The 2013 NFL playoffs are upon us. So it’s time for me to make my annual predictions.
In the summer I forecasted a return of the New York Giants to the Super Bowl. That prognostication fell flat, as the men of Gotham didn’t even make the playoffs.
But my AFC pick to make the Big Show, the Houston Texans, are still in it. Unfortunately, they floundered at season’s end and lost their number one seeding. Now they have to host a game on the opening weekend.
I will make my picks in rather unorthodox fashion. First, I will explain what I would like to see happen in my heart. Then I will tell you what my head is telling me. Then I will choose a winner.
Cincinnatti Bengals at Houston Texans
As my pick to win the Super Bowl, my pride tells me that I want the Texans to go all the way.
I don’t think Matt Schaub has the wherewithal to lead Houston to the Bowl. However, the Bengals, though improving, are not ready for prime time.
Winner: Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
This game has a lot of emotion for me. The Bolts (usually a name reserved for the Chargers, but I call them that because they “bolted” my hometown of Baltimore) are my sworn enemy for taking away my childhood loyalties. Yet, their coach Chuck Pagano, a former Ravens defensive coordinator, has battled luekemia (a disease I am personally familiar with) successfully and led Indy with his “Chuckstrong” inspiration.
I root for the Ravens because they represent my birthplace, but sometimes I see them as the old Cleveland Browns, the original franchise. The Pagano effect has been countered with the announcement of Ray Lewis’s retirement. Lewis, arguably the greatest defensive player ever, has the same iconic impact in Baltimore today that Johnny Unitas did when I was a boy.
So, I want to see the Ravens win in my soul.
Like the Bengals, the Colts are not ready for prime time. They are close, and Andrew Luck will threaten the Ravens success. Yet, the Ravens are still smarting over the Lee Evans “dropped” pass that kept them out of last year’s Super Bowl. This anger and Ray’s retirement will push them to victory.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
I have grown to like Adrian Peterson this year. The man has a lot of heart. In fact, I think he is the MVP of the league. So I would like to see the Vikes knock off the Pack. The latter were also a childhood foe of the Balmer Colts, although I hold no ill will for them today.
It took everything they had and the best effort from Christian Ponder for the Vikings to beat Green Bay in Minnesota last week and make the playoffs. I just don’t think they have it in them to do it again in Green Bay.
Winner: Green Bay Packers
Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins
The Redskins became my favorite team when the Colts left Baltimore. I have lived (and mostly died) with them since. Thus, I am of course rooting for them. Like any other Skins fan, I love RG3 and Albert Morris. For once, my NFL playoff season doesn’t consist of rooting against a list of enemies.
The Seahawks are the conventional choice. They have their own rookie QB who is lighting up the league. Supposedly, they have a better defense.
However, the Hawks haven’t played that well on the road this year. Furthermore, I think Jim Haslett has done some great moves with his defense this year and will somehow confound the Seattle offense.
Winner: Washington Redskins
Next week I will see how I did and make predictions for the second round.