NFC Championship Game, New Orleans at Chicago, Sunday, 2 PM, FOX (WHBQ - 13)
On a neutral field or in New Orleans, given how strong the United States Saints (per TMQ) have played all year, this probably wouldn't be close. The Bears defense has not been the same since losing Tommie Harris off the line and Mike Brown, the best safety in the NFL when he's healthy (which is to say, RARELY). Of course, you're well acquainted with Rex Grossman, the NFL version of Sybil, who defines erratic on the field.
Not to mention, that, except for a few diehards and Chicagoland transplants around the country, NOBODY outside Chicagoland is going to root for the Bears, for obvious reasons. I just hope the Saints' players don't look at each Bears and see George Bush; we're doomed in that case.
However, the Bears have done the only thing they could do in such a situation, they have gone to their last hope: Tom Skilling. It is he who brings news of BEAR WEATHER! The legendary WGN-TV weatherman has forecast THIS for Sunday:
|Overcast lowers/thickens. Blustery SSE winds gust to 20-25 m.p.h. at times. Snow develops mid/late a.m.; Accumulation possible. Bears/Saints game wind chills: 10s.|
Alrighty then! Ever played in a blizzard, Deuce? Ever seen snow at all, Reggie? Don't answer that, Drew, we KNOW you went to Purdue. Your brethren, however, used to warm and dry in the Superdome, will have problems executing ANYTHING in the blowing and drifting snow, and your marvelous and uplifting run comes to a slushy stop at the Spaceship on the Lake.
PICK: Bears 17, Saints 13
AFC Championship Game, New England at Indianapolis, Sunday, 5:30 PM, CBS (WREG - 3)
You know, this third playoff meeting between the Pats and the Colts has a different feel about it. Things have changed, what with this game being in Indy rather than Foxboro, indoors instead of out, the Colts RUNNING the ball consistently and throwing to tight end Dallas Clark down the middle instead of going deep to Harrison and Wayne. For heaven's sakes, they're even STOPPING the run.
Oh, and they have Adam Vinatieri, too.
The Patriots are not the Patriots of old, I keep telling myself, even though 81-year-old Rodney Harrison has gotten out of his walker to practice these last two days. I suspect that's more to get in to Peyton Manning's head than anything else. They still have a great DL with Richard Seymour, but Vrabel and Bruschi are slowing down, and Asante Samuel is the only reliable DB.
The Patriots often fire themselves up by claiming no one respects them and they have to stand up for themselves. Right, guys, what kind of respect do you expect? THIS?
Well, I am torn. Yes, I remember that BELICHICK AND BRADY HAVE NEVER LOST A PLAYOFF GAME IN FOXBORO, AND HAVE ONLY LOST ONE PLAYOFF GAME OUTSIDE FOXBORO, AND ARE 12-1 TOGETHER, 2-0 AGAINST INDY.
You know what, I could be Charlie Brown thinking Lucy will actually hold the ball so I can kick it, I could be a sap, but I believe the only Peyton Manning face we'll see this weekend is one of joy and relief. It's upset time at the RCA Dome.
PICK: Colts 28, Patriots 17