The smart and emotional pick

People are often surprised by the fact that I’m really into football. As in, the NFL. So let’s start by clarifying that I am a blond female who knows what she’s talking about. I’m in a picks pool with family and family friends, and each week I read up on the latest lines, injuries and power rankings. I rarely catch all the games, but I check up on the scores and highlights. I’m proud to say that usually I do pretty well, and have been in contention to win the pool almost every year.

With all that said, I must acknowledge that a decent amount of my picking isn’t rooted in fact or team observation. I love the Bears, so it pains me not to pick them; I hate the Packers, so it pains me to pick them. I also strongly favor the Seahawks, Saints, Falcons and Patriots, each because of a favorite player or underdog appeal. I strongly dislike the Eagles, Bengals, Vikings and Raiders, each because of memory of nasty behavior by an individual or the team. By no means do I always pick according to these preferences, but they definitely play a factor when it gets close. Other than that, I put a lot of faith in ESPN’s power rankings and latest lines.

So you might say there’s a lot of guesswork and sentimentality that goes into my selections, and you’d probably be correct. Often, picking the Bears to pull an upset or the Eagles to collapse is a waste of a point, but this week told a different story, one that solidifies my belief in my own personal system. For the first time in probably two or three years, I didn’t pick the Bears, and for the first time in two or three years, I picked the Packers.

The Packers narrowly beat the Bears last week and were heavily favored this week over Cincinnati. Since the Packers were picked and I also really don’t like the Bengals, I went with the line and picked Green Bay. You can guess who won.

And after last week’s frustrating, late-game loss to the Packers, the Bears weren’t looking so hot to square off against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Steelers. So, naturally, I was anticipating an ugly game. Usually I’d pick the Bears regardless because I wouldn’t want to hold back when cheering them on, but this week I was missing the game, so I figured, all right, I’ll make the smart pick and just swallow my pride. Again, you can guess who won (in a super-exciting last-minute field goal. Go Robbie Gould!!).

So this week left me both incredibly excited and incredibly frustrated. I got exactly what I wanted, emotionally, but, thinking I was being smart, had picked against it and so lost points that normally would’ve been givens. It figures that the one and pretty much only time I don’t pick the Bears, they pull off an awesome upset. Same goes for the Packers losing an easy game. So frustrating. And also so awesome.

Moral of the story? Forget the line, forget the power rankings, forget the expert picks: Always pick the Bears. Never pick the Packers.

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