After a 4 month slog, the NFL is now down to its 12-team postseason tournament, leading to the Super Bowl on February 3. Of course, for the most part, the field is predictable, filled with the usual suspects.........
Perhaps the biggest injustice was the omission of Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck from the Pro Bowl roster. Like, are they really that comfortable with charismatically-challenged types like Tom Brady (Yawn!), Peyton Manning, and Matt Schaub? At least one of these guys won't be in the game after all if his team makes it to the Big Game.
2. New England
Cincinnati @ Houston (Saturday): This is where the whole apple cart can be upset. If Cincinnati wins, they punch their ticket to Denver and a likely consolation prize of seven months worth of Papa John's Pizzas (since Manning is a franchisee). If form holds, Houston gets a rematch with New England, who were rude in running up the score a few weeks back.
Indianapolis @ Baltimore (Sunday): It would mean more to the NFL's media partners & power brokers to get a Colts-Broncos match-up in the championship game, but unfortunately, the evil empire (New England) stands in the way, and like the politically protected schoolyard bully, the Patriots will likely get to the finals, though they don't deserve it. Baltimore gets Ray Lewis back, but it may be too late to save their season.
The picks: Houston over Cincinnati, Indianapolis over Baltimore, as the meeting of Luck & Manning will have to be in the second round.
The Giants won't be defending their Super Bowl title, the losses to Atlanta & Baltimore in weeks 15-16 costing them the division title and a playoff berth, despite giving Philadelphia's Andy Reid a golden parachute via a 42-7 thumping of the Eagles on Sunday. In New England, they're breathing a sigh of relief.
2. San Francisco
3. Green Bay
Minnesota @ Green Bay (Saturday): On Sunday, in their home finale, the Vikings needed a last-second field goal to beat the Packers. The bad news is, they have to play their division rivals yet again, this time at Lambeau Field. If the Vikings can do us a favor, they can eliminate Green Bay and spare us more of those lame Aaron Rodgers ads for State Farm. I wonder if he has the same agent as Peyton Manning.....! If Minnesota wins, they play Atlanta next, otherwise, Green Bay punches its ticket to San Francisco.
Seattle @ Washington (Sunday): Two of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year meet. Seattle's Russell Wilson, out of Wisconsin, is making sure that Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, despite his endorsements and wonderous play, isn't a slam dunk pick. Both teams are scorching hot right now, and it will be a shootout.
We'll go with Minnesota to make it two in a row over Green Bay, and Washington over Seattle, setting up Falcons-Vikings & Niners-Redskins in round 2.
Of course, I could be wrong........