For some quick meaningless predictions, I’ll take Denver -9 despite some misgivings over the extreme weakness of their second-half schedule. (I should also say that in terms of the Broncos signing Manning, I was formally right but wrong in spirit; I recognized that it was a good gamble, but I would not have expected him to play at this level.) In a coin flip, I’ll take Green Bay +3 because of concerns about Justin Smith’s health. I’ll play McClellan in another coin flip game, taking Atlanta -1; the Clemons injury and Seattle’s lesser play on the road worry me. And while I don’t expect them to win I’d take Texas +10; it’s been a while since the Patriots have blown out a team that had an NFL-caliber QB in the playoffs.
I have a follow up on the (un)importance of the running game in the NFL, but I’ll leave that for later.
…although I have no rooting interest in the game, I have to say I was thrilled by Flacco’s last minute TD pass. It’s nice to see Fox get burned for his ludicrously conservative decision to not let his Hall of Fame QB try to get a game-ending first down.