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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Super Bowl 54

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The stage is set for the biggest football game of the season. The world will be focused on Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, as the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the Vince Lombardi trophy. Both teams dominated their divisions, The Chiefs won the AFC Championship and are at 14-4 on the season, the Niners took home the NFC Conference championship and are 15-3.

Let’s do a comparison of both teams starting with the Offenses.

QB: What can be said that hasn’t been with Patrick Mahomes? He’s been “cash money” since getting the starting job in 2018. 50 TD’s last season, this year he put up 26, despite missing a couple of games with a knee injury. After losing out in last year’s AFC Championship, he made the most of his experience and brought it to the next level, leading the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl since 1970. As for Jimmy Garoppalo, the Niners traded for him from New England four years ago for this exact reason. He had some tough moments being unable to finish the 2018 season due to injury, but with a health 2019, he finally broke out with career-high numbers in passing and TD’s. Head to head, Mahomes is the more agile QB, and with Garoppalo’s turnover ratio working against him, I have to give the advantage to KC.

Advantage: chiefs

Rushing: Looking at the ground game, and for the Chiefs, they don’t run as often. In fact, not one back has run more than 500 yards this season and they’re 23rd in rushing yards within the league. But when they do, they rely on veteran LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams, with fullback Anthony Sherman in short yardage plays. As for the Niners, they were 2nd overall in the league in rushing with 144 yards per game. They have three options to choose from with Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Brieda. The younger set of running backs give the Niners the clear edge.

Advantage: niners

Receiving: In the air, the Chiefs pass offense are devastating. They were ranked 4th in the league in passing yards with 293 per game. TE Travis Kelce leads the team in receiving, while WR Tyreek Hill leads the team in TD’s. Sammy Watkins is another option at WR for Mahomes to throw to. As for the Niners, they rely on TE George Kittle who leads the team in receiving yards, and tied with WR Deebo Samuel in TD’s. Veteran Emanuel Sanders was a big in-season pick-up from Denver for their receiving corps. However the Niners were 17th in the league in passing, leaving the Chiefs with the upper hand in this matchup.

Advantage: chiefs

O-Line: Taking a look at the Chiefs offensive line, they’re led by Austin Reiter at center, Andrew Wylie and Canadian Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are at guard, and Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz are the tackles. Together, this o-line has given up only 25 sacks on the season, and was responsible for Mahomes throwing for nearly 5,000 passing yards. As for the Niners, their o-line is led by Ben Garland at center, Laken Tomlinson and Mike Pearson at guard and 13 year veteran Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey are at tackle. They’re the main reason the Niners running game has been so effective. The team was also 5th in the league in total yards. Both lines have been very respected all season. Let’s call it even.

Advantage: Even

Now let’s look at the Defenses.

D-Line: The Chiefs big men are DE Frank Clark and DT Chris Jones. Both linemen have 17 sacks between them. DE Tanoh Kpassagnon and DT Derrick Nnadi round out the front four, with in-season pickup Terrell Suggs a nice complement to that line. The team was 8th in the league in passing yards given up. As for the Niners, they have the best front four in the league. They gave up only 15 points per game, 252 total yards, 41.5 rushing yards given up and are tied for 1st in takeaways with 5. Arik Armstead, Sheldon Day, Deforest Buckner and rookie Nick Bosa have all dominated the front lines this season in sacks with 48, tied for 4th in the league. Both lines are solid, but for the numbers, I have to give the edge to the Niners.

Advantage: niners

LB: The Chiefs are led in the middle by Anthony Hitchens who leads the team in total tackles with 88. Damien Wilson is on the left side with Darron Lee on the right. Dorian O’Daniel, Ben Niemann and Reggie Ragland all are substitutes. As for the Niners, they’re led by Fred Warner in the middle with Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair on both sides. Elijah Lee, Kwon Alexander and Mark Nzeochar are the substitutes. Both teams are solid on coverage within 5 yards.

Advantage: Even

Secondary: The Chiefs defensive backfield is led by Tyrann Mathieu, aka “The Honey Badger”. He leads the team in interceptions. He’ll line up in the strong safety position with Daniel Sorensen as the free safety. Charvaris Ward and Bashuad Breeland are the starting corners, with Morris Claiborne and Jordan Lucas used in 3rd and long plays. As for the Niners, they’re led by Richard Sherman, who plays in his third Super Bowl. He’ll play at cornerback, with Ahkello Witherspoon as the other back. Ja-qui-ski Tart-t and Jimmie Ward are the safeties. The Niners have the slight advantage over the Chiefs on pass coverage, being that they’ve given up only 33% in 3rd down situations compared to 37% percent.

Advantage: niners

Special Teams: Harrison Butker handles all the kicking duties for the Chiefs. He’s been perfect within 40 yards this season and is 3 for 6 from 50 yards. Dustin Colquitt is the punter. He has a 44.3 yards per punt average. Returns are led by either Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman. The Niners have veteran Robbie Gould as kicker. He was out for 3 games this year and he hasn’t been successful from 50 yards this season. Mitch Wishnowsky has a 44.9 yards per punt average. He’s hit inside the 10 yard line six times this season. Richie James Jr., DJ Reed and Dante Pettis handle the kick and punt returns. If the game goes down to the final minute, give that advantage to the Chiefs.

