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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Super Bowl 53

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Super Bowl 53 is finally upon us. After all the mini-camps and training camps, after four weeks of pre-season, 17 weeks of the regular season and 3 weeks of playoffs, it’s come down to the final two teams. One, looking for a record tying 6th Super Bowl, and one looking for revenge from their last meeting 18 years ago.

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

February 3rd
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta, Georgia
LA Rams vs. New England Patriots
Line: Patriots by 2½

The last time these two teams met in the Super Bowl was in 2001. The Rams were in St. Louis and were going for their 2nd Super Bowl victory. But kicker Adam Vinateri put a stop to their hopes with a last second field goal as time expired beginning the start of the Brady/Belichek era in New England. Since then the Patriots have gone 5-3 in the Super Bowl and are looking for #6. The Rams have gone thru some lean years since their last appearance. They’ve moved back to LA and have seen the return of the “greatest show on turf”. We’re going to take a look at both teams and how they stack up beginning with the Offense.

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QB – It’s Tom Brady vs. Jared Goff. What can be said about probably the greatest quarterback of all time? He’s gunning for a 6th Super Bowl ring for the second time. He missed out last year against Philadelphia, and with his two losses to Eli Manning and the Giants, he could have had 8 rings. As for Goff, he is exactly the QB who the Rams picked #1 overall in 2016. He’s definitely the future of the NFL and has nerves of steel. But age and experience leads the way.

Advantage: Patriots

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RB – For the Rams, the two headed monster of Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson is just what the doctor ordered. They’ve been dominant during the playoffs, with each having a 100 yard rushing day. The Patriots hit pay dirt when they drafted Sony Michel out of Georgia. He’s been a compliment to the running game. But the wild card is James White, who has been valuable as a rusher as well as a pass receiver. Still, LA has a massive advantage on the ground.

Advantage: Rams

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Receivers – WR Brandin Cooks gets another shot at a ring. Last year, he was with the Patriots. This time he’s with the Rams and both he and fellow receiver Robert Woods got a ton of yards in the air. TE’s Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are nice options for Goff as well. The Patriots have familiar faces with TE Rob Gronkowski heading the charge. As we said preciously, injuries have slowed him down this season, leading Brady to have to go to Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan. Both teams have strong receiving corps, I call it even.

Advantage: Even

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Offensive Line – The Rams have the 2nd best offense in the league. That has a lot to do with the LA front five. John Sullivan is at center, with Rodger Saffold III and Austin Blythe at the Guard positions and Rob Havenstein and Andrew Whitworth at Tackles. They’ve only allowed 33 sacks all season. The Patriots front five have also been effective, having the 5th best pass offense in the league. David Andrews is at Center, Ted Karras and Joe Thuney are at Guard, and Trent Brown and Marcus Cannon are at Tackle. The fact that one of their better tackles left last season and were able to solidify their line by giving up only 21 sacks this season gives New England the edge.

Advantage: Patriots

Let’s go to the defense. The Patriots are ranked 7th this season giving up 20 points a game to the Rams 24 per game. Let’s take a look at the defensive lines.

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Defensive Line – For the Rams, their led by Defensive Tackle Aaron Douglas, who was on a tear all season with 20½ sacks this year. Free agent pick up Ndamukong Suh at the other tackle spot was a smart move given his controversial history. Michael Brockers is the defensive end on that line. For the Patriots, Trey Flowers leads the way at defensive end. Adrian Clayborn is at the other end position with Lawrence Guy and Malcolm Brown on each side at tackle. The domination by Douglas give the advantage to LA.

Advantage: Rams

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Linebackers – The Patriots go with three starters, with Kyle Van Noy on the Left, Dont’a Hightower in the middle and Elandon Roberts on the right. The Rams go the other way with four starters. Cory Littleton leads the Rams in tackles. He’s on the left side along with Dante Fowler Jr., Mark Barron and Samson Ebukam on the right. Both have teams have a strong linebacker corps. Let’s call it even.

Advantage: Even

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Secondary – This is also a close battle on the secondary. The Rams go with John Johnson and Lamarcus Joyner at the safety positions, Aqib Talib is their leader at cornerback along with Marcus Peters. The Patriots have Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty at Safety. Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore are in at cornerback. It’s going to be hard going for the Patriots secondary with their task on the Rams receivers.

