Time for the BIG "Pick the NFL Playoff Winners" competition! Ok, so it is not really that big, since there's no money to be won. But isn't it all worthwhile when you get your name mentioned on three blogs? (Politics and Pigskins, American Legends, and Ragged Thots)
The object of the game is simple: pick the winners throughout the rest of the playoffs. The trick is to do it NOW. Similar to an "NCAA Final Four Tourney" pool, you pick the brackets all the way through to the championship game. You get one point for each Wild Card Weekend winner predicted correctly, two points for each Divisional Playoff winner, three points for each Conference Championship winner, and four points for the Super Bowl winner.
I will keep score and give weekly updates. Just post your picks in the comments.
Each conference's playoffs are seeded the following way (final records shown in parentheses):
#1 seed - San Diego (14-2)
2 - Baltimore (13-3)
3 - Indianapolis (12-4)
4 - New England (12-4)
5 - N.Y. Jets (10-6)
6 - Kansas City (9-7)
#1 seed - Chicago (13-3)
2 - New Orleans (10-6)
3 - Philadelphia (10-6)
4 - Seattle (9-7)
5 - Dallas (9-7)
6 - N.Y. Giants (8-8)
Remember, the top seed always plays the lowest seed every weekend, with the exception of the first weekend (Wild Card Weekend) when the top two seeds in each conference don't play.
I shall demonstrate how to do this with my own picks (in red).
WILD CARD WEEKEND
#6 Kansas City at #3 Indianapolis: This game is perfect for the Chiefs. Their grind-it-out running attack against the Colts porous run defense. I would be surprised if Herm Edwards can screw up this game plan.
#5 N.Y. Jets at #4 New England: I said it before and I will say it again. The Jets are one and done.
#5 Dallas at #4 Seattle: Dallas should bounce back from their big choke against the Lions (a million Raider fans have sent Matt Millen a Christmas card).
#6 N.Y. Giants at #3 Philadelphia: The Eagles complete the "New York, New York" bounce from the playoffs.
#6 Kansas City at #1 San Diego: This is a no-brainer. Don't think for a second that Marty Schottenheimer won't enjoy beating his old team in the playoffs.
#4 New England at #2 Baltimore: If McNair stays healthy, the Ravens go far.
#5 Dallas at #1 Chicago: I give the edge to Chicago on special teams in this game. Other than that, this is a toss-up.
#3 Philadelphia at #2 New Orleans: As much as I would like to see the Saints do well in the playoffs, they look too young to pull it off. Philly has the veteran leadership needed to play well enough to win.
#2 Baltimore at #1 San Diego: This game is the true Super Bowl. Either of these teams is a worthy Super Bowl champion (yes, I said champion). I am gambling McNair stays healthy and leads the Ravens to the promised land, while the Chargers fall prey to the "Marty-ball" curse.
#3 Philadelphia at #1 Chicago: I expect only two playoff games for the Bears before we see the real Rex "Which team am I on?" Grossman. I might be over-rating that by one playoff game.
Philadelphia vs. Baltimore: "The Battle of I-95". I predict the Eagles score the first touchdown, before the Ravens say, "Nevermore." Ravens win 31-7.