NEWS

Quick Shots: Pats look good to any crystal ball

Reed Schreck

Brushing off my special playoff crystal ball, all that can clearly be seen is Randy Moss scoring six more touchdowns, Tom Brady throwing for a total of nine more scores and coach Bill Belichick always wearing some dull gray sweat shirt.

It's not only difficult to predict against New England, it's insane.

Probably.

Indianapolis nearly had the Pats beat in the regular season; San Diego is playing as well as anybody; and nobody wants to face Jacksonville. Of course, none of them want to see New England, either.

Look for the Pats to knock off Green Bay 37-20 in the Super Bowl.

How's that for shock value? This does not mean the Packers will beat Dallas -- they'll let Washington do that. Then the Packers will take care of the Redskins at Lambeau Field.

This weekend, we'll go with Jacksonville 20, Pittsburgh 17; San Diego 23, Tennessee 13; Washington 27, Seattle 23; and New York Giants 24, Tampa Bay 22.

After that, it will be New England 33, Jacksonville 17; Indianapolis 30, San Diego 20; Green Bay 24, NY Giants 20; and Washington 27, Dallas 26. The AFC crown goes to New England over Indy, 27-20; the NFC title to Green Bay over Washington, 24-23.

Packers should cheer for ...

The best news is, no matter what happens on wild-card weekend, Green Bay doesn't have to prepare for Washington. Yet. Of the four NFC teams playing this weekend, that's the only one the Packers can't possibly face in the second round.

Green Bay will get Tampa Bay, Seattle or the New York Giants on Jan. 12 at Lambeau Field. Seattle seems to be the consensus as most beatable because of a lackluster running game. But who’s comfortable with Mike Holmgren on the opposing sideline?

If Washington's on some destiny kick, it won't matter. That means Green Bay would get the Giants-Buccaneers survivor. As good as the Giants looked against New England, Packers fans might as well root for Tampa Bay -- and a chilly forecast without the swirling winds and minus-16 wind chill present at Soldier Field a few weeks ago.

McNabb staying put?

Odds are Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb will be back with Philadelphia next season.

That's bad and good. Bad, because Chicago won't get a former local high school star (Mount Carmel) to upgrade the position. Good, because that means Minnesota won't get him, either. The Vikings, with McNabb, that running game and run defense, would be ready to seriously challenge Green Bay, and possibly Chicago, in the NFC North.

Turn on the TV

Bears running back Garrett Wolfe will watch NFL playoff games.

"I still have friends who will be playing," the former Northern Illinois standout said. "I'm happy for them that their seasons are still going on. I kind of wish I was with them still playing."

A Redskins fan

Devin Hester will watch Washington as it travels to Seattle for a wild-card game.

"When you have a (college) teammate on another team, you always want the best for them, and the Redskins right now have the opportunity of going to the playoffs and going to the Super Bowl," he said. "So I'm all for it and hope they do (well)."

Hester played at Miami, Fla., as did three current Redskins -- wideout Santana Moss, running back Clinton Portis and linebacker Rocky McIntosh. Slain Redskins safety Sean Taylor also was a former Hurricane.

Reed Schreck's NFL Quick Shots appear Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or rschreck@rrstar.com.