NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 12: Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints runs against San Francisco 49er defedners during a preseason game at Louisiana Superdome on August 12, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Time to man up and pick these playoff games. Be sure, when making your picks, to make it sound like you know what you're talking about! That way, people will totally think you know lots and lots about football, even though after kickoff you'll be proven hilariously wrong. Okay, off we go.
Saints/49ers. Nothing at stake here, folks, except THE SOUL OF THE NFL. Here you have arguably the NFL's finest defense going up against the NFL's hottest offense. And if the Saints win this game by 42 points, it's gonna be hard not to wonder if defense really matters anymore. Seriously, if the league's best defense is helpless in the face of a prolific passing attack that's been artificially boosted by ticky tack penalties, then what's the point of having a good defense? Why not invest heavily in having an offense that scores 50 points a game and make defense a low priority? Call me a pollyanna, but I think the Niners' defense stands up for all defenses and at least keeps the Saints honest. SAINTS 20, NINERS 19.
Broncos/Patriots. Yeah, no. I'm not picking against Tim Tebow this time around. I know how you work, Tebow. You wait for everyone to hate you and make fun of your throwing style, and then you go and make everyone look bad. I get it. I ain't falling for it. I'm gonna pick YOU instead. I'm gonna expect you to keep up with Tom Brady, and then watch you fail to live up to your performance of a week ago. It's the only way to slow you down. Tebow runs on pure karma. BRONCOS 30, PATRIOTS 28.
Ravens/Texans. Normally, the most underwhelming matchup of the weekend produces the best game. But I'm not so certain this time around, because TJ Yates will be playing on the road, and because Ray Rice can win a playoff game all by himself. If the Ravens defense forces Yates to turn the ball over early, that's the end of it. RAVENS 34, TEXANS 7.
Packers/Giants. I don't actually think the Giants are going to win this game. I think the Packers were more than happy to cede the spotlight to New Orleans for the second half of the season, and will now blast through the playoffs and assert their dominance. The problem is that everything I think is WRONG. I went 0-4 against the spread last week. Nothing I say matters. It's all hopelessly misguided. So Giants it is. GIANTS 19, PACKERS 16.