Since I live in San Diego, it only makes sense to start things off this week by saying thanks for nothing, Chargers.
After the team announced it was moving to Los Angeles last week, most fans in San Diego had the same reaction: It was like they had been stabbed in the back by someone they had known for years. In the great pantheon of backstabbings, the Chargers' move to L.A. falls somewhere slightly below what Brutus did to Julius Caesar, but slightly above Lando Calrissian selling out Han Solo to the Empire.
Since I know you guys were wondering, here's the definitive list of worst non-religious betrayals over the past 2,100 years.
- That thing Brutus did to Caesar
- The guy from the Matrix making a deal with the machines and then trying to kill Neo
- The Chargers ditching San Diego for L.A.
- Benedict Arnold
- Scar killing Mufasa and then blaming it on Simba
- Brad Pitt dumping Jennifer Aniston for Angelina
I hope you're happy in Los Angeles with your Benedict Arnold money, Dean Spanos, because if Twitter's any indication, you're probably going to be the least popular person in San Diego for at least the next 25 years.
@Chargers I hate you Dean Spanos— Katie Esqueda (@katieesqueda) January 12, 2017
I really hate you Dean Spanos— JWill (@JWi11z) January 13, 2017
I can't emphasize how much I hate dean spanos 🙃— ❁ porcelain ❁ (@maaayasol) January 13, 2017
The worst part is that now that there's no NFL team in San Diego, I might have to move, which is a bad thing, because I'm horrible luck. The last two cities I've lived in (Oakland and San Diego) have both lost their teams. Well, you haven't yet, Oakland, but it's probably going to happen. At this point, fans in other NFL cities should be paying me to stay away.
Anyway, I'm done ranting on San Diego, so let's talk about some cities that actually have a football team, like Green Bay.
After watching Aaron Rodgers dominate the Cowboys on Sunday, I was pretty convinced that he had the best weekend of any quarterback in the NFL, but I was clearly wrong because that honor goes to Jay Cutler.
Sure, Cutler's team didn't even make the playoffs, but if you're partying in Mexico in a tank top that's covered in palm trees, there's a zero percent chance that anyone had a better weekend than you.
The fact that Cutler has that good taste in tank tops completely justifies the $126.7 million contract the Bears gave him. I'm not sure how those two things are related, but trust me, they are.
Since Cutler is not in the playoffs, I'll stop talking about him and actually talk about the teams that are still playing. To me the most intriguing question of championship weekend is simple: WHERE WILL ROGER GOODELL BE SUNDAY?
Goodell has conspicuously skipped out on every Patriots game since January 2015, which just happens to be when Deflategate started. It seems that Roger is keenly aware that his popularity isn't too high in the New England area.
That guy hates Goodell so much he spent $100 on a personalized jersey to prove to everyone how much he hates him. Also, that guy is a good example of why Goodell probably hasn't been to a Patriots game. The commissioner has a lower popularity rating in New England than Spanos does in San Diego.
Goodell was in Atlanta for the divisional round, so it seems crazy that he would go there again, which leaves him with just one option for championship weekend, and we all know what that option is: NEW ENGLAND.
#GoodellWatch2017 is officially on.
UPDATE Noon, Jan. 17: Three hours after these picks went live #GoodellWatch2017 ended. It seems that the commissioner has a time share in Atlanta because that's where he'll be for the second straight week. Looks like he's just taking Tedy Bruschi's advice.
Tedy Bruschi just now on ESPN: "There's a lot of animosity towards Roger Goodell in New England. I would recommend him not going either."— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) January 17, 2017
Alright, let's get to this week's picks, where I'm about to betray two fan bases that I love.
Actually, before we get to the picks, you should take a second and check out the playoff picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. I know I always say that, but this time I mean it. Like, seriously. Our friends at Pickwatch.com annually keep track of over 100 media pickers from across the country and out of all those people, there are only six who have gone 8-0 picking playoff games so far, and four of them work for CBSSports.com.
Unfortunately, all four of them disagree with each other this week, so good luck trying to figure out who you should listen to.
OK, for real, let's get to my picks. If you hate them, let me know on Twitter. If you don't have Twitter, let me know in the comment section. If you hate leaving comments, then feel free to mail a letter to the CBS Sports office in Florida. I'll eventually get it. They send me my mail once a year.
NFC Championship Game
Green Bay (12-6) at Atlanta (12-5)
Jan. 22: 3:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
The fact that this game is being played in the afternoon time slot is fitting because the Falcons have turned the NFL playoffs into a daytime soap opera. Forget "General Hospital," if you want drama just turn on a Falcons game. Last week, they got in Russell Wilson's head by letting two of Ciara's ex-boyfriends hang out on the sideline.