Advantage: chiefs

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Coaching : It took him 12 years, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid is back in the Super Bowl. He’s had many difficulties getting back to the big game in Kansas City, and may have just saved his job if he didn’t win the AFC Championship two weeks ago. He’s currently has the most wins without winning the Super Bowl. As for the Niners, everyone’s talking about Kyle Shanahan. The son of two-time Super Bowl champion head coach Mike Shanahan has exceeded everyone’s expectations after a 4-12 record last season. This is a chance to redeem himself after blowing a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots when he was offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51. A historic moment this Sunday, as offensive assistant Katie Sowers becomes the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl. She’ll be the offense assistant to Shanahan. Let’s call this even, as well.

Advantage: Even

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Intangibles: I’ve never been to Kansas City, but hear they have a lavish night life. It’s known for its barbecue, jazz heritage and water fountains. It’s also the home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Outside of baseball in the summer and football in the fall, there’s not much else for sporting events. As for the San Francisco bay area, I spent seven years living there and between the cable cars, the hills and the Golden Gate Bridge, I miss the beauty of the region. It’s been a while since I’ve returned and I’m definitely due for a visit. Big Advantage for San Francisco.

Advantage: niners

Final analysis: Oddsshark had the opening spread at 1½ in favor of San Francisco. Since then, the point spread has gone down ½ a percentage point and the game may well be a ‘pick ‘em’ come game time. That has a lot to do with the high powered KC offense and the Niners top ranked defense going head to head. The Chiefs have scored 29 points per game while the Niners have given up only 15 points per game this season. Something’s gotta give. That’s where the Niners offense must capitalize when they get the ball, and that starts at the coin toss. That means, the Niners need to keep it on the ground and away from Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. I’ve always been a big believer in the saying, “defense wins championships”, and this Sunday may well be the case. It should be an outstanding Super Bowl.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (27-24)

Now with all of our picks, past performance doesn’t mean future results, if you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s going to do it for smooth’s NFL Football Picks. Join us on Monday for a complete wrap up of the game and how we did on our pick.

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Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game

Before we go, we want to take time to remember the life and legacy of NBA great Kobe Bryant. Bryant was killed along with his 13 year old daughter, Gianna and 7 other passengers in a helicopter crash just outside of Los Angeles on Sunday, January 26th. Bryant was one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, winning 5 NBA titles.

He was an 18 time All-Star with two NBA Finals MVP awards and was the 2008 Most Valuable Player. He was also businessman, a philanthropist, a humanitarian and an Academy Award winning producer. The sudden loss has sent shockwaves across the basketball community and around the world.

We send our sympathies to all the families affected in this tragic accident.

 

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Smooth’s NFL Football Picks – Championship Weekend 2020

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It’s Championship Weekend and the final four teams are set to face off in their respective conference championships. We’ll tell you our selections on who we think will go to Super Bowl 54 on February 2. But first, we want to tell you about the latest news in the NFL.

1184878396.jpg.0The Cleveland Browns have their man to coach next season. He is Kevin Stefanski. He was the Offensive Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, and he was almost picked for the Browns job last season, but lost out to Freddie Kitchens. That didn’t work out, as the Browns were 6-10 under Kitchens and management decided to send him packing in his only season as head coach.

usp-ncaa-football_-college-football-playoff-nation-7-e1578983204857Also, congrats to the LSU Tigers. They won the College Football National Championship beating defending champion Clemson 42-25 and going undefeated in the process at 15-0. Monster game for LSU QB Joe Burrow. He just improved his NFL Draft stock this April by throwing for 463 passing yards and 6 TD’s on the night. It was LSU’s 4th national championship and 3rd since 2003.

hof-busts_crop_northAnd finally, congratulations to the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They include former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the late Steve Sabol of NFL Films, the late George Young, he was the architect of those NY Football Giants teams in 1987 and 91, and the late Alex Karras. He played for the Detroit Lions for 12 years, was an all pro in four of those years. He was also a sportscaster for ABC’s Monday Night Football and was an actor in Hollywood. He played in the movies Blazing Saddles, Porky’s and the TV sit-com Webster. A link of the full list of inductees can be found here.

Last week’s results

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

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Sunday, January 19th

titans chiefs

Tennessee at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 7½

The Titans continue to amaze critics and do the unthinkable. Last week, they knocked off the number one seeded Baltimore Ravens with a convincing 28-12 victory. It was all Derrick Henry, as he rushed for 192 yards for the night. He became the first player in NFL history with 180+ rush yards in 2 consecutive playoff games. QB Ryan Tannehill threw for under 100 yards again, but when he did throw, half of those numbers was on a 45 yard TD pass to WR Kalif Raymond. You can’t blame Lamar Jackson for the Ravens shortcomings. He threw for 365 passing, 142 yards rushing and a TD. But he did throw for 2 INT’s and the Ravens “D” just couldn’t stop Henry on the ground. The Titans head to Kansas City, where the Chiefs were down 24-0, before they roared back to beat Houston 51-31. The Texans started strong with two TD passes by QB Dashaun Watson and a blocked punt by Houston special teams. After a Texans FG, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes got busy. He would throw four straight TD passes to give KC the lead for good. Altogether, he would throw for 321 yards passing and 5 TD’s. TE Travis Kelce caught three of those TD’s on 134 yards receiving. Kansas City could least afford to have a slow start against Tennessee. The Chiefs will be fine, as long as Patrick Mahomes scores early and often. As for the Titans, they’ll need to control the ball as they did against New England and Baltimore. That means, you’ll see more of Derrick Henry carrying the rock. Look for another 150+ yard game from him. The key in this game will be the defense and right now, the Titans are in the zone. The last time I’ve seen a team look like this in the playoff was with my NY Football Giants in 2008. We could be seeing another miracle run here.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (27-23)

