Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not “Mr. Lebowski”. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

– Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

I am currently naked in front of Janet Napolitano while I predict these NFL Wildcard Weekend games. If these predictions don’t completely bomb, the system worked.

You must now get naked as you read these predictions, and soon Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will visit and examine you and then you can feel comfortable betting your life on these NFL Wildcard Weekend picks. Life is sweet for those who are alive this NFL Wildcard Weekend. The rest of us are comforted in a very special way by Janet Napolatano, who, we’ve quickly learned, is more charming than we originally could have imagined. Sigh.

It’s crazy to think that an entire NFL Season has passed in less time than it took for a shoe bomber to morph into an underwear bomber… and it’s horrifying to think what’s next, especially as I am forced to stand here naked in front of Janet Napolatano explaining why I believe the New England Patriots will survive the Wes Welker injury fine in the short term, because they are that kind of team. If she ever discovers I picked the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl, I could be sent to Guantanamo as a political prisoner.

If you don’t hear from me again, it’s because that’s whatzgonnahappen.
JETS AT BENGALS – The mirage that was last week is the hard cold reality of a rookie quarterback on the road in a game that now actually means something. This is going to look like a mirror image of what just happened in something that NFL historians will soon equate with how Custer was fooled at Little Big Horn. Bengals 30, Jets 6.

EAGLES AT COWBOYS – The Eagles would like to think they are running a magic show like the Bengals are going to pull off, but the Cowboys are the home team so it’s going to be a little tougher to reverse what happened last week. The Eagles’ explosion will be third-quarter furious, making Jerry Jones’ sad face order another gin and botox with a twist of bitter lemon. Eagles 24, Cowboys 21

RAVENS AT PATRIOTS – Kevin Fauk and Julian Edelman will combine to pester the Ravens in Welker-esque ways until out of nowhere Randy Moss catches three touchdown passes. When Ray Lewis is overcome with terminal shyness in the second quarter, the blowout is on. Patriots 31, Ravens 13

Aaron Rodgers will get blamed again because he doesn’t play defense as well as Brett Favre. Meanwhile, Beanie Wells as a game-ending clock killer is a luxury the Cardinals have just discovered. Cardinals 31, Packers 27

BYE AT COLTS – Jim Caldwell tells his remote control that he is going to rest it this week and instead he has Curtis Painter over his house to manually change the channels.

BYE AT SAINTS – Everyone in New Orleans is frantically searching for the magic dust that seems to have been misplaced.

BYE AT CHARGERS – If it’s the playoffs, Norv Turner is feeling a tightness around his neck.

BYE AT VIKINGS – Brett Favre retires.

BYE AT BROWNS – Mike Holmgren and Eric Mangini sing an A Cappella version of “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.”

This column is sponsored by the Tourism Bureau of Yemen.

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