Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 2/19/2017

If you haven't heard of Patrik Laine yet, you will. A lot. Over the next decade or two.  The Winnipeg Jets struck gold with the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 draft and Laine has not disappointed in his rookie season.  He has found the net 28 times in 54 games.  This week, he scored 5 goals (including a hat trick against Dallas), while leading the Jets to a 3-1 record including a brutal road trip to Ottawa, Montreal, and Pittsburgh, all of which are top playoff contenders.  The Jets are on the cusp of a playoff appearance after a last place division finish just a year ago.  This week, Laine also chipped in three assists and a staggering +7 plus/minus (greater than 0 in each game).  Did I mention the Finn is still 2 months from his 19th birthday?  Get on the Laine train now, it's going to be a fun ride!  Patrik Laine is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Daytona 500: Q+A with Bulldog Babe

Unlike the Super Bowl as the biggest NFL event at the end of the season, NASCAR holds its biggest race to lead off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series (formerly known as the Sprint Cup Series).  One answer as to why is that in the initial race, everyone is at 100%.  As the season goes on, the car carnage persists.  Regardless, the Daytona 500 remains the "circled in sharpie" racing event of the Spring.  The 2017 Daytona 500 commences on Sunday, February 26 at 2:00 p.m. EST.


To breakdown the current state of NASCAR, we are honored to have Twitter celebrity and blog friend Bulldog Babe (a.k.a "burnin'rubberbulldog" or @bulldogbabexoxo) can drive circles around me (pun intended) in analysis.  So we asked her a few questions on the race, the season, and NASCAR in general.  As with her NFL analysis, she pulls no punches and tells it like it is.  Which is why we love her as a blog contributor!  As you can see, she's looking forward to the action!


Longhorndave (LHD): When did you become a NASCAR fan and why did you like it so much?
Bulldog Babe (BDB): I became a NASCAR fan in 2002, when I was 6 years old. It was the first sport I got into and I thought it was really cool to see the race cars.

LHD: Who are your favorite drivers and why?
BDB: My favorite drivers are Dale Earnhardt Jr., because he was the first driver I set my eyes on & I think he's just such a down to earth person and so respectable. Denny Hamlin, because while he has his moments like all of the drivers, he knows how to drive and he's such a class act. May I even mention that he's a great father to his four year old daughter Taylor? :).  Also, Kyle Busch, because since meeting his wife Samantha, he's become a better person & driver & he's even a great father to his almost two year old son Brexton. I think that's very admirable.

Editors note: Denny Hamlin was our Sportsman of the Week for winning Daytona last year.  Kyle Busch was our Sportsman of the Week for his Sprint cup Series win in 2015.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. has yet to win the Sportsman of the Week.

LHD: Who are your least favorite drivers and why?
BDB: My least favorite drivers are Jimmie Johnson, because I think he's too cocky & he acts like he's better than everyone when he's actually not, and Joey Logano because he acts like he's 12 when he doesn't get his way & he intentionally wrecks other guys because they block him to keep him from passing & that's annoying.

Editors note: Jimmie Johnson has won the Sportsman of the Week twice, once for winning the Daytona 500 in 2013 and again for the Sprint Cup Series in 2016.  Joey Logano won the Sportsman of the Week for his Daytona 500 win in 2015.

LHD: What is your best NASCAR memory in your life?
BDB: My best NASCAR memory was going to my first race, which was the 2006 Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While it was such a long race, it was so much fun!

LHD: What underrated or young drivers on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series do you think will break through?
BDB: Overall, I think Chase Elliott will get his first win at Michigan International Speedway because I feel like that was a track where he did so well, but I also think Pocono could be the track to get his first win as he also did well there. For 2017, I think while Daniel Suarez lives up to his Monster Energy Cup debut and has a successful season in the 19 Toyota Camry, Erik Jones will be the one to watch. While Daniel has a title under his belt in the XFinity Series, Erik also has a title under his belt and I believe he is probably the most talented out of the 2017 rookie class.

LHD: What's the fastest you've ever driven (or ridden) in a car (and did you or someone get a ticket)?
BDB: The fastest I've ever been in a car was 85 mph, that was on Charlotte Motor Speedway when they had a drive your car on the track event going on so we did not get a ticket.  I was riding. My dad was driving.

