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The NFL playoffs are here

If you are a National Football League fan, this is the best time to be involved in the sport. There are four great teams from each league fighting for a spot at the big show, the Super Bowl in New Jersey this year on Feb. 2, to be carried on Fox.

Like most people across the country I was glued to my TV watching the latest and greatest round of the NFL playoffs. The final four teams for each division will vie for a chance to play in the NFC and AFC title match.

I am one of the lucky few that actually have a team in the final four in the NFC. I love the 49ers and have been following this team since I was in college back in 1982, when Joe Montana took his team to his first Super Bowl against the Bengals. I guess I am dating myself. Since then I have been hooked on this team.

I watched on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. I am outnumbered by cheeseheads at the office, so I was very happy that I was able to strut through the office on Monday wearing my 49ers colors.

Both the Packers and the Niners were exciting teams to watch this year and both franchises deserve credit for making it to the playoffs.

The playoff games are basically won by the teams who have the healthiest team, and in this case it was the 49ers who came in with a banged up secondary but they still managed to hold the Packers and not let them make any big plays through the air. The Packers, on the other hand, were very banged up minus Clay Matthews and numerous linebackers.

In fact the 49ers were saved by the fact that the Packers could not defend against the run and again it was quarterback Colin Kaepernick who ran for 98 yards to save the day. He outran veteran 49er running back Frank Gore who had 20 carries for 66 yards. Gore to his credit did manage a 10-yard touchdown run.

Of course, it was the Packers’ running game that saved them from going home at halftime. Eddie Lacey had 21 carries for 81 yards. His rushing allowed the Packers to open up the passing game. The end result was a tie game of 20-20 with about 5 minutes in the game and San Francisco’s ball in the fourth quarter.

This was a repeat of the Arizona Cardinal game two weeks ago and both games ended with the Niners running out the clock and scoring the last field goal of the game to win 23-20. The Packers were packed away until next year, and the Niners advance to play the Carolina Panthers at Carolina, which will be a 10 a.m. on Sunday for us on Fox.

How do you bet on a team like the Niners? You don’t. Besides, football is never a sure thing. Look at the Kansas City Chiefs game. KC took a 31 to 10 lead into the locker room at the half and lost the game in the second half by a score of 45-44. Talk about not beating the spread and just losing your shirt. Football is just not a sure bet. Why do you think football has so many prop bets? The oddsmakers will have at least 300 prop bets set up for it just for the Super Bowl. A once local professional gambler, Sheldon Finklestein, once told me prop bets are for suckers. Perhaps they are, but they attract millions to bet on the game.

Who will be at the Super Bowl this year? Do you go with a team like the Niners who have been there before, or do you go with the number one NFC team in the West, the Seattle Seahawks led by Pete Carroll, a team hungry to prove themselves?

The Seahawks have the best NFC record going into their playoff game and face New Orleans this weekend at home. Everyone knows that the Seahawks have only been beaten once at home this year and this was against the Cardinals. That in itself was an amazing feat by the Cardinals, who are the best team out of the playoffs.

Despite being a Niners fan, the Seahawk/Saints game has got to be the game of the week. That game is the Saturday afternoon game on Fox. I am looking for the Seahawks to beat the Saints because I know teams have a tough time beating the Hawks at home.

What about the AFC games? What is happening there? With the loss of the Chiefs to the Colts, this means the Colts will play at New England at 5:15 p.m. (Pacific time) on CBS for the other Saturday game in the afternoon. Brady has been there before and he plays better in the playoffs. He is used to the pressure. I have got to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The Colts just played a really crappy game against the Chiefs. They were lucky the Chiefs’ defense did not show up in the second half. I guess they had some luck (ha ha) with them.

The other AFC game will be played on Sunday and will feature the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers. Denver fans are worried because the Chargers came on strong at the end of the season to beat the Broncos. This game is at Denver and will feature two veteran quarterbacks going at it. Phillip Rivers is a hungry man and has yet to make it to the Super Bowl. Of course he will be going up against Peyton Manning, who has had a fabulous career and is the reason the Broncos will probably end up being in the Super Bowl. I really don’t see the Chargers beating them.

That leaves me with my pick. The two teams I believe will be in the Super Bowl at the end will be the Broncos and the 49ers. The 49ers proved last year they knew what it takes to be in the playoffs and they know how to win in the playoffs.

The Broncos will be there just because they have a quarterback that has the experience.

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