Advantage: Rams

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Special Teams – Not many surprises for both teams, but this will be a key element late in the game. The Patriots have kicker Stephen Gostkowski who was 4-6 from within 40 yards or more. Punter Ryan Allen has laid punts inside the 20 yard line 21 times this season. Julian Edelman takes the Punt Returns. Cordarrelle Patterson takes the Kick returns, he does have a TD this season. The Rams rely on kicker Greg Zuerlein. He has been very reliable from 50 yards or more having gone 4 for 6 on the season.
Johnny Hekker averaged 46.3 yards per punt this year. Jojo Natson takes the punts, Blake Countess takes the kick returns. Call it even.

Advantage: Even

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Coaching – Sean McVay’s plan for making the Super Bowl happened after taking over for beleaguered coach Jeff Fisher in 2015. From there, he took Jared Goff under his wing, put together a plan to fix the maligned defense and put together one of the top offenses in the league. The result is a team one game away from a Lombardi trophy. As for Bill Belichek, he has survived accusations of cheating and a tarnished reputation. But in the end, he could be looking at yet another Super Bowl ring. He already has 5 with the Patriots and two as defensive coordinator of the Giants. He’s a master strategist, and that gives him the edge.

Advantage: Patriots

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Intangibles – LA has warm weather, the beach and sun. It also has horrible traffic jams, smog and landslides. Contrary to the song, it does rain in Southern California right around this time of year. As for New England, they have clam chowder, Boston cream pie and being a native New Yorker, I don’t have any regards for anything Boston, especially when I have to deal with yet another World Series victory.

Advantage: Rams

Final Analysis – Oddsshark.com has this game being even. The over and under is +/-45. A stat to note, in each of the Patriots games in the Super Bowl, they’ve only score 3 points in the first quarter. New England is notorious for being slow starters, and with the running game the Rams have, LA has the ability to slow this game down to a crawl. If that’s any indication, the Patriots could be looking at the same situation they had last year. But for the Patriots to win, they’re going to have to rely on the experience of Tom Brady as they’ve done before. It’s going to be close, but put your money on experience.

Smooth’s Pick – New England (30-27)

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Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

That’s going to do it for this season of Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Thanks so much to joining us this season. And we’ll see you next time.

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Championship Weekend

Conference Championship Sunday and the final four teams left standing will fight it out for a spot in Super Bowl 53. There’s been more than 6 months of preparation for this moment. One thing is certain, there will be a new Super Bowl champion. Will it be a familiar face, or will it be a new superstar on the horizon?

Las t Week’s Results

Head to Head: 3-1
Against the Spread: 2-1-1

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

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AFC Championship
New England at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 3

The Patriots made it look easy against the Chargers last weekend, beating LA 41-28. Tom Brady was 34 for 44 with 343 yards passing and a TD. RB Sony Michel had 24 carries for 129 yards and 3 TD. WR Julian Edelman had 151 receiving yards. Kansas City also had an easy time against Indianapolis, beating the Colts 31-13. No TD passes for QB Patrick Mahomes. He was 27 for 41 with 278 yards passing. RB Damien Williams 25 carries for 129 yards rushing and a TD. TE Travis Kelce had 108 receiving yards. The last meeting between the Patriots and the Chiefs was during week 6 in Foxborough. It was a Sunday night game and it was a shootout. Mahomes threw for 4 TD’s passes. But it was Patriots kicker Stephen Gotkowski’s 28 yard field goal with time expiring that would win it for New England, 43-40. This will be a different environment for the Patriots. Arrowhead Stadium has been a tough place to win for road teams, but not impossible. The Chargers beat the Chiefs during week 15. However, this Chiefs team with Mahomes taking the lead at QB is probably the most equal to New England in the last 10 years. This will be a close game, but when all is said and done, it will be a changing of the guard in the NFL.

Smooth’s Pick – Kansas City (31-24)

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NFC Championship
LA Rams at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 3½

The Rams took out a hard-fought Dallas Cowboys team, 30-22. It was closer than expected, but it took two 100 yard rushers to win the game for LA. C.J. Anderson carried 23 times for 123 yards and 2 TD’s. Todd Gurley 16 carries, 115 yards rushing and a TD for the Rams. The Saints also had a tough go against Philadelphia. But it was a last minute interception that sealed it for New Orleans, 20-14. Drew Brees was 28 for 38 with 301 yards passing, 2 TD’s and an INT. WR Michael Thomas was on fire, making 12 catches for 171 yards and a TD. The Rams and the Saints are the top two teams in the NFC. Both have high-powered offenses. The met during week 9, where the Saints beat the Rams 45-35. Big numbers by Drew Brees, who threw 397 yards passing for 4 TD’s and Michael Thomas who had 211 yards receiving and a TD. That game was in New Orleans as this championship will be also played in the “Big Easy”. It’s going to be a tough one for the Rams to pull off, even if they do have a big offense. The dome is a hard place to win and I’m going to put my money on the favorites.

