Analysis

Spoiler Alert: Divisional Round

The Divisional Round picks are coming up, but real quick ...

I don't want to put the cart before the horse, colt or boy who rides horses ... but I can't help myself from thinking about which two teams will survive this and the following weekend to join me in Glendale, Ariz., on the first Sunday next month.

In football terms, most of the 16 potential matchups would offer juicy storylines. (Yes, even one or two that'd include the 7-8-1 Panthers.) Here they are, ranked in order of quality:

1. Patriots vs Packers: The GOAT Bowl

How's this for a carrot? The winning QB will be heralded as the Greatest Of All-Time. (Don't worry, Niners fans: Montana's name will still be invoked ... at least by more "mature" supporters.)

2. Broncos vs Cowboys: The Eternal Bowl

It's no secret Peyton and Romo have had their postseason struggles, so what if this game goes to overtime? There's a decent chance neither QB would come through ... causing the game to go on forever ... or at least until the 2015 season kicks off.

3. Patriots vs Seahawks: The You Mad Browl

Brady and Belichick chase that elusive fourth ring while former Patriots head coach and his trash-talkin' champs look to make it two straight.

4. Broncos vs Packers: The This One's for Peyton or Aaron Bowl

After Denver beat Green Bay back in Super Bowl XXXII, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen declared, "This one's for John!" The winning QB of this one gets his second ring.

5. Patriots vs Cowboys: The Red, White and Blue Bowl

The team named for our revolutionary soldiers against America's Team. The only thing that'd make it more patriotic would be to watch it while eating apple pie with Uncle Sam, then going to vote.

6. Broncos vs Seahawks: The Repeat Bowl

For Seattle to stay in the winner's circle, they'd have to do what they did to Peyton and Co. all over again.

7. Colts vs Cowboys: The Ethical Conundrum Bowl

If the Cowboys beat the Colts, they'll have no ride back to Dallas. If the Colts beat the Cowboys, they won't have anyone to feed them or comb their manes. No winners here.

8. Ravens vs Cowboys: The Elite? Bowl

A showdown for elititude between the two QBs subjected to the silly "Is he elite?" debate more than any other humans.

9. Colts vs Packers: The Bigger Game Bowl

As respective Stanford and Cal grads, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers are graduates of the Big Game. Here, they meet in the sport's most important game. (In Luck and Rodgers, it'd also pit the two guys who succeeded living legends Peyton and Favre.)

10. Colts vs Seahawks: The No Matter Who Loses At Least You're Still Better Than RGIII Bowl

The Anointed One Andrew Luck versus the guy who most experts felt Seattle reached to get in the third round settle the debate: Who's the best QB of the 2012 Draft? (Answer: Not RGIII)

11. Ravens vs Seahawks: The Bird Bath Bowl

They're both birds. Get it? (Sorry, that's all I could come up with.) Likewise, the two defenses might prevent the offenses from coming up with many points.

12. Ravens vs Packers: The Ironically Nicknamed Cities Bowl

Baltimore has many great things going for it ... but when I watch 'The Wire,' "Charm City" ain't exactly what comes to mind. Likewise, "Titletown" is a fine name for the home of all those NFL titles ... so long as we ignore the fact other sports are still being played on US soil.

13. Colts vs Panthers: The Odd Couple Bowl

Like Felix and Oscar, Newton and Luck have very different grooming habits: One is GQ, the other has a neckbeard. The pigskin-based stylistic differences between the QBs and their teams might make for a surprisingly entertaining Super Bowl.

14. Patriots vs Panthers: The Bosom Bowl

These two teams played a gem of a Super Bowl back in February 2004 ... but the game was trumped by Janet Jackson's halftime exposure.

15. Broncos vs Panthers: The Untamed Beast Bowl

The actual game might not be terribly competitive, but the survivor of a literal bucking bronco versus a full-grown panther fight is tough to identify.

16. Ravens vs Panthers: Mow Steve Smith's Lawn Bowl

Winner gets the Lombardi, the loser gets to go to Charlotte to do some gardening around the Smith home.

Still a long way to go before any of these Super Bowls actually takes place, of course ... so let's focus on the here and now...

WARNING: Do NOT continue reading if you don't want to know the final scores of the Divisional Round games.

(2-2 last week, 175-84-1 on the season)


RAVENS 17

PATRIOTS 30

J. Flacco: 25-35, 270 yds, TD, 2 INTs

J. Edelman: 9 rec, 120 yds, 2 TDs


COLTS 26

BRONCOS 28

C. Fleener: 2 TDs

C.J. Anderson: 20-130 yds, TD


PANTHERS 9

SEAHAWKS 22

CAR offense: 3 turnovers

D. Baldwin: 40-yd TD rec


COWBOYS 20

PACKERS 37

D. Murray: 130 yds/scrimmage, TD

A. Rodgers: 4 TDs


Enjoy the Divisional Round! I hope your team wins.

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