The previously predictable NFL playoffs got a shake up last weekend thanks to the Indianapolis Colts, as the -300 Denver Broncos suddenly found that their luck had run out (pun intended). The 24-13 victory has pundits opining that Peyton Manning is finished and the new generation of young turk quarterbacks have taken his spot, but I still believe we’ll see him again next year. The Patriots held up their end of the bargain as the -300 favorite over the Ravens, but it went down to the wire and required New England to hold Baltimore to just a field goal in the fourth quarter for the 35-31 win. The Carolina Panthers held tough for three quarters as well, but a big fourth quarter helped the -570 defending champion Seattle Seahawks prevail 31-17. The Green Bay Packers were -255 against the Dallas Cowboys, but I’m not willing to give myself credit as a prognosticator for the 26-21 win. In my opinion Dez Bryant caught that pass from Tony Romo. It won’t go down in the record books of sports history as a completed catch, but you’ll never convince me he didn’t take three steps and/or “complete the process.” Moving on! It’s time for the AFC and NFC conference finals. In the AFC the multi-time NFL champion Patriots are (unsurprisingly) a -270 money line favorite over the Colts, who come in at this writing as a +230. The last time the Colts saw the promised land, it was the aforementioned Peyton Manning who led them to glory in 2007. I don’t want to discount Andrew Luck in any way. He threw for 40 touchdowns and almost 4,800 yards in the regular season – those are Manning-esque numbers. The Colts have faith in him with good reason, but Luck has had to find a lot of different targets to get there – no one received scored more than 8 times all year. You want to know there’s a go-to guy at the end of a route, and we know Tom Brady has that in spades. Who is it for the Colts? Is it Coby Fleener? Is it Dwayne Allen? What’s even more stunning is that RB Ahmad Bradshaw has SIX receiving touchdowns. To me the Colts offense is a big mess. In the NFC the returning and defending Seattle Seahawks are a -340 favorite against the +280 Packers. This one gives me a little more cause for pause. Aaron Rodgers probably shouldn’t have been able to throw as well as he did with an injured calf, but whether the officials blew a call in the fourth quarter or not, you can’t hate on Rodgers performance. He’s a proven winner who only gets better under pressure. So is Russell Wilson. It makes sense to favor the champions, especially given the kind of shutdown D the “Legion of Boom” can provide at any moment, and Wilson stays cool as a cucumber even when he gets flushed by a hard blitz. It’s very rare to repeat in the NFL though, and though it pains me to say this, I’m actually going to go out on a limb and say this dog’s going to hunt. I’ll either be a prognosticator or a fool – and we’ll know which soon enough. NFL previews are for entertainment purposes. If you do wager please only spend what you can afford.