OK, everyone. How are you? I think it's been a couple days, but you just knew I couldn't not post my NFL picks. I am 4-0 during these playoffs, but I expect my run of luck to end during this round, which is really difficult to predict.
But before we get to the picks, though, let's talk about some shows I went to over the past couple days. On Thursday, I headed over to Cafe Nine just because I had to see what live-band karaoke looked like. I got there with a bunch of friends who were just as eager. Let's just say it was something. Folks living out their rock-star dreams ...
Yesterday, Friday, I first hit Toad's Place, which was amazingly crowded. I think it was the second largest crowd I've seen at the venue. It was really hot, really packed and altogether uncomfortable, but Mars Volta fans did not care. Did not care at all.
I couldn't make it through the whole show, hating crowds and all, but what I did see was OK. I mean, the band was good enough, but sometimes you need to say "when." If you got a guy playing cowbell, flute and a vase, it might be OK to use him only in the studio, especially when you have the guitar and kick-drum turned so far up in the mix you can't tell what the other six members are doing anyway.
Then it was off to Cafe Nine to see a bit of Eula, a good local band that I wrote about yesterday. Good stuff, as always.
So now let's get to the picks. That's what you're here for, I think. For a little variety, I invited Little Nicholas, my brother, to submit some picks. He's done that. He'll probably do better than me. We'll see.
Seattle at Green Bay
Little Nicholas' take: As much as I hate to pick any team coached by Mike Holmgren, my hatred for all things Brett Favre will not allow me to pick the Packers. I know Peter King would want me dead for saying this, but this Green Bay improvement has as much to do with their defense as it does with the improved play of Brett Favre. Who knows, maybe the Packers would have been good last year, too, if Favre didn’t throw 30 picks?
Nick Pick: Seattle 24-21
Pat's take: I couldn't agree more with Little Nicholas. It's not that I can't stand Brett Favre, I just can't stand how everyone worships him. When someone else messes up, it's a dumb mistake, when Brett craps the bed, "he's just trying to make a play, trying to lead his football team." Spare me. I like the Hawks' quarterback better, their coach better, their defense better, their city better, their uniforms better, their cheerleaders better, their green little cleats better, their mustaches better, their mothers and wives better ... everything. So I have to pick Seattle, right? Yes, I do.
Pat Pick: Seattle 31-27
Jacksonville at New England
Little Nicholas' take: There is just no way in the world Jacksonville can score enough points to keep up with the Patriots. Jacksonville gave up 29 points to a Steelers offense that is not nearly as good as the Patriots offense. As opposed to my brother, who has a man-crush on Garrard, I think he is mediocre at best. Not capable of beating the Pats.
Nick Pick: New England 38-16
Pat's take: OK, so Little Nicholas is talking about how I've been saying for two months that I thought Jacksonville could give the Pats a game because they run a lot, and my "man-crush" David Garrard doesn't throw interceptions. I know, I know, every other analyst is saying this now, too, but I say swear I beat them to the punch. David wears such nice hats and he has his own tailor. Isn't it funny how these little stories just keep getting told. Do I, as a football fan, care that David Garrard has his own tailor? Do you, as a reader of mine, care that I have my own couch, my own microwave? Nope, didn't think you did. I watched Jacksonville last week; they can't beat the Pats. They might score some points, but not nearly enough. You have to put up 30 to win, and this team won't do that.
Pat Pick: New England 41-24
San Diego at Indianapolis
Little Nicholas' take: Not sure why, but I have a gut-feeling the Chargers are going to make a game of this. Marvin, will he or wont he? The guy has been out for 14 weeks with a bruise on his knee. The funny thing is he got the bruise while turtleing to the turf to avoid a hit. I think the Chargers defense will give Indy a lot of problems. No, I can't do it. I can't pick Philip Rivers over Peyton Manning.
Nick Pick: Indianapolis 34-17
Pat's take: The Chargers are like bullies. You know, they only pick on people smaller and not as good, only do it because they lack real self-esteem. Oh, sure, San Diego can beat up on Herman Edwards, but they can't beat the Colts. The Chargers will do little dances, play hopscotch on the field or something, all the while Peyton will throw, throw, throw, gimpy Marvin or not. I think this is the easiest game of the weekend. I am not a big fan of the Colts, but I hate the Chargers. I hope Peyton throws 12 touchdown passes. Oh, and Little Nicholas has this irrational love of Philip Rivers. He's always saying, "Rivers is my sleeper. Rivers looks good in his uniform. I wish Rivers was on Tampa Bay. I wish Rivers would come over and eat soup with me." He says that stuff all the time. I don't know why.
Pat Pick: Indianapolis 31-10
New York at Dallas
Little Nicholas' take: Instead of having Congressional hearings about Roger Clemens, Congress should investigate why the NFL would make us watch seven straight hours of the Manning brothers on Sunday. TO will play, so I think Dallas will look a lot better then they did against the Redskins. But I love the way the Giants have been playing, too. I think the Giants are going to win in a close, high-scoring game.
Nick Pick: New York 28-24
Pat's take: I can't pick every game the same as Nick, can I? But I also can't go against my gut, which just consumed a breakfast sandwich and seems to get bigger by the day. If you listen to sports radio around here, you'd think the Giants are the best team on the planet, and that the Cowboys didn't beat them badly twice already this season. Last year both the away teams in the AFC pulled off upsets in this round, can the NFC do it this year? That was the Colts and Pats last year, though. My friend Harris, a devout Cowboys fan who will probably wear his Marion Barber jersey tomorrow, was getting nervous about another NFC East game for Dallas, but then he texted me last week: "Eli can't have three good games in a row, right?" You know, I'm going with Harris here. I can't pick a guy whose real name is Elisha. Screw my gut. I'm going to eat what I want and smile.
Pat Pick: Dallas 35-28