Yes, boys and girls, it's playoff time again in the National Football League. That means it's time for the annual prediction article from Alex and me. (Annual in the sense that we did it once two years ago.) It's likely that yours truly knows less about football than he did in the 2002 edition, mostly because I've ditched fantasy football for fantasy basketball and have become a proselyte of the NBA. (It's a new convert to a doctrine. I had to look it up too.)

Hey check it out, it's me! I'm back! We're back, for yet another round of hot predicting action! I'm sure you missed us. You might also remember me from such predictions as this past spring's NHL Playoffs. You remember the NHL, right? It was that sport where guys beat each other with sticks on ice? Right? Anyone? Ahh nevermind.

However, like many people who write, lack of knowledge about the subject matter does not stop me from wanting to spout off and act as if I know what's going on. I've again enlisted Alex to encorporate some actual football knowledge to the page. Say hello, Alex.

Oops, I already said hi a paragraph ago. Well, umm... hi again!

Before we begin, let's see how each of us fared in '02. I typed out each of our predictions, round by round, and realized no one really would care that much. Suffice it to say that I picked the Raiders to win the Superbowl (oops) and ended up with a tidy 6-5 overall record in the playoffs. Al picked the Titans (bigger oops) to win it all and finished with a 5-6 record. I'd say we've got a score to settle. (insert menacing laugh here.) Anyway, we pick up this year's action with round one already completed, because, well, I forgot to start writing this last week.

Round Two

Jets at Steelers. Oooh, ahhh, big rookie quarterback... Big deal. He's following in the footsteps of Neil Tomczak, Kordell Stewart, and XFL champ Tommy Maddox. With this team's defense and running game, Spergeon Wynn could have got them to this point. The Steelers' defense is allowing a measly 15.7 points per game! The Steelers have a decent backfield-- 47-year old Jerome Bettis and Eagles castoff Duce Staley are basically the same back, so we'll refer to them as the Bettley. The Bettley gained over 1,700 yards on the ground this year and will bruise the Jets' front line for most of the game. Speaking of the Jets... eh. They're decidedly the underdogs, which makes them tempting as a sleeper pick. And CuMart had an exceptional season, considering he's 112. I just don't buy the idea that Chaz Pennington can take a team very far, at least not yet. Combine that with the fact that this game is happening in Pittsburgh.... Steelers.

Yeah, he looks like a Chad.

Yeah, what he said. The Jets could barely beat a team coached by Marty Schottenheimer (or however you spell it). 'Nuff said. Steelers

Rams at Falcons

This pick may be biased, for a couple of reasons. First, I've never liked the Rams. Didn't like Vermeil, didn't like Warner, don't like Bulger, don't like Martz, just don't like 'em. Bulger has put up decent numbers this season, with Torry Holt being the luckiest recipient. Their offense is still explosive, but Marshall Faulk has lost several steps, and their defense has been porous at best. Second bias: I've always liked the Falcons. Liked Glanville, liked Rison, like Crumpler, like Duckett, just like 'em. D-V-D (Dunn-Vick-Duckett) have been exciting to watch this year, although not explosive-- putting up an average of only 21 points per game. This game is a pick 'em, but I've gotta give it to the Dirty Birds, for this stat alone: The Falcons, who will be playing this game in the Georgia Dome, are 7-1 at home this year; the Rams are 2-6 on the road. Falcons.

Cat Fancy... almost ruined his career.

Man... I don't even wanna pick this game. Hold on, I'll flip a coin. Heads it's Falcons, Tails it's Rams. It was Heads. Becca can vouch for it. Falcons

