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Panthers not only team out of luck

Are you excited yet?

For their vacant head coaching position, the Panthers are interviewing a group of guys that only ESPN's Chris Mortensen would know and now quarterback Andrew Luck, the Stanford savior, has decided he wants to continue studying architecture and the Oregon State defense rather than learn the difference in Sharon Lane and Sharon Road.

Admit it. The Luck thing seemed too good to be true. It was too easy.

What now?

Two words: Donovan McNabb.

Got a better idea?

Thank you Mr. St. Pierre, we'll take that under consideration.

While the Panthers look for a new head coach - I'm thinking they spend big on offensive and defensive coordinators - and start measuring body fat on defensive linemen, there's a weekend of playoff games to consider.

NEW ORLEANS at SEATTLE: You know how maddening it is to get a song stuck in your head - something awful like "Afternoon Delight" - and it won't go away? That's the way this whole argument about Seattle not deserving to be in the playoffs has started to sound.

To quote Dr. Evil, zip it.

Sometimes 7-9 is good enough. Heck, we'd take it around here this season. Think of it this way: the Seahawks won a game in November. They won another in December. They even won one in January. They're 3 for 3.

One more thing to think about: New Orleans has never won a road playoff game. Hmmm... Saints 31, Seahawks 13.

NEW YORK JETS at INDIANAPOLIS: Rex Ryan may not always be right but evidently he's never in doubt. He's been saying for two years the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl.

Ryan was wrong last season but he's not wrong - yet - this season. There's almost a crazy uncle vibe to the Jets. They may say or do anything, which makes them entertaining.

It helps that they're pretty good, too. Thinking they can go to Indianapolis and end Peyton Manning's playoff run almost before it starts takes nerves. The Jets have plenty of that. Jets 26, Colts 23.

BALTIMORE at KANSAS CITY: The Chiefs are one of those teams that, until this season, you probably weren't sure was still in the NFL. They'd essentially become invisible - like Don Johnson.

Now they're in the playoffs, which is like waking up to a surprise snowfall. They haven't had a ton to cheer about in Kansas City since Freddie Patek was playing shortstop but now they do. Todd Haley is a tough-guy coach, Matt Cassell is a good quarterback and Arrowhead Stadium is barbecue central again.

It's enough to make me want to pick the Chiefs. Then I think about Ray Lewis. Ravens 27, Chiefs 17.

GREEN BAY at PHILADELPHIA: This is the way the NFL season started, remember? Kevin Kolb, remember?

And here they are again, this time three wins away from the Super Bowl. The Eagles have been mesmerizing at times this season, particularly Michael Vick, who deserves a screenplay as exciting as his playing style.

But Vick has been getting hit recently like Marky Mark in "The Fighter" (go see it if you haven't already) and that raises questions as to whether the Birds are doing a late-season fade.

The Packers look great one week, not great the next. They're like betting red or black on the roulette wheel. The Eagles are the safer pick. It's time to live on the edge. Packers 31, Eagles 21.

Last week: 8-8

Season: 142-90

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