In the penultimate week of the regular season, a Patriots homer had to wait until the final moments of picking against TB12 to claim his automatic spot in the Pix Populi playoffs.
Ric Beaudoin had a huge NFL week to hold off Steve Kistulentz, who has finished the regular season on fire. Kistulentz is making a play not only for second place, but may still have a shot at the regular season crown.
But first, we give props to the mortgage broker who finally negotiated his way to the top of the rankings. Beaudoin was in second place after the college games and the Thursday night NFL Raiders-Chiefs showdown. Beaudoin went on a 10-for-13 run in the Sunday NFL picks with four dead-on picks to race to a nine-point lead heading into Monday night.
In the end, he found himself rooting against his beloved Patriots. If the Pats had won by anywhere between 11 to 14 points, Kistulentz would have pulled out the win. But Beaudoin hung on to take the next-to-last automatic playoff spot.
Now, to the playoff picture. Kistulentz has gained 25 points on the front runner, Russell Holley, in the last two weeks and 33 points on yours truly at No. 2. So what seemed like a two-horse race just three weeks ago could be stolen by an epic stretch run by the Florida author.
The drama is even thicker in the fourth through 12th positions. Debbie Wood holds a one-point lead over Eric Bowman for fourth. Barry Wood, AKA The Pix Patriarch, is making a late run of his own. He jumped from ninth to sixth with a 53-point effort in Week 14, leading Alan Arseneau, 493-492. Then, just 21 points separate Justin Jarrett at eighth from Rob Gillinder at 12th.
And there’s plenty of drama for the 16th seed, which matters (more on that later). Dale Butts currently holds the last seed heading into the 64-player playoffs, but is just three points ahead of Adam Carroll. Dan Kam (398), Doug Leclair (389) and Beaudoin (385) all have realistic shots at the 16th seed.
And why do these seeds matter so much? We’re rewarding regular season dominance as we head into the playoffs. The top four seeds will each get a 10-point start in each of their matchups during the playoffs. The fifth through eighth seeds will get 8-point headstarts, the ninth through 12th seeds will get 6-point jump starts and the 13th through 16th seeds will get a four-point bump to start each matchup.
This is the final week before the playoffs. There will be no five-point bonuses this week, just a full lineup of games to make one final move.
The first round will be played Dec. 20-26, picking bowl games and Week 16 of the NFL season. The Round of 32 will run Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, picking bowl games and NFL week 17. The Sweet 16 will be played Jan 3-9 with NFL Wild Card Games and the College Football National Championship Game.
The quarterfinals (Jan. 10-16) will center around the NFL Divisional Round playoffs and the Final Four (Jan. 17-24) will pick the NFL Conference Championships. This year’s finals will center around Super Bowl 51, to be played Feb. 5. The prize pot is still growing and will be announced before the first round.
PIX PODCAST: We have launched the Pix Populi Radio podcast! The Commish, Tim Wood, is joined by two-time Pix championship winner Russell Holley to break down the week’s games. You can hear the first three episodes on Blog Talk Radio.com.
Folks who were absent last week, we hope you’ll come back this week! And please, tell your friends! Your new voting place is PIXPOPULISPORTS.COM!
Follow us on Twitter @PixPopuliSports, where if you sign up by Thursday 12 pm, you will get access to a bonus pick this week and you’ll see updates after each stage of the picks weekend (early college games, after Saturday, after early NFL, after Sunday NFL and final results after Monday Night Football). And check out our Pix-vs.-Vegas write-ups online at Forbes.com (search for Tim Wood or “Pix Populi”).
TELL YOUR FRIENDS! This is the last chance to get into the contest as each weekly winner gets a spot in the playoffs.