NFL Conference Title Game Picks — In 50 Minutes Or Less

So yesterday my picks for AFC and NFC Championship games were delayed by my ire at the state of the political system in our country — but no problem since both games aren’t until Sunday, right?  I figured that I’d just knock out my selections at some point today and that would be that.

I've been so money, you didn't even know it

But hold on there!  After complaining about the state of my home renovation only days ago, my father-in-law beat back the nasty virus that had laid him up for most of the last two weeks — and lo and behold, he was here today bright and early to work on the house with me.  While this was awesome news personally, it always served to delay my picks again.

Which leaves us now, past 7 o’clock Central, and still I had nothing ready to post.  So as I popped my dinner in the oven, I decided it was now or never to get my official predictions down for the record — and why wouldn’t I want to do that, since I’ve been nothing but money so far (with my 2-6 mark)?

So it’s me against the oven timer — 50 minutes (or less now) to get this posted.  When the timer says the food’s done, then so am I.  I figure that deep, thoughtful analysis has gotten absolutely nowhere so far — so let’s go with something different with this week’s selections.  The word of the day: Karma.

Indianapolis (-8) over N.Y Jets

Here’s the problem:  I want the Colts to lose.  I want them to lose along the levels that I used to root for the Lakers to lose in the heyday of Showtime, and the way I root for the Yankees to lose every time they set foot on the field.  I want them to lose because I think they deserve to after the way they gave the middle finger to history, to greatness, to the Indy fans, and the spirit of competitive sports everywhere by throwing the last two games of their regular season so completely, I had to check the sidelines to make sure I didn’t see Eddie Cicotte and Chick Gandal’s ghosts wearing officially licensed Colts apparel.

The problem is, it wasn’t supposed to be the Jets here — it was supposed to be the Chargers, who I had 100% confidence in being able to send Indy home where they belong.  But it’s the Jets instead, and I know there’s no way Mark Sanchez is going to be able to lead his team to the Super Bowl; even with all of the improbable things I’ve seen over the years, that possibility might top them all.

Yet ….

If anyone can give the Colts problems, it’s the Jets — they’ve got the great defense, the ability to pressure the quarterback, and Darrelle Revis to make life miserable for Reggie Wayne.   They can run the ball — something the Colts cannot do effectively — and they’re definitely feeling the “We’re a team of destiny” mojo right now.  How do you pick against that?

You pick against it because there’s no better quarterback in the game right now than Peyton Manning, and the Colts are frankly, better than the Jets are.  As much as I hate to see it, the Colts are going to pressure Sanchez into mistakes and Manning will capitalize on them.  The Colts should win this one easily.

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies -- except hopefully the Colts Super Bowl run

Except …

The Colts still have the stink of their finish, and the bad karma that came with it, surrounding them.  There would be no better justice in the world than to have the team their tank-job let into the playoffs be the one to knock them out.  If nothing else, the way this postseason has gone, my picking the Colts might be enough to derail their chances.

I can hope.

New Orleans (-3.5) over Minnesota

And  since we’re on the subject of karma — both good and bad — there’s plenty of it to go around in the second half of Sunday’s doubleheader.  There’s the good karma that would be associated with seeing the Saints make their first Super Bowl, barely five years after the city of New Orleans was crippled by Hurricane Katrina and it looked like their football team would soon be calling another city home.  There may be no city in the NFL that loves their team the way the people in the Big Easy do — and there are few fan bases in the league who’ve had more seasons with absolutely nothing to show for it than the New Orleans faithful.  Something about the Saints making the Big Game just feels right.

On the other hand, the Vikings rang up all kinds of bad karma by running up the score on Dallas last week, throwing the ball while under the two minute warning and up by three scores (and while I’m the furthest thing from a Cowboys fan, that’s exactly what it was — running up the score).  There’s also the bad karma associated with a number of elements of the whole Brett Favre saga — the way he ended his season with the Jets last year, the way he squirmed his way into Minnesota after his 8,000th “retirement”, the whole “I’m really the coach here” aura he projected during his flare up with Brad Childress.  While I won’t deny that there’s a lot to like about Favre’s improbable return to the precipice of another Super Bowl, there’s a lot I didn’t like and would hate to see rewarded.  Perhaps the football gods agree — star rookie receiver Percy Harvin has seen a return of his migraines and might be in trouble for Sunday’s contest.

The Saints’ biggest weakness all season has been defending the run, and that could lead to a nightmare match-up here with Adrian Peterson lining up against them.  Except that Minnesota has largely eschewed the run down the stretch — for better or worse, they’re Favre’s team now, and they’ll go as far as he can take them.

Will Sunday be the last time Brett Favre takes off his helmet in the NFL?

I’ve been waiting all season for a return of  “Classic” Favre — the Favre who’ll throws the ball when and where he shouldn’t, leading to a flurry of turnovers and a loss — and I’ve got a gut feeling that we’ll see that Favre finally rear his ugly head tomorrow in the Superdome.  New Orleans has an aggressive, opportunistic defense that can made Favre pay dearly if he shows bad judgement with the football.  If the Saints can jump out ahead early (and force Peterson out of the game plan even more), then we could see the gunslinging quarterback that Minnesota fans have secretly feared seeing all season.

And that’s what I think we will see.  I’m going with New Orleans in this one — and crossing my fingers as a resident of the area that I’m not jinxing them with the pick.  And just in time — the oven timer’s calling, and my dinner awaits.   Now all that remains is to see if this picking  strategy works any better than what the debacle of the last two weeks — for certain, I won’t do any worse.


One Response to “NFL Conference Title Game Picks — In 50 Minutes Or Less”

  1. sportsemperor Says:

    Yeah you just know Favre’s got that old school gun slinger in him still, and the timing’s about right for it to come out again. Good picks.

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