Smooth’s Pick – New Orleans (38-31)

Now with all of our picks past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, they please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

And that’s going to do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us in two weeks when we’ll have comprehensive coverage of our pick for Super Bowl 53. That game will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Our picks will take place on January 31st at 8:30am Eastern Time. If you miss out, you can always read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Divisional Weekend

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It’s down to the final 8 teams in the NFL. A couple of surprises last weekend and a few that were expected. But this divisional weekend should be even more exciting with a lot at stake.

Last Week’s Results

Head to Head: 1-3
Against the Spread: 1-3

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Saturday, January 12

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Indianapolis (11-6) at Kansas City (12-4)
Line: Chiefs by 5½

The Colts continue their hot streak, now winners of nine of their last ten games, including their big win in Houston, 21-7. Now they have a tougher task, as they head to KC and take on the equally red hot Chiefs. Though they did lose three of their last six games, KC’s offense will be the story in this matchup. QB Patrick Mahomes scored a whopping 50 TD’s this season, along with throwing for over 5,000 yards this season. Two receivers were responsible for more than half of those yards, TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill. Unfortunately, their best running back was Kareem Hunt, but he was cut because of domestic abuse issues. On defense, defensive end Chris Jones had 15½ sacks to lead the team. Linebacker Dee Ford was second with 13 sacks on the season. So what is it going to take for the Colts to beat this Chiefs high powered offense? Well, don’t get into a scoring match. Keep the score low and contain Mahomes. That’s easier said than done. With an extra week off, this KC should be able to handle the Colts and move on to the next round.

Smooth’s Pick – Kansas City (37-19)

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Dallas (11-6) at LA Rams (13-3)
Line: Rams by 7

The Cowboys had a bit of trouble with the Seahawks last weekend, but were able to take advantage of some key penalties committed by Seattle and win the game, 24-22. They head to LA, where the Rams stumbled at the end of the regular season after winning their first 9 games. They’re 2nd in points and total yardage. QB Jared Goff threw for over 4,600 yards and 32 TD’s. His main targets were WR’s Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, who each had over 1,200 yards receiving. On the ground, RB Todd Gurley was the main man for the Rams. He found the end zone 17 times this season. The defense was solid with defensive end Aaron Donald leading the league in sacks with 20½ on the year. However, the key to the Rams winning will have to be shore up the defense that has lost a step at times during the last part of the season. Dallas will give them a run, but look for LA to knock off the Cowboys and send them into another year of futility.

Smooth’s Pick – LA Rams (30-14)

Sunday, January 13

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LA Chargers (13-4) at New England (11-5)
Line: Patriots by 4

The Bolts won their 8th straight on the road in Baltimore to defeat the Ravens 21-17. Their biggest test will be in Foxborough to take on the Patriots, who are going for an unprecedented 3rd straight Super Bowl appearance. Tom Brady, now in his 19th season continues to play like an all-Pro, throwing for over 4,300 yards and 29 TD’s this season. His selection has been varied, between TE Rob Gronkowski who’s been injured a part of the season, RB James White and WR Julian Edelman. Rookie RB Sony Michel nearly reached the 1,000 yard mark in rushing. On defense, the Patriots rely on defensive end Trey Flowers, as he had 7½ sacks this season. Free Safety Devin McCourty led the team with 59 solo tackles. So, what can be done to stop the Patriots incredible run? Well, the Bolts need to stop Tom Brady. The way the LA defense has been going, that might happen. In fact, they’re my upset special for this weekend. Look for a big game from Philip Rivers, who continues to be hungry in his quest for a Super Bowl ring.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick – LA Chargers (27-19)

