Funny how fast the NFL season goes when you spend the first two months of Sundays on the soccer fields, casually following scores and paying more attention to fantasy stats.
But here we are, Wild Card weekend. Thus, my patented, half-assed picks for who will make it to Glendale in a month.
Wild Card Round
- Pittsburgh over Baltimore. A bit of a tough pick, given the Steelers injury issues. But these aren’t the Ray Lewis Ravens. They’re not going into the Steel City and winning a playoff game.
- Indianapolis over Cincinnati. Ugh. No faith in either team. The Colts have pretty much fallen apart since the calendar flipped to December. Defense leaking holes, offense can’t get on track, Andrew Luck turning the ball over with impunity. But do you trust Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis to go on the road and win a playoff game? Feels like one where Luck makes a bunch of mistakes early, then digs the Colts out late.
- New England over Indianapolis. Some things never change.
- Pittsburgh over Denver. I know this is a bit of a sexy pick, as everyone has jumped off the Broncos bandwagon. Thus, I feel a little dirty making it. And it wouldn’t surprise me if the week off means Denver gets things figured out for one more run. But I also have visions of Pittsburgh abusing Peyton and this being a sad (potentially) final chapter to his career.
AFC Title Game
- New England over Pittsburgh. I keep wanting to discount the Patriots. At their best this year, I don’t think they approached the Broncos’ best. They had a few absolute clunkers thrown in. But that’s kind of the nature of the NFL these days. Few great teams, meaning the best teams can have wild swings of performance. Brady and Belichick get it done one more time.
Wild Card Round
- Carolina over Arizona. If the Cards had a quarterback, I’d pick them here. But I just can’t believe in a team that is on their 15th QB of the season, even if all they have to do is beat a terrible Carolina team.
- Dallas over Detroit. Man, the absolute jewel of the weekend. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype. I keep wondering how the Cowboys are doing it. But they keep performing, and have even gotten better over the last half of the season.
- Seattle over Carolina. Come on.
- Dallas over Green Bay. The Packers keep fooling us. This is the year I stop falling for it. The Cowboys defense is the difference. Hopefully it’s another shoot out, though.
NFC Title Game
- Seattle over Dallas. What a story line if Tony Romo could go into Seattle and win an NFC championship. His botched point-after hold in 2007 was the first epic collapse of his career. I just can’t see him and the other Dallas weapons consistently solving the Legion of Boom, though. And Russell Wilson will, maddeningly, do just enough to win.
Old and creaky vs. young and potent? Please.