WILD CARD NFL PICKS
The regular season is over! I won't have to listen to broadcasters talk themselves into three hours of Browns/Bengals or some other crappy game until late 2011. This is good. This is water. But who cares about the regular season. IT IS PLAYOFF TIME. For anyone interested, the pursuit of the perfect prognostication ends with the regular season. For the playoffs, I pursue the perfect playoff record of 11-0. No, I haven't achieved the perfect record yet and, considering I have picked all favorites this week, I doubt 11-0 will happen in 2011. As for the regular season, I failed in my quest for a perfect week AGAIN. I came close with a 14-2 week some time ago but, alas, perfection eluded me. My overall record is a terrible 159-97. TIME FOR WILDCARD PROGNOSTICATION!
New Orleans over Seattle
-The worst part about a 7-9 team qualifying for the playoffs is the conversation leading up to the playoff game. There are experts and analysts who try to talk the audience into the Seahawks as not only the victor of the game but the future Super Bowl champions. Need I remind anyone that Pete Carroll is torn between Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst? I'm sure Gregg Williams is losing sleep over not knowing. I bet Gregg Williams could plan an off-season vacation during this week and win the game. The Saints lost both running backs to ankle injuries during this week so Reggie Bush and former Eagle Joqie Bell will get the snaps. Again, this isn't a problem against the Seahawks, a team who makes their living giving up massive yardage on the ground and in the air. I mean, Lawyer Milloy is the team's starting strong safety. The team also struggled to win the worst division in NFL history. I'm supposed to take the team seriously because they beat a re-building Rams team? And their home-field advantage? No way. Me and the Seahawks have been bitter enemies for the entire regular season. I picked them to finish 1-15 because Pete Carroll decided to blow the team up but then they kept winning when I picked against them and LOSING when I picked them. Don't get paranoid though, Who Dat nation. The Saints are the defending champs. They're too good to have their reign end in Seattle. Ignore the Saints' 0-3 playoff record on the road. This is a gift game for New Orleans.
Indianapolis over New York Jets
-I've grown weary of Rex Ryan's loud mouth and his leaked foot-fetish videos with his wife. Considering the injuries the Colts have suffered this season, one would worry about their chances to beat a very good Jets team. The Jets are like an NBA team. They mail in games against the likes of the Browns and Lions only to win against Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. The Jets will be ready. I can't pick against Peyton Manning yet in the wild card. Maybe if they faced the Chargers it would be different. With Addai back, Manning will be able to ease the pressure on himself and the passing game for a bit. Manning can outwit Revis and Cromartie as well, and he's still got Wayne and Garcon as his targets. I have no idea how strong Sanchez's shoulder is. I know the Jets want to avenge their AFC title game loss and I'm sure Rex Ryan has promised all of the Wonka candy the team can handle if they win but Rex can't beat Peyton Manning.
Baltimore over Kansas City
-I wonder if Todd Haley will continue the Chiefs playoff tradition of underwhelming wild card defeats. Many experts and analysts continue to doubt Joe Flacco. Why? He doesn't make many dumb mistakes. He's got actual receivers to throw to (Boldin needs to wake up from his regular nap though) and a safety valve in Ray Rice. Flacco's not at the stage where he can win a game by himself. The Ravens defense will do their thing. This should be a low-scoring game, a grind-it-out kind of game because both teams have terrific running games and so-so pass offenses. KC's probably a year away from actually contending. They benefitted from an average division and some cupcake games. The Raiders thrashing of the Chiefs in Week 17 doesn't instill confidence in the Chiefs either. Ravens had a great year. I expect it to continue.
Philadelphia over Green Bay
-The Packers lost 51-45 last season. If the Packers weren't as dominant on defense this season, I'd predict a similar result to that 51-45 loss. The Eagles offense doesn't concern me as much as the Eagles defense and their 32nd ranked red zone defense, especially against Aaron Rodgers. The Birds need Vick 90%. They need his legs and play-making abilities because who knows what kind of damage Rodgers could inflict on their defense early. The pass rush has been non-existent the last few weeks. Domo wrote a great piece yesterday about Rodgers' ability to recognize blitzes and make defenses pay for blitzes. The secondary features a rookie and a mistake prone Dimitri Patterson. The Packers are the last team the Eagles wanted to face because Green Bay does so many things well. Clay Matthews alone is a game-changer. I remember the trouble picking up blitzes in the Minnesota game, and I can just see Matthews flying through Cole and Justice and flattening Michael Vick. We'll learn a lot about the Eagles in this game and, hopefully, it's not a repeat of what happened last year. But I am picking the Eagles because they are my team. As long as Vick, McCoy, Maclin and Jackson do their thing, the Birds have a chance.
Playoff Record: 0-0
Last Week: 12-4
Final Regular Season Record: 159-97
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