Happy New Year! What’s up, people?

Let’s talk about my Ducks winning the Rose Bowl in those dope mirrored helmets, the BCS title game, and the NFL divisional games this weekend. Will the Pack repeat, is Brady headed to another championship game… or will Tebow Time keep ticking? Stick around for my picks!

First, what was your highlight of the Panthers’ season, and was there any player who caught your eye? I don’t have a single highlight, but every game our team won showed us the way we can play all the time, and what we have to look forward to. One player I was really impressed with was Giants’ receiver Victor Cruz, who had a breakout year. So I’m giving him my Game Changer Award.

As predicted, my Oregon Ducks outgunned Wisconsin 45-38 to win the Rose Bowl for the first time in 95 years. After watching some of the other bowl games, I’d rate the Oregon game as the most exciting one. And I really want to get one of those helmets that Oregon wore!

I wasn’t a big fan of the championship game, and I’m sure neutral fans didn’t find it too exciting with all those field goals. The Crimson Tide’s stifling defense did hold strong, and I respect that. But I have a feeling Coach Chip Kelly’s Oregon offense would’ve smashed ’Bama! We play to score and to win, and they would’ve been worn out running after us. Unfortunately, some early season jitters kept us from being in the title game, but Oregon finished real strong.

Since the NFL regular season ended, all I’ve wanted to do is absolutely nothing. Just resting my body and mind. I’m going to create some more music and just kick back. And I’ve been catching some Charlotte Bobcats games with teammates Jon Beason and Charles Godfrey. We sat right behind the Bobcats’ bench, close to the action. Man, it’s pretty electric, especially when we saw the Heat and their trio of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. From a neutral stance, it’s fun to watch them take over a game.

(Click “next page” for my playoff preview.)

Now to the NFL playoffs, where the intensity goes way up and mistakes are magnified. The momentum swings that come with turnovers or big stops are key, and you have to take advantage. Like when Texans defensive end JJ Watt somehow intercepted that Cincinnati pass and returned it for a TD, wow! Here are my picks for this weekend’s matchups.

Saints at 49ers
You got a great offense—New Orleans set an NFL record with 467 yards per game—against an almost immovable object, the San Francisco defense, led by Patrick Willis, who’s a physical specimen. He’s got running back speed and agility at the linebacker position, yikes. The Saints’ Drew Brees is one of a kind, the way he can pick apart a defense, and he’s got some game-changers in tight end Jimmy Graham and tailback Darren Sproles, who’s like an all-purpose dynamo. But I’m picking the 49ers to win.
UPDATE: 49ers won, 36-32.

Denver at New England
The biggest surprise last weekend was Denver, which beat Pittsburgh after losing three in a row to finish the season. But when it counted, Tim Tebow made plays. That game-winning TD throw on the first play of OT was just clutch. Is he for real? Next up is New England and Tom Brady, who’s led his team to three Super Bowl titles and is a proven quarterback. I think it would be disrespectful to say the Broncos will beat the Patriots. So I’m going with New England.
UPDATE: Patriots won, 45-10.

Texans at Ravens
I like the Texans’ Arian Foster (above right), an undrafted player who won the NFL rushing title in 2010. He’s got really quick feet and probably the smoothest cuts in the NFL. It’s almost like watching a gazelle running on the savannah. He’s just smooth and subtle and then before you know it, he’s by you. The Ravens always have a good defense, led by Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis, to test Houston’s rookie QB TJ Yates. This game could be up in the air but I’m going with Houston.
UPDATE: Texans lost, 20-13.

Giants at Packers
In Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers, you’ve got two quarterbacks who’ve led their teams to the NFL title. The Packers are reigning champions, but it’s not easy to repeat, and I think Green Bay is beatable. The Giants could take this game, especially with Manning and Cruz having some good chemistry. This may be one of the better games to watch. It’s going to be exciting this weekend, although I’d rather be playing. Next year!
UPDATE: Giants won, 37-20.

Thanks again to the Panthers for supporting my blog on Twitter and Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter@Jonathanstewar1, and check out my music at my website, jstew28.com.

“Don’t lose sight of the objective, of your dreams, and your destination.” JStew out!

As told to Ashley Jude Collie