The Divisional Playoff Round is upon us. What exactly are these divisions? The round before is the Wild-Card, and that makes sense. The next round is the Conference Championship, and that makes sense. But Divisional? It means nothing. I propose we change the name of this round next year to the Meat Round. Two reasons: 1) We’re entering the meat and potatoes of the playoffs, since all the good teams are now playing, and 2) The better the teams, the more meat (muscles) they have. What’s that? This idea is stupid? You’re stupid! No, you’re right, it’s kinda dumb. But at least it will be fun to talk about — especially with your friends who aren’t sports fans. “Hey, who you got in the Meat Round?” “We got a great Meat Round match up coming up tonight in Denver.” Who wouldn’t love saying “Meat Round” a thousand times in the week leading up to the games?
Let’s get to the picks. Last week I went 3-1, and was two points away from being exactly right on the Packers-Niners game. I’m kind of a big deal.
Saints at Seahawks
Let’s see here. The Seahawks have owned the Saints in Seattle. Earlier this year, when they played in Seattle, the Seahawks absolutely destroyed the Saints (and my fantasy football season, in case you’re one of the three people who care). It was a bloodbath! By normal NFL logic, this usually means that the Saints will win this game. But I just don’t see it. They’ll play better than they did last time they were here, but not better than the Seahawks.
The pick: The City of Seattle 31 Saints 21
Colts at Patriots
The Colts are the team of destiny. You heard it here first, as in first time from me — as opposed to hearing me say it in person, or by email, or on my nationally syndicated radio show. Anyway, the past few years there is always at least one team that pulls win after win out of their butt, to the shock and chagrin of everyone who expects logical outcomes (Ravens in 2013, Giants in 2012, and so forth).
Why the Colts, and not the Chargers? Because the Chargers just beat an overrated Bengals team with an awful QB, while the Colts had one of those games against the Chiefs last weekend that screamed DESTINY. Or maybe not. There’s a chance their fate will be similar to other miraculous teams like the ’93 Bills, or the 2000 Titans (those teams both lost in the Super Bowl). We’ll see. By the way, I love Tom Brady. He’s my hero. You have no idea how much it hurts me to pick against him (wink, wink).
The pick: Colts 28 Patriots 27
49ers at Panthers
Just how good is Cam Newton? The Panthers have a great defense, but the Niners D is better. The Niners have better offensive weapons outside of the QB position, too. It all comes down to Cam vs. Colin for me. The Niners are the better team, but Cam Newton just might be good enough to put the Panthers on his back. But Jim Harbaugh vs. Ron Rivera? Hmmm … (tossing a coin in the air) …
The pick: 49ers 20 Panthers 17
Chargers at Broncos
Peyton Manning is a mediocre playoff quarterback. He has a 9-11 all-time record, and when you consider how many of those losses came at home to (supposedly) worse teams, “mediocre” might be generous. Can the greatest QB of all-time be a mediocre playoff performer? I think you know the answer to that question (and so does Tom Brady).
But what about the Chargers? They’re not that good, right? True, but Manning is 0-2 against the Chargers in the playoffs, and the Chargers won a game in Denver just last month. Ummm … All year we’ve been hearing about how the Broncos are the team to beat, and if history has taught us anything, that is an awful sign for a Manning-led team. My point is this game is not a forgone conclusion. I still think the Broncos win this one, but I’m not banking on it.
The pick: Broncos 34 Chargers 28