The playoffs: more fun than texting...

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By Mike Cote

Bad news.
Brett Favre is going to retire.
For a good percentage of the football fans I know, that’s incentive enough not to watch the NFL playoffs. A playoff season without Favre is like a night without stars or a hotel room without an attractive masseuse.
For the handful of other people in the cosmos that aren’t shattered to pieces at the revelation that Favre could possibly be considering thinking about maybe retiring (he’ll make up his mind as soon as mandatory training camp is over next summer), here is my take on this week’s wildcard round of the NFL playoffs:


New Orleans at Seattle, 2:30 p.m., Channel 4

The mantra among my Seattle Seahawk-adoring friends on Facebook is, almost to a person, “who cares if they finished 7-9? Anyone can win in the playoffs!”
Sorry. They can’t.
The Saints, of course, are the defending Super Bowl champions and put together a good regular season before honking out last week against Tampa Bay when they still had a shot at the NFC South title.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, have shown nothing this season, beyond the ability to squeak out a few wins against teams who can’t score (Chicago and the rest of the NFC West…an early-season victory over San Diego was a statistical anomaly). This is by far the easiest game to pick this weekend. New Orleans 41, Seattle 14.

New York Jets at Indianapolis, 6 p.m., Channel 4

Interestingly, the two games pitting a three-seed against a six-seed are tougher to pick than the four-five matchups this week, this game being no exception.
The Colts were left for dead in early December after an overtime loss to the hapless Cowboys, with the Jacksonville Jaguars seemingly ready to cruise to an AFC South title. But four straight wins by Indy and a nifty little collapse by the Jaguars put the Colts into the playoffs for the eighth time in nine years.
The Colts are up and down, but managed to keep their composure despite injuries to Dallas Clark and Austin Collie.
The Jets, meanwhile, talk the best game of any team in the NFL, but are a little hit-or-miss when it comes to backing it up, especially against teams that keep the focus on what’s going on between the lines (see the Jets’ 45-3 loss at New England Dec. 6). Indianapolis 24, New York 20.


Baltimore at Kansas City, 11 a.m., Channel 13

The Chiefs have been one of the better stories of the 2010 season, going worst-to-first in a weaker-than-expected AFC West this season (the Raiders actually swept their division games but struggled outside of it). They’re a young, exciting team that could be very interesting to watch for many years to come.
But the Chiefs have a consistency problem, particularly on offense, where they were as likely to score in the 30-point range as they were to score in the teens or worse.
The Ravens have little such problem. Joe Flacco has rejuvenated what was one of the most boring offenses in the league had ever seen and when Flacco falters, the defense usually has his back. Baltimore 31, Kansas City 17.

Green Bay at Philadelphia, 2:30 p.m., Channel 2

First, everyone should take the time to write to KASA Fox 2, thanking the station manager profusely for biting the bullet and broadcasting a football game that in no way involves the Dallas Cowboys. It’s, literally, not every week that happens.
I don’t feel good about either team in this match-up. They both have big positives and big minuses.
The Packers beat the Eagles in the first game of the season, but that game was relegated to status of footnote when the Eagles installed this Michael “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Vick.
Vick has had an outstanding season, but teams might be starting to figure him out.
His quarterbacking foe, Aaron Rodgers, is solid, but the Packers were never able to establish a running game to help take the pressure off his shoulders.
If it comes down to coaching, both teams are in trouble. However, few coaches underperform in the playoffs like Andy Reid. Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 23.