All right, the playoffs are here. Who’s up for some completely wrong picks?
For a little background information, I also made preseason playoff picks. The results were a mixed bag.
I had four of the six AFC participants correct — the Patriots (as the top seed), Texans, Steelers and Ravens. Missed on the Chargers and Jets.
In the NFC, I had same. Four correct — Saints, Packers, Falcons and Lions (ATL and DET seeds were correct) — and missed on Eagles and Cardinals.
The Eagles are the lone team in my Final 8 not still playing, and my preseason Super Bowl matchup is still alive:
AFC Divisional: Patriots over Ravens; Steelers over Texans.
AFC Championship: Patriots over Steelers.
NFC Divisional: Saints over Lions; Eagles over Falcons.
NFC Championship: Saints over Eagles.
SUPER BOWL XLVI: Saints 27, Patriots 17
Last year I had the Packers winning the Super Bowl before the season but went against them when it came time to picking the actual games. Will I do that again?
Here we go:
AFC WILD-CARD ROUND
Texans 20, Bengals 16: This is going to be a real struggle for Houston, who I love except for the quarterback. QB Andy Dalton and the Bengals are better team than people think.
Steelers 23, Broncos 10: I don’t what to make of the Steelers at this point. They surely aren’t going far if Ben Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison look gimpy in this one. But they have enough to beat the Broncos, that’s for sure.
NFC WILD-CARD ROUND
Saints 42, Lions 24: The Superdome is an incredibly tough play if you get off to a bad start, especially for a young and immature team like the Lions. Not their time yet.
Giants 24, Falcons 17: New York is playing with a lot of confidence with its pass rush and passing game. Like the loss last year to the Packers, I don’t think the Falcons’ secondary is good enough as a group.
AFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Steelers 24, Patriots 20: This all hinges on the health of the Steelers and I reserve the right to change this if Roethlisberger looks terrible against the Broncos. What goes unsaid about the first matchup against these teams is a) the Steelers didn’t come close to playing a perfect game — they left a lot of points on the field, and b) they didn’t have OLBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds, ILB James Farrior or WR Hines Wards. The Patriots had everyone but now don’t have the highly underrated Andre Carter. This is going to be some kind of game, and I hope we get this matchup.
Ravens 23, Texans 10: Baltimore is almost unbeatable at home, especially against a guy like T.J. Yates.
NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Packers 24, Giants 20: Wouldn’t be surprised if New York wins this game, but if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t turn the ball over, the Giants won’t be able to stop the Packers enough. Greg Jennings’ return from injury is the x-factor. If he’s near 100 percent, the Packers roll. If he’s not, this is going down to the wire.
Saints 23, 49ers 13: New Orleans is obviously a different team outside, but we just can’t see defensive coordinator Gregg Williams letting 49ers QB Alex Smith breathe. Could be a repeat of San Francisco’s road loss — this time at home — against the Ravens.
Steelers 17, Ravens 14: Pittsburgh prides itself on being the better postseason team than its bitter AFC North rival. If there was any year for Baltimore to get over the hump, it would be this one. The Ravens are primed. But in the end, the Steelers are just too tough.
Saints 23, Packers 20: Two historic passes offenses will go head to head but this one will be about the weather that day, and which defense is better. We think it’s the Saints, and running back Darren Sproles will be the x-factor. Green Bay does not have an answer for him.
SUPER BOWL XLVI
Saints 27, Steelers 20: New Orleans earns it way back to the friendly confines of a dome, and no one plays on turf like this team. The Saints are a video game.