Monday Morning Locks

Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Monday Morning Locks by Alex Sibley

What’s going on sports junkies? With the addition of the new Erie Reader website, the sports department has decided to bring you a new addition for 2011.

With tons of sporting events going on at the college and professional level, we’re in the midst of the busiest time of the sports calendar. We have the NFL playoffs a week away, the NBA going in full gear and college basketball is creeping towards March Madness. So, if you’re like me, this is the prime time to start betting and building up that bank account that took a hit from the holiday season.

Each week, I’ll pick five games and five teams that I think are a lock to win. So, what better way to get it going by picking the NFL squads I think will advance in their march towards the Lombardi Trophy?

I’m currently 1-1 with my bowl predictions thus far, so I’m pretty sure that qualifies me to be your go-to guy for bets. I mean, let’s be honest, who would have thought TCU would win the Rose Bowl? Can’t hold that one against me.

Lock No. 1 – The New York Jets
Don’t let the seed fool you, the Jets will take this game. It’s not going to be pretty, but Peyton Manning isn’t playing like the Manning we’re accustomed to. But then again, the Jets come into the game with Mark Sanchez, who is the definition of inconsistency. But I’m a firm believer that Rex Ryan is a great coach come January and his defense can stop a Indy offense that has sputtered through the season. Take the Jets, but it’s going to be close.

Lock No. 2 – The Baltimore Ravens
If you took away the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots, Baltimore would be the best team in the AFC almost every season. But, you can’t do that. So Baltimore will remain the third best team, but also the biggest sleeper this time of year. The Kansas City Chiefs had a surprising year, no question about it. But there is no question who wins this game. Take the Ravens.

Lock No. 3 – The New Orleans Saints
Anybody else bitter that the Seattle Seahawks get to host a playoff game with a 7-9 record? Hey Browns fans, just think, two more wins and you make the playoffs in that division. Stew on that for a second, Cleveland. Anyway, this is the easiest of the five locks; take the defending champs, who pretty much have a bye into the divisional round.

Lock No. 4 – The Philadelphia Eagles
You have Michael Vick and the Eagles against Aaron Rogers and a lot of people's Super Bowl favorite at the beginning of the year, Green Bay Packers. I like the Eagles for one reason: they’re playing at home. Green Bay is just 3-5 on the road this season, including 7-3 loss to the Detroit Lions. I know the Pack won the first meeting in the opening game at Philadelphia 27-20, but that was with Kevin Kolb. Vick, a little banged up, will be a bigger challenge. The Eagles have weapons on offense, while Green Bay is inconsistent to say the least. Take the Eagles.

Lock No. 5 – The San Antonio Spurs
Well, we ran out of football games, might as well switch to what could be a preview of the NBA Finals in June. While everybody is talking about the dream series between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, two other teams are tearing up their respective conferences: the Spurs and Celtics. These two teams will meet in Boston on Wednesday in a great regular season game. Some would say it’s a measuring stick for the two on how they matchup with each other. I don’t believe in January games measuring anything, especially in the NBA. But I’ll take the Spurs in what will be a high scoring affair.

Season record thus far – 1-1.

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