Since the Falcons have clearly mastered the art of psychological warfare, I think it's pretty safe to say that they've already sent invites and free plane tickets to Aaron Rodgers' entire family letting them know that they're all welcome on Atlanta's sideline for this game. I bet they're rolling out the Falcons red carpet.
Of course, I'm not even sure that would bother Aaron Rodgers because nothing seems to bother Aaron Rodgers. The man played half the season without a running back and still led the Packers to a 10-6 record.
As a matter of fact, the last time these two teams played in Week 8, the Packers' running situation was so bad that Rodgers actually led the team in rushing, and it's somewhat surprising that he didn't also lead the team in receiving because the Packers didn't have Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery or Jared Cook in their first game with the Falcons (those three players accounted for 247 total yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys).
I'm going to be honest, I've been going back and forth on this pick. I lived in Atlanta for nearly four years, which was long enough to witness some classic Atlanta sports meltdowns. I mean, who can forget the time the Falcons blew a 17-0 lead against the 49ers in the January 2013 NFC title game. In most big games, Falcons fans basically spend all four quarters waiting for something bad to happen, and then it usually does. It's a perpetual sense of dread and once you've lived in Atlanta, it sticks with you.
The photo below is a rare picture of a Falcons fan actually smiling at a playoff game. It almost never happens.
As for Green Bay, I clearly have no idea what's going on with the Packers.
For the past two weeks I've picked against Green Bay and I've gone 0-2. I can't think of any good reason to pick against Rodgers, well, except for that small little fact that he's 0-3 all-time against Dan Quinn-coached teams. Rodgers went 0-2 against Quinn while he was the defensive coordinator in Seattle, and then of course, there was that loss to the Falcons earlier this season.
This will be the final NFL game ever played in the Georgia Dome, and I'm guessing they're not going to have to blow it up in six months because Falcons fans are going to burn it down after Atlanta loses Sunday. Yup, I'm picking the Packers. The good news for Falcons fans is that if this goes anything like my last two weeks of picking Green Bay games, we can go ahead and pencil Atlanta into the Super Bowl. If that happens, I bet the Falcons top the Rodgers family thing by inviting all of Tom Brady's ex-girlfriends to their sideline, although I'm not sure if there will be enough room.
The pick: Packers 37-34 over Falcons
- Record picking Green Bay games this season: 9-9 (includes 0-2 in playoffs)
- Record picking Atlanta games this season: 9-8 (includes 1-0 in the playoffs)
- Predicted Week 8 final score between Packers-Falcons: Green Bay 30-27 over Atlanta
- Actual Week 8 final score between Packers-Falcons: Atlanta 33-32 over Green Bay
AFC Championship Game
Pittsburgh (13-5) at New England (15-2)
Jan. 22: 6:40 p.m. ET (CBS)
Instead of practicing this week, don't be surprised if Bill Belichick just has every player on the Patriots' roster monitor Antonio Brown's social media feeds. Based on what I've seen from Brown, I would say there's a 90 percent chance that he'll either put a picture of the Steelers' playbook on Snapchat or Facebook Live an entire practice. At this point, I also wouldn't be surprised to see him live tweet a wide receivers' meeting or post a diagram of every Steelers play on Instagram.
If the Steelers are smart, they'll take Brown's cell phone away from him and give it to James Harrison for the rest of the week so he won't be able to use it. I mean, let's be honest there, there's no way anyone alive is ever taking anything from James Harrison, so Brown would definitely be out of luck.
I'm pretty sure James Harrison spends 86 percent of his life in the weight room.
Anyway, even if Brown were to put a Steelers practice on the internet, I don't think it would even matter because Belichick already seems to know exactly what the Steelers are doing at all times. He is 9-3 against the Steelers as Patriots coach (including playoffs), and if you throw Tom Brady into the mix, things are actually worse for Pittsburgh.
Since Mike Tomlin took over as Steelers coach in 2007, Brady is 5-1 against the Steelers. In those six games, Brady has thrown 19 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. I don't usually do math here, but I'm going to do it now: Those numbers would translate to roughly 50.7 touchdown passes and zero interceptions over a 16-game season.
These numbers are ridiculous, and I think we now know why Brady had a huge smile on his face when he went out in public Sunday.
