All times Atlantic
SATURDAY JANUARY 15 2011
Baltimore Ravens (#5, AFC Top Wildcard) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (#2, AFC North Champions)
5:30pm - CBS, CTV
We open the weekend with a classic rivalry. The Ravens have a history of winning road playoff games, but the Steelers have been getting the best of them lately. The hype for this game is insane considering there's no Manning, Favre, or Brady in it, but Roethlisberger is no slouch. Speak of the guy, he had his nose broken by Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata in Week 13.
My pick: Baltimore finds a way to shut down the well-rested Steelers.
Green Bay Packers (#6, NFC Second Wildcard) @ Atlanta Falcons (#1, NFC South Champions)
9:00pm - FOX, CTV
Atlanta has a lot to prove, hosting their first home playoff game in six years. Green Bay is hot, having won their last three, shutting down Michael Vick last Sunday in a reasonably exciting game (though it didn't compare to the Saturday matches).
My pick: Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers rally for the win.
SUNDAY JANUARY 9 2011
Seattle Seahawks (#4, NFC West Champions) @ Chicago Bears (#2, NFC North Champions)
2:00pm - FOX, CTV
Seattle can do no wrong right now. Chicago had a weak Week 17, scoring only 3 against Green Bay in a game that ended up meaning nothing, but nevertheless a game where they did play their starters. Seattle also won a Week 6 game at Chicago, 23-20.
My pick: The Seattle Seahawks find a way to win, but it will be less of a shock than last week.
New York Jets (#6, AFC Second Wildcard) @ New England Patriots (#1, AFC East Champions)
5:30pm - CBS, TSN
Can Jets coach Rex Ryan put a win where his mouth is for the second week in a row? (I'm assuming he wasn't talking smack about Buffalo in Week 17.) The New York Post has a great cover, "Return of the Jet-I", that you should see.
My pick: I'm (literally?) betting not. But this pick is mostly emotional - I want to enjoy a Samuel Adams while watching the Patriots throughly humiliate and utterly dismantle the Jets on Sunday night. The Jets are a legitimate contender. But - tautology alert - the Patriots are the Patriots.
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If my picks hold out: Seattle will host Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game; New England will host Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game. If this comes to pass you'll probably never hear the end of me. So far my picking record is a poor 1-and-3, but if you count my betting on the Seahawks last week as a pick (a bet that I lost, because I had to bet on two games, and my other pick was Indy) it improves to 2-and-2. ;-p