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2012 NBA Playoff Predictions: Will The King Get A Ring?

Seeing red at the United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls.

I know it’s unfair to post these picks after six of the eight first round series have already tipped off, but I still wanted to get my prognostications out there. I have the benefit of knowing the awful, depressing, monumental, history-changing news that Derrick Rose will miss the rest of the NBA playoffs with a torn ACL. Pardon me while I cry… Here are my picks:

Eastern Conference

FIRST ROUND

Bulls over 76ers in 6

Heat over Knicks in 4

Pacers over Magic in 6

Celtics over Hawks in 7

SEMIFINALS

Bulls over Celtics in 7

Heat over Pacers in 6

FINALS

Heat over Bulls in 5

Western Conference

FIRST ROUND

Spurs over Jazz in 5

Thunder over Mavericks in 5

Lakers over Nuggets in 5

Grizzlies over Clippers in 7

SEMIFINALS

Spurs over Grizzlies in 7

Thunder over Lakers in 6

FINALS

Thunder over Spurs in 6

NBA FINALS

Heat over Thunder in 6

Finals MVP: LeBron James

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Third Time’s The Charm?: A Work In Progress’ 2012 MLB Predictions

Will Busch Stadium host the World Series for a second straight year?

As always, I’m late getting my predictions out. But, a week after Opening Day, here are my picks for the 2012 season:

NL Central

1 St. Louis Cardinals – 92-70

2 Milwaukee Brewers – 86-76

3 Cincinnati Reds – 84-78

4 Pittsburgh Pirates – 72-90

5 Chicago Cubs – 68-94

6 Houston Astros – 61-101

Yes, Albert Pujols no longer plays in St. Louis, but I believe the Cardinals are the class of the NL Central. I think they’ll win the division thanks to their pitching depth (rotation and bullpen), which includes super-prospect Shelby Miller, who I expect to see in the big leagues by mid-season.

I’m not buying the Reds. I don’t trust a team that will rely on Scott Rolen and Ryan Ludwick in the middle of the batting order. I also expect at least one of their starters (most likely Johnny Cueto) to miss significant time with a Dusty Baker caused injury. If a team other than the Cardinals is going to win the Central, it’s going to be the Brewers. Even without Prince, they have the rotation to compete deep into the season.

NL East

1 Philadelphia Phillies – 94-68

2 Washington Nationals* – 89-73

3 Miami Marlins – 87-75

4 Atlanta Braves – 86-76

5 New York Mets – 80-82

It was tempting to go with either the Nats or the Marlins, but in the end, it was just too hard to pick against Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. No one is sure what the Phillies will get from Ryan Howard or Chase Utley this season, and the NL East is one of the deepest divisions in baseball, so it won’t be a cake walk for the five-time defending division champs.

With the addition of a second wild card spot, I’d be shocked if two NL East teams don’t make the playoffs. I like the Nats to earn one of the Wild Cards and make the playoffs for the first time since moving to Washington. The top three in their rotation (Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez) stacks up with any team in baseball. Strasburg gets all the attention, but Zimmermann is one the best young pitchers in the National League. Washington’s lineup has some holes, but I expect uber-prospect Bryce Harper to fill one of them by July.

NL West

1 Arizona Diamondbacks – 93-61

2 San Francisco Giants* – 88-74

3 Colorado Rockies – 81-81

4 Los Angeles Dodgers – 80-82

5 San Diego Padres – 75-87

I think last year’s surprise playoff team is even better this season. Their rotation was boosted through the trade for Trevor Cahill, and by the end of the season, I expect both Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs to be pitching in the big leagues. With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder now in the AL, I believe Justin Upton is one of the five best players in the NL, and he’s in great position to win his first MVP award.

With their rotation, the Giants will definitely be in the hunt for the division crown late into the season, and I believe they’ll grab one of the two wild card slots. If San Francisco merely had an above average lineup, they’d be one of the best teams in the baseball, alas their position players leave much to be desired. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Rockies or the Dodgers compete for the division and a wild card spot.

