.(win/win)
Giants +7.5 Packers (GB wins)
A week ago I said if any unexpected team won SB46 that it would be the Giants, I liked them to cover against Atlanta and they matchup as well as any team does against the champs. I'm taking the champs, they're better than NY and were they to win by 10 it wouldn't surprise me. But I'm not giving more than a touchdown. I like this game a good bit less than the Houston game.(win/loss)
Niners +4 Saints (NO wins)
Yeah, it's up to 4 now. I picked the Saints to win the whole thing a week ago and if I'm really wrong about anything this week its this game and the Saints beat us (I'm a Niner fan) by three touchdowns. They're the best team in football (I say that like it's so, but in truth I don't have any idea if they're better than the Packers or not) and we're a good team who hasn't faced an offense of nearly this quality all season. But given the rest, given the long trip they're taking west, given the ability of our defensive line to get pressure without blitzing, this could be a field goal game so I'm taking the points.(win/loss)
NE -13.5 Denver
Yes, I hate giving that many points. Yes. The factors that led me to take Denver getting 9 last week aren't present this week; to me this feels like 35-10. It was just two weeks ago that Tebow couldn't score a touchdown at home against the Chiefs, there's no reason why he isn't that guy this week instead of the guy who beat the Steelers. I do not like giving 13.5, but gun to my head, I think it's more likely they cover than don't.(win/win)
If I get a chance, I'll give you some Golden Globe winners in this spot to help ease whatever damage I otherwise do to your portfolio with these picks.
Drama - The Descendants (its favored, but maybe not by as much as the likelihood of victory, Hugo is really only other possibility)
Comedy/Musical - The Artist (lock)
Animated - Rango (if not, then Tintin)
Foreign - A Separation (as likely as is Descendants; In the Land of Blood and Honey is only other possibility)
Drama Actor - Clooney (favored, but not quite by as much as likelihood of victory, Pitt is only other possibility)
Drama Actress - Streep (Davis just won at Critics Choice, so she's a possibility, but Streep's almost as likely as Clooney and maybe worth a small investment)
Comedy Actor - Dujardin (lock, if you're just paying attention now to the Oscar race, the Artist has a solid lead for Best Picture)
Comedy Actress -Williams (not quite a "hey, was she in the Artist too" lock, but close)
Supporting Actor - Plummer (only Brooks has a chance)
Supporting Actress - Spencer (pretty close to a lock, only Chastain has a chance)
Director - Scorsese (this is a close race, a coin flip with Hazanavicius)
Screenplay - Allen (lock, is he going to the ceremony?)
Song - The Living Proof (jump ball with Hello Hello)
Drama: Homeland (Boardwalk would be the alternative; Homeland also should win)
Comedy: Modern Family (I don't see much chance of anything else winning, it would get my vote given the shows they chose to nominate; I'd have an entirely different slate of nominees)
TV Movie: Downton Abbey (my vote would be Mildred Pierce and thats only other choice)
Drama Actor: Grammer (wide open with Buscemi, Cranston, Lewis as the other options - my vote would be Cranston)
Actress: Danes (lock, she gets my vote also)
Comedy Actor: LeBlanc (I'll say he upsets Baldwin, Baldwin gets my vote)
Comedy Actress: Deschanel (this is a tailor made Globe pick; it's Dern, also another Globe-y type pick, otherwise, my vote to Poehler)
TV Movie Actor: Elba (this could go to any of the nominees, my vote to Hurt)
TV Movie Actress: Winslet (lock, also gets my vote)
TV Supporting Actor: Dinklage (either he or Pearce, and that's who would get my vote)
TV Supporting Actress: Lange (if not it's Smith, my vote to Wood)
a jim jividen blog
Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.