This is a tough time for Bokolis. I either don't like the games, don't like the teams, or both. Hold on, let me shake free of my ideologies...shaking.../shaking There, all better.
BTW, we are using MGM Grand numbers that Bokolis got while advance-scouting pool season.
SEAHAWKS (-8.5) over Saints - The recent trend has been the wildcard winners giving the bye teams all they can handle and then some. In Bokolis' estimation, this happens because the teams off a bye, instead of coming out aggressive to show the perceived superiority that their regular season form has afforded, come out tight and/or playing it close to the vest, giving the (perceived) underdog a chance to settle into the game.
Where Bokolis thought the Eagles were uncharacteristically gun-shy, I don't think Seattle will give New Orleans this chance. We've seen New Orleans lose a playoff game here to a 7-9 team. We've seen them get run just a few weeks ago. We also saw them win in the cold in Philadelphia last week. It should be abundantly clear to the Seahawks that the Saints must be made uncomfortable. As physical as they play, this should not be an issue.
It's still a big damned number- you can get even 9.5 on the Saints around here if you like. That said, the elements and the Seahawks should combine to suitably sink the Saints.
Colts (+7.5) over PATRIOTS - The Colts aren't that good. The Patriots aren't that good. Last week's comeback notwithstanding, it's the Pats that have made the habit of pulling games out of their asses this year. Bokolis will venture that, at best, they will do so again.
49ers (PK) over PANTHERS - Bokolis watched that regular season match-up between the teams. I had the impression that the 49ers played that game with one hand tied behind their figurative back. This time, they will play with both. Most running QBs have a habit of taking their eyes off the field to look for the defensive linemen to find a way out of the pocket/backfield. If they try to re-focus downfield, the first person they find is most often the tight end.
Cam Newton, the talented yet dumb muthafucka that he is, makes it obvious that he does this, and it is why Steve Smith isn't as productive as he should be. When Bokolis teaches PhD-level defense classes, not only is this concept taught but, rather than overplay the TE and tip off the QB, you funnel him into the help and gull the QB into throwing it. I'll get into how you counteract a running QB when someone is willing to pay. For now, know that the 49ers will make this mongoloid pay.
Chargers (+9) over BRONCOS - This was the game that Bokolis jumped on while the line was still at 10, as I correctly guessed that the line would come down. After crushing the Bengals while a touchdown underdog, I figured that the circumstances of the Chargers playoff birth would be forgotten. I was hoping to get 11 or more at the open, but when I saw 10 and less, I jumped. It's shaping up to be relatively nice, if a bit windy, in Denver. If Rivers could function in that crap in Cincinatti, he'll be fine on Sunday. Besides, at this point, the Chargers' defense is markedly better than the Broncos' defense. With John Fox figuring to play this too close to the vest, all this should be enough to balance the scales.