Last week’s Record: Tom 2-2, Jesse 1-3

PLAYOFF RECORD: Tom 2-2, Jesse 1-3

See Last Week’s Picks Here


We’ll get to the picks in just a moment, but first, this:

Thanks to SBNation for the GIF

New Orleans at Seattle

Tom: Well, the Saints got over their road playoffs woes, and what do they get in return? A trip back to the rise of the 12th man, the Lynch that stole Christmas, the Rumble in the Starbucks, and whatever else you want to call that Saints/Seahawks game a few years ago. The Saints surprised me at Philadelphia last week–maybe with a little luck involved, but hey, they pulled out the win. But this is Seattle, and this is Seattle at home. What a great story it would be for Peyton to return to scene of the crime, so to speak, and pull out a win. But not this season. The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC goes through Seattle, and that is a scary thing for everyone else in the NFC.


Jesse: My instinct is to immediately pick the Seahawks, due to their vast talent and home-field advantage. Then I remember that I went 1-3 last week, so my instincts are pretty much garbage. Then I remember that Sean Payton proved yet again last week that he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL. Then I remember that the Saints still barely survived against a team that’s vastly inferior to the Seahawks. Then I get a headache. Then I go back to my original stance, which is that the Seahawks are the best team in the league until proven otherwise. Seahawks win.

Indianapolis at New England

Jesse: The only correct pick I made last weekend was the Colts, and even that required a miracle. To their credit, the Colts never, ever quit. Even if New England starts strong, the Colts aren’t going to waver, and will stay in the game throughout. Robert Mathis may be the Defensive Player of the Year, and he should have a monster game against New England’s patchwork offensive line. I doubt we’ll see the same offensive pyrotechnics we saw last week in the Colts-Chiefs game. If it’s a game of field goals, the Colts should have a chance. I lean towards the Pats, but it will be closer than expected. This isn’t Andrew Luck’s year, but his time is coming soon.

Tom: Indy pulled out the nail-biter of nail-biters last week at home versus the Chiefs (poor Andy Reid). Now they get to travel to Bahston to play the Pats and Tom Brady. On paper, the Pats are the better team, but Indy has relished the challenge from teams like New England all season long. The Pats offense has run hot and cold (mostly cold) all season long, but the defense has been very good for the most part. The Colts obviously aren’t intimidated by anyone, as evidenced by wins at San Fran and at KC (earlier in the season) and Seattle and Denver at home. But as impressive as that resume’ is, the Colts then seem to follow it with a disastrous showing. I fear this might be that game.


San Francisco at Carolina

Tom: The 49ers survived the single-digit temperatures in Green Bay and now get to come to balmy(?) North Carolina to face the Panthers. Carolina’s defense is much better than Green Bay’s, which pretty much kept San Fran in check most of the game last week. CK7 definitely lost the zip on his deep passes due to the cold, so that won’t be an issue here. But I think the combination of Carolina’s defense and the playmaker in Cam Newton, plus a 2nd trip to east coast in 2 weeks will take the wind out of the sails of San Francisco.



Jesse: Last week, I said the following: “I’m a destiny guy. Some teams just have luck on their side, and it shines through at the most opportune times. Think of David Tyree’s miracle catch, or Aaron Rodgers’ amazing 4th and 8 touchdown pass at the end of last week’s game against Chicago. My brain tells me that the 49ers are too talented, and peaking at the right time, and should be able to dominate the Packers regardless of where they play. My gut tells me that Green Bay will pull off the upset. It’s destiny, people.”

In other words, I’m an idiot. The Niners proved that destiny means nothing; San Francisco was the better team, and they won. I’m still not convinced that Ron Rivera can out coach Jim Harbaugh, or that Cam Newton has an answer for San Fran’s pass rush. The two best teams in the NFC are Seattle and San Francisco, period. San Francisco in a cakewalk, but keep in mind: I’m an idiot.


San Diego at Denver

Jesse: I badly want to pick the Chargers. If Rivers wears his bolo tie, forget it. Plus, the Chargers have already won at Denver, and with the Broncos’ success this year, the Inevitable Peyton Manning Letdown(™) seems bound to happen. The Chargers won’t be intimidated by the Broncos at all. However, I think Denver has too much talent, and their painful season-killing loss won’t occur until next week.


Tom: Somehow, the Chargers lost at home to Denver but then won at Mile High. I think towards the end of the season, the Broncos had already made it to the playoffs but were focused more on getting records set. They’ve had an extra week off to think about that loss, and I’m sure John Fox has reminded them on more than once occasion of the Ravens game from last year. The Bengals Dalton’d their way to yet another playoff loss–I think the stat I saw was that his TD/INT ratio in playoff games is 1-to-6. Ugh. Turning the ball over so much definitely contributed to the loss for Cincy. I don’t think Peyton will do that, unless he gets that “I’m throwing to this guy no matter what” syndrome. Focus on winning the game, not getting a certain guy touchdowns, and Denver should be hosting the AFC Championship game.