LHD: If you could pick the exact Top 3 finish at the Daytona 500 that you would like, what would it be?
BDB: If I could pick the top 3 finishes for this year's Daytona 500, it would be Denny Hamlin-Kyle Busch-Matt Kenseth. Not because they drive for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), but because they are all very good at Daytona and have wins across the entire Daytona Speedweeks. While Kyle doesn't have a Daytona 500 trophy, I believe he will get it soon.

LHD: What driver (or drivers) would you least like to see win the Daytona 500?
BDB: The drivers I would least like to see win the Daytona 500 would be Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick.

LHD: In all honesty, what is your prediction for the Top 3 finishers at the Daytona 500?
BDB: My predictions for the 2017 Daytona 500 are that while it might possibly be another close one for the second straight year, I personally believe Denny Hamlin will win his second straight Daytona 500, with his teammate Kyle Busch finishing 2nd and Chase Elliott finishing 3rd.

Great discussion and breakdown by a true fan!  If you love racing, be sure to follow her on race day (any Sunday, but especially Daytona Day.  Her lap-by-lap analysis and reaction is awesome.  Thanks to Bulldog Babe once again!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 2/12/2017

The post NFL playoffs time of year turns our attention to so called "spring sports".  The Washington Capitals have been the dominant team during the regular season with their eyes on the Presidents Trophy (for the most team points in the regular season) for the second year in a row.  In three dominant wins this week, Caps Center Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals and had five assists while the Caps outscored their opponents 17-7.  Backstrom is one point off the NHL league lead in with 60, and his 43 assists are tied for the lead as well.  The Caps are 18-2-1 since January 1, and their +71 goals and 84 points are both tops in the NHL.  Backstrom is our Sportsman of the Week and in line for a number of honors for the overall season, hoping to raise his first Stanley Cup this summer.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 2/5/2017

There can be little doubt who was the story of the sports week this week.  Let us count the Super Bowl records.  Most Super Bowls won (5).  Biggest comeback in Super Bowl history (25 points).  Most completions (43).  Most yards (466).  New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did it all in stunning a crowd who figured it could not be done.  It could.  After trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter, Brady orchestrated 31 points in 21 minutes to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl LI.  Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have now combined for 5 Super Bowl victories, most among a QB/Head Coach tandem.  This was the Patriots second victory in Houston, having won Super Bowl XXXVIII in the same stadium.  Many are calling it the greatest Super Bowl ever played.  Tom Brady is certainly the most victorious Super Bowl quarterback ever, if not the greatest quarterback ever.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/29/2017

The legend continues.  As in the legend of the greatest men's tennis player of all time.  Roger Federer defied his age and seeding to capture his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, by far the most in history.  In an era that should be widely considered as the most competitive (or as competitive) ever.  Federer did it over his old nemesis Rafael Nadal, who likewise made an improbable run to the final.  But it was Federer who won the last five games of the last set, squashing a 3-1 game lead.  Roger Federer has his stake in the ground as best men's tennis player of all time, and is our Sportsman of the Week!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Super Bowl LI Preview

This Houston Super Bowl LI
has all the intrigue!
The say it bluntly, outside of one game, the NFL Playoffs have not offered much in terms of thrilling finishes.  You could say a second game (PIT vs. KC) but PIT didn't even score a TD.  No NFL game in which the winning team doesn't score a TD can qualify as a"thrilling".  However, Super Bowl LI seems to be a heavyweight matchup that can't miss.  Number one Falcons offense vs. number one (scoring) Patriots defense.  On the other side, Tom "four rings" Brady tries to enter immortality with a fifth ring.  He's never lost a Super Bowl to a team that wasn't the Giants (although one of them he didn't win, that was Pete Carroll making a dumb play call).

But for last week, both J.R. Ewing and Bulldog Babe (@bulldogbabexo) split the two games (that they disagreed about).

So J.R. pretty much pushed the weekend, not much activity
Bulldog Babe stole the show this Playoffs,
will she be right in Super Bowl LI?
Total coming into week: $210
Straight Up (1-1): $0
ATS (1-1): -$10
O/U (1-1): -$10
Weekly Total: -$20
Total through three weeks: $190

So will Super Bowl LI live up to the billing?  Last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl in Houston it came down to the final seconds as they edged the Panthers.  Hopefully for fans, this one is as close as that.


Lines and spreads are from CappedIn.com, a great website to track picks and play along for fun.  Amazing how up to date data they have (with very informed members).
 
