Before going into my predictions for the upcoming NFL playoffs, let me first talk about how horrible Sunday was for me.
In order for the Bears to have a shot at the playoffs, they had to win in Detroit. It got a little hairy at times, but they were able to do it.
After that game, I had to do the unthinkable – root for my archenemy Green Bay.
I felt dirty each time I had to cheer a Packers first down. Each time, I would clap and be like, “Alright Packers!…I fucking hate my life.” My friends I was hanging out with got a major kick out of the whole thing.
In the end, the Packers gagged away a game they clearly should have won. It makes me think I should root for Green Bay ever week to watch it shit its pants in a big game.
Also, a part of me blames the Texans for this. Had they taken care of business and beat Minnesota like they should have, they would have home field advantage and the Bears would be in the playoffs. Blah!
Anyway, it’s time for me to embarrass myself with my NFL playoff predictions. For those scoring at home, I had New Orleans beating Baltimore in last year’s Super Bowl. Ugh…
Now my preseason NFL picks weren’t all that horrible this year. Let’s take a look.
1. NY Giants: Defending champs don’t slip up in regular season this year.
2. Dallas: Will challenge for division title, but injuries keep them in second.
3. Philadelphia: Speaking of injuries, Vick misses half the season and Eagles fall hard.
4. Washington: RGIII will make this a competitive team.
Looking back: I was right on Philly, but off on Washington.
1. Green Bay: That offense is just too good.
2. Chicago: I really want to pick the Bears to win the division, but I just can’t. Still will easily be top wild card.
3. Detroit: I see the Lions falling back to Earth a bit this year.
4. Minnesota: Christian Ponder is awful.
Looking back: I was right about Ponder, but clearly underestimated the powers of Purple Jesus.
1. Carolina: Cam Newton leads Panthers to top of division.
2. New Orleans: Coaching turmoil has an effect this year.
3. Atlanta: Offense puts up big numbers, but defense gives up points as well.
4. Tampa Bay: A year away, especially on defense.
Looking back: Ummm…let’s move on.
1. San Francisco: 49ers cruise again in the division.
2. Seattle: Will finish second, but probably still have sub-.500 record.
3. St. Louis: Rams still need receivers.
4. Arizona: With the first pick in the NFL Draft…
Looking back: Finish order was right, though Seattle was way over .500.
1. New England: Easy pick.
2. Buffalo: That defense will be stout and result in a wild card berth.
3. NY Jets: I hate it, but Rex Ryan is probably gone after this year.
4. Miami: Horrible, horrible offense.
Looking back: I seriously overestimated Buffalo.
1. Baltimore: One last hurrah for the Ravens defense.
2. Pittsburgh: Offensive line is still an issue, as is aging defense.
3. Cincinnati: See Detroit.
4. Cleveland: With the second pick in the NFL Draft…
Looking back: Cincy avoided the fall I predicted.
1. Houston: Piece of cake.
2. Indianapolis: Luck will lead Colts to wins in this crappy division.
3. Tennessee: See Christian Ponder.
4. Jacksonville: See Tennessee.
Looking back: 4-for-4 again! Boom!
1. Denver: Peyton’s back, but the defense is ultimately the difference.
2. San Diego: Another slow start, but they sneak into the playoffs.
3. Oakland: Carson Palmer won’t be as bad as people think.
4. Kansas City: Matt Cassel continues his regression.
Looking back: Third division I got 100-percent correct.
NFC: San Francisco, Green Bay, New York, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas
AFC: Houston, New England, Denver, Baltimore, Buffalo, San Diego
Looking back: I only got two right in the NFC, but four in the AFC. I did correct predicted six of the eight division winners. Not bad.
I did have Chicago beating Houston in the Super Bowl, though, so I’m not very proud of that.
Now here are my updated playoff predictions. Be sure to go to Vegas afterwards and bet the exact opposite!