eagles saints
Philadelphia (10-7) at New Orleans (13-3)
Line: Saints by 8

“There, but for the grace of God there go I” can be said about last weekend’s Eagles win over Chicago. A double post by Bears kicker Cody Parkey ended their Super Bowl hopes and gave Philly a chance to continue their miracle run. But this is going to be a nasty one in the “Big Easy”. The Saints have been on a tear all season long, led by their venerable QB Drew Brees. He broke yet another record this season, passing Peyton Manning for the all-time passing record for over 74,000 yards. This year, he threw for over 3,900 yards and 32 TD’s. 2nd year pro RB Alvin Kamara found the end zone 18 times this season, while WR Michael Thomas caught 125 passes for over 1,400 yards and 9 TD’s. Defensive end Cameron Jordan led the team in sacks with 12 and linebacker Damario Davis led the team in combined tackles with 110. You would think the Saints would be the overwhelming favorite in the game, and they are. But there’s something about the Eagles that when you count them out, they come back like Dracula. They are looking for revenge from their shellacking during week 11. Look for a closer than expected match-up.

Smooth’s Pick – New Orleans (33-21)

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

And that’s gonna do it for Divisional Weekend at Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us next week for championship weekend. We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Wildcard Weekend

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Wildcard Weekend begins on Saturday, and the race to Super Bowl 53 is under way. 8 teams will duke it out, looking to pass on to the next round.

Last Week’s Results

Head to Head: 10-6
Against the Spread: 7-6-3

Final Season to Date Totals

Head to Head: 167-90-2
Against the Spread: 123-90-42

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Saturday January 5

colts texans

Indianapolis at Houston
Line: Texans by 1½

The Colts started the season 1-5 and went 9-1 the rest of the way to secure the second wild card spot. Much of their success was because of a healthy Andrew Luck at QB. He threw for over 4,500 yards passing and 39 TD’s this season. The Colts were also in the top 5 in points, scoring 27.1 this season. They take on their AFC South rivals for the chance to play in the divisional semi-finals. The Texans were also slow out of the gate losing their first three games, but then went on to win 9 straight and won the division title with an 11-5 record. Much of that success goes to their defense, which allowed only 316 points this season and had a turnover ratio of +13. Defensive end JJ Watt was the leader of the team in sacks with 16 on the season. Deshawn Watson came back from a season ending injury to throw for over 4,100 yards and 26 TD, but he was sacked a whopping 62 times this season. That will be the key to the Texans success. Can they stop Andrew Luck from scoring? Look for a low scoring matchup that will favor the home team…slightly. .

Smooth’s Pick – Houston (19-16)

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Seattle at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 1½

Head coach Pete Carroll gets credit for re-arranging an aging Seahawks squad and leading them to another post season appearance at 10-6. The three-headed monster at Running Back led by Chris Carson, Mike Davis and rookie Rashaad Penny led the league in rushing with 160 per game. QB Russell Wilson was solid all season with a 110.9 rating and threw 35 TD’s on the year. Frank Clark and Jarran Reed combined for 24½ sacks on defense. The Seahawks head into Dallas confident. The Cowboys won the NFC East at 10-6 in a tougher than expected finish. Much of the load was done by RB Ezekiel Elliott who led the league in rushing with over 1,400 yards and scored 6 TD. He also had over 500 yards receiving and 3 TD’s. QB Dak Prescott survived being decimated by his offensive line, as he threw for over 3,800 yards passing and 22 TD’s. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence led the team with 10½ sacks on the year. Trying to figure out which Cowboys team will show up. It’s hard to read, really. If they win the game, it’s going to have to be at the feet of Ezekiel Elliott. Look for another low scoring game that won’t be decided until late.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick – Seattle (17-15)

Sunday, January 6

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LA Chargers at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 2½

At 12-4, the Bolts had their best season in nearly 20 years. However it wasn’t enough to overcome Kansas City and they had to settle for the wild card. But the Chargers were 7-1 on the road this season. That makes them a very dangerous team in the playoffs. Philip Rivers is still looking for that elusive Super Bowl ring, and it might be his last chance. He threw for over 4,300 yards passing and 32 TD’s. They’ll get another crack at the Ravens, who upset the Bolts in Carson, California during week 15. Rookie QB Lamar Jackson was a big part of the win for Baltimore, who beat out Pittsburgh for the AFC North title at 10-6. Since coming in for the injured Joe Flacco, Jackson was 6-2 in his starts and threw for over 1,200 yards passing and 6 TD’s. He also rushed for 698 yards and 5 TD’s. The Ravens defense was led by linebacker Da’Zarius Smith who led the team with 8½ sacks. Even though they’re favored, Baltimore is still depending on an inexperienced rookie at QB to win. Might be too much for a team facing an experienced and hungry veteran.