February 5, 2017: 18:30 EST
New England Patriots  (-3, -150) vs Atlanta Falcons (+3, +130) O/U 58.5

New England (16-2)
Last nine games: 9-0

Against Playoff teams: 6-1
Key Injuries: Rob Gronkowski (out)

Atlanta Falcons (13-5)
Last eight games: 7-1

Against Playoff teams: 4-2
Key Injuries: None

J.R. Ewing prediction
I keep picking against the Atlanta Falcons and I keep losing.  I bet on the New England Patriots and do nothing but win.  I have a gut feeling for the Falcons.  Matt Ryan is playing amazing football.  The Patriots have not had to face a decent offense this postseason.  First the Texans (enough said), then the Steelers without Le'Veon Bell.  Without that running threat, they easily rolled their defense to stop Antonio Brown and pinned their ears back on Ben and shut him down.  The Falcons can run (with two legit RBs) can throw (with Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones), not to mention a half dozen other complimentary weapons.  This will be a game of ball control with each possession at a premium.  Keeping Brady on the sideline is the way to beat the Patriots (Texans actually succeeded for three quarters) and this Falcons offense can do it (note the Patriots don't allow big plays).  It will actually be high scoring efficiency, but low scoring (both red zone defenses are good).  And the Falcons finish their miracle season.

Final Prediction: Falcons 26 Patriots 23

Bulldog Babe prediction:
I will fully admit that the two best teams in the NFC & AFC are playing next weekend. Atlanta and New England will be a great matchup, full of crazy things to happen. Atlanta has had the dream season, while New England is going to compete for their fifth Lombardi. While New England may be the favorite to win, I firmly believe in upsets. So I think the Atlanta Falcons will be the Super Bowl Champs! RISE UP

Final Prediction: Falcons 27 Patriots 21

This has been the most fun I've had doing the postseason blog, primarily due to the contributions of  Bulldog Babe (@bulldogbabexo).  The real fun was the private Twitter message debates and banter.  And she wanted to pass on thanks as well (her words):

"Thank you guys for reading my predictions and to @lhd_on_sports for allowing me to make predictions for the playoffs this year. I had a blast doing this & I hope you guys enjoyed reading these predictions."

We did enjoy BB, and I'd love to have you back for next year or hopefully sooner NASCAR or college football discussion.

In the meantime to all fans, enjoy your Super Bowl LI, it's the game for the fans!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/22/2017

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is perhaps the greatest game planners in NFL history, and he saw something in our Sportsman of the Week that clearly the Pittsburgh Steelers did not.  Third (or fourth) receiver Chris Hogan was free and clear early and often in the Steelers secondary and made the AFC North Champions pay.  He led all receivers in the AFC Championship Game with 9 receptions and 180 yards.  With a long of only 39 yards, he literally chipped away at the Steelers secondary with no mercy.  His two touchdowns were the first two of the game for New England putting the team up by 11 in the 2nd quarter.  From bit part to featured star, the Atlanta Falcons now have an extra dimension to worry about in Super Bowl LI.  Chris Hogan is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sportsman of the Week Ending 1/16/2017

The NFL Divisional Playoff Game of the week was no question the Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys and our Sportsman of the Week made what might be the play of the year.  Jared Cook hauled in a 35 yard pass from Aaron Rodgers with just 3 seconds left to set up the Packers game winning field goal to ruin the Cowboys playoff party at home.  For the game, he ended up with 6 catches for 103 yards and a TD as Rodgers favorite target.  All were season highs (except yards within 2 yards of his 105 yards during the last Packers loss in Washington).  But it was the catch in the clutch that thrust the Packers into the NFC Championship Game that earns Cook our Sportsman of the Week!

2016-17 NFL Conference Championship Playoff Preview

Not a good week for my
Cowboys or my bank account

An entertaining Divisional Playoff Weekend saw J.R. Ewing and Bulldog Babe (@bulldogbabexo) go 3-1 straight up, missing only the Packers who onw on a wild finish in Dallas.  Both correctly picked the Steelers mild upset of the Chiefs (much to Bulldog Babe's pleasure).

As for other props, not so good for J.R. Ewing
Total coming into week: $570
Straight Up (3-1): +100
ATS (2-2): -$20
O/U (0-4): -$440
Weekly Total: -$360
Total through two weeks: $210

This assumes a $110 bet to win $100 on 50/50 props, S/U has $100 on underdogs, money line to win $100 on favorites.

