Case in Point

Adding two more playoff games means 48 hours of football


"Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.

"These tragedies have reminded us that words matter, and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.

"Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.

"You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.

"Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.

"Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name, Amen."

The words above were spoken on the floor of the U.S. Senate Jan. 6-7 at 3:30 a.m. CT by Chaplain of the United States Senate Barry Black — a Seventh-day Adventist minister.

I’m not going to spend any more time on the events of Jan. 6, other than to say that in watching my television at 3:30 in the morning Jan. 7, seeing Democracy at work hours after it was under siege by our very own, Mr. Black’s words spoke to me, as they have in the past. I often find myself listening to his prayers to the Senate, as they are powerful. He's correct. Words do matter.


NFL playoff predictions—I was 4-2 in predicting NFL Wild Card games last weekend. We should have known that the upsets would come from the two divisional games within the playoffs.

On one hand, if you had told me that Rams quarterback Jared Goff was available to play after breaking his throwing thumb and having surgery just days prior — and that he would play — I may have had a different prediction in that game.

The Rams defense is for real, one of the best in the NFL. Heading into a road matchup with Green Bay this week, we don’t know if DT Aaron Donald, the best defensive player in football, can play. That’s a huge unknown as I make this pick. Yet this is a quarterback league, and I’ll take the Packers at home over the Rams.

The other NFC Divisional game is a treat the likes of which we will never see again. Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady — the two best quarterbacks ever (statistically). Soak this one in folks. Brees is 2-0 vs. Brady this season, which probably says more about the Saints defense. They say it’s tough to beat a team three times in a season, but I’m going to pick the Saints until I see the Bucs beat them.

As a Lions fan, how could I not love seeing the Browns get their first playoff win in decades?

From one (and only one) standpoint, I would have liked to see the Steelers win so that we could see the Ravens vs. Chiefs one round earlier. Instead Cleveland’s road travels to Kansas City, where the miracle will end as Mahomes and the Chiefs will move on.

The Ravens travel to Buffalo, where the Bills are another team that won at home in the playoffs for the first time in 25 years. Seeing grown men crying in the stands pulled at my heart strings — again take it from a Lions fan, these big wins matter, even if they do come just once every couple decades. The Ravens and Bills are the two hottest teams in the NFL, but I’m going to stick with the Bills, as they’ve been the better of the two offensively in recent weeks.

While we're on the subject of NFL playoffs, I'm not sure yet how I feel about adding a playoff team in each conference. It gets one more team in, which is a good thing. Yet it meant a full day of NFL games both Saturday and Sunday, with games from noon to after 10 p.m.

For a NFL junkie like myself, one would think that would be a great thing. Yet I found myself thinking, how am I going to get anything else done this weekend? I like to watch every snap, scratching my head when the Colts don't TAKE THE POINTS on a fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line; wondering what the heck happened to the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, who was the run-away MVP through five games this season; etc.

The performance of the weekend was easy to pick. It was (fourth string?) Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke stepping onto the biggest stage and performing against the GOAT Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. When Heinicke dove for that pylon and scored a rushing touchdown, keeping the Football Team alive in a game they were destined to lose, that was the play of the year in the NFL.

On the morning of that game, Heinicke could have walked into any living room in America and no one would have known who he was. To have your first ever start at home, in the playoffs, against Tom Brady, you can't make it up. Storybook, even in a loss.

Kudos again to the Browns, who won despite deep COVID-19 issues including not having a head coach on the sidelines. There were even reports of quarterback Baker Mayfield having to introduce himself to lineman before the game, who had literally driven in from other states to play in that game. Unreal.