For the most part, the NFL postseason is shaping up nicely. Yes, there are the shoe-ins. Expect the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks to nab the top seeds in their divisions. The New England Patriots will limp into the playoffs with injuries, but they’ll be a tough out. Both the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers will be in there, with the only question being who’s the division champ and who’s the wild card.
Chances are, the Colts and Bengals will represent their divisions as well, and Kansas City has a lock on the top wild card in the AFC. And that leaves a lot of has-beens and would-bes vying for that last AFC seed. Baltimore has the best shot, followed by Miami, with San Diego and the maddeningly inconsistent Jets still toying with somewhat-reasonable hopes.
In the NFC, I can’t see Dallas topping the Eagles for the NFC East title, but I could see Chicago or even Green Bay making a run at Detroit for their division. The 49ers are probably the other wild card, unless they mess it up. Arizona could be the source of that mess-up, which I admit would be interesting to see.
And if you’re a fan of just about anyone else…there’s always next year.
On with the picks! (Winners in italics)
San Diego at Denver: Where playoff hopes go to die.
Washington at Atlanta: Where bad teams go and nobody watches.
Chicago at Cleveland: Where backup quarterbacks are surprisingly good.
Houston at Indianapolis: Where the Colts get some relief, unless they screw it up.
New England at Miami: Where the injured Pats could be upset by a team playing for its playoff life.
Philadelphia at Minnesota: Where the NFC East could be won.
Seattle at N.Y. Giants: Where the Seahawks are glad the Giants are nowhere near the 49ers in terms of quality.
San Francisco at Tampa Bay: Where Jack Sparrow won’t actually have a plan, nor will he be able to make it up as he goes along.
Buffalo at Jacksonville: Where I feel good about picking the Jags for the first time all season. Good on you, gentlemen.
Kansas City at Oakland: Where the silver and black may end up misfiring like Stormtroopers on the Death Star.
N.Y. Jets at Carolina: Where the odds of flying safely through an asteroid field are better than those of a Jets win here.
Green Bay at Dallas: Where the Cowboys fervently hope Aaron Rodgers is riding the pine for another week.
Arizona at Tennessee: Where the Angry Birds’ vengeance will be felt.
New Orleans at St. Louis: Where the good times will continue to roll for another week.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: Where we’ll all wonder how Cincy managed to be good for so long, and whether the Doctor was involved somehow.
Baltimore at Detroit: Where we’ll get a great Monday night game with serious playoff implications. The Lannisters’ thirst for victory prevails.
Last week’s record: A respectable 12-4
Season record: 134-73 (still doing better than all but three of these guys)