Smooth’s Pick – LA Chargers (22-16)

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Philadelphia at Chicago
Line: Bears by 5½

The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles live to fight another day. They snagged the final wild card spot with back-up QB Nick Foles having to come in once again for regular starting quarterback Carson Wentz. Foles looks to work the same magic as last year. The Eagles were 7th in passing yards with 267.2 on the season. Most of that was with TE Zach Ertz who led the team with 116 catches and over 1,100 yards receiving and 8 TD’s. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox led the team with 10½ sacks. Malcolm Jenkins led the team with 3 INT’s and solo tackles with 79. They travel to Chicago, where the Bears surprised everyone by winning the NFC North with a 12-4 record. Much of that success due to their defense. Acquiring linebacker Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders for a #1 draft pick in the 2019 draft was the right move for Chicago. He led the team with 12½ sacks. Overall, the Bears had 50 sacks on quarterbacks this season. But their offense has been the real surprise of the season, having put up 26.3 points per game. Good enough for 9th place in the league. QB Mitch Trubisky was injured for a few games, but still managed to throw for 3,200 yards and 24 TD’s. RB Tarik Cohen combined for over 1,100 total yards and 8 combined TD’s. For the Bears to win, they need to get out of the gate and score early, then work on the Eagles offense and hammer a vulnerable Nick Foles. It helps to have home field in this instance.

Smooth’s Pick – Chicago (24-16)

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

And that’s gonna do it for Wildcard Weekend at Smooth’s NFL Football Picks, we’ll see you later!

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College Bowl Playoff Picks – National Championship 2019

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We’re down to the final two college teams to fight for the national championship. It all takes place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on January 7th, #1 Alabama verses #2 Clemson.

Last week, we were 2-0 on our head to head, 1-1 against the spread.

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com.

Line: Alabama by 6

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The defending champion Crimson Tide held off a late challenge by Oklahoma, beating the Sooners 45-34 in the Orange Bowl. Alabama came out with all guns blazing, leading Oklahoma 28-0 in the 2nd quarter. Oklahoma would play catch up all day long and made it close, but in the end it was Alabama that would come out on top. Sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa threw for 318 yards passing and 4 TD. Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray showed why he won the award, throwing for 302 yards and 2 TD’s for the Sooners. He also rushed for 109 yards and a TD. But it was Alabama’s defense that would get the best of him, getting 3 sacks on the night.

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Clemson put a hurting on Notre Dame from start to finish, destroying the Fighting Irish 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl Classic. They head to their third National Championship in four years. Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw 327 yards passing and three TD’s. Freshman WR Justyn Ross was the benefactor of two of those scores. He had 6 receptions for 148 yards. Sophomore RB Travis Etienne rushed for 106 yards and scored a TD. Notre Dame Junior QB Ian Book was terrorized by the Tigers defense being sacked 6 times and threw for an Interception.

Analysis – Clemson meets Alabama for the third time in the National championship playoff. Both previous games were shootouts, with Alabama winning in 2015 45-40 and Clemson winning in 2016, 35-31. This has all the makings of the same kind of game. The Crimson Tide’s defense will be the key to winning Nick Saban’s 6th National Championship. However, their game against Oklahoma has some a little bookies worried, thus the 6 point spread. The Tigers are talented on both sides of the ball and are capable of beating the Crimson Ride as they’ve done before. Look for a tight match-up with this game possibly going to overtime.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick – Clemson (38-35)

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

And that’s going to do it for Smooth’s College Bowl Playoff Picks. We’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks, Week 17- The Final Rush!

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Week 17 and it’s win or go home for those teams still in the playoff hunt. Only Philadelphia and Minnesota are still in it in the NFC. Indianapolis, Tennessee, Baltimore and Pittsburgh are still in it in the AFC, with the Chargers and Chiefs still fighting out for the West division crown. Monday morning will also set off a wave of head coach firings, with team executives wondering what happened this season.

