Yes, I am officially in mourning over the fact that the Steelers didn’t make the playoffs after winning the Super Bowl last year. They’ve already lost their special-teams coach, but they’ll need to do some work on the defense and the O-line for next year. Big Ben Roethlisberger can rescue the team from the brink of disaster, but better not to get there in the first place.
But just because my Steelers will be watching from their homes doesn’t mean I won’t follow suit, at least as much as I can while doing my NARN show this afternoon. The next couple of weeks, I’ll have open-thread posts up on both Saturday and Sunday to cover the playoff games and set my picks. I finished the season 61-35, which is a better percentage than a few of the playoff teams have this weekend. I usually have more trouble picking playoff winners, so let’s see how I do today.
- NY Jets at Cincinnati – Who would have guessed six weeks ago that the New York team in the playoffs would be the one with the rookie QB? The Jets had a hot hand at the end of the season, while the Bengals suffered injuries and a crushing unexpected death in the family. They limped into the playoffs. Marvin Lewis had them overperforming earlier in the season, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to do it today. I’ll pick the Jets 24-13 in an upset.
- Philadelphia at Dallas – Again, I have to go with the hot hand. Dallas and Tony Romo had their best December in years, while the Eagles got blown out by the Cowboys last week when they arguably had more to gain from a win than Dallas did, or at least more to lose in a loss. Expect the Eagles to play better in the late game, but the Cowboys should win again, 31-24.