As always, these predictions are for entertainment purposes only. I do not endorse gambling of any kind. Enjoy the predictions and small bits of useless information.
Colts over Chiefs. There's no way a Tony Dungy defense is going to give up the 250+ yards everyone is predicting for Larry Johnson. Look for big games from Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes, and just enough Manning to get the job done. Remember when the Chiefs' quarterback was Elvis Grbac? Grbac is a funny name. Colts 28, Chiefs 13. (Hey, that was pretty darn astute!)
Seahawks over Cowboys. Little known fact about the Cowboys: their best receiver is Terry Glenn, not T.O. The Seahawks have not had the kind of season I expected from them, but neither have they suffered the Super Bowl Losers' Jinx of recent years. Shaun Alexander is a force of freaking nature. Still, they're better than the overrated Cowboys, who have been on a slide and are lucky to even be here. One time a couple seasons ago, a fan in the stands held a sign reading "T.O. has B.O." Karen and I never fail to refer to Owens' body odor whenever he is mentioned. Seahawks 27, Cowboys 17.
Patriots over Jets. Here's the story... of a man named Brady... Seriously, I have a hard time predicting a Belichick-and-Brady-led Pats team to lose any playoff game. It could be a time-machine game versus the '72 Dolphins and I think I'd predict a New England win just out of habit. Chad Pennington is a great story this year, and I've always liked the guy, and the Jets have been a nice surprise, but they have a lot of weaknesses (like having no real go-to running back), and Bill Belichick is all about exploiting weaknesses. I was writing an NFL column when Belichick got the Patriots job, and I predicted that he would be a terrible head coach who would run the franchise into the toilet. Shows what I know about football. Patriots 23, Jets 14.
Eagles over Giants. There's something magical about what Jeff Garcia is doing in Philly this year. Not magical enough to win in round 2, but certainly magical enough to beat the "You mean we really made the playoffs???" Giants. I think it may be time to acknowledge that old-school drop-and-give-me-twenty coaching is simply not going to work with any NFL players any more, and that makes Tom Coughlin roughly equivalent to a brachiosaurus: very impressive in historical context, but of little threat today. Enjoy Tiki Barber this weekend, folks. I hated when my team had to gameplan against him, but always loved watching him play. Eagles 24, Giants 10.
And in other sports news...
My fantasy football team, the Magnificent Mullets of the Richmond Improv League on Yahoo, made it to the champeenship only to be crushed mercilessly by the Cavemen Lawyers. We did, however, defeat the #1-seeded Ululating Zoidbergs in a one-point squeaker in the semis, which I'm very proud of.
Why am I mentioning this? Because I started the season with Eli Manning and Michael Vick at QB and Clinton Portis and LaMont Jordan at RB. All four of them were among the biggest fantasy busts of the year (in Portis' defense, he was injured; when he was in he was very effective), and I made it to the finals anyway. That's some good personnel moves, yo. Hey, I hear the Redskins may be looking for a GM...
Thanks to my MVP, WR Laveranues Coles, who was questionable or probable every week, but I started him anyway. If only his name was pronounced like it's spelled. Game balls to TE Antonio Gates, WR Joe Horn, WR Javon Walker, the Minnesota Vikings' Defense, and the ensless string of free agent running backs who I picked up and discarded along the way, including Joseph Addai (yeah, I played him the day he had 4 TDs), Dominic Rhodes, Corey Dillon, Fred Taylor, Ahman Green, Leon Johnson, and many I don't even remember. And thanks to journeyman QB Brett Favre, whom I picked up mid-season, dumped, then signed again in time to start the champeenship game.
Fantasy football is surreal.