American Football

Malott’s Believe It or Not #19 Divisional Round


Indianapolis Colts Press Conference
They’re interviewing all these people publicly so they can hire Jeff Saturday as the long-term head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, aren’t they? | Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

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It’s the quarterfinal round of the NFL’s annual Playoff system, called the Divisional Round. None of these games are supposed to be close this weekend, either. The closest game is supposed to be the 49ers -4 vs. the Cowboys +4 and I don’t believe that at all. Let’s get right into gambling since fantasy football is kinda over, right?

Tonight, the Jaguars +9.5 play in Arrowhead against the Chiefs -9.5 and there are some rules to this fight club. One is we don’t bet against Andy Reid/Patrick Mahomes at home, so there’s zero part of me that thinks that Jacksonville is going to win this game. I am here to make money, so let’s just say the Jaguars +9.5 keep it closer than a two-possession game and we attribute that to great coaching.

The Giants +8 are in a position to beat the Eagles -8, so not only are we picking the Giants +8 and taking the points, we are also taking the Giants heads up to win at +295 because Jalen Hurts is admittedly playing hurt. I understand that I am reading into what he is feeding the media but if it didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be bringing it up. Lots of people are going all-in on the Eagles this year and I may well be wrong here but I would rather have an athlete at QB and healthy if you can give that to me. If the Eagles couldn’t keep Hurts healthy into the Playoffs, that’s a them problem. Make money.

Tomorrow at 3PM Eastern, the eventual Super Bowl champion and MVP Joe Burrow-led Cincinnati Bengals +5.5 are on the road against the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing Buffalo Bills -5.5 and this one is all heart, just like Joe Burrow and the Bengals. Look, normally when a team makes it to the Super Bowl, the very next year is rough for them. The Bengals appear to be the exception to the rule and some things are just destined to happen. You can argue with my logic but I refuse to argue about destiny.

Speaking of coaching, have the Colts seriously interviewed double-digit head coaching candidates and publicly? This is the weirdest way to say you’re going to hire Jeff Saturday as the permanent head coach of the Indianapolis Colts or there is no gosh darn way you hire Jeff Saturday as the permanent head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after you publicly announce who all else you’ve interviewed, right?

I’m 100% on board with the 49ers being the hot-ticket team in the NFL right now. I get it, people love Kyle Shanahan. Brock Purdy going from Mr. Irrelevant to undefeated starting QB in the NFL hits all the feels and I don’t think this train stops rolling anytime soon. Anytime you can knock that grin off Jerry Jones’ face without going to prison, you ride that train. Ask my wife. Take the 49ers -4 and don’t look back because this one won’t be and shouldn’t be close. Or will it?

Daily Fantasy Sports

There’s only four games this weekend and this means these DFS lineups are going to be very boom-bust. What I mean is that we still need to draft a team that fits the budget requirements, but the touches can be a lot more success-dependent than a regular season game thus hard to track. Here’s a really solid lineup, I think. I tried to wait as late in the day as possible to catch late scratches that way my article stands up.

As many of you know, I spent the first weekend of January 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina during the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) annual seminar headlined by Clemson Head Coach Dabo Sweeney. I literally took off work, flew to Charlotte, got a rental car in case any of my peers needed a ride (it sat in the hotel garage all weekend because Charlotte is really walkable!), and then went to scope out the Fourth Ward and Charlotte Center City. I could live and work there. I ate lunch at Valhalla Bar & Grill while chatting up an assistant coach from Plymouth State in New Hampshire. Interestingly, a very loud and boisterous Northwest Missouri State staff also dined there and I got to meet a few of them. I really liked their staff top to bottom. They were very friendly, fun and confident!

The entire reason I took off work, flew to Charlotte, got a rental car and hotel was to meet a QB coach from a local college here in Indianapolis with the intent of volunteering as an assistant to start my coaching career. I was told to be wrong for the sake of unity and then I read somewhere that when you first meet someone and want them to really like you, be wrong in the first few minutes so that they feel like they have something to teach you and you’re golden. I’m actually the exact opposite type of person in that I prefer not to speak unless I know I’m right and kind of pride myself on that and instead I think I came off like a bumbling idiot, but hey. I’m the king of overthinking things. We were in a crowded bar, it was loud, there was free alcohol, I asked questions and offered to help and I didn’t drink myself into a panic attack the next morning for nothing, right?

I met a great position coach from Toledo, a future coach that humbled me to my core and chatted up other coaches affiliated with Soldiers to Sidelines. My next step would be to attend a Glazier Clinic, but I might not have the time off to be able to do that at my current job. I might have to do something about that. For those keeping track, in the last couple of years, I’ve gotten two certifications in football coaching (one in affiliation with the New York Jets), one in adaptive training (for injured athletes) and one in sports performance (strength & conditioning). To add to that, I have started going back to Purdue for a degree in Analytics so I can read all this data my staff will be handing me in-game that I’ll have to be able to parse into action, right? Thank you for reading my work.

My wife and I record a video picking the winners of each of the NFL games and have for years now. Here’s this week’s video. Someone please reach out and convince my wife she needs to change her picks or lose this season’s contest forever!

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