UPDATE: Kids picks have been added
Every year, Sunny and I have some fun by picking the NFL playoff game winners. Seems like she usually beats me, but it’s fun anyway. Last year we let the kids make their picks and — wouldn’t you know it — Joshua had the best winning percentage of any of us. A lot of people have compared our little sports nut to the kid in The Blind Side. Swap out Ole Miss for St. Louis Cardinals / Tennessee Vols / Tennessee Titans, and I think it’s a fair comparison.
Anyway, it’s time for this year’s opening round picks. I forgot to get the picks from the kids before they went to bed — I’ll update theirs in the morning. But here are the picks Sunny and I have made:
AFC Wild Card Round: Jets at Bengals
Despite the Bengals total trouncing by the Jets on Sunday night, part of me still likes Cincy here. With little to play for last week, I can understand why the Bengals mailed it in. But I don’t think that happens again. Both teams are built around their solid defenses. But the Jets D is the best in the league. Rookie QBs scare me in the playoffs, but I like Mark Sanchez to do what he’s learned to do well the past few weeks: manage the game, hand the ball off, throw it away when nothing’s there, and rely on that smash mouth defense to do the rest. With the league’s top defense and ground attack, I like New York in the upset here.
Jason’s pick: Jets
Sunny’s pick: Jets
Joshua’s pick: Bengals
AFC Wild Card Round: Ravens at Patriots
This is a no-brainer. New England is undefeated at home this year. Tom Brady is back in the saddle. Bill Belichick has this squad motivated to make another Super Bowl run. Right? Not so fast. The loss of Wes Welker is huge to this offense. Brady relies on him as an outlet receiver; his absence puts even more pressure on the running game, which is mediocre to begin with. Baltimore loves to pound the rock with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. And that defense is always scary. In the end, I still like New England to take care of business at home, but expect this one to be close.
Jason’s pick: Patriots
Sunny’s pick: Patriots
Joshua’s pick: Patriots
NFC Wild Card Round: Eagles at Cowboys
This is the marquee matchup of the weekend in my opinion. I love this game and its latent intrigue: division rivals, squaring off for the second week in a row, same city, same venue; Dallas looking for it’s first playoff win since Taylor Swift was in diapers; Donovan McNabb trying to follow the Phightin’ Phils’ lead and bring a championship to the city of brotherly love. In a rivalry game like this, stats don’t matter. I like Philly here in another road win. But I’ll enjoy this one either way.
Jason’s pick: Eagles
Sunny’s pick: Cowboys
Joshua’s pick: Eagles
NFC Wild Card Round: Packers at Cardinals
This pick gives me fits. Arizona is a .500 team at home; the Pack are 5-3 on the road. Additionally, Green Bay was one of the most prolific offenses in the league this year, ranking 6th in total yardage. Maybe even more importantly, their defense ranked second — only behind the Jets — in total yardage allowed. But who can forget Arizona’s Cinderella run to the Super Bowl last season? As long as Larry Fitzgerald is on the field, the Cards have a chance. I hate to pick a third road win here, but I think Green Bay is the better team. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I get this one wrong.
Jason’s pick: Packers
Sunny’s pick: Cardinals
Joshua’s pick: Cardinals