Bulldog Babe an impressive 6-2 so far
straight up and 3-1 last week ATS
The Steelers and Packers look to continue their miracle playoff runs.  Would you believe that these four teams are on a summed 30 game winning streak?  Just check out their last losses

Green Bay: 11/20
Atlanta: 12/4
Pittsburgh: 11/13
New England: 11/13

So the big question everyone is wanting to know is how Bulldog Babe thinks her Steelers will do.  And will either J.R. or Bulldog Babe go with the red hot Packers?

Lines and spreads are from CappedIn.com, a great website to track picks and play along for fun.  Amazing how up to date data they have (with very informed members).


January 22, 2017: 15:05 EST
Green Bay Packers  (+6, +204) at Atlanta Falcons (-6, -204) O/U 60

Green Bay Packers  (12-6)
Last eight games: 8-0
Road: 5-4
Against Playoff teams: 7-2 (2-1 on road)
Key Injuries: Jordy Nelson (doubtful)


Atlanta Falcons (12-5)
Last seven games: 6-1
Home: 6-3
Against Playoff teams: 3-2 (2-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

Previous matchup (@Atlanta): Falcons 33, Packers 32.

J.R. Ewing prediction
It's getting hard to bet against Aaron Rodgers, he seems to be feeling it.  I've doubted in the past due to injuries but that continues to not slow down the Pack.  The Falcons demolishing of the Seahawks was maybe the most impressive team last weekend (Patriots big win was expected).  Matt Ryan won the MVP, Rodgers maybe thinks he should have won it.  I feel a Packers upset in thrilling fashion just like last week.  Take the earlier score and give the Pack an extra FG

Final Prediction: Packers 35 Falcons 33.

Bulldog Babe prediction:
This NFC Championship matchup is a great one, with two great teams. Packers had an absolutely outstanding win last weekend, which knocked Dallas out of the playoffs. Falcons had a great win against the Seahawks last weekend, which eliminated Seattle from the playoffs. This is a hard one to predict honestly. Both teams have worked hard to get to this point and there are no other teams more deserving. I believe that Atlanta having home field advantage will motivate them to do well. While Green Bay will dominate early, Atlanta will come through and score their Super Bowl berth in a close game.

Final Prediction: Falcons 28 Packers 21.

January 22, 2017: 18:40 EST
Pittsburgh Steelers  (+6, +231) at New England (-6, -231) O/U 50

Pittsburgh Steelers  (13-5)
Last nine games: 9-0
Road: 6-3
Against Playoff teams: 4-3 (1-1 on road)
Key Injuries: None

New England (15-2)
Last eight games: 8-0
Home: 8-1
Against Playoff teams: 5-1 (3-1 at home)
Key Injuries: Rob Gronkowski (out)

Previous matchup (@Pittsburgh): Patriots 27, Steelers 16.

J.R. Ewing prediction
The Steelers won, but seemed to sputter more on offense than expected with nary a TD in their Divisional round win over the Kansas City Chiefs.  Field Goals won't beat the Patriots (and this is a better defense).  Meanwhile some analysts thought the Patriots looked sluggish against the Texans.  Mind you they covered one of the largest spreads in playoff history.  We should all struggle so much.  The Patriots machine is too much for the killer B's (Ben, Bell, and Brown) and they advance to the Super Bowl.

Final Prediction: Patriots 28 Steelers 20.

Bulldog Babe prediction:
This AFC Championship consists of two of the best quarterbacks in the league, Ben Roethilsberger and Tom Brady. So this will be a showdown that everyone needs to watch. I feel like this is going to be an up and down game. I was not impressed with the Patriots last weekend especially considering it was their first game after a bye week and they were very rusty and sloppy. While I think that Brady is going to have a great night, I also feel like Big Ben and the Steelers have just a bit more momentum than the Patriots do. Why? The Steelers are on a nine game win streak and they have fate on their side. They are motivated and ready to get back to the Super Bowl. They have not been their best on the road, especially in New England (0-3), but like I said, they are a second half team so they will show up and win. I have Pittsburgh taking this one and going to Houston to get their shot at the Lombardi.

Final Prediction: Steelers 24 Patriots 17.

