Seattle @ Atlanta
The Seahawks have found their running game again, and wouldn't ya know it, it was right where they left it, at home and in the hands of Thomas Rawls. Almost makes you wonder why it took them so long to find it. To be fair though, they had rearranged a lot of the furniture, so that kind of complicated things. But now they go on the road where they have not looked like the same team. For one thing they usually wear different colored jerseys, but also they've been downright lousy for the majority of their last 3 away outings. To make matters worse they're going into a building that became a house of horrors for them in the playoffs 4 years ago when they stormed back from a 20 point 4th quarter deficit only to have their ever so brief lead evaporate in the final seconds, as the Falcons moved on to the NFC title game. Then again, that heartbreaking loss galvanized the young Seattle squadron and served as a catalyst for a Super Bowl run the following season. So in a way wouldn't it be a full circle story if the Hawks went into the Georgia Dome and shut that building down once and for all? You don't have to answer, because I've already decided that it would be and it will be.
Houston @ New England
Well clearly my theory that Clem Zarkins 8 would prevent Trevor Finch from distracting Brock Osweiler in last week's Wild Card game proved to be true. But a funny thing happened when Osweiler was allowed to operate unfettered, he was pretty decent. CZ8 was so elated as a result that he completely forgot about Finch, who was able to escape and start making his way to Foxborough (though I'm not sure why he wouldn't just get in his time machine and zap himself straight to next week ... It's almost like there are starting to be some plot holes in this story; except things that really happen can't have plot holes, so never mind). Granted, Finch has already seen the dystopian future created by a Texans Super Bowl win, but even with the knowledge of this fete accompli I'm not so sure the Patriots will need any help in dispatching Houston. I mean for God's sake they're 17 point favorites, that's the highest playoff line since 1999 ... Wait a minute, '99? I always thought Trevor Finch was from 1998, but if I was off by a few months and he stuck around until January of '99? Maybe he saw the giant spread and resulting money line of that Arizona/Minnesota game way back then, and came up with a plan to travel through time to find the next gigantic playoff money line to bet on and ensure that the underdog wins?!? He's made sure to mess with the Texans just enough so that they seem awful, but still sneak into the playoffs and wind up with this seemingly lopsided match-up. At the same time he specifically targeted Brock Osweiler because he knew Brock's descendant Clem Zarkins 8 is a timecop who would come back in time to stop him. He's going to confess all of this to CZ8 and use the allure of guaranteed riches to convince him to make the bet for him, since, ya know, he's only 13 after all. My God, how did I not see it sooner? It's so very very obvious, and not the least bit convoluted. That being said, even with the help of time travelers I'm still taking New England over the Texans. I mean come on, Finch is a pimply dork and CZ8 is some pudgy old loser. Who cares if they can bend time and space, it doesn't make them cool, or their story entertaining at all.
Pittsburgh @ Kansas City
Well folks, it pains me to write this, but this Steelers/Chiefs match-up will be the last game Cris Collinsworth calls this season. I think I speak for all of us when I say that a little part of me falls into dormancy every winter when he leaves us, only for it to be re-ignited in September upon his return (I can speak for all of us, right? You'd say the same thing?) so without further ado, here's CriColl himself to break down this fascinating 2nd round contest:
Who am I to disagree with that wisdom? Except for the Caddyshack thing, I almost feel like he did that just to troll us.
Green Bay @ Dallas
There is certainly no shortage of history between these two teams. If you're a younger reader just do yourself a favor and google "Cowboys-Packers" and do a deep dive into one of the NFL's most storied rivalries. On second thought, don't do that, because if you accidentally leave off the 's' and wind up googling "cowboy packers" you'll find something much different, and I don't want that on my conscience. So instead I'll provide you with a history lesson myself. These teams have tangled in some of the most historic playoff games of all time. You've got the Ice Bowl, the Dez No Catch, the Titletown Trouncing, Scuttleman's Folly, ummm the Game of 7 Deaths, uhhh Riggler's Revenge, umm ... Well you get the point. This one has all the makings of a classic that will join the ranks of the 66% fake group listed above. Will Aaron Rodgers continue his near-prefect play? Will the Dallas rookies rise to the occasion and resume their dominate seasons without missing a beat? Will a single gun shot be heard from Troy Aikman's mic if the Cowboys lose? All these questions and more will be answered Sunday! As for who I think is going to win? Well it does seem like Rodgers will be able to shred this defense, but perhaps he won't have as many opportunities due to Dallas controlling the ball. I'll take the home team in a close one.