Ed: Welcome to the playoffs — and a new format for our NFL prediction threads. Jazz has been doing a lot of bragging about his record filling in for me on a few Sundays. I went 8-1 in my final week to finish the season at 55-37-1, a winning percentage that would have gotten me a playoff spot in some divisions this year. Jazz went eleventy-seven and three, or something — so now we’ll be partnering on predictions in the playoffs and in future seasons. That means, of course, that we’ll have the Steelers and Jets winning every single week, but …
Jazz: This is a great idea, since I very much enjoyed the chance to fill in for Ed this season and do some of the picks. So for that, I give him full credit. (Though if you compare our records, that may be about all he gets credit for when it comes to football prognostication.) Yes, next season will be filled with accurate predictions of NY Jets victories and hopeful calls along the same lines for the Steelers. I’m always willing to support the Steelers as long as they’re not playing Gang Green, so we can generally agree on those. As to this weekend’s playoff picture, I’ve promised not to publicly hold Ed’s somewhat … “victory challenged” predictive skills this year against him, so we’ll just write these picks of his off to youthful enthusiasm. Let’s do this thing.
Ed: All right, enough with the preliminaries — let’s get to today’s games. In the first game (4:35 pm ET, NBC), the Chiefs travel to Indianapolis to take on the AFC Central champion Colts. The Colts finished strong, beating KC on the road in week 16, but the Chiefs rested their starters last week and still nearly beat the playoff-bound Chargers. I’m picking the Chiefs to win this one on the road, 27-23.
Jazz: In the early game we find the Chiefs, who have certainly strung together a season record to be proud of. They started off 9-0, but have since managed to finish up at 11-5. That shows you the general arc of this team, and I don’t expect things to change. Plus, the Chiefs simply aren’t geared up to play in the brutal weather conditions of the Indianapolis, er… dome. So I’m taking the home team, with the Colts winning 31-17 in a relative blowout.
Ed: In tonight’s game (8:10 pm ET, NBC), the New Orleans Saints have to play in Philadelphia’s cold weather. The Eagles, at least, are hot — winning seven of their last eight with Nick Foles at QB. The Saints struggle away from the Superdome, only going 3-5 this season, and are not a cold-weather team. The line has Philly up by three, but I’ll predict a 31-21 win for the Eagles.
Jazz: For the late game, Ed has taken the Philadelphia Eagles. That would be an excellent choice if the Most Awful Fans in the League were actually allowed down on the field to pelt the Saints with ice balls, beer bottles and rocks. Unfortunately, the Iggles will be left to their own devices against one of the premier passing games in the league. The weather has already cleared in Philly, so it’s not going to be a Snow Bowl situation. The cold won’t prevent the air war from taking down the birds in a close match, so I’ll take the Saints over the Eagles in a lower scoring game, 24-14.