CLEVELAND — "Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! " - Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) in "Rocky Balboa"
Despite my late-season momentum carrying me to an above .500 record, I ended the regular season on a sour note with a 5-10 record in a whacky Week 17. While that brings my record for the season to 117-120-4, fortunately for me, there's still a lot of football left. With that in mind, let's get back on track with my picks for this weekend's Wild Card Round:
Houston Texans (-3) vs. Buffalo Bills
Pick: Bills +3
Of all of the memories I made during last year's playoffs, one of the most vivid was how helpless I felt having bet on the Texans against the Colts in the Wild Card round. I won't make that mistake again -- especially with Will Fuller unlikely to play for Houston -- as Buffalo may just need to play a disciplined game to pull off the road upset.
New England Patriots (-5) vs. Tennessee Titans
Pick: Patriots -5
There's a lot to question about this Patriots team, but at the end of the day, this is still Tom Brady and Bill Belichick playing in a postseason game. I don't think New England is long for these playoffs, but I do think it will advance to at least the Divisional Round with a convincing win over a Titans team that will could be just happy to be here.
New Orleans Saints (-8) vs. Minnesota Vikings
Pick: Vikings +8
I love this Saints team and if forced to choose, I'd probably make them my pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. But even for an offense that features Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, eight points are a lot to cover against a Vikings unit that possesses the potential to keep pace.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Pick: Eagles +2.5
This is the only line of the weekend that seems off to me -- to the point that I'm not even sure the right team is favored. While it may seem like the Eagles backed their way into the playoffs, the reality is they ended the season by winning two must-win games. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have played in so many close games this season that they've become difficult to rely on, especially as a road favorite in the playoffs.