NFL Picks - Super Bowl XLVIII

Seattle vs. Denver
So here it is. The Game. As you all know by now we're left with a fascinating match-up between the league's top offense and the league's top defense. These teams have followed similar paths, going 13-3, becoming the #1 seed in their respective conferences and winning two home games to reach the Super Bowl. The few losses they do have are startlingly similar in nature. They each lost by 6 in Indianapolis, dropped a close game on the road in what was their toughest match-up of the season (Denver by 3 at New England; Seahawks by 2 at San Francisco), and were stunned at home by a divisional foe (Denver against San Diego; Seahawks against Arizona, both by 7). But outside of those contests, they're a combined 26-0, meaning on Sunday it should be exciting to watch dat action. The way I see it, the key to the game for the Seahawks is generating pressure up the middle and forcing Manning to move in the pocket. This means Michael Bennett needs to have a big game in what could be his last in a Hawks uniform. As for what the key to the Broncos' defensive game plan should be: get out of the way. And that's about all I've got, I suppose there's not much more to say now, except for this.

Seahawks 29-23


NFL Picks - Conference Championships

If you were to ask me before the season what match-ups I thought we'd see in the conference championships these would be them. Or, more accurately, nobody asked me before the season what match-ups I thought we'd see in the conference championships, but I went ahead and wrote my predictions anyway, and these were them. Anticipation has reached a boiling point, and even though I've used this clip before, it seems to be most appropriate right now.

New England @ Denver

Interesting quarterback match-up here between the two tallest back-ups in the game. Mallett (6'6") vs. Osweiler (6'8"), who will prevail? The fans, that's who. Unfortunately for us, these two beanstalks probably won't see the field and we'll be stuck watching Brady vs. Manning for the 15th time. It's like, we get it already! As always when dealing with Manning this late in the season it's necessary to look at the weather report. High 40s and sunny bodes well for Peyton and the Broncos. Brady and Belichick have been to seven AFC championship games together, losing only twice. One of those losses was last season and the other was on the road against Peyton Manning. Then again, they've also beaten Manning twice in the playoffs, once in the conference championship game. So either way history will be repeating itself, which is just so typical of history, it's totally unoriginal.

Broncos 31-26 

San Francisco @ Seattle

It had to happen this way, there was never an alternate timeline in which it didn't. In every possible permutation of how the events of the past 19 weeks played out, it was always these two at the end. One piece of analysis for this game: the 49ers' opponents have botched a would-be pick six in each of their playoff games so far; the Seahawks dropped three interceptions in their divisional round win. Surer hands could lead to a game-changing play this week. As for the rest of this contest, I predict noise and pain. The wait is over (if you're reading this at 3:30pm PT on Sunday), let's go.

Seahawks 20-13


NFL Picks - Divisional Round

Caution: Pretty much all of the links contain a form of cursing; so heads up if you're at work or some kind of a wimp.


New Orleans @ Seattle

Look, I'm not going to say that I saw this divisional round match-up coming before the season even started, but that's exactly what happened. Last week in Philadelphia the Saints managed to get their first road win in franchise history, and proved in the process that they're capable of beating a quality team outdoors away from home. And for that I offer them a hearty congratulations. Now, however, they're headed back to the CLink, the site of their worst loss of the season. While I don't expect the Hawks to steamroll New Orleans in quite the same fashion this time around, I do believe it will be another win for the home team; which would be pretty cool.

Seahawks 27-17

Indianapolis @ New England

Oh baby! Manning vs. Brady! Er, wait a minute ... not so fast! This tale as old as time has a brand new rhyme (It's best not to think about that one for too long). All season long the Colts have dug themselves holes in the first half, managing to climb out of them with uncommon regularity. Of course, last week was their coup de grace, with their overthrow of the Chiefs' governance of that game being quite the coup d'etat. Tom Brady and the Patriots are certainly capable of saddling Indy with another large deficit this week, however, with Belichick on the sideline it's tough to imagine the type of schematic breakdowns and bumbling clock management that plagued Kansas City being an issue for New England.