So there you have it, J.R. and Bulldog Babe disagree on both games?  Who will be correct?  Tune in Sunday afternoon to find out!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016-17 NFL Divisional Playoff Preview

How 'bout dem Cowboys!
Once again, J.R. Ewing owned the playoff picks in Wild Card Weekend.  Joined by new Blog partner "Bulldog Babe" (@bulldogbabexo) you were wise to take in the advice and win.

Gamblers summary (only for J.R. Ewing, not sure BB is old enough to legally give gambling advice yet)
Straight Up (4-0): +400
ATS (3-1): +190
O/U (2-2): -$20
Total: $570

This assumes a $110 bet to win $100 on 50/50 props, S/U has $100 on underdogs, money line to win $100 on favorites.

Bulldog Babe's debut was impressive
After all favorites and home teams winning in the Wild Card Weekend, the Divisional Playoff round will feature all eight Division Champions.  Home teams will have had a bye, however last week's winners all won by 13 points or more.  And each game is a rematch of the regular season, with only one of the four being in the same venue.

We're glad to have Bulldog Babe back this week to break down each of the matchups.  Will she take her Steelers?  Does she have an upset up her sleeve?

 J.R. Ewing's Cowboys will see their first postseason action while Bulldog Babe's Steelers want to continue their momentum!

Lines and spreads are from CappedIn.com, a great website to track picks and play along for fun.  Amazing how up to date data they have (with very informed members).

January 14, 2017: 16:35 EST
Seattle Seahawks (+5, +190) at Atlanta Falcons (-5, -220) O/U 51.5

Seattle Seahawks (11-5-1)
Last seven games:4-3
Road: 3-4-1
Against Playoff teams: 4-1 (1-1 on road)
Key Injuries: Earl Thomas (out)

Atlanta Falcons (11-5)
Last six games: 5-1
Home: 5-3
Against Playoff teams: 2-2 (1-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

Previous matchup (@Seattle): Seahawks 26, Falcons 24.

J.R. Ewing prediction
One of the most intriguing match ups of the weekend because the Seahawks have been there, done that in the playoffs lately, but the Falcons have yet to parlay a good regular season into a Super Bowl berth.  A little baffling that the Birds have not played many playoff teams, and don't have a very good record.  Also not extraordinary at home.  I think they find a way to win, but it remains close.  Their regular season match up went 26-24 Seahawks in Seattle, I'll turn that score around here.

Final Prediction: Falcons 26 Seahawks 24.

Bulldog Babe prediction:
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks won in dominating fashion last weekend against the Detroit Lions, as expected. It will not be that easy this weekend, as they head cross country to Atlanta to face Matt Ryan and the Falcons in the NFC Divisional Playoff. The offensive line for Seattle is going into this game knowing that the defense for Atlanta isn’t too great, so that gives them some confidence already. On the offensive side for Atlanta, they are ranked #2 overall and Matt Ryan has had probably his best season to date. Wide receiver Julio Jones is healthy and he will be a strong factor for Atlanta. My prediction is, this will be a flip flop game with a lot of surprises bound to happen. With that being said, I have the Falcons taking this one.

Final Prediction: Falcons 35 Seahawks 27.

January 14, 2017: 20:15 EST
Houston Texans (+15, +975) at New England (-15, -1500) O/U 44.5

Houston Texans (10-7)
Last five games: 4-1
Road: 2-6
Against Playoff teams: 3-3 (0-3 on road)
Key Injuries: J.J. Watt (out), Lamar Miller (probable)

New England (14-2)
Last seven games:7-0
Home: 7-1
Against Playoff teams: 4-1 (2-1 at home)
Key Injuries: Rob Gronkowski (out), Danny Amendola (probable), LaGarrette Blount (ill)

Previous matchup (@New England): Patriots 27, Texans 0.

J.R. Ewing prediction
The most talked about line of the week because it is so large.  I believe calling the Texans frauds is unfair, they beat teams like the Chiefs and Lions in the regular season.  But they were awful on the road, and their awful scoring differential is a result of blowouts.  The reason they get blown out is that the only way they can win is to get a lead and rely on that defense.  If they get behind, it's "Katy bar the door."  Get Katy ready, because when the Patriots jump out quickly, the Texans won't have the weapons to respond.  An easy win and cover for the Patriots.

Final Prediction: Patriots 27 Texans 6.

