Wild Card Weekend is here, otherwise known as Christmas in January by gambling degenerates. The lines are here for consumption, headlined by the Saints heading west and an Aaron Rodgers/Michael Vick face-off.
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Oh, what a difference a day makes. Upsets reigned supreme in the Saturday games, leaving Atlanta Falcons fans in the perhaps uncomfortable position of being Vick Fans #1. If Philadelphia wins tonight, Seattle heads to the Georgia Dome on Saturday and the NFC Championship path is seemingly easier. If Aaron Rodgers and the Packers emerge victorious, they're Atlanta-bound - and the road is that much rockier. So swallow your pride, Atlanta fans, and root for #7 like it's 2004 up in here.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Baltimore (-3) @ Kansas City. The "better team" went down in both Saturday games, so my logic here isn't completely sound. But dammit, the Ravens are superior to the Chiefs at almost every position, and I have to believe the talent gap is wide enough to overcome KC's home field advantage. Of course, I could have typed the exact same words yesterday regarding New Orleans and Seattle.
The Ravens haven't actually lost a road game since their early November match-up in Atlanta, and that's my deciding factor here. Joe Flacco and the Ravens D should lead their team to a double-digit victory. PICK: Baltimore
Sunday, 4:30 p.m.
Green Bay @ Philadelphia (-2). This is by far the hardest call of the weekend, which should send up warning flags considering most "experts" are 0-2 in the playoffs (I am also 0-2, but would never use the "expert" label outside of Die Hard and the collected works of Sylvester Stallone). There is nothing that would shock me here - a close game, a Packers blow-out, an Eagles runaway. So in the interest of putting something down, I'll side with the home team, pretty much because that's the way I'll be cheering.
And if you haven't heard, gambling based on "who you want to win" is generally a bad idea, so my advice: stay away. I just don't freaking know. PICK: Philadelphia
Oh my goodness, the NFL postseason is here. To properly express my excitement, I could use flowery language to impart my emotions, or I could simply type the letter E in caps about 5,000 times. So now, I summarily bequeath to you, my hearty readers, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE ... (Ok, you get the idea.)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
New Orleans (-10) @ Seattle. Trust me, Falcons fans - I've looked at this game from every angle trying to find a Seahawks victory hiding within. The Saints are going cross-country! Seattle has a legendary home crowd! It's supposed to rain, which should hamper Drew Brees! New Orleans can't run the ball without Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory! People from Louisiana always get thrown off by modern conveniences like electricity and toilets you don't have to dig!
Just as I'm getting my hopes up, though, I remember - oh right, the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck. A team that recently gave up 40 points to SAN FRANCISCO. No amount of travel, jeers, precipitation or running back incontinence will throw off the Saints faithful. Silver lining, though: should N'awlins end up in the Georgia Dome next week, we should have an open-air stadium by the end of the game. "Epic" just seems too small of a word. PICK: New Orleans
Saturday, 8 p.m.
NY Jets @ Indianapolis (-2 1/2). It was my hope to enjoy a postseason without looking at Mark Sanchez's To Catch a Predator-ish attempts at facial hair, but here we sit. New York's season has run the gamut from "Hard Knocks" to contract disputes to blustery Rex Ryan press conferences to - ick - foot fetish videos.
What truly jumps out at me, though, is the end of the Jets season - three losses in the last five games, including two in which they couldn't even manage seven points. So they're going to Indy relying on their defense, and that's a bad gameplan - Peyton Manning has been plugged into a wall socket all week, and his electrochemical cyborg half-cells are at full charge. PICK: Indianapolis