NL Awards

MVP – Justin Upton, ARZ

Cy Young – Cole Hamels, PHI

Rookie of the Year – Trevor Bauer, ARZ

AL East

1 New York Yankees – 96-66

2 Tampa Bay Rays* – 94-68

3 Boston Red Sox – 91-71

4 Toronto Blue Jays – 86-76

5 Baltimore Orioles – 68-94

This is the best division in baseball. I will be utterly shocked if two teams from the AL East don’t make the playoffs, and I won’t be surprised if they claim both wild card spots. I think the Yankees will edge the Rays, who will end up earning a wild card. The Red Sox and Blue Jays should both be competing for the playoffs late into the season.

AL Central

1 Detroit Tigers – 93-69

2 Cleveland Indians – 81-81

3 Kansas City Royals – 78-84

4 Chicago White Sox – 74-88

5 Minnesota Twins – 70-92

The Tigers should have no problem winning this division, I will be pretty surprised if the Royals, Indians or White Sox give Detroit a run for its money. The only interesting thing to watch is whether any other team in the division finishes over .500.

AL West

1 Texas Rangers – 95-67

2 Los Angeles Angels* – 94-68

3 Oakland A’s – 75-87

4 Seattle Mariners – 68-94

This should be an epic battle between Texas and Los Angeles. Both teams should make the playoffs, but they’ll be fighting all year to win the division and avoid playing a one-game wild card playoff. Behind their star-studded lineup, deep pitching rotation and solid bullpen, I like the Rangers to make the World Series and finally win a championship, fighting off some demons from the past two seasons.

AL Awards

MVP – Robinson Cano, NYY

Cy Young – David Price, TB

Rookie of the Year – Matt Moore, TB

NL Playoffs

Wild Card

Giants over Nationals

NLDS

Giants over Phillies

Cardinals over Diamondbacks

NLCS

Cardinals over Giants

AL Playoffs

Wild Card

Angels over Rays

ALDS

Yankees over Angels

Rangers over Tigers

ALCS

Rangers over Yankees

World Series

Rangers over Cardinals

Hey, last year’s World Series was a classic, why not do it again?

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2012 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate its Stanley Cup victory in June 2010.

I’ll stick with my preseason prediction of the Penguins taking home the Stanley Cup, but I don’t think I still see the Kings becoming Western Conference champs. As always, the NHL playoffs should be scintillating. I’m especially excited for the Penguins/Flyers and Red Wings/Predators first round match-ups. Here are my picks:

Eastern Conference

FIRST ROUND

Rangers over Senators in 7

Bruins over Capitals in 5

Devils over Panthers in 6

Penguins over Flyers in 6

SEMIFINALS

Rangers over Devils in 7

Penguins over Bruins in 7

FINALS

Penguins over Rangers in 6

Western Conference

FIRST ROUND

Canucks over Kings in 6

Blues over Sharks in 6

Blackhawks over Coyotes in 7

Predators over Red Wings in 7

SEMIFINALS

Canucks over Blackhawks in 7

Predators over Blues in 6

FINALS

Predators over Canucks in 7

Stanley Cup Final

Penguins over Predators in 6

Conn Smythe: Sidney Crosby

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Super Bowl XLVI Predictions, Proclomations, Educated Guesses and Random Thoughts

Salsa Time

Victor Cruz will have a big game. The Patriots’ secondary is below average and Cruz should be able to take advantage of being defended by wide-receiver-turned-safety Julian Edelman. He will find the endzone at least once, and he will salsa. It will be awesome. The question is, will NBC pipe in salsa music again if Cruz starts dancing? Cruz is my dark-horse pick for Super Bowl MVP, I’m thinking 8 catches, 150 yards and 1 TD.

Homer Alert

Former Wisconsin Badger Travis Beckum will come up with a big grab for a first down. With the Pats devoting their attention to Cruz, Nicks, Mannigham and Ballard, Beckum (a very poor man’s Aaron Hernandez) will find himself open in a big situation. A side note: If the Giants win, Beckum will be the first Super Bowl champion I ever saw order a sandwich at 1 a.m. After the Badgers got their ass kicked by Penn State in 2008, I ran into Beckum at Charley’s Subs in Madison (Good food by the way, but now closed). I was surprised to find out he has a very high pitched voice.

