Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (4:30 pm, NBC) Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (8 pm, NBC)
Sunday, January 6 Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (1 pm, CBS) Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins (4:30 pm, FOX)
First round byes: AFC: 1) Denver Broncos, 2) New England Patriots NFC: 1) Atlanta Falcons, 2) San Francisco 49ers
Green Bay, Houston and Washington all win at home next weekend, but Indianapolis goes on the road to knock off Baltimore and set up Manning vs. Luck in the divisional round. In the NFC title game, we get Green Bay vs Atlanta, with New England vs Denver in the AFC.
Denver beats the Packers in the Super Bowl, putting the cherry on top of Manning's comeback and further cementing his legendary status.
Houston d Cincinnati Green Bay d Minnesota Indianapolis d Baltimore Washington d Seattle
Atlanta d Washington Green Bay d San Francisco Denver d Indianapolis New England d Houston
Bengals over Texans: Picking Marvin Lewis is dangerous, but, the Texans look like dead team walking.
Packers over Vikings: Now, if the Vikings do win, someone will need to do a Discount Double Check on how many seasons in which Aaron Rodgers won a playoff game. But, even though Lambeau doesn't have the automatic loss in the playoffs for the road team any longer, tough to see the Vikings at night in January outdoors.
Colts over Ravens: Except for the game where the Giants decided not to show up the Ravens have been poor since Thanksgiving.
Seahawks over Redskins: Seahawks defense makes more big plays.
Bengals over Broncos: Someone has to make a stupid prediction at some point. Bengals pass rush gets to Manning, who reminds us of his dislike of cold weather in playoff games.
49ers over Packers: Physically more dominant team
Seahawks over Falcons: Until the Falcons show me otherwise don't have faith in them, even at home.
Patriots over Colts: Tough to see the Colts defense finding a sustainable pass rush.
49ers over Seahawks: Home field means a great deal in this situation.
Patriots over Bengals: Bengals are not a good match-up for the Patriots, but, Marvin Lewis winning 3 road playoff games to get to the Super Bowl only occurs in Bizarro universes.
Patriots 23 49ers 20: Don't see the shoot-out occurring again, dome is more beneficial to New England.
I tried to go by my gut (and not my rooting interest, otherwise the Bengals would get a lot farther). Ended up picking a lot of road teams. Oh, well...
Bengals over Texans Colts over Ravens Seahawks over Redskins Packers over Vikings
Broncos over Bengals Colts over Patriots Seahawks over Falcons Packers over Niners
Broncos over Colts Seahawks over Packers
Broncos over Seahawks (31 - 17)
Broncos and Seahawks just seem like the two most complete teams out there. Atlanta and the Niners both smell like fool's gold to me. I may have let a little sentiment creep in in taking the Hawks over the Packers, because I just can't stand the Packers and it went against me to pick them to win any games, much less make the NFC championship.
"Never piss off a hawk with a blowgun" - Conan O'Brien
Bengals over Texans Colts over Ravens Redskins over Seahawks Packers over Vikings
Broncos over Bengals Patriots over Colts Redskins over Falcons Packers over 49ers
Broncos over Patriots Redskins over Packers
Redskins 24 Broncos 21 as RG3 defeats the QB that the Redskins wanted initially.
"Put on your helmets, we'll be reaching speeds of 3!" "It was nice of you to give that dead woman another chance." "All right, look alive everybody...oh sorry Susan."- MST3K: Space Mutiny Click Here (facebook.com)
Redskins over Seahawks in a nailbiter Packers over Vikings Ravens over Colts Texans over Bengals
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
I don't have predictions, per say, I just wanted to say how much I hope that the Colts win and move on to defeat the Broncos just so we don't have to hear the media fawn over "Mr. Overrated" Peyton Manning anymore.
'Nother different format today, as the column will be much shorter and won't necessarily cover every game. It'll be heavier on the major goings-on of the week, and I'll try to express a few opinions without sounding like a total moron.