I bet four minutes after that picture was taken, Brady whispered in Gisele's ear, "Hey honey, guess who's never beaten me at Gillette Stadium? YUP. THE STEELERS." After that, there was probably some maniacal laughter, and then they probably went home and ate dinner, but not a dinner that you or I would eat because they don't eat sugar, white flour, olive oil, iodized salt, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, eggplants, any caffeine or dairy.
I eat iodized salt three times a day.
If Brady wins another Super Bowl though, I might stop eating that stuff. I might also start wearing those pajamas he's selling and I'll probably start only eating meals from his cookbook.
Unlike my horrible Packers picks, the Steelers and Patriots have been the two teams that I've picked most accurately this season, so it's probably safe to assume that what you see below will be the actual final score.
The pick: Patriots 27-24 over Steelers
- Record picking Pittsburgh games this season: 14-4 (includes 2-0 in the playoffs)
- Record picking New England games this season: 14-3 (includes 1-0 in the playoffs)
- Predicted Week 7 final score between Patriots-Steelers: New England 34-17 over Pittsburgh
- Actual Week 7 final score between Patriots-Steelers: New England 27-16 over Pittsburgh (Landry Jones started for the Steelers in this game)
Best pick: Last week, I said the only way the Steelers would beat the Chiefs is if Ben Roethlisberger threw for under 225 yards and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? He threw for under 225 yards. As a matter of fact, he threw for 224 yards. It's as if the Steelers read my pick and then designed their entire game plan around it. More teams should probably do that.
One thing more teams shouldn't do though, is manage the clock like Andy Reid. If every NFL team got nine timeouts per half, I'm convinced Reid would have at least three Super Bowl wins by now, but that's not how things work. Things got so bad for Kansas City on Sunday night that Sports Illustrated set off the "Andy Reid Clock Management" Alert. When that went off, everyone watching at home knew it was all over for the Chiefs.
🚨🚨 ANDY REID CLOCK MANAGEMENT ALERT 🚨🚨— SI NFL (@si_nfl) January 16, 2017
Andy Reid....clock management— Luke G (@LG_Royals) January 16, 2017
It's like oil, water and fire all mixed together.
Wouldn't be a football season if Andy Reid didn't mess up clock management in a game... Just took a little longer this year— YardsPerPass.com (@YardsPerPass) January 16, 2017
Terrible predicament here for the Chiefs where Andy Reid's clock management is a major factor in the game— NFL Outsiders (@nfloutsiders) January 16, 2017
Maybe next year Reid will hire a clock management guy. I'm guessing he won't, but he could.
Worst pick: Last week, I wasted roughly five sentences talking about how rookie quarterbacks never win in the playoffs, and then I picked a rookie quarterback (Dak Prescott) to win in the playoffs. It was more humiliating than the time I told everyone I wasn't going to cry at the end of "The Notebook" and then I cried at the end of "The Notebook."
Since I want everyone to shed some tears, here's the Packers' game-winning field goal set to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."
If that doesn't get the tears flowing, then you should go to the doctor because your tear ducts clearly aren't working.
Anyway, the good news about the Cowboys loss is that it looks like fans in Dallas handled it well, and by handled it well, I mean they beat up a guy in an Aaron Rodgers jersey.
If Cowboys fans want to get mad at someone, I would suggest the guy below. He pretty much jinxed everything and drove the bandwagon off a 400-foot cliff when he got a "Super Bowl LI Champions" tattoo in December. I've seen "Thelma and Louise" -- no one is surviving a fall off a 400-foot cliff.
The good news for that guy is that it looks like he can squeeze an "I" or two in there, so he should be in good shape if the Cowboys win Super Bowl LII or LIII. They won't, but if they do.
Speaking of being in good shape, my picks have been in good shape for the postseason, except for when I pick Packers games. Green Bay is single-handedly destroying my picks percentage. Through two weeks, I'm 6-0 straight up and 5-1 against the spread in games that don't involve the Packers, and 0-for-everything in games that do involve the Packers.
Basically, everything I wrote about the Packers game above, you should probably go ahead and assume that I meant the opposite.
By the way, unless I decide to do a Pro Bowl pick -- and I probably won't because that would be weird -- I'll be on a one-week hiatus, which means you should circle Jan. 31 on your calendar (or tattoo it on your ankle) because that's when the Super Bowl LI pick will be rolling out.
- Straight up in divisional round: 3-1
- SU overall in playoffs: 6-2
- Against the spread in divisional round: 3-1
- ATS overall in playoffs: 5-3
- Final 2016 regular-season record
- Straight up: 147-107-2
- Against the spread: 116-129-11
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he's not doing one of those things, he's probably looking for a new city to live in because the city he currently lives in no longer has an NFL team.