The picks regular season finished strong and with a final record of 127-125-4. That means I have to go just 5-6 in the playoffs to finish over .500 for the season. That shouldn’t be too hard, but a bad slate of first-round games won’t make it easy.
(Home team in caps)
Arizona +6.5 over CAROLINA
The Panthers finished the season 7-8-1, won their division and received a home game for the first round. Five of the other division winners finished with 12 wins (4.5 more wins than the Panthers) and the other two finished with 11 (3.5 more wins than the Panthers).
The NFL needs to fix the playoff format to avoid ever having a 7-8-1 team hosting a first-round playoff game. Four years ago, when the Seahawks won the NFC West at 7-9, they hosted the defending champion Saints and beat them and everyone let it slide because a 7-9 team had never made the playoffs before and they just figured it would likely never happen again. But it did happen again just four years later. And a 7-9 team didn’t make the playoffs, a 7-8-1 team did.
There needs to be a rule implemented that if an under-.500 team can win their division and get a playoff berth, but they can’t host a first-round playoff game. There’s no reason the 7-8-1 Panthers should be hosting the 11-5 Cardinals this weekend.
PITTSBURGH -3.5 over Baltimore
The Steelers have the best chance of any of the teams in the AFC playoffs of eliminating the Patriots. Normally I wouldn’t root for the Steelers, unless they’re playing the Ravens, but the idea of them going to Gillette and knocking off the Patriots next week is reason enough.
Cincinnati +4 over INDIANAPOLIS
For some unknown reason, I have an irrational confidence in the Bengals. No matter how many times they screw me over, I continue to pick them. But sometimes it works out for me like it did on Monday Night Football in Week 16 when I bet the Bengals +185 to beat the Broncos.
As much as I shouldn’t trust the Bengals is how much I don’t trust the Colts. They already beat up on the Bengals back in Week 7 with a 27-0 win, but that’s what they do, they beat up on other bad teams. This is a battle of bad teams, so I’m taking the points.
Detroit +6.5 over DALLAS
The worst part about the Giants not winning the NFC East and making the playoffs aside from not making the playoffs is that another team has to win the division and make the playoffs. Last year it was the Eagles, this year it’s the Cowboys. Next year it better be the Giants or it will be a fourth straight postseason-less year for them and Tom Coughlin will no longer be the head coach.
I want the Cowboys out of the playoffs and out of them as fast as possible. As long as a Cowboys-Patriots Super Bowl matchup is a possibility (no matter how remote of a possibility it might be, it’s still a possibility) I have to worry about it and I just want to watch the NFL playoffs and have fun doing it and not have to worry about Super Sunday being ruined.
Last week: 8-7-1