It had been a while since I had seen the Cowboys on TV with my family. Now, although I am not a Cowboys fan (those of you who know me know where my allegiance lies), I do enjoy watching them lose and promptly mess with my dad about their misfortunes.
Thanksgiving was no different. Considering the Cowboys actually had a chance to win it but lost thanks to a missed field goal, and that they probably could have taken it into overtime had Jason Garrett elected to kick a field goal in place of a shanked punt, my satisfaction was glorious.
Then, as the post-screen graphic showed the Saints’ and Cowboys’ new records, I realized the almighty Cowboys are now 3-8. Chances of them making the playoffs are about as good as the Bills winning out the season. Not to mention, the Vikings are 4-7.
You see, these records reminded me of something I wrote a few weeks ago (actually it was my first column).
As an impressionable and wide-eyed young columnist, I predicted that the Cowboys and Vikings would have much better seasons than their 0-2 records indicated at the time:
“I believe the Vikings and Cowboys are the best 0-2 teams this season, and quite possibly in NFL history.” (Wow.)
Going back to what I mentioned earlier, if you were to believe that Minnesota and Dallas were to be winless at this point in the season, and surmise that it would be because “Brett was being Brett” (that is, throwing picks) and that the Dough Boy couldn’t coach his team to victory in Dallas, you would be correct… Both teams are stacked with offensive and defensive standouts and yet they haven’t been able to catch any breaks these past two weeks. However, I think that both teams have the talent and experience to overcome their unfortunate starts.
If Childress can convince Favre not to play like he’s in a Wrangler commercial, then the Vikings could easily dispatch the Lions and compete with the Jets these next two weeks… Dallas needs to place more confidence in the running game if they want to limit Romo’s turnover rate…. Wade Phillips needs to take control of the offense… If not, then you can be sure Jerry Jones won’t be a happy mayor, and he’ll be looking for a new sheriff if things don’t start changing in Dallas.
The Cowboys have a tough schedule against the Texans and Titans these next two weeks before they meet the Vikings in Week 6. We’ll see just how much things change in that time.”
Nothing much changed record-wise for the two teams, albeit both have new head coaches. To add insult to injury, I also made the bold statement that the Bucs and Chiefs “are the worst 2-0 teams this season and quite possibly NFL history.”
Boy, do I look good now! The Bucs and Chiefs are both 7-4 and the latter is first in its division.
With that sterling prognostication record in the background, I felt comfortable making picks for the NFC and AFC playoff spots and the Super Bowl winner:
Okay, we’ll start first with the AFC and the division winners, including their predicted record and seed.
North: (1) Steelers (13-3). Big Ben leads a late-season playoff surge to deny the Ravens the division title.
East: (2) Jets (13-3) Rex Ryan will not allow himself to be second to Belichick.
West: (3) Chiefs (11-5) Do I smell bandwagon? Alternatively, it could be the breath of fresh air that ex-Patriots GM Scott Pioli has used to reinvigorate the Chiefs. Could you have imagined the Chiefs being playoff contenders two years ago?
South: (4) Colts (10-6) Do you really think Peyton will give up this easily? He’s looked a little too human in recent weeks, so there’s gotta be some brilliant scheme cooking that noggin of his.
Wild Card: (5) Patriots (12-4) Tom Brady bursts into the playoffs just as how his golden locks burst out of his helmet.
(6) Ravens (12-4) Ray Lewis’ last hurrah?
For the NFC:
South: (1) Falcons (14-2) After beating the Ravens and the Pack, the Falcons do not let up and finish the season perched in first place.
East: (2) Eagles (12-4) Mike Vick’s Redemption Tour finishes the season atop the division.
North: (3) Packers (12-4) Rodgers and Matthews will not let the Bears get in the way the rest of the season.
West: (4) Rams (8-8) Eww. Maybe I’m a little too optimistic.
Wild Card: (5) Saints (12-4) Breesus saves season again for the Saints.
(6) Giants (10-6) Eli overcomes his growing pains and finishes the season strong.
Wild Card Round
AFC: (4) Colts vs. (5) Patriots: The filet mignon of the wild-card matches. Classic matchup, classic rivalry. Patriots win in a tough one.
(3) Chiefs vs. (6) Ravens: As if Ray Lewis would allow himself to lose to the Chiefs. I’m off the bandwagon. Ravens win.
NFC: (3) Packers vs. (6) Giants: The frozen tundra will stifle Eli and the Giants. Pack win.
(4) Rams vs. (5) Saints: With Sam Bradford flinging the ball like Kurt Warner, the Rams appear poised for success in future years. Make no mistake though, these Rams are a far cry from the “Greatest Show on Turf.” That distinction now belongs to Breesus and the Saints. New Orleans wins.
AFC: (1) Steelers vs. (6) Ravens: Age finally catches up with Ray Lewis and the Steelers win at home.
(2) Jets vs. (5) Patriots: Rex Ryan will not let himself get embarrassed by a home loss to the Patriots.
NFC: (1) Falcons vs. (5) Saints: The Dirty Birds continue to churn out wins at home. Hard to argue against Matt Ryan’s 19-1 career record in the Georgia Dome, even with the defending Super Bowl champs in town.
(2) Eagles vs. (3) Packers: Aaron Rodgers blazes new trails and erases the memory of 4th and 26.
AFC: (1) Steelers vs. (2) Jets: Rex Ryan will show whose defense is more smash-mouth in a win at Heinz Field.
NFC: (1) Falcons vs. (3) Packers: The Packers avenge their loss from Week 12 and correct their mistakes in Atlanta to win the George Halas trophy.
Jets vs. Packers
In a game oddly similar to their Week 8 matchup, the Pack win the Super Bowl thanks to the foot of Mason Crosby. (Yeah, that’s right. I did it. I guess my allegiance is pretty clear now. Hey, I can hope, right?)