MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications Sports

Well, it’s like this: Last week for #NFLTheTVShow’s Divisional Round (I call it the second round), I was 3-1 on winners and 2-2 playing the points, which can be viewed as respectable, but, frankly, I find the 2-2 on the points to be a complete and utter failure.

As Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after his team lost to the San Francisco 49ers, “We’re sick, just sick. Sick.” Or maybe my old friend Melvin Belt was right whenever I would tell him Patrick Ewing and his Georgetown Hoyas were not that good – back in the day when Ewing was a player and not the coach and they were as good as anybody. Melvin would merely spy me up, shake his head with a smirk and say, “Sick boy …”

(You just had to be there.)

I took the Kansas City Chiefs to win but the Jacksonville Jaguars to cover the +8.5 and both teams did just that, Kansas City winning, 27-20.

I took the New York Giants to cover the +7.5 at Philadelphia, but I took the Eagles to win, which they did, as well as cover in a big way, 38-7, which is what I am sick about. I went against my own advice and tried to reinvent the wheel by fashionably ignoring how good Philadelphia has been all year.

On Sunday, I took the Buffalo Bills to win and to cover the -5. They did neither in being blasted by the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10.

I questioned how good the Cincinnati offensive line really was. Both its offensive and defensive lines showed us how good they are, making a meal out of the Bills on both sides of the ball, in front of their home fans while playing in snowy Buffalo weather.

Hey, it snows in Cincinnati, too, apparently.

I also said this just could be the year the Bills finally do it. Clearly, it will not be.

For the Sunday night game, I somewhat redeemed myself by picking the San Francisco 49ers to win over the Dallas Cowboys and to cover the -3.5, and they did both, winning 19-12.

It became clear to my pea brain that the magic carpet ride of 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, is far from being over. In fact, the confidence and the poise with which he plays tells us if San Francisco finally hits a bump in the road it will not be because of anything he does.

As for Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, he did not have his “great moment of met expectations” on Sunday. In fact, he looked rather silly. Although head coach Mike McCarthy certainly lived down to my expectations, which is probably what made his boss so “Sick, just sick. Sick” This comes one week after Jones compared this Dallas team to the 1990s Dallas teams that won three Super Bowls in a row.

Uh, those teams were Jimmy Johnson’s doing, Jerry. How long before you have Sean Payton on the speed dial? And by the way, Ezekiel Elliott has no future as an NFL center. Uh-boy …

As for this week’s conference championship games (hard to say what the TVShow is going to call them since The Gong Show is taken), in the NFC it’s San Francisco at Philadelphia (-2.5 to 3) and Cincinnati at Kansas City in what the early lines have the Bengals -1.5 or as a pick ‘em.

The 49ers and the Eagles have been the two best teams in the NFC this season. The Eagles look to be fully healthy again and quarterback Jalen Hurts has been the NFL’s best player. Yet the 49ers have the game’s hottest quarterback in Purdy, arguably the best and deepest roster in the league and a head coach in Kyle Shanahan, who, despite reminding me of Adam Sandler, is likely the Coach of the Year.

The last time Purdy and Hurts went against each other was in college, a 42-41 win for Hurts and Oklahoma over Purdy and Iowa State, which kind of makes you excited to see what will play out this time.

The Iggles have the homefield, but that can work against them as much as it can work for them, depending on what side of the bed Philadelphia wakes up on Sunday morning. I know Eagles fans who tell me that neither Hurts nor the Eagles are still that good. And I say Baltimore has an inferiority complex?

I’ll be rooting for the Eagles, because Philly holds a special place in my heart, but if I were betting I would say the 49ers keep rolling right into the Super Bowl.

As for the AFC, now being a believer once more, I feel the same way about the Bengals. They’ve had the look for the better part of two months and in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game, I pick them to return to the Super Bowl after falling to the Rams during last year’s annual Fall of the Roman Empire American holiday.

The Bengals’ Joe Burrow and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes have established themselves as the two best quarterbacks in the league. Burrow and the Bengals are 4-0 in their previous four meetings.

The question is, whose leg is hurting the most? Burrow’s or Mahomes’?

Mahomes and the Chiefs may be due, but I believe the Bengals are just better and pick ‘em to return to the Super Bowl to try to make the third time the charm against the 49ers.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT