Everyone has their own spin on this years playoffs, but as for me, I'm having trouble knowing what to say. What can be said that isn't already widely known? I just want to watch and see how it all plays out. The only certainty is that we as a collective nation of fans have NO idea what's going to happen.
But Bill Simmons is right. The biggest force in the NFL Playoffs is the "Nobody Believed in Us!" factor. Last years' Cards, the 07 Giants, the 05 Steelers, etc. The best team doesn't really go to the Super Bowl anymore. It used to be simple when picking the NFL playoffs: pick the home team, the team with the better record, the team with the elite QB and/or defense.
This year, there's only one matchup where that logic even makes sense, Baltimore @ New England. But is anyone really confident that the lazy Patriots are going to focus and beat a tough team without their scrappy little star? Of course I'm talking about Wes Welker. Everyone says that Edelman is essentially the same player and will replicate Welker's production, which may be true, but I don't see it. Welker is the best slot receiver in the NFL. Edelman is a 7th round rookie who played QB in college. Between that and Brady's painfully inconsistent season, I don't see the Patriots offense exploding. 20-24 points is what I expect. Probably more like 23: 2 touchdowns and 3 field goals. It's been that kind of season.
As for Baltimore, they must overcome Joe Flacco's indedcisiveness and hideous eyebrows, and give the ball to their one and only playmaker, Ray Rice. They should be able to have their way against a lackluster Patriots defense. Belichick just isn't the same brilliant defensive mastermind he used to be. Some would argue that he's just been holding his cards until the playoffs, but I don't think so. I really think he's lost something. Some kind of edge. Maybe it was the whole, I don't know, cheating thing? (Just kidding. Sort of...)
Well it's now Saturday and only a few hours until the kickoff of Jets-Bengals. To give you an idea of how hard it's been for me to resolve my picks for the Wildcard weekend, I'm running out of time and still haven't fully made up my mind.
I am going to take the Bengals over the Jets. I wrote a pretty decent couple of paragraphs about this game while at work, but forgot to email the document to myself so I'd have it at home. Basically, the Jets are hot and the Bengals are not (finished the season 1-2 and haven't beaten a good team in two months) and in my opinion, the Bengals are the worst team in the postseason. Which is exactly why I'm picking them. I don't believe in them, therefore they will be the perfect candidates for N.B.I.U.! I don't love the matchups, especially Ocho against Revis and the Bengals' overrated defense against the Jets powerful offensive line, but you can't ignore that one quarterback is a rookie (and not a great rookie at that) and the other is the unwaveringly cool Carson Palmer. Also the Jets' best linebacker is hurting, the game is in Cincinnati, and Cincy gets its best defensive tackle back. That's Domata Peko in case you were wondering. So I am picking the Bengals against conventional wisdom and the forces of momentum.
Pick: Bengals 20, Jets 13
Who I'll Be Rooting For: J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets
Rest of the picks up later ...
but just so you know in case I don't get a chance to post anything later ... I'm taking Philly, New England, and Green Bay.
Crap, it's Sunday, I missed the Boys-Eagles game (well I missed picking it correctly, I watch most of it), and now I don't have time to write up solid picks for today's games. The joys of having a one-month old son are that you don't really have time to do stuff anymore. But that's cool. I like the Pats by about 6 and I like Green Bay in the desert. Good chance that I go 0-4 in the wildcard games. But whatever.
On a brighter note, I am working on a preliminary updated Top 50 Players in the NBA list which should be pretty interesting. Remember I wrote one last year which was one of my most popular works to date. As of right now, no Pistons will be on the list.
But for now, I'd like to take a look back at my August NFL picks and see how I did on the year.
Of the eight division winners, I called only half of them. Missed the Bengals, Saints, Cardinals and Cowboys.
Of the twelve playoff teams, I called seven of them. Missed the Ravens, Bengals, Cowboys, Cardinals, Packers.
Teams that I picked the record dead-on: Three.
Bears (7-9), Raiders (5-11), and Chargers (13-3)
Teams that I only missed by one game: Nine.
San Fran (called 9-7/finished 8-8), Tampa (4-12/3-13), Carolina (7-9/8-8), Minnesota (11-5/12-4), Philadelphia (12-4/11-5), Cleveland (4-12/5-11), Miami (6-10/7-9), Bills (7-9/6-10), and the Jets (10-6/9-7).
Teams that I missed by two games: Eleven.
Atlanta (I was over), Green Bay (under), Giants (over), KC (over), Tennessee (under), Houston (under), Jacksonville (over), Baltimore (under), Cincy (under), Pittsburgh (over), and the Colts (under).
Teams I missed by three games: Six.
Arizona (under), Saints (under), Cowboys (under), Broncos (under), Patriots (over), Lions (over).
Teams I missed by four or more games: Three.
Washington. I called 8-8, they went 4-12.
St. Louis. I called 6-10, they went 1-15.
Seattle. I called 10-6, they went 5-11.
I didn't miss any teams by more than five games. So I guess that's good.
My Super Bowl pick was Pats over Eagles. So much for that. I suppose the Pats could still win it all though.
Go Lions. Peace out y'all.