packers niners

Green Bay at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 7½

The Niners systematically ripped apart Minnesota from start finish. They cruised to a 27-10 victory. The defense sacked Kirk Cousins 6 times and rendered him useless all day long. The Vikings couldn’t even get their running game going, gaining only 21 yards on the ground all day. Niners RB Tevin Coleman rushed for 105 yards and scored twice. The Niners played keep away, winning the time of possession 38 minutes to only 21 minutes for the Vikings. It was San Francisco’s first playoff win in six years. They will host the NFC Championship and will take on Green Bay, who held off a late charge by Seattle, winning 28-23. Aaron Rodgers was 16-27 for 243 yards passing and two TD’s. WR Davante Adams caught 8 passes for 160 yards and two scores. Seattle QB Russell Wilson almost single-handedly willed the Seahawks into a comeback 277 yards passing and a TD, along with 64 yards rushing. RB Marshawn Lynch also had two 1 yard TD runs on the day. So, what are the chances of the Packers going to their 6th Super Bowl? Well, if there’s any indication of the beating Kirk Cousins took last weekend, those chances don’t look very good. Not only that, these two teams met previously during week 12 on a Monday night game, and it wasn’t even close. Rodgers threw for only 104 yards passing that night. The key matchup for this weekend though is between WR Davante Adams for the Packers and DB Richard Sherman for the Niners. If Rodgers can find Adams or even TE Jimmy Graham, they may have a chance. But this Niners defense is fierce. I’m looking for them to continue frustrating Rodgers and the Packers all night and move on to another Super Bowl appearance.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (31-17)

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 gamblers anonymous dot org.

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for Conference Championship Sunday. Join us in two weeks on Thursday, January 30 at 8:30am Eastern Time as we give in-depth coverage and our pick for Super Bowl 54 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. We’ll have repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before game time on February 2. Check our website for dates and times. 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 College Football Picks – National Championship 2020

National Championship

The stage is set for the 2020 College Football National Championship.  It will be the battle of the Tigers, as #1 LSU will take on the defending champions, #3 Clemson.

Monday, January 13

Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, Louisiana
Line: LSU by 5½

Let’s take a look at both teams.

In the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl, #1 LSU made it look easy, as they destroyed #4 Oklahoma 63-28. In that game, Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow lit up the Sooners secondary throwing for a record-tying seven touchdowns and 403 yards in the first half alone. He also added a rushing touchdown in the second half for good measure. Junior WR Justin Jefferson had four of those touchdowns with 227 yards receiving on the day. Oklahoma actually tied the game early at 7-7, but the Tigers put the Sooners away early. Senior QB Jalen Hurts scored two rushing TD’s but also was intercepted once in the losing cause. LSU will be searching for its first championship since 2007.

In the Playstation Fiesta Bowl, it was a thrilling finish, as #3 Clemson gets the chance to defend their title, beating #2 Ohio State, 29-23. There were some controversial moments in the game, as Ohio State thought they had stopped Clemson on 4th down in the second quarter. But a personal foul was given to Buckeyes sophomore defensive back Shaun Wade for using his helmet on a sack. That negated the 4th down, disqualified Wade for the game, and kept the Tigers drive alive. Sophomore QB Trevor Lawrence threw a 34 yard game winning TD pass to RB Travis Etienne with 1:49 in regulation. The Tigers’ defense then held off a late charge by the Buckeyes, intercepting sophomore QB Justin Fields pass in the end zone to seal it and move on the national championship.

This is the first time Clemson has been an underdog this season. The last time that happened was at last year’s national championship game against Alabama. The Tigers were 5 point underdogs, and we know how that all turned out. But the way QB Joe Burrow has been playing, it’s no wonder LSU is favored. They leads the nation in scoring with 48.9 points per game, and all of that scoring is evenly balance between passing and rushing. If Clemson is going to win back to back titles, they’re going to have to exploit the LSU secondary. They’ve allowed 221.7 passing yards per game and Clemson has also allowed the fewest points per game this season, so something’s gotta give. We said their winner of the Fiesta Bowl would probably win the game. We’re sticking with that prediction, but it’s going to be close.

Smooth’s Pick: Clemson (37-34)

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 gamblers anonymous dot org.

That’s gonna do it for our pick for the College Football National Championship. Join us for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks next Thursday at 8:30am Eastern Time as we give our picks for Divisional Weekend and the Conference Championships. Also, don’t forget our pick for Super Bowl 54 on January 30. Check our website for dates and times. 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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Its round 2 in the NFL playoffs, and there were a few surprises that took place after wild card weekend. We’ll tell you more about it later on in our report.

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This week, the New York Football Giants named Joe Judge as their new head coach. The first time head coach has been in New England for the last 4 years. This season, he was the team’s WR’s coach. He comes highly recommended by Bill Belichek and Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who also hired Judge as an assistant.

svyikueiw7olje3jz2ojb67kyiMatt Rhule was on the Giants list of considerations, but received a substantial offer from Carolina. The Panthers offered Rhule $70 million over 7 years for their job, and he’s taking it, leaving Baylor.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys didn’t waste time after dismissing Jason Garrett. They hired former Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy. He was fired by the Packers mid-season in 2018.

gettyimages-461347208-775x465-1He takes over a beleaguered Cowboys squad, who missed the playoffs, and hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1995. Garrett was the longest tenured coach in Dallas since Tom Landry, having served since 2011. He had an 85-67 regular season record, but he was 2-3 in the post season and missed out on the playoffs this year.

