Here are my picks to advance throughout the NFL playoffs:
Cincinnati over Houston
Well, Houston has been playing like shit and Cincinnati has been killing it. It probably won't even be close. But I was really impressed by Jake Delhomme's performance this past weekend. He was really cool under pressure. But here's two stats for you: 0-1 (Delhomme's record last week) and 36 (number of years old that Jake Delhomme is).
Pittsburgh over Denver
I hope Tebow does it. I think it will cause the internet to explode. But let's be honest. Even with Mendenhall out, the Broncos have no shot.
Detroit over New Orleans
I might be a little biased, but the Lions are a complete team. Stafford/Johnson/Williams on offense and the most fearsome defensive line in the league. Okay, second most. I think they can score with the Saints and slow them just enough to eek out a win. This will be the best game of the first round by far.
Atlanta over New York
One of these teams doesn't deserve to be in the playoffs. Not going to name any names.
New England over Cincinnati
It feels like a shootout - and New England is as well-equipped for a shootout as anybody. Gronk was the single best fantasy player this season. For a while, Welker was right up there with him. Take the over on the points, if you're into gambling.
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
September 11, 2011: Baltimore 35, Pittsburgh 7
November 6, 2011: Baltimore 23, Pittsburgh 20
January 3, 2012: Mendenhall placed on IR
San Francisco over Detroit
Just a few years ago, Detroit was 0-16 and San Fran was 5-11. My, how things have changed. They say that defense wins championships and that you need a strong running game to make a deep playoff run. The Niners are made for that. Frank Gore and Patrick Willis - two men that you don't want to meet in a dark alley or in the NFL playoffs.
Green Bay over Atlanta
Not even going to be close. GB is just too good. They were phenomenal on offense last week. Then toss in a top-tier quarterback and an extra week to prepare for San Fran and Detroit.
Baltimore over New England
It comes down to this: the difference between the Pats offense and the Ravens offense is less significant than the difference between the Ravens defense and the Pats defense. That being said, it is definitely conceivable that Tom Brady goes all Greg Jennings on everyone and wins the game essentially by himself.
San Francisco over Green Bay
Yes. I went there. I think Kansas City beating the Pack was a big step for the 49er win here. Because it showed that they can be beat. Harbaugh has proven that he's a great coach, and he can inspire his players to perform.
Super Bowl XLVI
San Francisco over Baltimore
I promise I didn't plan out the Harbaugh Brother Super Bowl. It just sort of ended up that way. Thinking about it now, the NFL may want this to happen just to add another story line. Other potential storylines of this matchup:
Patrick Willis vs. Ray Lewis
Frank Gore (the tank) vs. Ray Rice (the bowling ball)
How are Alex Smith and Joe Flacco here?
The potential return to glory for San Francisco
Will Lewis and Reed retire if Baltimore wins?
I'm hyped now. I hope this happens.