The Commish Online                                                                                
With two weeks to kill while the NFL cranks up its hype machine for the Super (?) Bowl in Houston, I debated whether there needed to be a Capper’s Corner this week.  My answer?  Hey, if I don’t say something this week, I won’t have a chance to explain what happened last week before the games fade from memory.

Championship week produced a 1-1 record; 2-2 if you were to count the totals, which I don’t for a very good reason.  Totals are greatly affected by game momentum in the playoffs.  If an NFL team gets a two touchdown lead early, you can pretty much kiss the over goodbye.  I correctly surmised that New England and Indianapolis would go under the total of 43½ last week, but I got extremely lucky as both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were intercepted in the endzone as their teams were driving for scores.  Manning contributed two more interceptions deep in Pats territory, and for good measure Marvin Harrison fumbled after making a reception at the Patriots 16.  This game was destined for the over, but it just didn’t happen.  I’ll take it.

Of course, I blew the pick on the side.  I have to admit that I liked New England going into the playoffs this year, but like so many others, I allowed the Colts’ offensive explosion the first two weeks to override my gut, which is usually a mistake.  As a result, I turned to my former profession for answers.  Before I decided that sitting here in my lounge pants and slippers, spouting my opinions for the bemusement of the sporting public, was preferable to the 60 hour a week grind in the corporate world, I spent fifteen years manipulating data in the information technology field.  That’s right, The Capper is a former computer geek, and I took my uncertainty over this game to the machines to try to break the stalemate.  I ran fifty computer simulations on the Colts/Patriots tilt.  Of those simulations, how many times did New England cover the spread?  Zero, zip, nada.  Not even once.  Indy won every matchup except for three ties, which would have still resulted in no worse than a push if settled by a field goal in OT.  The lesson?  There was a reason I gave up living in the logical world and entered the realm where I was only limited by my imagination.  A computer program can’t factor in a defense that just flat refuses to lose at home, or anywhere else for that matter.  The Patriots have now won fourteen straight games.  They took the ball away five times.  Indy was lucky the Pats settled for five field goals or this one would have gotten REALLY ugly.  You can’t simulate those things.

In the NFC game, Carolina scored two touchdowns.  Given the five point spread, logic (there I go again) would dictate that the Eagles would score at least 19 points, which would have given us a total of 33.  Well within reach of the 36½ total set for the game.  This total was a toss up for me, and I went with my gut that there might be an extra touchdown set up by a defensive play.  There were plenty of big defensive plays in this yawner, but unfortunately neither team could establish enough offensive consistency to cash in.  Donovan McNabb’s injury sealed my fate in the second quarter.  Oh well…  At least I got the side right.   Philly played scared, just as I suspected.  Just as they had against Green Bay, they played conservatively, thinking McNabb could once again pull it out late.  It might have worked, except McNabb was standing on the sidelines in a parka in the fourth quarter.  Koy Detmer did what he could, but in the end, Koy Detmer is still Koy Detmer.  Championships are usually not won by backup quarterbacks.

So here we are.  Ready for Super Bowl XXXVIII.  The Patriots have been installed as a seven point favorite.  Next week, as a special bonus, we’ll take a look at some of the more interesting proposition bets on the game, as well as our fearless prediction on the game and total.  Don’t miss it.

For The Record:
Dana Harris' Best Bets ATS:
Last week:    (1 - 1 - 0)
YTD:           (33 - 30 - 4)

Questions/comments/tomato throwing may be directed to
Capper Explained
January 23, 2004
by Dana Harris