Last Week’s Results

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

All Odds Courtesy of Oddsshark.com

Saturday, January 11

Vikings Niners.jpg

Minnesota at San Francisco
Line: Niners by 6½

The Vikings pulled off another miracle on New Orleans. This time, they shocked the Saints in overtime, 26-20. Kirk Cousins threw a 4-yard touchdown toss to Kyle Rudolph to seal it for the win and move on to Saturday’s matchup with the Niners. For San Francisco, it was a hard fought season to win the NFC West crown at 13-3, and grabbing the #1 overall seed throughout the playoffs. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first-career postseason start. This season, he threw for over 3,900 yards, 27 TD’s and 13 INT’s. The Niners aerial attack included rookie WR Deebo Samuel, who had 57 catches for 802 yards and three TD. The running game depended on a trio of running backs; Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Their defensive line features multiple first-round picks in Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and rookie Nick Bosa. The group combined for 33 sacks this season. San Francisco’s secondary is led by All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who had a team-high three interceptions in his second season with the 49ers. Give all the credit to Mike Zimmer for getting the Vikings ready to play and win against the Saints last week, but this will be a harder task. The Niners have won the last four post-season games against the Vikings and are touchdown favorites in this game. If the Vikings are going to survive, Kirk Cousins will need to continue his play like he did last weekend. But this Niners team has a solid defense, and should be able to contain Cousins and the Vikings offense.

Smooth’s Pick: San Francisco (27-20)

Titans Ravens

Tennessee at Baltimore
Line: Ravens by 9

The Titans knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 20-13, and may have send Tom Brady into retirement. The Patriots were stymied by a Titans defense coached by their former teammate Mike Vrabel. RB Derrick Henry also ran for 182 yards rushing and score a TD. Tennessee now faces a Baltimore team that has steamrolled through the regular season going 14-2, and winning 12 in a row in the process. They’re led by eventual league MVP, Lamar Jackson. He not only threw for over 3,100 yards passing and 36 TD’s, he also rushed for over 1,200 yards and 7 TD’s. When he does throw, he relies on TE Mark Andrews and WR Marquise Brown. Free agent signing RB Mark Ingram rushed for over 1,000 yards this season and had 6 TD’s. On defense, the Ravens’ have the best starting 11 in football. They’re led by Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, who were both selected first team All-Pro’s. Matt Judon had 9½ sacks during the regular season. The Titans may be a 6th seed, but they’re very good, and very much capable of pulling off an upset. However, Ryan Tannehill will need to throw for more than 87 yards, which he did last weekend. If not, look for the Ravens to capitalize by utilizing Jackson and slow down the Titans defense.

Smooth’s Pick: Baltimore (31-17)

Side Note – Five Heisman Trophy winners will be in the Titans vs. Ravens game on Saturday. In addition to Jackson, Ingram and Henry, QB’s Marcus Mariota and Robert Griffin III will be on the sideline as backups.

Sunday, January 12

Terxans Chiefs.jpg

Houston at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 9½

The Texans got by Buffalo by the skin of their teeth, winning in overtime, 22-19. QB Deshaun Watson looked like a “dead man walking” on near sack during the overtime period, but he scrambled and threw for a 34 yard completion to set up the game winning field goal for Houston. They now travel to KC, where the Chiefs were able to utilize the extra week’s rest. QB Patrick Mahomes threw for over 4,000 yards with 26 TD this season. This was after missing two games with a serious knee injury. His favorite target is TE Travis Kelce. He had over 1,200 yards receiving and 5 TD’s. WR Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are also prime targets. On defense, linemen Chris Jones and Frank Clark have 9 and 8 sacks between them. Tyrann Matheu, aka The Honey Badger, leads the team with 4 INT’s. The Texans has a on e-up on the Chiefs, as they were able to beat KC during week 6, 31-24. Deshaun Watson threw for 280 yards and a touchdown while running for two more including the game winner, which was also in KC. Can they do it again? With the return of JJ Watt on defense, they can certainly make it happen. But the extra rest and home field will give the Chiefs a big advantage. Look for a closer than expected thriller.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (34-28)

Seahawks Packers.jpg

Seattle at Green Bay
Line: Packers by 4

The Seahawks took advantage of a depleted Eagles team including the loss of their starting QB Carson Wentz, and sent Philadelphia packing, 17-9. Rookie WR DK Metcalf connected seven times with QB Russell Wilson for 160 yards receiving and a touchdown, a rookie record for most in a playoff game. Now they travel to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to take on a Packers team that have won when they needed to win this season. Aaron Rodgers’ stats have been stellar, throwing a tad over 4,000 yards on the year with 26 TD’s and giving up only 4 INT’s. Injuries have brought RB Aaron Jones to the top of the depth chart. He put up his first 1,000 yard rushing season with 16 TD on the year. WR Davante Adams leads team receivers with just under 1,000 yards and 5 TD’s. On defense, Za’Darius Smith led the team in sacks with 13½, fellow linebacker Preston Smith not far behind with 12 sacks. Kevin King leads all defensive backs with 5 INT’s. These two teams have a history in the post-season, most recently in the 2015 NFC Championship in Seattle. The Seahawks were down 16 points in that game and won in overtime. So can they repeat the feat? Well, with the injury problems, it might be tougher this time around. Wilson has to have a stellar game without any picks. And if they can get their run game in order, they can pull off a stunner. But the Packers have been on a tear the last six games of the season, and I don’t see any quit in them.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (26-22)

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 gamblers anonymous dot org.