Lame Joke Alert

It will probably in your best interest to avoid Twitter or lame friends at halftime, unless you want to read/hear hundreds of variations of “Madonna is old jokes.” On the contrary, I have no problem with jokes about Madonna’s frightening chiseled arms, or her odd, on-again-off-again British accent. Oh, and I’m sure we’ll all hear a lot of “Kelly Clarkson is fat jokes” during the National Anthem. Just tell those people to shut the fuck up. If you’re going to make fun of Clarkson, feel free to mention that she’s a Ron Paul supporter.

Don’t Doubt THE GRONK

Rob Gronkowski will play, and he’ll be perfectly fine. Have you seen THE GRONK? Have you heard THE GRONK speak? The guy is a freak. HE’S THE GRONK. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t feel pain. I think we saw a lot of gamesmanship from the Pats the last two weeks, but I’m sure the Giants have been game planning as if Gronkowski is 100 percent healthy.

And yes, I have a irrational love for THE GRONK. He led my fantasy to team to first place after I picked him on waivers for five bucks.

Peyton Fatigue

Between his brother starting for the Giants and the game taking place in the stadium he helped build, a player who took zero snaps for a 2-14 team will get a lot of attention during the big game. Expect NBC to show more than a few Peyton reaction shots, while Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth debate a couple different Peyton-centric topics, like: Eli vs Peyton, Brady vs Peyton, Luck vs Peyton, Irsay vs Peyton, and where does Peyton play, if at all, in 2012? Don’t be surprised if Peyton is accidentally named MVP of Super Bowl XLVI.

Sidenote on Jim Irsay. Seriously, that guy runs an NFL franchise worth over a billion dollars? Have you seen his tweets? Here’s an example:

@JimIrsay Some of u guys sending ur negative hate will only get love n return,but ur off base; Peyton and I are close n have great love for each other

Cn u blieve ths guy?

Super Bowl Drinking Game Words and Phrases Sure To Make You Ask Who Won On Monday Morning

Peyton Manning

Jim Irsay

Re-Match

Sprained Ankle

Salsa

David Tyree

Legacy

A Super Bowl MVP Surprise

Four of the last five Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks, but someone other than Eli Manning or Tom Brady will take home the award Sunday. I like Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks if the Giants win, Wes Welker or Aaron Hernandez if the Pats win. And my Dexter Jackson Special long shots are Corey Webster and Julian Edelman (he has a chance to make big plays on offense, defense and special teams).

Are We In For A Super Let Down?

It’s been nine years since the last Super Bowl blowout, when the Buccaneers beat the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII. Not only that, we’ve been treated to some all-time great Super Bowls recently (Pats over Panthers, Giants over Patriots, Steelers over Cardinals). It really seems like we’re due for a dud, doesn’t it? It looked like we were in for a blowout for awhile last year. The Packers took a 21-3 lead late the in the first half, but the Steelers were able to cut the deficit to three in the fourth quarter, and ended up getting the ball late in the fourth quarter, down by six, with a chance to march down the field for a game-winning touchdown. With all the hype over the re-match, and almost everyone believing we’re in for a close, tight game, it just seems like we’re being set up for a gigantic let down.

Ewww, There’s Politics In My Super Bowl

Since we’re in the middle of a heated election cycle, I highly doubt Al Michaels will be able to resist infusing some of his conservative politics into the broadcast. He has a history. I know things can get pretty busy prepping for the Super Bowl, so here’s an easy one Al:

After Eli Manning completes a pass to tight end Bear Pascoe, the seventh Giants player to haul in a pass: “Eli is spreading the wealth out there tonight, President Obama would be proud!”

Thanks Again, Jerry

Former Bear Mark Anderson will record at least two sacks of Eli Manning. Why will it happen? Just to piss off Bears fans.

Please, No Goats

There is really nothing worse than watching someone fail on the biggest stage. Alright, that’s not exactly true, I have no trouble watching Tom Brady, Tony Romo or LeBron James mess up in big moments. But I hope that no one becomes famous on Sunday for all the wrong reasons. I want another David Tyree, not another Kyle Williams.

