So here we are in what Al Michaels calls "wild card weekend", and I wanted to offer a brief look at every game, as well as my own picks. I do this in the sincere hope that you will take one look at what I've picked and go the other direction, because I never get those damn things right. Let's start with the NFC.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants: I favor the Eagles here, partly because they're clearly the superior team and partly because I hate the Giants with a fiery and all-consuming passion. The Giants gimped into the playoffs while the Eagles caught fire behind Jeff Garcia. If Garcia keeps chugging the rejuvination juice and the Giants continue to emphasize the "let's get our coach fired!" style of play they've become so good at over the last month, this one could get very ugly early. Let me just repeat that I really, really hope it does.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Giants 10
Across the Nation: There's no Giants blog currently in commission (which is part of why I can hate them so freely), but be sure to go to Bleeding Green Nation for some top notch coverage of the Eagles. As a plus, there's occasional interest in the Falcons over there as well.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys: This one's pretty tough to call. Both teams looked absolutely awful at different points this season, but both are also more talented than their records would indicate. I favor the Cowboys because their flashes of life have been much more convincing, but Romo appears to have hit the rookie wall going about 110, so it'll be interesting to see how that works out. The Seahawks will need to control the Cowboys through the air and keep them away from the goal line, where Marion "III" Barber has been an absolute stud. The Cowboys will have to turn around and watch out for Alexander, who might sneak up on them and do something semi-effective. I'm picking the Cowboys here, though.
Prediction: Cowboys 17, Seahawks 14
Across the Nation: The Cowboys are repped by Blogging the Boys, one of the most informative and oft updated blogs on the web. If you're looking for insight into the 'Boys, be sure to stop by and give the site a look. If you're looking for the Seahawks, head on over to Field Gulls, which is one of the funnier SBNation blogs and is chock full of Seahawky goodness. It's so good I just murdered the English language to hype it, even.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs: On paper, this is easily the most lopsided game of the opening round. The Colts have the best passing offense in the game as far as I'm concerned, and they also have a solid running game. The Chiefs will counter with a lot of Larry Johnson, who should treat the Colts run D as though it were made of marshmallow. The difference, of course, is that marshmallow is actually sticky enough to slow a runner down. The Colts will need to put up points in bunches early on if they're going to win this, simply because Johnson should be good for at least 2 TDs and 100 yards. Maybe it's not smart in the least, but I have a better feeling about the Chiefs than a Colts team that seems increasingly listless.
Prediction: Chiefs 35, Colts 24
Across the Nation: For the Colts, you'll be wanting to check in with Stampede Blue, where there is much worship at the altar of Manning. I should also note that he's typically got some very good analysis as well. In the Chiefs' corner, check out Arrowhead Pride, where you'll find a lot about the men behind the blazing red jerseys. If you're like me, these are the teams you know the least about, so be sure to read up on them so we can see how the Colts will do against us next year.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets: Well, as much as I'm tired of hearing about the Patriots and Tom Brady from a bunch of announcers with his name scribbled in their Hello Kitty notebooks, I have to pick them to win this one. The Jets have inexplicably kept winning, but after the Jaguars stomped them a 41-0 mudhole earlier in the season, I couldn't take them seroiusly anymore. The defense is underrated in a lot of ways, but the offense is perfectly capable of collapsing against a good defense. The Patriots show up prepared against opponent, and Belicheck keeps his opponents off guard by listing 3/4th of his team on the injury report every week. The Patriots do have to worry about their largely makeshift secondary and the only receiving corps in the league that's more inconsistent than our own. Still, Patriots really oughta run this one up.
Prediction: Patriots 21, Jets 7
Across the Nation: The Patriots are represented by Pats Pulpit, which is notable both for its informative approach and its bright and shiny colors, which snare you and won't let go. The Jets don't have an SBNation blog, but look around a bit and you'll find many sites dedicated to Chad Pennington's rotar cuff. Whoo!
So that's that. What are your predictions, Falcoholics?