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for Divisional Weekend. Join us next Thursday at 8:30am Eastern Time as we give our picks for the NFC and AFC Conference Championship games. We’ll have repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before game time. Check our website for dates and times. 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 – Wildcard Weekend 2020

 

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It’s Wildcard Weekend and 12 teams have made the push to Super Bowl 53, while the rest of the teams are trying to find out what went wrong this season. Our New York Football Giants didn’t waste any time. As expected, they fired Pat Shurmur on Monday. He was 4-12 on the season, 9-23 overall in his two years as head coach of the G-Men. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has the inside track to take over, as does New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Cleveland said goodbye to first year head coach Freddie Kitchens after a 6-10 finish. Browns management expected more from him after getting all that talent in the off season. Washington hired former Carolina head coach Ron Rivera as their head coach and Jerry Jones hasn’t pulled the switch yet, but sources in Dallas media are saying Jason Garrett is being let go along with his entire coaching staff. We should hear more about that situation later on in the new year. Meanwhile, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone got a reprieve from owner Shad Khan and will return to run things in 2020.

Here’s the final tally on our NFL picks for this regular season.

Last Week’s Results

Head to Head: 8-8
Against the Spread: 4-8-4

Final Season to Date Results

Head to Head: 158-99-1
Against the Spread: 106-99-55

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

AFC Bye Week Teams: #1 Baltimore and #2 Kansas City
NFC Bye Week Teams: #1 San Francisco and #2 Green Bay

Saturday, January 4

Bills Texans

Buffalo at Houston
Line: Texans by 3

The Bills finished their season at 10-6, solidly in the wild card slot. The reason for their success is their defense, they’ve only allowed 16 points a game this season. As for their offense, they lean mostly on their running game with rookie RB Devin Singletary and veteran Frank Gore taking the majority of the snaps. In the air, Buffalo averaged just 201.8 pass yards per game. QB Josh Allen passed for 230 or more yards only twice over his last 13 games of the season. That could pose a problem facing the Texans on the road in Houston. However, the Texans are ranked 28th in overall defense, giving up 24 points a game this season. If they’re going to win, they’ll have to rely on QB DeShaun Watson to have a big game. He threw for over 3,800 passing yards, 26 TD’s and threw 12 INT’s on the season, but his QB rating is only at 98. With all of those stats coming to play, and the point spread being at a field goal, this will be a tough battle, one that gives the Bills a fighting chance to move on.

Smooth’s Pick: Buffalo (23-21)

Titans Patriots

Tennessee at New England
Line: Patriots by 4½

This is the Patriots first wildcard game in over 10 years. 2009, to exact, and it wasn’t pretty. The Baltimore Ravens crushed them at home, 33-14, and the same scenario is presenting itself this weekend. The Patriots are limping into the playoffs, having lost three of their last five games, with injuries to their best players looming for this one. QB Tom Brady was noticeably shaking his throwing arm in the loss to Miami last Sunday. He says he’s healthy, but we’ll see on Saturday if he’s effective. WR Julian Edelman was also seen on the sideline with a heating pack on his bad knee. He’s hauled in only 10 receptions over his last three games. Look for the Patriots to rely on the ground game, led by RB Sony Michel to control the pace. As for the Titans, ever since replacing Marcus Mariotta for Ryan Tannehill at QB in October, they’ve had a 7-3 record the rest of the way. He’s thrown for 22 TD’s and only 5 INT’s on the season. Tannehil also leads the in QB rating with 117.5. RB Derrick Henry has been on a tear, winning the league’s rushing title along the way with over 1,500 yards and 16 TD’s. Without having to rely on a passing offense, which the Patriots will dominate, the Titans are in the perfect opportunity to control the game, despite being on the road. If they do, it could be a quick out for the defending Super Bowl champions.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (24-19)

Sunday, January 5

Vikings Saints

Minnesota at New Orleans
Line: Saints by 8

The Vikings blew their chance at a home playoff game, dropping the final two games of the season, first to Green Bay and then the season finale verses Chicago. Now they find themselves facing a familiar playoff opponent. The New Orleans Saints were at the losing end of the “Minneapolis Miracle” in 2018. In that game, WR Stefon Diggs caught a 61 yard, game-winning TD pass to lead the Vikings to the NFC Championship game. They eventually lost to Philadelphia who won the Super Bowl that year. So, can the Vikings stop the bleeding? Well, they’ll at least have RB Dalvin Cook back. He’s missed the last month because of a shoulder injury. But it will be tough, as the Saints are stingy in their run defense, allowing only 91.3 rushing yards this season. That leaves QB Kirk Cousins having to throw often. As for the Saints, they’re riding high, winning six of their last seven games to end the year. QB Drew Brees has the offense clicking after being injured earlier this season. He’s given up only 4 INT’s, throwing 27 TD’s in the process. WR Michael Thomas has been the main beneficiary, leading the league with over 1,700 receiving yards, and averaging 107 yards a game with 9 TD’s. If Brees and Thomas hook up early, it could get ugly for the Vikings. Their only hope is to control the game on the ground and prevent Brees from scoring early. A harder task to do, if you’re beginning to tank at the end of the season.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (35-17)