Regression To The Mean

The Patriots defense has played very well in the playoffs, much better than they did in the regular season, when they ranked 31st in the NFL in total defense. But you have to consider who they played. In the golden age of the quarterback, the Patriots reached the Super Bowl by defeating Tim Tebow and Joe Flacco at home.

As we’ve heard over a hundred times the last two weeks, Eli Manning is now elite, and he’ll present a much tougher challenge. Behind Eli, Nicks, Cruz and Manningham, the Giants will be able put up points on the Patriots’ questionable secondary.

Deja Vu All Over Again

I’m picking the Giants to win, 31-28.

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Revisiting My NFL Predictions and Revised Playoff Picks: Part Three, Super Bowl XLVI and Awards

SUPER BOWL XLVI

Preseason Pick:

Packers over Ravens

Revised Prediction:

Packers 31 Ravens 20

I’m not going to change a thing. I think the Packers ride home field advantage to another Super Bowl, where Aaron Rodgers wins the game’s MVP again as the Packers win back-to-back Super Bowls for the second time in their history.

POSTSEASON AWARD PICKS (Preseason picks in italics):

NFL MVP: Aaron Rodgers, GB – 4,643 yards, 44 TDs, 6 INTs, 68.3 comp %

Preseason Pick: Aaron Rodgers, GB

You really can’t go wrong picking Rodgers or Drew Brees as the league’s MVP. They both had outstanding seasons, two of the best season-long performances in NFL history. You really have to nit pick to choose one over the other. In the end, I went with Rodgers because he threw less interceptions and won two more games, including the head-to-head match-up between the two quarterbacks way back on the season’s opening Thursday. Rodgers’ 44-6 TD-to-INT ratio was just out of this world good.

Honorable Mentions: Drew Brees, NO; Tom Brady, NE

Offensive Player of the Year: Drew Brees, NO – 5,476 yards, 46 TDs, 14 INTs 71.2 comp %

Preseason Pick: Rodgers

I hedged my bets by picking Brees as the offensive player of the year. Brees put up tremendous numbers, breaking Dan Marino’s record for passing yards in a season and his own record for completion percentage.

Honorable Mentions: Rodgers; Brady, NE; Calvin Johnson, DET; Matthew Stafford, DET; Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX; Rob Gronkowski, NE; Jimmy Graham, NO

That would be T-Sizzle, from Ball Hard University of course…

Defensive Player of the Year: Terrell Suggs, BAL – 70 tackles, 14 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 2 INTs

Another tough call here. I ended up going with Suggs because his numbers, 14 sacks and 7 forced fumbles, were too great to ignore. T-Sizzle made big play after big play this season, helping the Ravens to 12-4 record and AFC North division crown. 49ers’ lineman Justin Smith was also phenomenal this season, and was a big reason why the Niners had so much success his season. He would also be a deserving winner of this award.

Preseason Pick: Ndamukong Suh, DET

Honorable Mentions: Justin Smith, SF; Jared Allen, MIN; Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG; DeMarcus Ware, DAL; Darrelle Revis, NYJ; Jonathan Joseph, HOU

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton, CAR – 4051 passing yards, 21 TDs, 706 rushing yards, 14 TDs

Preseason Pick: Mark Ingram, NO

This was a no-brainer. Newton had one of the best rookie seasons of all time. Newton has out of this world talent. I’m not sure there has ever been a quarterback with as much potential as Newton.

Honorable Mentions: A.J. Green, CIN; Julio Jones, ATL; Andy Dalton, CIN; DeMarco Murray, DAL

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Von Miller, DEN-  64 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

Preseason Pick: J.J. Watt, HOU

Another really tough call here, this time between Miler and 49ers’ linebacker Aldon Smith. In the end, I went with Miller because he was the best player on a playoff team (be it as it may, an 8-8 playoff team). Tebow gets all the pub, but Von Miller was outstanding this season. Without Miller, the Broncos are likely out of the playoffs.