NFC Wild Card: Seattle over Washington, Minnesota over Green Bay
Seattle-Washington figures to be the best game of the weekend, decided in the waning moments. Meanwhile, I hope AD runs for 400 yards against the Packers, then takes out Rodgers’ knee on a run to the sidelines. Seriously, go to hell Green Bay!
AFC Wild Card: Houston over Cincinnati, Baltimore over Indianapolis
I actually think both of these games will be blowouts. Houston and Baltimore have been inconsistent lately, but I think both are due for a good performance.
NFC Divisional: San Francisco over Seattle, Atlanta over Minnesota
San Fran-Seattle should be a war, but I think the game being in SF gives the 49ers a slight edge. Meanwhile, Atlanta actually finds a way to win in the playoffs.
AFC Divisional: New England over Houston, Denver over Baltimore
This will surprise no one. NE and Denver are clearly the AFC’s best teams and should prove so with double-digit wins. For the record, that is four projected blowouts in the AFC playoffs.
NFC Championship: San Francisco over Atlanta
San Francisco won’t be scared to go into Atlanta. Kaepernick has already shown he can win in a hostile environment, and I think the 49ers have a physical edge. SF by 13.
AFC Championship: Denver over New England
It seems fitting that this should be the match-up. This may be the last time Peyton and Brady play in the AFC title game and I expect both guys to play like it. In the end, I like Denver’s defense a little more to get a home-field victory.
Super Bowl: Denver over San Francisco
Manning leads a fourth-quarter comeback and officially puts himself in the discussion as the best quarterback of all-time.
NFL Mad Ramblings
• I was not at all surprised to see Chicago axe Lovie Smith after the Bears missed the playoffs. He had many failures at offensive coordinator and too many December collapses. Plus, it looks like he couldn’t beat Green Bay anymore.
The players weren’t at all happy, which also didn’t surprise me. I’ll be curious to see how they react to a new coach.
• Here are my NFL coaching predictions
– Chicago: Bill Cowher. OK, this is probably wishful thinking, but I think he will consider coming out of retirement for this job.
More likely for the Bears is Mike McCoy, the Broncos OC. He’s not a sexy hire, but it sounds like that might be the direction Chicago is leaning.
– Philadelphia: Chip Kelly. However, if Carolina fires Ron Rivera as HC, then I think Kelly goes there and Bruce Arians comes to Philly.
– San Diego: Jon Gruden. I mean, someone’s got to hire him, right?
– Buffalo: Lovie Smith. I don’t see how Lovie remains unemployed for long.
– Arizona: Andy Reid. Cardinals will bank on Reid solving QB mess.
– Kansas City/Cleveland: I figure both teams go for young assistants (McCoy could get one of those openings).
• I really hope Devin Hester doesn’t retire. He didn’t have a great season, but he is still my favorite Chicago Bears player.
• What a crappy year to have the top pick. I imagine KC will desperately try to trade down because there are no franchise QBs available. Utah DT Star Lotulelei is the top player available by most experts, but no way a team like KC can take a DT No. 1 overall. I’m a big fan of Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, and if his health checks out, that’s who I would take No. 1.
• If sophomores were allowed in the NFL Draft, there is no doubt South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney would be the top pick. Here’s a sample of what he can do.
Unless a franchise QB comes out of nowhere, I can’t imagine anyone but Clowney getting his name called first in 2014.
Other Mad Ramblings
• With the holiday tax ending, I’m totally looking forward to paying a higher tax rate!
• Now that I’m all caught up on Breaking Bad, I have to find a new show on Netflix to watch. Since there are no HBO shows on there (Game of Thrones/Homeland), my choices appear to be Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica or MacGyver. Thoughts?
• Yeh-Peu-Dah got me Compendium 2 of The Walking Dead comic for Christmas. I’ve already made it through three of the eight volumes. As expected, it’s still pretty brutal. The TV show is definitely pushing the edge, but no way they can do a bunch of the stuff that happens in the comic.
• I hope everyone had a happy new year! I was disappointed to see 2012 end, because it turned out to be a pretty awesome year for me. I hope that continues in 2013.
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!