Seahawks Eagles

Seattle at Philadelphia
Line: Seahawks by 2

These two teams are also limping into the playoffs. For the Seahawks, they’re continuing to lose players at the worst possible time. The latest victims are LB Michael Kendricks to a season ending ACL, WR Jason Brown to a sprained knee and OL Duane Brown to a torn meniscus. As for “beast mode”, RB Marshawn Lynch’s return was a bit lack lustered, carrying 12 times for 34 yards in the loss to San Francisco. QB Russell Wilson will have to pick up the slack for the Seahawks running woes. He can easily do that on the passing side, having thrown for over 4,100 yards, 31 TD’s and giving up only 5 INT’s. For the Eagles, they’re also losing players at warp speed. Starting OL Brandon Brooks was lost for the season on a shoulder injury last week against the Giants. Zach Ertz, Nelson Ag-ho-lor, Jalen Mills and Lane Johnson all missed Week 17 and remain questionable for Wild Card Weekend. Carson Wentz became the first QB to throw for more than 4,000 yards and have no WR’s with 500 yards. With WR Alshon Jeffery out for the season, Wentz has relied on practice squad players like RB Boston Scott and third stringers Greg Ward Jr. and JJ Arcega-Whiteside to get to that mark. But the big question mark is the Eagles secondary. They’ve shown signs of cracking all season. The Seahawks beat the Eagles 17-9 in Philly back in Week 12. They’ve done it before. Can they do it again?

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (20-12)

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 gamblers anonymous dot org.

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for Wildcard Weekend. Join us next Thursday at 8:30am Eastern Time as we give our picks for Divisional Weekend. Also, don’t forget our pick for the College Football National Championship next Thursday at 9:30am Eastern Time. It will be #3 Clemson looking to get their second straight national championship against #1 LSU from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. We’ll have repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before game time. Check our website for dates and times. If you miss out, you can always read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

Happy New Year and we’ll see you later!

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Smooth’s College Football Picks – Semi-Finals

trophy_superdome

The College Football Playoffs are here and after months of battling it out on the gridiron, the top four schools will vie for the national championship. Three of the teams are undefeated, one of them is looking to successfully defend their title.

All odds courtesy of Oddshark.com

Saturday, December 28

peach bowl final

#4 Oklahoma vs. #1 LSU
Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl
Atlanta, Georgia
Line: LSU by 13½

Analysis: The Tigers cruised to victory over Georgia to win the SEC Championship and leave their undefeated mark untouched at 13-0. Head coach Ed O-ger-ron has brought the program back to prominence after taking over for Les Miles in 2016. Senior QB Joe Burrow had a Heisman Trophy winning season, throwing for over 4,700 yards and 48 TD’s. Three WR’s were the beneficiaries of those scores. Sophomore Ja’marr Chase had nearly 1,500 yards and 18 TD’s, Junior Justin Jefferson had over 1,200 yards and 14 TD’s and Sophomore Terrace Marshall Jr. found the end zone 10 times. The Tigers rushing game continues the tradition left by former LSU Tiger Leonard Fournette. Junior RB Clyde Edward-Helaire rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and scored 16 TD’s. Overall the Tigers are 2nd in the country in passing and total yards per game. On defense, Junior LB Jacob Phillips leads the team with 97 tackles, Junior DB JaCoby Stevens leads the team with 5 sacks and Freshman DB Derek Stingley Jr. leads the team in picks with 6.

Oklahoma’s journey to the playoffs was much more complex. They overcame an upset loss to Kansas State and won the Big 12 championship in overtime over Baylor. They were also helped with upset loss by Utah in the Pac 12 Championship and LSU’s win over Georgia. Head coach Lincoln Riley is in his third year and has taken the Sooners to the playoffs in each year. This season, he was able to get QB Jalen Hurts to transfer from Alabama for his senior year. He threw for over 3,600 yards and 32 TD’s. He also rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 18 TD’s, leading the team in both categories. When throwing the ball, Hurts’ favorite target is junior WR CeeDee Lamb who had over 1,200 yards receiving and 14 TD’s. On defense, LB Kenneth Murray leads the team in tackles with 95, sophomore DL Ronnie Perkins is the sack master with six on the season, while sophomore DB Brendan Radley-Hiles has two of the Sooners 7 interceptions on the year.

Prediction: The Sooners are right behind the Tigers for the most points per game, 47.8 for LSU to 43.2 for Oklahoma. That leaves this game up to the respective defenses. Vegas bookies are expecting a shoot-out with the over/under at 76. But they also favored LSU by 10 points soon after the announcement. Which tells me that the Sooners might not be able to catch up with LSU’s high powered offense. Unless Jalen Hurts finds other options to score, the Tigers may run away with it.

