Overall: 170-94
Last Week: 3-1

Last week, I went 3-1 but lost the only game that mattered. I would gladly trade that meaningless 3-1 for a 1-3 record if it meant we got to watch Peyton Manning in another AFC Championship match—preferably against Tom Brady. But it was clear Peyton Manning was 60-65% with a partially torn quad.

Everyone knows we’re destined for a Super Bowl showcasing Patriots vs. Seahawks. And Bill Belicheat will uncover a new evil genius way to skirt the rules, but Tom Brady will still get all of the credit.

Because “clutch” exists. The thought makes me want to vomit. In two weeks, the likes of Bill Belicheat, Tom Brady, Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson will invade Arizona—where I currently reside. I hate these people with a fevered passion. I think I will have to leave for a while so I am not within 30 minutes of them at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Since the Super Bowl slate seems inevitable, I’ll throw caution to the wind and put any ounce of power I possess into making the arguments on how the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts can pull off the upset win. Why? Because the thought exercise will make me happier than continuing to mope about seeing more of the Patriots and Seahawks. I don’t care if I get both games wrong this week. Hopefully there’s some karmic influence that can create an Aaron Rodgers vs. Andrew Luck dream Super Bowl.

Packers @ Seahawks

If Aaron Rodgers were 100% healthy, I could find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the Packers against the Seahawks and Coach Double Rainbow (Pete Carroll). But without complete mobility to escape the pressure of Seattle’s quick defensive front, Green Bay will struggle to convert on 3rd Down. The Packers will need to give Eddie Lacy a healthy dose of carries to knock Seattle around. James Starks also needs to be involved to provide a change of pace and quick burst on screen passes. And just when the Seahawks can’t take the abuse of being run ragged, Green Bay should start Randall Cobb in the backfield and shift him all around to gift him separation and the opportunity to make plays.

Aaron Rodgers is great, but executing a lethal running attack is the way the Packers win. Mike McCarthy may not have the commitment to stick with the run if it falters for any stretch, but a limited Aaron Rodgers needs to be limited and simply pick his spots. When the ball is near the goal line, only then should Rodgers risk scrambling. The way Rodgers performed last week against the Cowboys was admirable, but that was the Dallas defense playing a lot of prevent packages. Seattle will blitz and put pressure on Green Bay’s offensive line, which means Rodgers needs to have a quick trigger with smart decision-making skills.

It’s not impossible, but a Green Bay win in an uphill climb. The Packers need more than just Aaron Rodgers to win this game. Focus on a strong, punishing running attack should do wonders to help keep the game close—especially limiting Seattle’s chances to score more than 24+ points. The recipe is there if the supporting cast can step up, but Green Bay can’t avoid many mistakes.

Win: Green Bay Packers, 26-23

Colts @ Patriots

Andrew Luck was the silver lining to last week’s unfortunate outcome for an injured Peyton Manning. As a franchise, the Colts couldn’t be in more capable hands than Andrew the Giant. Watching Andrew Luck play is a different experience than any other QB. Luck oozes a certain intensity and physicality that’s typical from a linebacker. While the confidence is much-deserved, the decision-making isn’t always rational as Luck attempts to rocket passes into tight windows through multiple defenders. Just like his face, it isn’t always pretty. Indianapolis was lucky that Luck’s interceptions were glorified punts.

It didn’t cost the team the game, but it might this week against New England.

In order for Indianapolis to win, Andrew Luck needs to play his greatest game ever. New England’s defense has a stout front line, versatile linebackers, and a Hall of Fame cornerback that enables Bill Belicheat to be creative and scheme different ways to dissect an offense. Luck needs to kill the Patriots scrambling with his legs and using his physical prowess to simply overpower everyone.

Luck Slobber

Marshawn Lynch can have his Beast Mode, but Andrew Luck needs to unlock Caveman Mode.

“I’m pretty sure Luck spends his offseason training with grizzly bears, pulling salmon out of the White River with his horse teeth, and fueling Bigfoot sightings all over rural Indiana.” – Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Don’t be surprised if Andrew Luck steals a page out of Peyton Manning’s playbook by employing Peyton’s patented double-stiff arm—where he stuffs the football under his chin and just pushes everyone out of the way with both arms. I’m afraid Indianapolis played their best all-around game against Denver. A repeat performance against a stronger, healthier Patriots team seems so unlikely.

Along with Luck and luck, the Colts will need an inhuman performance from Daniel Herron. Running up the gut with a small RB that likes to call himself Boom will result in Vince Wilfork eating him whole and digesting his bones. Indianapolis needs to use their lateral quickness against New England’s linebackers instead of going right into the bellies of their fat defensive linemen.

The only time I’ve stood in an NFL stadium was November 19, 2005. It is now known as the 4th and 2 Game. With a few seconds before the two-minute warning and the Patriots up 34-28, Bill Belicheat didn’t want to give Peyton Manning the ball so Tom Brady went for it on 4th and 2 with a short pass to Kevin Faulk. Maybe it was a crazy call since New England was around the 30-yard line in their own territory.

But I would still defend that call. I was in that stadium. The feeling in that stadium was palpable. It didn’t matter what the distance was to score the touchdown. If you gave Peyton Manning the ball, he was driving the length of the field and he was scoring that touchdown. No one doubted it.

Once the Colts drove Kevin Faulk into the ground, Peyton Manning predictably drove the length and threw that TD for a Colts win, 35-34. History might repeat itself in this game. Even at this early stage, Andrew Luck has reached that point where the opponent is afraid what will happen when he has the ball. Anything can happen. Success or disaster is only a throw away.

Maybe, just maybe Andrew Luck can pull that horseshoe out of his ass.

Luck Yay!

Win: Indianapolis Colts, 35-34


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