Last Week’s Results

Head to Head: 11-5
Against the Spread: 8-5-3

Season to Date

Head to Head: 157-84-2
Against the Spread: 116-84-40

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

All games will be played on December 30, 2018

Oakland at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 13½

KC got a break after their upset loss to Seattle, the Chargers also lost to Baltimore. The West and the #1 overall seed in the AFC is still up for grabs. They can win at home against the Raiders, who can play spoiler and have been finishing out the season of late having won their final game in Oakland, just maybe. Look for a closer matchup.

Smooth’s Pick – Kansas City (35-27)

LA Chargers at Denver
Line: Bolts by 6½

LA blew their chance to take the West and now need to win and get help from Oakland. A loss puts them in the wild card as the #5 seed and a rematch with Baltimore or Pittsburgh. They’ll have to win in the “Mile High” city. Easier said than done.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick – Denver (22-19)

Chicago at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 5

The Bears have nothing to play for, as they have a home playoff game verses either Minnesota or Philadelphia. The Vikings have everything to play for, as they need to win, and they’re in. Look for the Vikings take full advantage at home.

Smooth’s Pick – Minnesota (23-14)

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers by 14½

For the second game in a row, the Steelers blew a chance to win the division. A crushing last minute loss to New Orleans. Another loss and Mike Tomlin’s head coaching job is in jeopardy.

Smooth’s Pick – Pittsburgh (26-15)

Cleveland at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 6

Huge turnaround for the Browns after going winless last season. They can finish strong with an upset this weekend against the Ravens. But Baltimore is hungry and needs this win to go into the post season.

Smooth’s Pick – Baltimore (19-16)

Philadelphia at Washington
Line: Eagles by 6½

Philadelphia needs a win and a Minnesota loss to defend their title. They could get half of it on the road verses the Redskins, who limp to the finish line with their playoff hopes dashed.

Smooth’s Pick – Philadelphia (34-17)

Jacksonville at Houston
Line: Texans by 7

The Texans look vulnerable. That loss to Philly last weekend put their division title hopes in peril. A win and they could win the division. A loss, an Indy win knocks them into the wild card and a road game. The Jags could give them a run.

Smooth’s Pick – Houston (18-14)

Indianapolis at Tennessee
Line: None

The Sunday night game puts the Colts in the spotlight. A Texans loss and they’ll have a chance to win the division with a victory. But they’ll have to do it on the road verses a Titans team that needs to win and get a loss from Houston to win the division.

Smooth’s Pick – Indianapolis (24-13)

Gonna go quickly over the remaining games that are not of any relevance in the playoff race.

Dallas at NY Giants
Line: Giants by 6½

The Cowboys will sit their starters for the post season. Give this one to the G-men.

Smooth’s Pick – NY Giants (31-17)

NY Jets at New England
Line: Patriots by 13½

Same situation for the Patriots, but they should be able to cruise to victory. Jets head coach Todd Boles is on the hot seat this Monday.

Smooth’s Pick – New England (37-19)

Carolina at New Orleans
Line: None

Because Cam Newton is done for the year and the Saints will also start some of their second string to prep for the playoffs.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick – New Orleans (36-16)

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 1

Should be a close game for both teams positioning themselves for draft position.

Smooth’s Pick – Tampa Bay (21-17)

Detroit at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 7½

Both teams just want this season over.

Smooth’s Pick – Green Bay (17-12)

Miami at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 3½

The cold weather will doom the warm weather “Fish”.

Smooth’s Pick – Buffalo (23-14)

Arizona at Seattle
Line: None

The Seahawks are solid in the #5 seed as a wild card. Expect the game to be like a pre-season game.

Smooth’s Pick – Seattle (24-10)

San Francisco at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 10

With home field overall out of reach, LA can only prep for the playoffs.

Smooth’s Pick – LA Rams (28-26)

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

And that’s week seventeen for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us next Thursday at 8:30am for in-depth coverage of wildcard weekend. Also, join us on January 2nd at 830am Eastern Time as we make our predictions for the College Football Playoff Championship. Check our website for additional times. If you miss out, you can always read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com. Our playoff picks broadcasts will also be available in iTunes on the podcast section, as well. Just put in a search with the name, ‘smooth jazz and more’.

Happy New Year…and we’ll see you later.

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College Football Playoffs 2019 – Semi-finals

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The top four teams in college football will determine who will face off at the beginning of 2019 for the national championship. Will it be a history making rematch or will two teams familiar with championships get their chance for the title?

