“You’re not that damn important.”
Brian Mitchell – referring to RGIII.
But really, who is?
Red Rates Himself – For Wildcard Weekend Red was 3-1 making up somewhat for the late season slide into high mediocrity. Red would have been 4-0 but for the Bengals total meltdown at the end of the game. His best call was on the Texans/Chiefs debacle where Red claimed “one big play will probably decide this one.” And damn if Red wasn’t right. He just didn’t know that it would be on the opening kickoff. At least Red had the good sense to keep his other commitments and not waste $500 and 6 hours of his time watching the Texans’ ship go down without a fight.
For the season Red is now 56-44. Red likes easy percentage calculations.
And Red knows the NFL calls this the Divisional Round or some such nonsense. It is not that, because we obviously have Wildcard teams still playing. This is Round Two or as Red prefers the Second Round. Take your pick.
Your Damnation Pick of the Week: Patriots over Chiefs. Red has to stick with the Patriots (his preseason AFC Champ) because that’s the way this thing works. And given his spotty record on picking the playoff teams this year (more on that later) he needs the added oomph of picking the Superb Owl correctly which is something that happens about once a decade. Given that, all signs point to the Chiefs – except the sign that says Foxboro City Limits. Patriots don’t typically lose in the playoffs in F’town. In the Brady Era, they are 14-3 in home playoff games. In this business, we call that a trend. More of a portent in Red’s humble opinion. This game turns on the Pats defense. If they hold the Chiefs to 20 or under, the odds of the Pats winning the game are incalculable. I cannot imagine the Pats not scoring at least 21 on any team left in the playoffs. At playoff time, the Pats either score around 15 and lose or more than 20 and win. I think this is one very tight and the Chiefs could easily win this game with even a decent offensive performance. Red likes the Chiefs plus 5 if you can get it. New England 24 Kansas City 19.
Your DamnYankees Pick of the Week: Packers over Cardinals. Cardinals picked a bad time to fall apart and lose key players. Packers fell apart early and often while shedding good players like the working girls at the Men’s Club. Again this is a damn close call between two teams that could win the Superb Owl with just a little luck. Red won’t overly retread his Quality Wins rubric. Suffice it to say that the Packers come in with 3 (discounted for early season wins) while the Cards also have 3 QWs over the Pack, Vikings and Seahawks. Despite this trend of beating our northernmost NFL teams, Red again has to play out the skein all the way out and since he picked the Packers to win it all this year, he has no choice but to go against his gut and pick the Pack. But he wouldn’t bet on this game if you held a hot poker to his pecker. Green Bay 27 Arizona 24.
Your Double Damn Pick of the Week: Panthers over Seahawks. The Panthers don’t strike Red as a team that is going to play tight in a situation where everyone might expect them to not be able to excrete an aspirin. Cam stays loose and since the Panthers have to rightfully believe that they can beat anyone why should they fear the Seahawks. These teams are fairly similar both featuring offenses powered by a steady running game backed up by mobile quarterbacks who are mediocre in the passing game and tough defenses. Admittedly, the Hawks have a better defense, but have they really faced anyone like CN all season? Only in practice. And they were lucky to escape with their lives when facing a decent Vikings defense last week. At some point CN is going to have to take this game over and make some plays against a defense that will be head-hunting. If he survives the gauntlet then the Panthers can win this one going away. Everyone but Red is calling this the game of the week. Red thinks the Panthers expose the Hawks more than the Vikings did last week. Take the Panthers giving up a single point. Carolina 37 Seattle 13.
You’re Damn, Damn, Damn Pick of the Week: Stealers over Broncos. PMS (that’s Peyton Manning Starting for those who have not been paying attention in class) is old and brittle and all but washed up as a premier QB. Ben Rotlessburger is not quite as old and still tough as the steak served at El Rio in Monterrey. Red never underestimates the ability of brilliant Gary Kubiak to outcoach himself and blow it in a big game. He has a defense that can win this game if he will just let them, but he won’t and the Broncos are going to turn it over at least 3 times. The Stealers are playing on borrowed time and glad of it. They make the most of it this week. Red likes the Stealers plus 7 – he likes it a lot. He may like the over at 38.5 even more. Pittsburgh 28 Denver 23.