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News » With Patriots out, it's away Wii go

With Patriots out, it's away Wii go

With Patriots out, it's away Wii go
Pro picks

Thank goodness for the Wii.

After the Jets bungled away their season Sunday, ensuring the Patriots' fate, I was reduced to a catatonic state in my recliner, wondering what I could do to kill the time until Mel Kiper Day(s) - a.k.a. the NFL draft, the most-hyped television event of the year (not counting The Masters, a tradition unlike any other).

"Dad, can we play the Wii?" my children asked in unison.

No response.

"Dad ... Dad ... DAD!"

I awoke from my daze. "Who? Wii? What? Wii? Why? Wii?"

"Can we play the Wii?" they asked again.

"Yeah. Do whatever you want," I said. "The Jets lost. The Ravens lost. I'm lost."

Soon the house was filled with the Wii's hypnotic melodies. I looked up and was mesmerized by the flashing colors coming from the TV.

The kids had popped in Mario Kart and were bouncing around the room with steering wheels in hand guiding Toad and Baby Mario around the Coconut Mall circuit and arguing over who "POWED" who and who "INKED" who.

After breaking up three potential donnybrooks, I decided to take matters - and the controller - into my own hands. I started off at Coconut Mall and was quickly humbled by Donkey Kong and his friends.

Gradually (all right, 12 straight hours at one point), I got the hang of it. My alter ego, "Wario," started to dominate (all right, only when the kids weren't playing). I soon felt like Speed Racer as I buzzed around Moo Moo Meadows, Toad's Factory, and Mushroom Gorge.

This Wii is a lifesaver. With the Patriots' season over, it's really the only reason to use the TV - OK, watching the Bruins is fun, too.

To my surprise, it seems the NFL is going ahead with the playoffs despite the fact the Patriots are on the outside looking in. The league still has the participating teams' records messed up, however. According to NFL.com, half the teams in action this weekend have records worse than New England's 11-5 mark. That must be a typo.

Well, I guess I'm going to watch the games anyway. This is really going to cut into my Wii time. I've still got DK Summit to conquer.

The picks

Atlanta (-2) at Arizona - The Cardinals are in the playoffs. Are there two Cardinals in the NFL? I saw a Cardinals team two weeks ago in Foxborough and there is no way that team could qualify for the playoffs. That team couldn't even qualify for the Boise Bowl.

This game is the story of the young gun (Matty "Ice" Ryan) vs. the old hand (Kurt Warner). Ryan, the offensive rookie of the year, threw for 3,440 yards in leading the all-but-forgotten Falcons to the playoffs. Ryan has shown tremendous leadership as he and tailback Michael Turner have carried this offense.

Warner is playoff-tested but easily rattled. He is blessed with a trio of receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston) who would make any quarterback jealous.

In this battle of the birds featuring first-time playoff coaches Mike Smith (Falcons) and Ken Whisenhunt (Cardinals), I'm going with the more balanced offense. Pick: Falcons.

Indianapolis (pick 'em) at San Diego - I don't really have a big problem with the Chargers reaching the playoffs over the Patriots. They won their division and beat New England on the field, where it counts. What's ridiculous is that an 8-8 team is hosting a 12-4 team.

This game pits two of the hottest teams in the league. Both had terrible starts (Peyton's knee, LaDainian's toe) but have rebounded nicely.

The offenses are led by their quarterbacks, with the ultraconfident Manning facing the ultracocky Philip Rivers. The running games are less than stellar with the banged-up Tomlinson spearheading the San Diego attack and the banged-up Joseph Addai leading Indianapolis.

In this battle of AFC powers, I'm going with the better uniforms, and San Diego's wearing the powder blues! Pick: Chargers.

Baltimore (-3 1/2) at Miami - Looks like Bill Parcells really enjoyed watching his Dolphins beat his Jets to secure the AFC East and a home playoff game, huh? What did it take, about 10 hours before the story of Parcells's out clause "leaked" to the media? Sound familiar, Patriots fans? Have fun in Motown, Tuna.

The old adage is defense wins championships and if that's the case, you can kiss the Dolphins goodbye because after Joey Porter, this defense is pretty crummy. And Porter's good for one stupid penalty a game. The Ravens' defense, on the other hand, is loaded with playmakers.

Ryan has deservedly earned a lot of praise this season. Baltimore rook Joe Flacco deserves some, too.

In a game featuring the biggest winners of Week 17, I'm going with the new Purple People Eaters. Pick: Ravens.

Philadelphia (-3) at Minnesota - I'm not sure what was more astonishing, the Eagles' complete domination of the Cowboys last Sunday or the Cowboys' complete collapse. Could they really be that bad? Well, that's a matter for another season.

Donovan McNabb gets another shot to deliver a title in perhaps his last season in Philadelphia. Expect McNabb to lean heavily on Brian Westbrook, who can pick up giant chunks of real estate as a rusher and receiver.

The Vikings will counter with Adrian Peterson (Peyton's only real competition for MVP). Peterson rushed for a league-high 1,760 yards and with Tarvaris "Mistake Waiting to Happen" Jackson under center for Minnesota, he's their best chance to score points.

In what some are calling the "Brad Childress Bowl," I'm going with his old team. Pick: Eagles.

Last week: 8-7-1. Season: 120-129-7.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 3, 2009

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E.J. Cochrane Name: E.J. Cochrane
Position: PK
Age: 27
Experience: 1 years
College: Montana State
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