Honorable Mentions: Smith, SF; Watt, HOU

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Revisiting My NFL Predictions and Revised Playoff Picks: Part Two, NFC

Preseason Playoff Picks:

WILD CARD ROUND:

Falcons over Rams

Eagles over Bucs

DIVISIONAL ROUND:

Packers over Falcons

Saints over Eagles

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:

Packers over Saints

I didn’t do as well with my NFC picks, I picked five of the eight playoff teams correctly. Picking the Bucs to earn a wild card slot really damages my limited credibility. I knew a big reason they won 10 games in 2010 was their incredibly easy schedule. But still, I saw a very talented roster led by quarterback Josh Freeman that I assumed would only get better with another year of experience. However, when the Buccaneer ship started to sink, that team flat out quit. I’m pretty sure the Colts would have beat them by four or five touchdowns if they had played in week 17. Raheem Morris deserved to lose his job, a coach just can’t let things get that ugly, that quick. A quick aside, there are rumors that the Bucs are looking at former Packers and Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman to replace Morris. Meh, that would be an uninspiring hire.

Actually, I’m not sure, picking the Rams to win the NFC West might be more embarrassing. Again, I saw a young team that barely missed out on the playoffs (albeit with a losing record), led by a young, talented quarterback, that should have only gotten better with a year’s experience. Alas, Sam Bradford couldn’t stay healthy and the Rams never got on track. I also didn’t expect the NFC West to feature one of the best teams in the NFL in 2011. The Jim Harbaugh-led 49ers were great from start to finish, and the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks never had a chance.

I don’t regret my Eagles pick. The Eagles brought in a ton of new talent this season that didn’t really mesh until it was too late. That’s not all too surprising, considering the lockout washed out the offseason. Philly is expected to fire offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator (great idea, right?) Juan Castillo and replace him with Steve Spagnoulo, former Rams head coach and defensive coordinator of the 2007 Super Bowl champion Giants. If they draft or sign a legit linebacker or two, watch out for the Eagles in 2012.

Revised Playoff Picks:

WILD CARD ROUND:

Falcons over Giants

Saints over Lions

DIVISIONAL ROUND:

Packers over Giants

Saints over 49ers

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:

Packers over Saints

As with my AFC picks, I’m sticking with my preseason conference championship pick, Packers over Saints. The Saints have looked sensational lately, they’ve been playing as well as any team in the NFL since their baffling loss to the Rams in week eight. While the Packers have cruised to a outstanding 15-1 record, one can argue that they have never looked as dominant as the Saints have since the team’s bye in week 11. The Saints have not just been beating fellow NFC playoff teams, they’ve been embarrassing them. They’ve beaten the Giants by 25, the Lions by 14 and the Falcons by 29.

However, all three of those games came at the Super Dome. If the Saints are to make it to Indianapolis, they’ll most likely have to win two road games, in San Francisco and Green Bay (Well, not if the Giants or Falcons knock off the Packers, but we’ll get to that later…).

I think a Saints/49ers match-up would be close and entertaining, but I like the Saints to win. The Niners defense, led by All-Pro lineman Justin Smith and linebackers Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman, has been superb this season, but San Fran just won’t have the offense to keep pace with Drew Brees and company.

If the Saints end up playing the Packers in the conference championship game, I like the Packers to ride their home field advantage to a victory. I tend not to believe that home field advantage plays a huge role in determining a winner, but I believe it does in this circumstance. The Saints are so dominant in the Super Dome, and their offense is best in an indoor, controlled atmosphere. While the Packers’ offense is best in dome conditions, I think the Saints would be two or three point favorites in a home game against the Packers. But, Lambeau is Lambeau. The frozen tundra, where the Packers have just lost two playoff games in its history (2003 to the Falcons and 2008 to the Giants).

The Packers/Saints game in week one was sensational, and I believe a re-match will be as well. I like the Packers in a tight game, just like week one. I just can’t see the Saints defeating the Packers at Lambeau in January. I would love to be proved wrong.

On the other hand, I would not be shocked to see the Packers lose in the divisional round against the Giants, or even the Falcons. I think the Giants especially pose dangerous match-up problems for the Packers.

To beat Green Bay, you must be able to generate an effective pass rush with your front four. You can’t afford to sacrifice coverage by constantly blitzing linebackers and safeties against Aaron Rodgers. With Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka, the Giants definitely have the ability to do that. Throw in the fact that the Packers enter the playoffs with an injury-riddled offensive line, Rodgers could face a lot of pressure in a potential match-up with the Giants.

