Well, the regular season is over, and there were casualties in narrowing the field for the postseason. Among the sad, too early, exits are the Eagles and Cowboys in the NFC and the Jets and Dolphins in the AFC.

The Raiders’ absence angers me to no end, but when you think it over, the blocked field goal as time expired against the Lions, for Oakland, hurts the most, because we’ll never even know if it could have gone through the uprights.

But enough negativity, for this columnist went 8-7-1 against the spread last week, and with that being said, my total for the regular season stands at 132-113-1. So on to the picks for this Playoff Edition of Money For Nothing.

Cincinnati (+3) @ Houston could be more fun than you’d think (monetarily and visually). The Bengals earned the right to be the third team to make the big dance from the AFC North; I wish I could say the same for the Texans, for their division was atrocious—and still is. How many quarterbacks have the Texans had? How many times have they lost games they should have won? Too many examples of each to list here, so take the Bengals: They have an upside.

Detroit (+11) @ New Orleans has 60-something to 50-something written all over it, but what really gets me leaning toward Detroit keeping this thing within ten is that they are a talented young football team without fear. They’ve played New Orleans at their place before, and I like that. Even if the Lions lose to the Saints again, take the points, watch the offenses, and mock the oddsmakers.

Atlanta @ New York Giants (-3) is the easiest game to pick, and for a very simple reason: The Falcons cannot play outdoors. If you need more of a reason, just look up their last two trips to the postseason; then, you’ll find that this early exit for Atlanta isn’t far from the norm.

Denver @ Pittsburgh (-9)—leave it to the NFL to put the craziest possible game last: Mile High Stadium, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and enough possible talking points to make one have a seizure. The Steelers are clearly the better football team, and nine is a big number—especially on the road—but look at history, for therein lies the answer. Pittsburgh beat the Broncos the last time they were in Denver for a playoff game, and they were a six seed then, so why not again?

Hope these picks treat you well, and more importantly: Enjoy the NFL, for football’s almost over, and you’ll have to make the most of it while you still can.

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