Via Jeff Gross

Via Jeff Gross

I don’t follow sports.

That’s my new answer to “Who do you think will win this weekend?” Kinda like the buddy with the black eye and fat lip that answers, “Fell down the stairs” when you ask him what happened the night before.

I don’t follow sports.

Not after the pick’s I made for last week’s Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs made me feel sick, lousy and frustrated.

Let’s recap what I wrote last week:

My prediction: Denver Broncos 27, Baltimore Ravens 17
“Manning didn’t take a year off so he could work on his long ball. He came back so he could match lil’ brother in Super Bowl victories. Thus the reason to join a team with a great defense, a stout running game, a super-talented receiver in Demaryius Thomas…”

I don’t think Manning threw a deep ball all game (NFL.com confirms two. That’s two out of 43 passes). The great defense – be right back. And Thomas? He was held to three catches for 37 yards and a TD. And that wasn’t the Baltimore defense that held him in check. It was his offense! He made the most of those three catches, especially his 17-yard TD.

Back to that defense. I don’t think I’ve seen a secondary play worse than the Broncos did Saturday night. Champ Bailey was beaten four times by Torrey Smith. Two of those resulted in TDs, one was an overthrow by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and the fourth was one Smith caught out-of-bounds. Then there was the play that Rahim Moore didn’t make, misplaying the ball so badly on the lob thrown by Flacco to Jacoby Jones, that I truly think there are Pop Warner players out there that would’ve made a better defensive play. Worst case scenario (well, obviously it wasn’t) would be to play deeper so he could tackle him if he caught it! Which would’ve been the 20-yard line! With no timeouts and 30 seconds to play, they would have to sprint up field to spike the ball. Was I shouting obscenities at the TV? Ask my 8-year-old son (he confirms two).

Again, I’m a Peyton Manning apologist so I’ll pick on the defense more than Manning pulling a Favre and throwing across his body in overtime. I won’t pick on him (or the coaches) for the three straight running plays that set up Flacco’s bomb and I won’t pick on him (or the coaches) for taking a knee after the bomb with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. Ask the Falcons how that turned out for them.

For another sad year I’ll put away the Manning jerseys. After all…

I don’t follow sports.

My prediction: Green Bay Packers 24, San Francisco 49ers 17
“My apologies to my writing buddy here, but I’m not sold on this Kaepernick kid, at least not yet. He’s promising and he’s the future, I just feel like the move from the conservative Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick is going to come back and bite the Niners in the butt. I see a big night from Mr. Rodgers, a flustered night by Kaepernick and a Packers win in San Francisco.”

That Kaepernick kid was so flustered that he rushed for a quarterback record 181 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and he added another 263 yards and two TDs through the air.

What do I know? I don’t follow sports.

My prediction: Atlanta Falcons 32, Seattle Seahawks 28
“When it’s all said and done, I think it comes down to Matt Ryan proving why he’s one of the better, least positively talked quarterbacks in the league, leading the Falcons to a fourth-quarter drive and a berth in the NFC championship game.”

OK, so I rebounded a bit on Sunday nearly nailing the Falcons, Seahawks score (missed it by two points, 30-28) and prediction. Ryan did lead the Falcons to a fourth quarter drive, albeit two quick passes with 25 seconds remaining that set up Matt Bryant’s winner.

Again, questionable play-calling from the Seahawk coaches. I don’t blame Pete Carroll for icing the kicker. But a fourth-and-1 play when you’re down 13-0. That field goal ended up being the difference in the game. Then again, they make the 1-yard rush and just like that we’re calling him a genius!

As much as my Seahawk friends will hate me, I did leave Sunday’s viewing party feeling like maybe I do know something about sports.

My prediction: New England Patriots 35, Houston Texans 24
“I dislike the Patriots so much that I’m not going to even write about them. Go Texans!”

OK, so I had them winning by 11 rather than 13.

All that leads me to this week’s predictions. I am doing no research. I’m solely going off of my preseason predictions that I posted on this site back in September. My Super Bowl XLVII pick was the Atlanta Falcons over the Baltimore Ravens. I’m one weekend and two wins away from looking like I know what I’m talking about – and wishing I laid money in Vegas on it.

KJ’s Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 24, New England Patriots 23
KJ’s Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 24, San Francisco 49ers 23

Oh well, I don’t really follow sports anyway.

Pitchers and catchers report in 27 days, 12 hours and 54 minutes.

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