2002 Season NFL Football Past Picks

January 12, 2003

This pick was released to clients on August 13, 2012 at 5:16PM ET.


New York at Las Vegas

Sunday 01/12 04:30 PM Eastern

4 units on Las Vegas -5.5 (-110) (risk 4 to return 7.64)  RESULT: WIN

Who isn’t on the Jet’s bandwagon? The media was talking Super Bowl even before last week’s 41-0 stomping of Indianapolis. Chad Pennington looks like the greatest QB of all time - Joe Montana. Two out of the last three years, unexpected teams with replacement QB’s have won the Super Bowl (Tom Brady/NE, Kurt Warner/STL). Why not Pennington and the Jets this year?

Because they have to go play Oakland - that’s why.

I think Oakland is sick of hearing about how good New York is. Besides, the hype is a bit overblown. Last week’s Jets win was certainly impressive but remember that the Colts were a team who really didn’t deserve to be there. They are a turf team that had to play on grass, and they always choke in big games. The Jets crushed two playoff teams (Indy, GB) two weeks in a row which is the only reason this spread is under a touchdown. But those two teams have shown themselves to be pretenders so take it all with a grain of salt.

Oakland is another story, entirely. Oakland delivered the Jet’s one of their only two losses in the second half of the year. In that game, Rich Gannon hit 74% of his passes for 342 yards. Jets players are now talking smack about how the Raiders didn’t “clearly beat us. We just ran out of time.” Hmmmm… When the clock runs out and you have fewer points than they do, I guess it’s not a “clear” loss. It was just that you “ran out of time.” Come on!

Also, don’t forget that Chad Pennington and these red-hot Jets are not invincible. You may recall a week fifteen game against the hapless Bears that the Jets lost as 6.5 point favorites (yes, I predicted that one). They can lose if the circumstances are right. Do you realize Chad Pennington is 9-4 as a starter? That’s not bad but who would you really rather have – him or league MVP Rich Gannon? Also, last

I must admit that I am a bit nervous going against such a hot team. But history tells us they will fall to the Silver and Black. If New York does find a way to cover in this game, it will be because of Pennington. But I don’t see him having enough to lift his entire team above the horror that confronts them at the “Black Hole” that is Oakland.

I wouldn’t go against the Jets unless they were playing a team with the recipe to cool them down. That team better have a stellar defense, an explosive offense, confidence, motivation and home-field advantage. Oakland fits the bill beautifully. And, as hot as New York is, Oakland is just as hot finishing the season with seven wins out of their last eight.

While these two teams are pretty evenly matched in the passing game on both offense and defense, Oakland finds a way to score more and hold their opponents to less. Not an insignificant point given that the team that scores more wins the football game! Oakland averaged 28.1 points per game and gave up 18.6 while the Jets scored only 22.4 and allowed 21 per game.

In addition, the Raiders hold a significant edge in rushing on both sides of the ball. When Rich Gannon has time to throw, he kills you. The Jets defense won’t be able to put enough pressure on Gannon as they have just 30 sacks this year. This compares to an average of 44 for the other seven teams still in the playoffs.

For icing on the cake, the Raiders qualify for four postseason trends involving home teams that are a combined 136-62 ATS (30-16 the last three years).

Oakland is off two week’s rest. New York has to travel 3000 miles after playing last weekend. Pennington’s time will come, but it won’t be this year. Sorry Cinderella, the shoe doesn’t fit.



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