As usual, my Wild Card picks last week illustrated just how little I know about football. I thought Chiefs-Texans would be a tight game; instead, it was a blowout. I thought Pittsburgh and Seattle would beat Cincy and Minnesota easily; instead, the Steelers and Seabitches both needed epic chokes from their opponents in order to advance. I thought Green Bay was toast; instead, the Pakers beat the Racial Slurs by 17. So, even though I was actually 3-for-4 last week (albeit just 1-for-4 against the spread), I don’t feel any more knowledgeable about this week’s games. But not knowing what I’m talking about has never stopped me before, so here are this weekend’s picks.
Kansas City at New England
The Chiefs are the hottest team in football, having won 11 in a row. The Pats looked pretty beat up and pretty bad the last few weeks of the season. But still, it’s Belichick and Brady vs. Andy Reid and Alex Smith. Gotta go with the Pats, right? Maybe not. Granted, this was a million years ago in football time, but the Chiefs crushed the eventual Super Bowl champ Pats early last season, and they’ve retained the formula to do it: ball-control offense, a murderous pass rush, and an opportunistic secondary. Maybe I’m over-thinking things, but I feel like there’s some bad energy around the Pats … and there’s usually one upset in the second round … and come on, y’all know how I feel about Boston sports.
So I’m calling the upset: Chiefs in a 22-20 nail-biter.
Green Bay at Arizona
When these teams played three weeks ago, the Cards slaughtered the Pack 38-8. Has anything changed since then? Sure, Green Bay won on the road last week, but I remain unimpressed with them, and I think Arizona is probably the most complete team in the NFL this year. I think Rodgers will do more to keep his team in it this time around, but I just don’t see anyway the Pack pulls this one out. I’ll say 35-24 Cards. My only regret is I won’t get to see Rodgers and Alex Smith play against each other in the Super Bowl on the Niners’ homefield.
Seattle at Carolina
Most people think this is the game of the weekend, and I admit it’s the one I’m most likely to clear my schedule to watch. On the other hand, I think people are being a little too quick to jump on the Seabitches bandwagon. I mean, Seattle would have lost to a pretty mediocre Vikings team if Blair Walsh had made a 27-yard field goal. Finkle?
Also, I think people are forgetting that Carolina went 15-1 and that they have Cam Newton, an awesome defense, and an extra week of rest. I’m pretty sure Steph Curry’s boys have got this. Let’s say Panthers 24-16.
Pittsburgh at Denver
Goddammit, I was so excited to pick one final Peyton Manning home playoff chokejob. And then they drew the Steelers, who are coming off a brutal Wild Card game in which all of their best players got injured. I would literally run across the Jersey swamp to bet on Pittsburgh Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown were healthy, but the Steelers are just too banged up. So I’m saying 20-13 Broncos. Peyton’s final playoff choke will have to wait until next week.