Patriots 38-24  


San Francisco @ Carolina

Going into last week's wild card match-up between the 49ers and Packers it was hard to know what to expect with the weather being what it was. One thing I did know for certain though was that Colin Kaepernick would not wear sleeves. Not in an effort to prove that he's tough, but simply because he's far too vain to let his arms be covered in front of a national television audience. The Panthers have had a great season to this point, but I believe their lack of playoff experience will hurt them here. I mean, they're probably unaware of how the playoffs even work, I'm not sure that they know they don't get to play another game if they lose. Like I said, these guys do not have much playoff seasoning.

49ers 17-16

San Diego @ Denver

Here we go again, Peyton Manning coming into a cold playoff game as a heavy favorite. What could possibly go wrong? Seemed like a recipe for disaster until I just looked up the weather report for Sunday in Denver and it turns out the high will be 45 degrees. Advantage Manning! Also, the Chargers have already come into (Sports Authority Field at) Mile High and shocked the Broncos once this season. While that might seem beneficial to San Diego I think it just means that Denver's guard will be up. In fact, the three other teams remaining in the AFC playoffs are the only teams that the Broncos lost to this season. Man, their guard is gonna be so high. Advantage Manning! Also, Wes Welker, who did not play in these teams' last match up, will be back on the field Sunday. Advantage Manning!  As we all know, three advantages equal a playoff win; tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme.

Broncos 31-23


NFL Picks - Wild Card Round


Kansas City @ Indianapolis

Two weeks ago these teams met in a triple P (Possible Playoff Preview). Now that game has become a DPP (Definite Playoff Preview). Will it be an ROLT (Repeat Of Last Time) or will it be a T-DOG (Totally Different Outcome, Guys)? Even though the last game was played in KC the Colts prevailed 23-7. With this one being played in a climate controlled Lucas Oil Stadium it would stand to reason that Indy should win again. So to recap, in regards to a Colts victory, the reason that it stands to reason is the game they played earlier this season.

Colts 24-17

New Orleans @ Philadelphia

My pick for this game comes down to one overriding factor: I trust the Saints on the road less than I do this guy. They had three wins away from home in the regular season, and none were against a winning team (they did beat Chicago who was .500). So clearly a win at Philly would be breaking their tendency. I'm not saying it won't happen, I'm just predicting exactly that.

Eagles 30-20


San Diego @ Cincinnati

These Chargers are hot! Four straight wins, including one over the Chiefs' back-ups that only took them 72 minutes of game action to complete. Yikes. That is not promising. Neither is the fact that the Bengals are the last team to beat the Chargers and they did it in San Diego. Also, Cincinnati has not lost at home this year. To me it seems like it's adding up to a Bengals victory, and I kick ass at math.

Bengals 21-14

San Francisco @ Green Bay

Shockingly the Packers are having trouble selling out this game, and are in danger of having the game blacked out locally. A playoff Stinger? That's unheard of! Except for the fact that it could also happen in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Pretty pathetic gang. However, for the folks in Green Bay it becomes a bit more understandable when you take into account the fact that it is expected to be about zero degrees during the game. But if you can't sell this game out in those weather conditions you officially can't brag about, wax poetic about, or refer wistfully to the "frozen tundra." If it's so awesome then buy a ticket and go check it out already ya wimps (full disclosure: I've never been in a place with temperatures that cold, let alone sat outside in them for 3+ hours). While Aaron Rodgers did pull out the win last week in Chicago, he looked pretty shaky at times. That was against the Bears' defense, which is not nearly as good as San Francisco's. On the other side of the ball, expect the Niners to run the ball often against the Packers' shoddy D. Either that, or they'll step on the field and decide it's just not worth it, too cold.

49ers 20-17