Smooth’s Pick: LSU (48-27)

fiesta bowl final

#3 Clemson vs. #2 Ohio State
Playstation Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Arizona
Line: Clemson by 2

The Tigers got to the playoffs by pounding Virginia 62-17 in the ACC championship game. This is Clemson’s 5th time in the playoffs since 2015 and they’re riding a 28 game unbeaten streak since losing to Alabama in the semi-final in 2017. Since taking over the program in 2008, head coach Dabo Sweeney has a .811 winning percentage with a record of 128-30. QB Trevor Lawrence has been in this situation before, winning the title as a freshman starter. For his sophomore year, he threw for over 3,200 yards, 30 TD’s and only gave up 4 interceptions. His favorite target is junior WR Tee Higgins, who had nearly 1,100 yards receiving and scored 13 TD’s. Junior RB Travis Etienne had a spectacular season rushing for 1,500 yards and 17 TD. On defense, junior LB Isaiah Simmons leads the team in tackles with 94, as well as sacks with 6. Senior safety Tanner Muse leads the team in interceptions with 4.

Ohio State’s journey to the playoffs was just as dominant, holding off Wisconsin, 34-21 to win the Big-10 championship. First time head coach Ryan Day took over for Urban Meyer in 2018 and he’s currently 16-0 in his career. Sophomore QB Justin Fields transferred from Georgia for the starting job and threw for nearly 3,000 passing yards, 40 TD and gave up only 1 interception. A plethora of receivers are in his arsenal, including sophomore Chris Olave who has 11 TD’s, seniors K.J. Hill who scored 10 TD’s and Binjimen Victor who has 6 TD’s on the season. On the ground, junior RB J.K. Dobbins is third in the nation in rushing with over 1,800 yards and scored 20 TD’s on the year. The story on defense is Chase Young. The junior DE leads the nation in sacks with 16½ and is slated to be one of the top two picks in next year’s NFL draft, that’s if he decides not to return for his senior season. Senior LB Malik Harrison lead the team with 69 tackles and junior DB Jeff Okudah leads the team in interceptions with 3.

Prediction: The main issue with Clemson is the soft schedule of the ACC. They easily breezed thru the conference and their out of conference schedule almost affected their being in the playoffs. But they did what they had to do to win, and as defending champs are very much able to win a second national title. But to do just that, they’ll need to stop Chase Young on the pass rush. The Buckeye’s offense is strong enough to score lots of points off the Tigers’ defense. This will be a battle, and the winner may just wind up being the national champion.

Smooth’s Pick: Ohio State (34-31)

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 gamblers anonymous dot org.

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s College Football Playoff Picks. Join us on Thursday January 9th at 9:30am Eastern Time as we give our picks for the National Championship. If you miss out, we’ll have repeat broadcasts all through Monday 30 minutes before game time.  Check our website for dates and times. 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 – Week 17 (A Fantasy Football League Champ is Crowned!)

fantasy-football-image

Week 17 and we want to give a shout out to Skul ‘n Bones, this year’s Fantasy Football League Champions. For those of you who don’t know, former broadcasters of the old Live365 have been participating in a Fantasy Football League for 10 years. Our team, The Thundercats, lost on a 56 yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers. The final score was 110-88. The league has been a way for broadcasters to keep in touch and have fun at the same time. We hope everyone had a great season and look forward to next year.

Also, looking at the playoff hunt, there are three games that will affect the final wild card slot in the AFC, while the NFC East will depend on two teams, one with control of their own destiny, the other will have to win and pray for help. We’ll tell you more about it in our final regular season picks.

Last Week’s Results

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

Season to Date

Head to Head: 150-91-1
Against the Spread: 102-91-51

All odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com

All games will take place on Sunday, December 29

Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Line: Bucs by 1

Starting on the coaching ‘hot seat’. Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn is squarely on top. At 6-9, Black Monday is looking bleak for the dirty birds. A win could save his job. As for the Bucs, the question this off season is, will Jameis Winston return as QB? After last week’s stinker against Houston, that might not be the case. A win will put the Bucs at .500 on the season. Look for a tough finish for these division rivals.

Smooth’s Pick: Tampa Bay (21-19)

Chicago at Minnesota
Line: Vikings by 1

The Bears were supposed to contend for the NFC North crown this season, but they took a step back and now must make some adjustments. The most important question for next year is, do they stay with Mitch Trubisky at QB? The Vikings will move on to the playoffs, but they’re still kicking themselves after dropping last Monday’s game to Green Bay. They may rest their starters, but look for the Vikings to finish on a high note.

Smooth’s Pick: Minnesota (26-15)

Cleveland at Cincinnati
Line: Browns by 2½

The Browns were also supposed to contend this season, but they currently only have 6 wins on the season to show for it. Is first year head coach Freddie Kitchens on the hot seat? If they drop the season finale to the Bengals, he most certainly is. For Cincinnati, they’re on the clock after the season ends, clinching the #1 overall draft pick. They’re in need of more than just a playmaker, they needs a complete overhaul. Everyone will be playing for their jobs in this final, one that favors the “Dawg Pound”.

Smooth’s Pick: Cleveland (23-14)

Green Bay at Detroit
Line: Packers by 12½

After clinching the NFC North title with a win over Minnesota, the Packers are still in the hunt for the #1 overall seed in the playoffs. They have to travel to the motor city to take on the Lions. Despite being eliminated, the Lions still would love to drop them to a three or four seed, so look for a tough battle in this divisional rivalry.

Smooth’s Pick: Green Bay (25-17)

LA Chargers at Kansas City
Line: Chiefs by 8½

Our next head coach on the hot seat is Anthony Lynn. The Bolts were supposed to contend, and we had them winning the Super Bowl in our pre-season picks. But they’ve underachieved badly, and his name won’t be a surprise if he’s canned on Monday. For the Chiefs, a win along with a Patriots loss gives them a 1st round bye. Look for them to come out gunning for the win.

