Handicapping the 2012 NFL Playoffs

The so-called experts will tell you that picking football games comes down to understanding schemes and match-ups. They’ll break down the magical “coach’s film” to identify tendencies and weaknesses. Then they’ll make their picks and still get more than half of them wrong.

I, on the other hand, am one of the last honest prognosticators in America. I will confess that I have no idea what schemes are. I don’t know what each player is supposed to do, beyond fat ones shoving and skinny ones running. I have no idea how people really play football because my Mommy wouldn’t allow me to play football.

That said, I’m still a great predictor of sporting event outcomes as a result of my proprietary system. This system involves me picking teams based on my ill-informed opinions of their home cities.

You can scoff all you want, but when I put the system in place way back in 2010 for the (boring football) World Cup I was right on just about every score, including an early prediction of Kim Jong-il’s death.

So, let’s get to it, starting with the Awesome Football Conference:

Cincinnati Bengals - I hate to begin on a down note, but Cincinnati hasn’t done anything good since God talked to Dr. Johnny Fever. Their most famous cuisine is crappy chili dumped on pasta. Their airport is actually in Kentucky. Think about that one – Cincinnati is so lame they have to borrow an airport from Kentucky.

Houston Texans – As a liberal New Englander I always struggle to say nice things about Texas, which isn’t really fair because what have they done to me except spawn the worst president in the history of everything? So I’ll just say that I really love those ‘70s Astros uniforms, which look identical to every outfit I wore in my elementary school pictures.

Tough call, but I’m giving this one to Cincinnati. At least they put beans in their crappy chili.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Now we’re talking! A tough blue-collar city that likes drinking American beer and making steel. My kind of city. I was a big Steelers fan in the ‘70s – not because I was a bandwagon jumper, mind you – but because I was a huge Village People fan.

Denver Broncos – Another great city, I’m a big supporter of Denver and the Boulder area. I like the sunshine, the thin air and the western vibe. The mountains are beautiful and the people are eerily friendly. Best of all, they keep all of their religious nutjobs corralled in Colorado Springs, so we don’t have to worry about any religious shenanigans at Mile High Stadium.

I’m taking Pittsburgh because Denver kind of sucks at football.

New England Patriots – it’s not really fair that the Patriots get to represent 6 and a half of the best states in the nation. New Englanders, in addition to actually inventing America, created just about everything important to our culture: basketball, witches, lime rickeys, candlepin bowling and the epic “Foreplay/Long Time” jam.

The Pats will beat the Steelers in the second round. Tom & Bill & Mitch 4EVA XOXOXO

Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore is where I first enjoyed soft-shelled crabs and dippin’ dots (they were way ahead of the curve on futuristic ice cream). They have a wonderful inner harbor and a not-so-wonderful everything else. The good news is that it’s a much safer city now that both Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell are out of the game (RIP Prop Joe).

Baltimore will take down Cincinnati in round 2. All in the game.

The Pats will beat Baltimore to claim the AFC crown yet again.

Moving on to the Not-awesome Football Conference:

Detroit Lions – As the home to my 3rd favorite sub-genre of soul music (deep soul is #1, Philly soul is #2, Motown is #3) I have nothing but respect for Detroit. Best of all, it’s close to Ontario!

New Orleans Saints – New Orleans is a city that I want to like more than I actually do, but zydeco music is annoying, beignets are over-rated, chicory doesn’t belong in coffee, baby jesus doesn’t belong in cakes and cajun/creole food is not so great. Then again, it is the home of the great Remy Etienne LeBeau aka Gambit.

Sorry ‘Kid’ ‘Rock’, but New Orleans will beat Detroit.

Atlanta Falcons – The Coke factory. The Aquarium. The Ted. MARTA. Nice weather. Waffle Houses every quarter mile. Atlanta is clearly the best city south of D.C. and north of Miami. Best of all, my parents live in the sexily-named town of Cumming.

New York Giants – New York is one of the world’s greatest cities, so I have nothing bad to say about it. I won’t even mention the pervasive pee smell. But I will point out that both of the New Jersey teams suffer from the same I-think-my-crappy-quarterback-is-actually-good disease. And yes, I’m still bitter about 18-1.

The South will (briefly) rise again as Atlanta takes down the Giants.

San Francisco 49ers – San Fran is a great city, as the hometown of Boz Scaggs must be. But it has surprisingly awful weather and if you drink too many Irish coffees at the Buena Vista you’ll have a really rough red-eye flight home.

San Fran will beat Atlanta in round 2.

Green Bay Packers – I was crushed (and a little nauseous) when I discovered that those cheesehead hats are NOT made of real cheese. I honestly have no idea what or where Wisconsin is, although I’ve heard that it’s closer to civilization (Chicago) then I previously thought. Beers and brats are good, too.

Obviously, brats beat beignets and beers beat hurricanes, so Green Bay will eliminate New Orleans.

San Fran will upset Green Bay to win the NFC title.

The Patriots will face off against the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVI.

There will be a lot of talk about Joe Montana and Tom Brady.

The Patriots will fall behind early and rally for the win.

People will be sad when they realize that they spent thousands of dollars to winter in Indianapolis.

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