“So who do you like this week?”
“No way- awesome!”
We’re not even planning this. It’s not like when we worked together at the Grizzlies, we called each other up in the morning and agreed on matching outfits to freak people out. I promise we didn't do that. I still maintain it’s the reason Jerry West left for a life of solitude in West Virginia.
But seriously, what the hell? How is it possible for two people to agree on the outcome of eight consecutive games? This is approaching the time I went 0-16 one week in a pick ‘em pool. That was truly magical.
The sad thing is, we’re not even doing that well. If we were 8-0, that’d be one thing. But we’re 4-4 (or so I think, I’m too lazy to look it up. That’s how much I care about you, the reader).
So where does this leave us? I’ll tell you where: freaked the hell out, that’s where.
Anyway, on to the picks:
Philadelphia at Arizona
I took Philadelphia over Minnesota in the first round of the playoffs because, hell, someone had to win, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of betting on Tarvaris Jackson. And I took them over the Giants because, and I quote, “the Giants just seem a little too pleased with themselves”.
In other words, in both games of the playoffs so far, I didn’t really pick Philly as much as I picked against their opponent. And guess what, I’m doing it again.
I don’t care if they did dismantle the Panthers last week, I just refuse to believe that come Sunday, I’ll be living in a world where the Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl. Then again, I already live in a world where Mickey Rourke could win an Oscar for portraying a pro wrestler, so who the hell knows.
But I don’t see it. I think this Philly team is peaking at the right time. When you consider the confluence of events that was necessary in Week 17 for them to even make the playoffs, and then taking down the defending champs, I just think it’s shaping up as their year in the NFC. Eagles it is.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Before the season, if someone had told you there was a legitimate chance the Super Bowl would pit the Arizona Cardinals against a team starting Joe Flacco at quarterback, would you have believed it? And more to the point, would you even watch the game?
At any rate, I’m taking Pittsburgh, and here’s why.
In 18 games this season, Baltimore has had a 100-yard rusher exactly three times: against Miami, Houston and a Dallas team that was in the midst of imploding. Are they going to make it four against a Pittsburgh defense that’s just as good as theirs? No. So now you’re counting on Joe Flacco to win the game for you.
And is Joe Flacco going to march into Pittsburgh and single-handedly pick apart the Steelers defense in the AFC title game?
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s running game is peaking at the right time, and they’re actually smart enough to throw away from Ed Reed. And, realistically, they’ll really only need 17 points to win this game. So I’m going with Pittsburgh.
Bill Simmons asked a guy on his podcast to compare the four remaining playoff teams to The Sopranos characters. Since nothing of me is original (even that line), I’ll use the same concept and compare the last four playoff teams to The Office characters.
They’ve got to be Michael Scott. They’re the biggest name left on this stage. They’ve got to be considered the favorites. And you know what, with all the Big Ben concussions piling up, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start acting like the Dunder Mifflin Area Manager sometime soon, mistaking a concierge for a prostitute and throwing lame parties in his hotel during Super Bowl week.
If I said anything other than Creed Bratton, I’d be doing both a disservice. They’re scary. They’re aloof. They never score. They’re always on the defensive. I wouldn’t be shocked if Creed killed a man, just like Ray Lewis.
The Cardinals are Dwight Schrute. Kurt Warner seems to have the same straight-laced adherence to the rules that Dwight possesses. He also seems like he gets laughed at a lot in the locker room. Plus, the Cardinals went into a multiple week tailspin after qualifying for the playoffs, just like Dwight did after Angela got engaged. Lastly, head coach Ken Whisenhunt used to be an assistant in Pittsburgh, just like Dwight is assistant to the regional manager, Michael Scott.
They’ve got to be Jim Halpert. They’re plain, ordinary. Neither has any qualities that make them stand out, but they’ve somehow made it work for them. The Eagles have also pined over the Super Bowl trophy for multiple seasons, coming close quite a few times, just like Jim did with Pam. At this point, the only way the Eagles will keep the analogy alive is with a Super Bowl title.
And with that, the picks: Pittsburgh takes out Baltimore, just like Michael Scott could fire Creed if he had to. Philadelphia torments Arizona, just like Jim does with Dwight. Sometimes my friends, it’s just that easy.
So there you have it. Every single game picked the exact same way so far. And what’s even better, Pittsburgh vs. Arizona will end up being the Super Bowl, we’ll both pick Pitt and this entire playoff preview will have been an entire waste of time for us to write, for you (Hi Dad!) to read, and our first $1 bet to end in a draw.