Our girls keep using the word “awkward” incorrectly. For example, earlier this week we ran into their Uncle D at the grocery store and then him again with Aunt J walking their dog through the neighborhood the next day. Both times the girls kept shouting, “AWKWARD!” I had to explain that awkward means uncomfortable, weird, strange, not just an expression surprise. So it’s not awkward to run into people you want to see. I still don’t think they get it.

They may learn a better example of awkward if the Colts don’t sell 3,000-some tickets today and their Wild-Card Round playoff game with the Chiefs is blacked-out here tomorrow. That’s going to be seriously awkward, although as of this morning, it sounds like “Crazy” Jim Irsay will make sure the tickets are purchased before the deadline.

Which brings up a weird thing: why are three NFL playoff games, one in Green Bay, under threat of being blacked-out? Cincinnati is explainable, as they’ve had trouble selling tickets for years. The Colts are very strange, as they’ve sold out all but one game over the past decade. But Green Bay, with their 30-year waiting list for season tickets?

I don’t know if it’s about economic health, the price of tickets, the weather, the lure of staying home to watch, over-exposure of the NFL, too close to the holidays, or what. Because all those explanations were just as, if not more, valid in recent years. So I’m not going to try to figure out the answer. I’m just going to hope the tickets here get sold so I can sit in my warm basement and watch the game tomorrow. And avoid awkwardness.


Wild-Card Round
Indy over KC
Not offered with much confidence. I hoped, when it looked like the Chiefs-Colts matchup of two weeks ago would be a playoff preview, that the Chiefs would roll that day, giving the Colts some kind of revenge factor to go with home field. The Colts decided to flip the script, though, which has me worried. The Colts have hammered the 49ers, beat the Seahawks, and held off the Broncos. They’ve also been crushed by the Rams, Cardinals, and Bengals. The Chiefs beat the Eagles before they were the hottest team in football and then feasted on bad teams. One 11-win team is not like the other.
Close, but the Colts win again.

Cincinnati over San Diego
San Diego shouldn’t be here in the first place. And it’s looking like a blizzard will be blowing through Cincy during the game. They have no shot and the Bengals finally get a playoff win.

Divisional Round
New England over Cincinnati
I know it gets old, but it’s kind of incredible what the Pats have done this year. Look at them on paper and they’re not a very good team. Well, not 2-seed good. But where the Colts and Bengals tripped in key games in mid-season, the Pats just kept rolling. The Bengals, giddy after finally advancing past the first round, will keep it close for a half then fade.

Denver over Indianapolis
Luck-Manning Bowl II!!! Both teams have serious injury issues, Denver on defense and Indy everywhere. Peyton has never played well in a cold weather, outdoor playoff game. The Colts D just isn’t good enough to do what New England and Baltimore have done to Peyton over the years in January, though.

Conference Championship
Denver over New England
Brady-Manning Bowl 8,000!!! Ugly game and I have a feeling Denver’s running game wins it rather than Peyton’s arm. My boy Aqib Talib will have at least one pick but three personal fouls as well and likely either be ejected or explode in a ball of pure rage, hate, and iffy pharmaceuticals.

Wild Card Round
Philly over New Orleans
We all know the Saints can’t win on the road or outdoors, so this is a no-brainer, right? Wrong. I think this is more about the Eagles being red-hot right now that all the history attached to the Saints.

San Francisco over Green Bay
Won’t be the blow out of last year, but Green Bay isn’t good enough on defense to pull this out. Unless there’s a blizzard at Lambeau, which would change things…

Divisional Round
Seattle over San Francisco
Best current rivalry in football. Just don’t think the 49ers are healthy or locked-in enough to hang this year.

Philly over Carolina
The two hottest teams in the game. I have more faith in all the good karma around the Eagles than the good karma around the Panthers. Which is probably completely wrong.

Conference Championship
Seattle over Philly
Blow-out city, baby!

Super Bowl
Seattle over Denver
Cold weather, outside, Peyton in a big game against a brutal defense. Low-scoring, turnover-filled as Seattle grabs their first Super Bowl title.
Seahawks 23, Denver 15