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Saturday, December 29th

Cotton ND CL

The Cotton Bowl Classic
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, Texas
#3 Notre Dame vs. #2 Clemson
Line: Clemson by 10

For head coach Brian Kelly, the Fighting Irish worked hard to keep their undefeated streak intact and into the final four at the end of the season. They have a balanced offense with the run and the pass being utilized 50% percent of the time. Junior QB Ian Brook threw for over 2,400 yards this season with 19 TD and only 6 interceptions. Senior RB Dexter Williams leads the team with 12 rushing TD’s. Senior WR Miles Boykin caught 54 passes for over 800 yards and 8 TD’s. Sophomore receiver Jafar Armstrong has been used in rushing, scoring 7 TD’s this season. On defense, senior lineman Te’von Coney leads the team with 107 tackles and 3½ sacks. Junior lineman Julian Okwara leads the team with 5½ sacks. Junior Safety Jalen Elliott is the leader in interceptions with 4. The secondary has 13 picks on the season.

Head coach Dabo Sweeney leads his undefeated Clemson Tigers to the national playoff for the fourth consecutive year and he has a young set of starters. Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence had some struggles early this season, but recovered nicely to throw for over 2,600 passing yards and 24 TD’s with only 4 interceptions. Sophomore RB Travis Etienne rushed for 1,464 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. Sophomore WR Tee Higgins had 802 receiving yards and 10 TD’s on the year. On defense, junior defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence may have been snubbed by the Associated Press on its All-American list because of injuries. But he still snagged 37 tackles and 1½ sacks this season, good enough for the first team all-ACC team. Junior Linebacker Tre Lamar had 101 tackles and 3 sacks. Junior Safety Isaiah Simmons leads the team with 104 tackles.

The key to Notre Dame beating Clemson will be to look back and the Tigers match-up with Syracuse earlier this season. The Orange were able to stop their run all day until the last 7 minutes of the game, where Clemson came back with two TD runs by Travis Etienne to prevent being upset. This matchup has the makings of something similar. But Clemson is much too talented to have it happen twice in a row. Look for a close game, with the Tigers pulling away late.

Smooth’s Pick – Clemson (31-28)

orange AL OU

Orange Bowl
Hard Rock Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida
#4 Oklahoma vs #1 Alabama
Line: Alabama by 14½

Bob Stoops’ Sooners has been feast or famine all season long. But they managed to make the college playoff despite the one loss blemish. Senior QB Kyler Murray became the second straight Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma, following Baker Mayfield who is having a great rookie season with the Cleveland Browns. This could be Murray’s final football game, as he was picked 9th overall by the Oakland Athletics in the MLB draft. He threw for over 4,000 yards and a whopping 40 TD’s. He also rushed for 11 TD’s. Sophomore RB’s Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon each had 12 TD’s Junior WR Marquise Brown and Sophomore WR CeeDee Lamb each had over a 1,000 yards receiving and each had 10 TD’s. On defense, Senior DE Kenneth Man led the line with 75 tackles. Defensive back Parnell Motley led the team with 78 tackles and 3 interceptions.

Head coach Nick Saban has had his defending champs on cruise control all season long, having beaten their opponents by an average of 25 points. Sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa came into his own this season after taking over the starting QB job from Junior Jalen Hurts, throwing for over 3,300 yards passing and 37 TD’s. Senior RB Damien Harris found the end zone seven times on 771 yards rushing. Junior RB Josh Jacobs lead rushers with 11 TD’s. Sophomore WR Jerry Jeudy had 1,100 receiving yards and 12 TD. The pride of the Crimson Tide is their defense, with Senior LB Anfernee Jennings leading the team with 4½ sacks. Sophomore DB Xavier McKinney was second on the team with 3 sack. Senior DB Deionte Thompson led the team in tackles, while Junior DB Savion Smith led the team with 3 INT’s.

A big problem for Oklahoma is their defense. They gave up 42 points to Army in a game they were lucky to win. They need to prevent Alabama from going for the knockout punch early. Forget the point spread on this game. It will be a battle between Tagovailoa and Murray on who can put up the big numbers.

Smooth’s Pick – Alabama (44-33)

Now with all our picks, past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to GamblersAnonymous.org.

And that’s going to do it for Smooth’s College Bowl Playoff Picks. Join us next week as we select who will be the winner of the Championship game taking place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Monday, January 7.

We’ll see you later!