NFL Divisional Round Playoffs
Last week I went 2-2 on my Wildcard picks, which should inspire veritable bucketloads of confidence in these picks. But the good news is that the Colts won, so you can all rest easy. These picks are for the games being played 1-11 and 1-12, 2014.
ALL TIMES ARE IN CENTRAL, BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE I LIVE.
Saturday afternoon, 3:35 pm, New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
While I picked against the Saints last week, I did note that I didn’t believe that the Saints were incapable of winning on the road. However, going into Seattles is not just “playing on the road,” it’s playing in one of the loudest stadiums in the country (on earth?), one the few that has an actual, demonstrable home field effect, against a team with one of the best defenses in the league, and is just really, really good. I can’t not pick Seattle.
Saturday evening, 7:15pm, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots
Basically, I can’t pick this game without being accused of bias (or accusing myself of bias). If I say things like “You can run on the Patriots! They’re starting at least two people on defense that got cut by other teams this year and Donald Brown doesn’t always suck!” and I pick the Colts, then I’m picking the Colts because I’m a homer. If I pick the Patriots, because Belichick takes away the one thing that opposing team does best (here: Andrew Luck throwing to T.Y. Hilton), it’s an obvious emotional hedge. (meaning, I win something either way, either my team is right or my pick is right, thus hedging my bet on my team). But it feels very silly to pick against Tom Brady in a playoff game while Bill Belichick is still alive, so as much as I’ll be rooting against it, I’m picking the Patriots.
Sunday early afternoon, 12:05pm, San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Hey guys, have you heard that the 49ers are really good? Huh. It feels like many of the pundits are giving this one away already to the 49ers, including Vegas, as San Fransciso was favered all week (until right now, apparently, as the line is now even). I’m picking this game purely on who I would be more frustrated picking against and being wrong, I have to go with the Panthers.
Sunday late afternoon, 3:40pm, San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Broncos. Easily. I know that the Chargers beat the Broncos last time, and the Broncos lost one of their best defensive players since then, and Peyton Manning has a history of not stepping up in playoff games. But still, The Broncos. Really. And I will keep picking against Phillip Rivers until it’s no longer an option. Broncos.
Super Bowl pick: I said I would pick the winner of the Super Bowl every week until the actual game. Since neither of my picks played last week, that pick is still valid, and I’ll stick to my guns until I’m proved wrong (which will probably be this week). Panthers over Patriots. I forgot I was going to do this part until I’d written the rest of it, so I’m pleased to see that I’ve actually picked both of those teams to move on. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they don’t (though I think we can all agree that Indy winning would be an upset and San Francisco winning wouldn’t), but I’ll stick with them for now.