The Giants offense should also put some fear into the Packers’ faithful. The Packers’ defense gave up the most passing yards in the history of the NFL this season. Eli Manning has entered the elite level of quarterbacks and, if they’re all healthy, Manning will be working with one of the best recruiting corps in the NFL (Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham).

The Packers have also had trouble stopping the run, and just stopping offenses in general, as they forced the least amount of punts of any team this season. The Giants haven’t run a ton this season, but with a solid O-line, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants should have the ability to hold the ball and control the pace of the game.

All that said, I still believe the Packers will get to Super Bowl XLVI. Do I think they’ll defend their championship belt in Indy? I’ll post my Super Bowl and award picks soon.

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Revisiting My NFL Predictions and Revised Playoff Picks: Part One, AFC

Now that the NFL regular season is over, I thought I’d revisit the playoff and award predictions I made before week one, and see how silly they look now. This ended up being longer than I thought, so I’m going to break it up into three parts, 1. AFC 2. NFC 3. Super Bowl and Awards. (Previous picks are in italics.)

Preseason Picks:

WILD CARD ROUND:

Jets over Chargers

Ravens over Texans

DIVISIONAL ROUND:

Patriots over Jets

Ravens over Steelers

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:

Ravens over Patriots

I’m pretty happy with these picks. I got six of the eight AFC playoff teams right, missing on the two biggest surprises, the Bengals and the Broncos.

I actually had the Bengals going 2-14 to secure the coveted first pick in the NFL Draft. In my alternate prediction world, the Bengals would have picked Andrew Luck to be their franchise QB. As it turns out, they drafted their franchise quarterback in 2011. I had no idea Andy Dalton would be this good this quickly, even though I saw him carve up my Badgers in person during the 2011 Rose Bowl. The Bengals were paper tigers this season though, going 0-7 against playoff teams. They beat one team over .500, the 9-7 Titans.

I had the Broncos 5-11, and they were a few Tebow miracles and Marion Barber acts of stupidity from actually finishing with that record. Tebow gets all the pub, but linebacker Von Miller was the true revelation this season in Denver. He’ll be stud for years to come.

Revised Playoff Picks:

WILD CARD ROUND:

Steelers over Broncos

Texans over Bengals

DIVISIONAL ROUND:

Patriots over Steelers

Ravens over Texans

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:

Ravens over Patriots

Even after 17 weeks of action, I still don’t really know what to make of the AFC, so I didn’t make many changes to my preseason picks. Thanks to some huge flaws (i.e. the Patriots’ defense) or major injuries (i.e. Matt Schaub and Mario Williams), every team is vulnerable.

The Steelers probably have too many injuries to too many important players. I’m not really including Rashard Mendenhall, I don’t think Isaac Redman is a significant downgrade, Mendenhall is overrated. Big Ben and LaMarr Woodley are nursing injuries, and Ryan Clark will miss the game in Denver due to a blood disorder.

The Texans have just been decimated by injuries. Schaub and Mario Williams are out for the season, and Andre Johnson’s health status is still uncertain. I just can’t see a team quarterbacked by T.J. Yates or Jake Delhomme going very far in the playoffs, even if they do have my man J.J. Watt anchoring the defensive line. If the Texans had the services of Schaub, Williams and Johnson, I would have loved their chances to make the Super Bowl this season. It’s really a shame, but kudos to the franchise for making the playoffs for the first time in its history.

The Patriots’ defense is just awful, there’s just no way around it. As great as Tom Brady and the Pats offense is, I just have a hard time seeing New England making it through the AFC without being betrayed by its porous defense.

I’ll stick with my pick as the Baltimore Ravens as AFC Champions, even if I still have many doubts about Joe Flacco and the rest of the Baltimore offense. Flacco showed me a lot in the Ravens’ comeback win at Heinz Field this year, but its still really hard for me to trust Flacco. My pick of the Ravens has a hell of lot more to do with Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarrett Johnson, Lardarius Webb and the rest of the Ravens defense.

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