What's Gonna Happen?

It's Wild-Card Weekend in the NFL and you need to know how it's going to play out. So, let's lift the curtain on another edition of What's Gonna Happen?

Look, if you only had one shot, one opportunity; To seize everything you ever wanted…one moment; Would you capture it or just let it slip?
- Eminem

The NFL Playoffs always seems to start with piano music and the sad tale of a 375-pound millionaire, with slow-motion tears, worrying about his asthmatic Chihuahua named Killer.

Yet every year by the time Adam Vinateiri kicks the final field goal of the season, the action on the field has given something for the manufactured melodrama to hang its hat on. And that's the real reason why the NFL is the greatest business in America: hats.

Think about it. Haven't you seen more Arizona Cardinals hats than you have of Microsoft? The Arizona Cardinals suck. And as for the New England Patriots and those who actually have a chance to dethrone them, well, they sell some serious hats. If hats were stock…

Hats are, in fact, stock- the American culture's version of stock. Do you really think you are hot? Then go ahead: make a hat. And if you do, remember that the Arizona Cardinals suck.

But why do hats mean anything in football? It shows that you believe in your team to the point that you actually care about an asthmatic Chihuahua if it will improve a certain fat guy's demeanor. And at this time of the year, especially this time of year, if you are lucky enough to have a team to believe in, despite the baby millionaires and their sad tales, you must have a hat. Your hat says, "This is my team and they're in the Playoffs."

I've got a hat too. It says…


BYE AT BROWNS - For some reason, the best team in football is not in the playoffs…again.

REDSKINS AT BUCCANEERS - The last time these two teams met, Jon Gruden put his manhood on display by going for a two-point conversion to win the game with time running out. Chucky…dude. People remember this stuff. Showing up Joe Gibbs in the regular season… dude… it's like trying to make a right turn in a NASCAR race. Chucky, Chucky, Chucky. Here's the deal. The Redskins have played tougher opponents than anyone to get here and despite some erratic good performances by Grudens' team, it doesn't appear like there will be another last second decision for the man-doll to make. Redskins 33, Buccaneers 17

JAGUARS AT PATRIOTS - Watch a football team versus a machine. Sometimes when the Patriots are clicking it really isn't fair and I just don't think this game will be fair by the end. If Fred Taylor proves me wrong, then that is how it goes but I don't think anyone else on the Jaguars can do such a thing. Deion Branch can expect at least one touchdown pass from Tom Brady, who should throw three. Patriots 31, Jaguars 14

PANTHERS AT GIANTS - Eli Manning begins the day by calling his family and asking advice on how to win playoff games. His Dad and brother hang up on him. There will come a year when Eli wins playoff games and maybe even a Super Bowl but, despite having Tiki Barber at his best, this is not the year. Meanwhile, this Carolina team, on the road, is seasoned enough to go into the Meadowlands and force Eli to have a Manning-against-the-Patriots kind of performance. Plus watch: he's going to be exposed as the inaccurate brother. When he plays video football, he is always Peyton. Panthers 28, Giants 20

STEELERS AT BENGALS - So the Bengals finally make the playoffs for the first time since Thomas Jefferson was president and what happens: they are a home team underdog. And people say Rodney Dangerfield is dead. Momentum, style of play, and experience all point to a big win for the Steelers. And that's why, if you really want a good prediction, you will read others because they will tell you all these logical things. Here's what I see: Bill Cowher in the playoffs. Hey, maybe the Bengals will choke in the playoffs. As for Cowher, that sentence doesn't include the word "maybe." Bengals 31, Steelers 20

BYE AT BEARS - Months of "We believe in Kyle Orton" chanting never really worked. So the team now chants the name "Rex" all day. Stray dogs show up.

BYE AT SEAHAWKS - Shaun Alexander builds a trophy case.

BYE AT COLTS - Peyton Manning begins having his annual nightmares about Bill Belichick.

BYE AT BRONCOS - Jake Plummer, as he has done all year, continues looking in the mirror like Stuart Smalley: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."


Someone finally took my advice and hired Marv Levy to run their football team.

I wanted the Cleveland Browns to hire him when they hired Butch Davis. I don't care if he is 80 years old. If he was 8 years old with his track record, I'd hire him. Smart is smart.

Before every game, he made it clear what life and football is about when he always asked his team, "Where else would you rather be than right here, right now?"


This column is sponsored by The Pat Robertson Standup Comedy Tour.

Brian Tarcy lives in Falmouth, MA. www.briantarcy.com

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