I’m proud of one Divisional Round pick. I picked Indianapolis to upset Denver. Figured Andrew Luck would be the best quarterback on the field. I did not, however, expect Denver’s John Fox to be run off the field, and out of town, after the loss. Fox, of course, is terrible at being unemployed. Chicago hired him.
A bonus Conference Championships prediction: When Indianapolis upsets New England on Sunday, Bill Belichick will not be fired.
Last week: 3-1 (missed Seattle-Carolina).
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This week’s picks with the home team in CAPS:
SEATTLE 24, Green Bay 21
The Seahawks handled the Packers on Sept. 4, but Sept. 4 might as well be 2004.
Nobody will get handled Sunday. In one corner, we have the best defense in football. In the other we have the best receivers in football and, until he injured his calf, the best quarterback.
About that calf: Aaron Rodgers is the master of lateral movement, finding space, creating time, always looking for receivers and invariably finding them. The calf limited his mobility last week against Dallas, but his arm was enough. As good as the Seahawks are, it’s tough to envision them stuffing Green Bay receivers Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and rookie Davante Adams.
It’s also tough to envision the Packers scoring enough to win. As the work of Seattle’s defensive backs attests, they’re not fully human. They’re something more.
The game comes with a Karma factor. The Seahawks dumped Percy Harvin three months ago for being Percy Harvin. If they hadn’t been able to trade him, they would have cut him. That took a little courage. Karma likes courage.
Indianapolis 33, NEW ENGLAND 31
The Patriots handled the Colts on Nov. 16. Brady used a weapon he has since abandoned: the handoff. The Patriots rushed for 246 yards. It was a physical mismatch, like a dad playing ball with his kid in the driveway. Indianapolis, however, was without tackle Arthur Jones. He’ll play Sunday.
Brady was what you want in a quarterback last week in New England’s 35-31 victory against Baltimore. The Ravens came out doing everything right. Brady allowed them to finish and, when he had to, made the game his. He won with his arm, with his poise and with a lateral to Julian Edelman.
So why pick the underdogs? There are teams that become special when the postseason begins, and this becomes their time. The Colts are one of them. They beat Cincinnati by 16 in the Wild Card round and last week cruised past the Broncos by 11.
Luck is 25 but plays with a veteran’s poise and savvy. His talent is undeniable, and he could be the league’s best quarterback as soon as next season.
He will slice up the New England defense, which often looked slow against the Ravens.
To win Sunday, Luck has to be better than Brady. That’s a terrible assignment. But it’s the only chance the Colts have. Back to the dad-kid-driveway analogy; this time the kid wins.