Smooth’s Pick: Kansas City (31-19)

Miami at New England
Line: Patriots by 15½

The Dolphins were able to recover and play some decent football, but it still wasn’t enough to keep them from a high draft pick next season. They’ll have to travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots, who are fighting for a 1st round bye. Look for them to get it, as the fish have issues in cold weather games.

This is my lock!
Smooth’s Pick: New England (33-16)

NY Jets at Buffalo
Line: Bills by 1½

The Bills are clearly in the wildcard and despite being there, will be dangerous playoff team. They’ll sit their starters for the season finale against Gang Green. A win will give the Jets their best record in 8 years as they have bragging rights in the “Big Apple” after beating the Giants earlier this season. Look for a closer than expected game.

This is my upset special!
Smooth’s Pick: NY Jets (17-13)

New Orleans at Carolina
Line: Saints by 13

The Saints are in a three way race for a first round bye and the #1 overall seed in the NFC. They’ll have to win on the road in Charlotte, where the Panthers just want to end a nightmare season. This week, Mike McCarthy interviewed for the head coaching job, and more prospective coaches will make a pitch for the job. In the meantime, look for the Saints to win it running away.

Smooth’s Pick: New Orleans (27-12)

Arizona at LA Rams
Line: Rams by 7

It was a productive season for QB Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. They weren’t supposed to contend this season, but the likely offensive rookie of the year gives them hope. As for the Rams, it was a stretch to say they would return to the Super Bowl, much less the playoffs. But it’s clear, they need help on defense in the off season. Look for them to make adjustments and do better.

Smooth’s Pick: LA Rams (24-21)

Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Line: Colts by 3½

Another head coach is on the hot seat is Doug Marrone, who is leading a disappointing Jags squad. At 5-10, he’s probably done for when Black Monday comes along. As for the Colts, the year wasn’t as bad having lost their star QB Andrew Luck to retirement. They can go to .500 with a win and work towards next season. Look for these two teams to fight it out.

Smooth’s Pick: Indianapolis (26-20)

Oakland at Denver
Line: Broncos by 3½

The Raiders still have an outside chance to steal the final wild card spot. They need to win, then hope for losses by Pittsburgh and Tennessee. It will be tough to do, as they head to the mile high city to take on the Broncos. Denver can improve their record from last year to 7-9 if they can win on Sunday. This will be a tough divisional matchup and the Broncos could send them packing for the golf course.

Smooth’s Pick: Denver (20-17)

Philadelphia at NY Giants
Line: Eagles by 4½

If the Eagles win, they win outright. If they lose, then they’re at the mercy of Washington to beat Dallas. It would be easier if they beat the G-Men in the season finale. Big Blue is riding a two game winning streak, but it may not be enough to save Pat Shurmur’s job. As we said earlier this season, he needed to show progress. That means doing better than last year’s 5-11 record. Look for the G-Men to play hard and try to play spoiler. Their defense may wind up letting them down.

Smooth’s Pick: Philadelphia (31-28)

Pittsburgh at Baltimore
Line: Steelers by 2

Head coach Mike Tomlin has done a miracle job this season, given the injuries to his squad. The Steelers have a must win situation against the Ravens, who will be sitting most of their starters having wrapped up the #1 seed in the AFC. This is an opportunity the Steelers cannot pass up. Win, and then hope Tennessee falters.

Smooth’s Pick: Pittsburgh (19-17)

Tennessee at Houston
Line: Titans by 3½

The Titans control their own destiny. A win will seal the final wild card spot. A loss, and they could be looking on the outside looking in, if Pittsburgh and/or Oakland wins. The Texans have a home playoff game having clinched the AFC South. However, a win and a Chiefs loss could move the Texans into playing the Titans at home again next week. This makes for an interesting scenario for both teams.

Smooth’s Pick: Tennessee (23-21)

Washington at Dallas
Line: Cowboys by 11

The Redskins would love to knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs once and for all. But the squad is in terrible shape, and having to go to the Metroplex is a tall order. For the Cowboys, even if they do win, they’re at the mercy of the Giants beating Philadelphia. Head coach Jason Garrett is on the hot seat, and the only way he saves his job is if they go all the way to the Super Bowl. I have a feeling Jerry Jones will be calling Garrett’s into his office if they don’t win this game.

Smooth’s Pick: Dallas (31-16)

San Francisco at Seattle
Line: Niners by 3

The Seahawks are limping into the post season. They’ve had a ton of injuries along the way, and they’ve even re-signed RB Marshawn Lynch to help with rushing issues. They’re going to need all the help they can get as they take on the Niners for the NFC West crown. For San Fran, it’s simple win and the title is yours. But this will be a tough task with the 12 man backing the Seahawks all the way.

Smooth’s Pick: Seattle (26-23)

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 gamblers anonymous dot org.

That’s gonna do it for Smooth’s NFL Football Picks for week 17. Join us next Thursday at 8:30am Eastern Time as we give our picks for Wildcard Weekend. Also, don’t forget our pick for the College Football National Championship on Thursday, January 9th. We’ll have repeat broadcasts right up to 30 minutes before game time. Check our website for dates and times. If you miss out, you can always read our picks on our blog at smoothjazzandmore.com.

We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and we wish all the best for a safe and prosperous 2020. We’ll see you later.