Bulldog Babe prediction:
The Texans escaped the Raiders last weekend, but this next game for them will be their true test. They are off to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoff. I don’t see this game being a heavy weight battle. The Texans have come far this season despite all of the injuries and shake ups at numerous positions, but the Patriots have just a little more juice on them as much as I hate to admit it. I say this one will be a blowout, Patriots win.

Final Prediction: Patriots 44 Texans 14.


January 15, 2017: 16:40 EST
Green Bay Packers  (+4.5, +175) at Dallas Cowboys (-4.5, -205) O/U 51.5

Green Bay Packers  (11-6)
Last seven games: 7-0
Road:4-4
Against Playoff teams: 6-2 (1-1 on road)
Key Injuries: Jordy Nelson (doubtful)

Dallas Cowboys (13-3)
Last four games: 2-2
Home: 7-1
Against Playoff teams: 3-2 (1-1 at home)
Key Injuries: None

Previous matchup (@Green Bay): Cowboys 30, Packers 16.

J.R. Ewing prediction
We might be having a different conversation of Jordy Nelson were healthy, but he's not.  The Packers also have a very suspect defense and don't play incredibly well away from home.  The fear of the Cowboys pick is that they may be rusty (full 20 days since any of their key players played a meaningful game).  And the Packers are hot, while the Cowboys stumbled down the stretch (one loss was resting starters).  This Cowboys offense and defense is build for the playoffs with balance and talent.  The Packers are feast or famine.  Even last week's Wild Card Game they looked awful, then good.  No real running game, I don't see the Packers staying in this one.

Final Prediction: Cowboys 27 Packers 13.

Bulldog Babe prediction:
Last but not least, we are at this classic match up (at least I think it is). The veteran vs. the rookie. I personally am a fan of Dak Prescott, great young man on and off the field. He has had his fair share of adversity over the season, but he has proven himself as the starter for Dallas. Aaron Rodgers has had a great year as well, as I previously mentioned last weekend. Both teams have a great offensive line, but I think that Dallas has better targets for Dak to throw to (such as Ezekiel Elliott). Dallas wins this one, in a close but steady percentage.

Final Prediction: Cowboys 30 Packers 20.

January 15, 2017: 20:20 EST
Pittsburgh Steelers  (+1.5, +105) at Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5, -125) O/U 44

Pittsburgh Steelers  (12-5)
Last eight games: 8-0
Road: 5-3
Against Playoff teams: 3-3 (0-1 on road)
Key Injuries: None

Kansas City Chiefs  (12-4)
Last six games: 5-1
Home: 6-2
Against Playoff teams: 3-2 (1-0 at home)
Key Injuries: None

Previous matchup (@Pittsburgh): Steelers 43, Chiefs 14.

J.R. Ewing prediction
Another intriguing game to pick because it's so close to a pick'em game.  The Steelers are red hot since a mid-season losing streak (including injury to Ben Roethlisberger) made them fight back to the playoffs.  The Chiefs likewise had to fight their way from a Wild Card to the second seed with key wins down the stretch.  I simply like the Steelers weapons (Ben, Bell, Brown) more than the Chiefs weapons (Smith, Kelce, Hill).  I'm put off also by the late season loss by the Chiefs to the Titans, it doesn't seem like they are that tough at home.  Close, but nod to the hot Steelers.

Final Prediction: Steelers 27 Chiefs 24.

Bulldog Babe prediction:
My Steelers had a great win last week, with all of the main guys healthy and just simply mowing down all of the Dolphins players one by one. This weekend, they head to Kansas City to face Alex Smith and the Chiefs. This is another rematch as these two teams met back in week 4, Pittsburgh ran over Kansas City 43-14. Now that this is a playoff match up, this will a tough one to predict, as both teams have had an incredible last few months since they last met. The Chiefs have some great targets for Alex Smith to throw to, like tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. On the Steelers side, having running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown will help significantly. While it will be very close, I know the Steelers well enough to know that no matter how badly their performance is early, they are always a second half team. I have Pittsburgh taking this one.

Final Prediction: Steelers 27 Chiefs 20.

So there you have it, when J.R. Ewing and Bulldog Babe agree, watch out.  They both have the Falcons, Patriots, Steelers, and Cowboys.  There's probably something to it (combined 7-1 picking winners last week).  Again, I want to thank Bulldog Babe for her thoughtful analysis and, be sure to follow her on Twitter, particularly during the Steelers game.  Let's just say she gets into it!

Enjoy your football weekend fans!