Championship Weekend Picks

Now that another Friday is here, and another NFL playoff weekend is staring us down, I owe it to myself and to my readers — and to history, really — to make my picks public. This will then greatly ease the ability of others to win their picks: just pick against me, and you win.

Although, let’s be fair now, I was 2-2 last week, only losing the two AFC games, because apparently the Chargers and Ravens both forgot to bring it. The whole “one and done” thing? Not on their radar.

And as a result, we must watch yet another Colts – Patriots matchup. This is getting boring, guys. I need Peyton Manning to win this one just to get everybody to shut the hell up about how he never wins the big one, and how Tom Brady is 145-0 in the postseason. What-EVER. And now that the Colts seem to have discovered a defense, and have the home game, PLUS Adam Vinatieri, I think they could actually win this one. So, Colts 19, Patriots 13. Sure, why not?

The NFC game is both more and less intriguing. More, because nobody has ever seen the Saints in an NFC championship game, and rarely the Bears (since 1989). Less, because it isn’t Manning v. Brady. The Bears, while they could have run roughshod over the NFC if their defense wasn’t missing two All-Pros, are now just another team with strengths and weaknesses, and will need luck (no turnovers) and dominant special teams play in order to win any games the rest of the way. The last time they gave up less than 21 points was December 3, the same day Tommie Harris got hurt; since then, 27, 31, 21, 26, 24. They rarely force turnovers any more, and they don’t pressure the passer much, and they are soft up the middle against the run. The Saints have weapons to exploit this, and a smart head coach in Sean Payton, and I expect them to win, even in Chicago, even in the ridiculous “Bear weather”. Saints 26, Bears 24.

Unless I’m wrong. In which case, Bears 30, Saints 23. Whatever, line ’em up and settle it on the field, and may the best team win. I’m OK with losing if my team plays as well as it can and loses because the other team is better, at least on that day, in that stadium, under those weather conditions. Hey, you do your best, and sometimes the other guy is better. Then you tip your hat and let them move ahead of you.

And if I hear the name “Katrina” in reference to what a great “story” the Saints are, one more time, I’m going to bust a gasket. It really needs a rest. Let it take one. The Saints are a football team, and will deserve any fate that awaits them, good or bad, based only on how they perform against their opponents. Don’t bring thousand year floods into it.

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