Vikings at Eagles

Last week's game was the most disgusting and vile game I have ever seen. Ooop, turned into Joe Buck there. Oy... I think I gotta go Purple here. I think the team proved to itself last week that a) it can win big and b) it can win big on the road. The defense came together, at least for the first half, like it hasn't for a long time and made a statistically superior Packers team look pretty lousy. And Randy.. well, I don't think he's done yet. He knows a lot of eyes will be on him this weekend, maybe more than ever before, and that's usually when he excels. The Iggles have a well-documented history of choking in the playoffs, and I don't see that changing here. Their main offensive weapon, former media whipping boy Terrell Owens, is on ice. Donovan McNabb hasn't played significant minutes since December 19th; Andy "The Walrus" Reid opted to go with Jeff Blake and Ty (or is it Koy? Roy?) Detmer for the last two weeks of the season. After that length of time I think rest starts to turn into rust. Even though Vegas says pick 'em, I like the purple juggernaut in this one. (Would Purple Juggernaut be a good name for an adult movie?) Vikings

Man... I can never get enough pictures of this guy.

I could go either way with this one, too. The Iggles are gonna be rusty, but the Vikes are gonna be confident now that they've actually won an important game, and recent history shows that they don't handle confidence too well. That said, I'm gonna make this a total bias pick, because I hate the Eagles. Vikings

Colts at Patriots

Bah. Bleepin' AFC. Let's keep this brief. Colts: lots of scoring, quarterback sets records but is a bit of a doofus. Amazing offense, crappy defense-- worse than the Vikings if you believe that. Patriots: winning streak, quarterback is less talented but wins big games. New England is favored by two and is playing in their home stadium, but is also playing something called Earthwind Moreland in their defensive backfield. Upset time. Colts

Sign of the Apocalypse #314 - Wade and I agree on an entire weekend of NFL games. Colts

Conference Championships

Colts at Steelers

This is a pretty close matchup-- I think each team's offenses and defenses cancel each other out, if that makes sense. One thing tips it for me, though. The Colts are accustomed to playing in the RCA Dome-- climate controlled, "soft" turf, no snow. This game is at Heinz field. I see Peyton getting chilly. Steelers

Does anyone else hear "Dueling Banjos" faintly in the background whenever he starts talking?

Alright, time to deviate. I think this is Manning's year. If he conquers the Pats, he beats the Steelers. I don't think Pittsburgh's defense has seen anything like the Colts this year. (Checks this year's schedule). Nope, they haven't. Colts

Vikings at Falcons

Boy oh boy. I don't care about football as much anymore, but you have no idea how exciting this game would be to watch. Almost six years to the day after the Falcons upset the Vikes, we get a chance to give it right back to them. And I think we do it. It'll be a high-scoring affair, no doubt, and Vick will have a pretty easy time advancing the ball against the Vikings' defense, but we'll make stops when it counts and Culpepper and Moss will hook up for four touchdowns-- after the last one, Randy will whip out his junk and urinate all over the Falcons' goal post. Joe Buck will quickly pull out his scripted remarks about how Randy has taken television to a new low. In the end, however, the ghost of Gary Anderson will be avenged. (And, yes, I know he's not dead yet.) Vikings

"I am shocked and rama lama ding dong disgusted by Randy Moss."

I was in the bathroom when Anderson missed. I figured there was no way he was gonna blow it. Probably one of the best Conference Championship games I've ever watched my own self, right up there with Harbaugh's hail mary that I still think was caught somehow. I wish there'd been replay that season. Anyway, the Vikings have to choke sooner or later, and I'd rather not have the state endure a fifth SB loss. Falcons


Vikings vs Steelers

A rematch of Superbowl IX from thirty years ago... And, unfortunately, I predict the same result. The Vikings' dream runs out of gas when faced with a tight defense and a bruising running game, and Burress, Ward, and Randle El will have the whole world saying what I said last week: "Who the hell is Ralph Brown and how did he get on our team?" Steelers, 27 to 17.

Wade's pick.

Falcons vs. Colts. Don Banks calls it Tagliabue's Dream Matchup. And while that's a fair point, Falcons fans will be having flashbacks to watching Jerry Rice blow right by Chuck Dimry. Colts, and we'll see a return to the days of the blowout Super Bowls.

Al's pick.

There you have it. If I were a betting man... well, there's no way I'd put any money on the Vikings getting to the Superbowl. But since I'm just a schlep writing for a website.. I can dream, can't I?



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