I’ve seen it touted in two separate places that this weekend represents the very best weekend of NFL football on offer this season — and honestly, it’s hard to disagree.
It wasn’t easy watching the Cardinals limp off the field in Carolina after that devastating loss, and we knew full well that the Colts would handle the Bengals. To my surprise, the Steelers weren’t really in it against the Ravens, either. In fact, the only awesome game was Detroit-Dallas, and even that was rife with officiating hijinks.
So yes, maybe this is it — the granddaddy of all weekends. Tried and tested teams battling it out for the right to face off for one more game, with the winner of that one going to the Super Bowl. It’s all very epic, like a giant space opera. Let’s hope it’s not Spaceballs.
On with the picks!
Baltimore at New England: You can never, ever, nevermore count the Ravens out. Recent history illustrates that they upset apple carts on the regular — including the Patriots’ own fruit stand more than once, and the Steelers just last week. But just as it took a lot of luck and some blatant incompetence for the Ewoks to beat the Empire, so it will be that the Ravens will need a lot of breaks to take out the Pats. Pick: Patriots.
Carolina at Seattle: An even tougher uphill battle looms for Carolina. Everyone says how Carolina is peaking at the right time and could manage another upset. Problem is, the Seahawks are also peaking. I just can’t see a team that just managed to notch a .500 record last week taking down the defending Super Bowl champs. Not without help from the Avengers, the Doctor and the aforementioned Ewoks. Pick: Seahawks.
Dallas at Green Bay: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is, inexplicably, a Dallas fan. Governor…your state is basically a big suburb for two major cities — New York and Philadelphia. Both have teams in Dallas’ division, and you’re basically rooting against them. Bridge scandals and incivility aside, how has he remained governor with this stain upon his record? It won’t matter after this weekend, though. Pick: Packers.
Indianapolis at Denver: Andrew Luck wants to get all Darth Vader against Payton Manning’s Obi-Wan — “Now, I am the master.” But let’s face it, even with Luck’s magical neck-beard, the Broncos are simply the more complete team on both sides of the ball. And despite what he says to the contrary, you know Manning wants this win so he can sing all his post-game comments to the Nationwide jingle. Pick: Broncos.
Last week’s record: 3-1
Playoff record: 3-1