The NFL playoffs get underway this weekend, which you may have noticed given all the column space devoted this week to prognostications about who will win, who will lose, and whether Bill Belichick's deal with the devil will finally come due.
But there's a much easier way to forecast the playoffs than stats and mere intuition: Mascots. More specifically, which mascots would win in fights against other mascots.
Using that as the sole predictive metric, the complete playoff results would be:
Wild Card Round
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts
(Facebook/Kansas City Chiefs, Facebook/Indianapolis Colts)
The Chiefs, unlike the Redskins, have backed off from their racially insensitive namesake over the years, and their mascot is not some decked-out warrior, but rather a dopey, pear-shaped wolf. A dopey, pear-shaped wolf in Zubaz pants, no less.
As for the Colts' mascot, Blue? He's also dopey and pear-shaped, but boldly goes pantless. Only a crazy person would go pantless in front of tens of thousands of fans, and you never want to fight crazy people: They have nothing to lose.
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
(Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT/Getty, Facebook/Cincinnati Bengals)
The Bengals' mascot, Who Dey, is a fiercer animal alternative to the Chiefs' Fox and the Colts' Blue. But he still looks too timid to do any real damage. And, again, Lightning Roidman is straight up nuts.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
(CC BY: John Martinez Pavliga, Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
If Woody from Toy Story got hit by a growth ray and sprouted a beard, he'd be the 49ers mascot, Sourdough Sam. Though that would seemingly make him kind of a doofus, Sam, unlike Woody, has a pickaxe that would come in handy in a fight.
The Packers, meanwhile, have no mascot, so they lose by default. But even if they did, it would probably be a a block of cheese, which would stand no chance against axe-swinging Sammy.
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles
(Facebook/New Orleans Saints, Doug Pensinger /Allsport/Getty)
New Orleans has two mascots — the Quagmire-esque Sir Saint, and Gumbo the dog — giving them a formidable tag team. Saint could bludgeon someone into submission with his chin, then tap out to Gumbo to finish the job.
The Eagles' Swoop, on the other hand, is a bird whose decision to wear clothes has rendered his wings useless. Good luck swooping on land, dummy.
Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers
(Justin Edmonds, Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT/Getty)
Colts, take note: This is how you do an intimidating horse mascot. The Broncos' Miles looks like a high school quarterback whose two biggest passions are spinning donuts in the school parking lot and table-topping nerds.
Unfortunately, he's up against Boltman — who, again, is certifiably insane. The two would make a great villainous WWE duo, but alas, only one can advance here. I'll take Miles' agility over Boltman's musclebound turpitude, and bet that Boltman slinks back to his career as a professional comic book villain when this is all over.
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts' Blue basically advanced by default, and he stands no chance against Pat Patriot. Pat has it all: The build of a pro athlete, the passion of a Revolutionary War hero, and the enormous "Come at me, bro" face of someone who would take a punch, spit out blood, and maniacally laugh about it. Dude also has access to a bunch of guns. Yeah, they're one-shot muskets, but still.
Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints
(Kevin Casey/Getty Images, Facebook/New Orleans Saints)
The Saints beat up on a bird in the Wild Card round, and they'll face a much tougher bird here. Unlike Philly's Swoop, Seattle's Blitz is ripped. Plus, Blitz can dunk, so he's got the athleticism necessary to effectively wield all that bulk.
In a fair fight, Blitz would win, talons down. But it won't be a fair fight. Sir Saint looks so much like Snidley Whiplash, sans mustache, that he may indeed be Snidley Whiplash, sans mustache. And Gumbo looks eerily like the dog from Duck Hunt, which means he probably has an innate strength against water fowl.
Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers
(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, CC BY: John Martinez Pavliga)
Sourdough Sam could win with a simple belly rub.
Broncos vs. Patriots
(Justin Edmonds/Getty, CC BY: Special Olympics Massachusetts)
Two grinning, sinister idiots enter — one grinning, sinister idiot leaves. Pat has all those guns, and he could be hiding some loose-leaf tea under his tricorne hat to throw, like sand, in his opponent's eyes.
However, Miles is no ordinary horse. He's a mischievous horse who can walk upright. Have you ever been punched by a hoof? Of course not, because you wouldn't be alive to talk about it.
Saints vs. 49ers
How do you stop the powerful duo of Sir Saint and Gumbo? By being a wild card, that's how.
With Saint and Gumbo, you know what you're going to get. Saint is going to wallop you with his chin and tie you to some railroad tracks, and Gumbo is going to gnaw on your pant legs. It's effective, but predictable.
Then there's Sam, who has maybe started to lose it after living in "Dem Thar Hills" and fruitlessly panning for gold for more than a century and a half. Does he have a pack of trained woodland critters living in his beard, ready to do his bidding? Has he, through decades spent crouching in icy waters and living alone in the harsh wilderness, achieved some sort of stoical nirvana and thus no longer feels pain?
The Lombardi Trophy is, though not gold, made of another precious metal, silver. Sam would likely let nothing stand in between himself and a valuable metal — not even a anthropomorphized dog and his chin-heavy companion.
Broncos vs. 49ers
(Justin Edmonds/Getty, CC BY: John Martinez Pavliga)
The battle of the crazy horse and the guy old enough to have known Crazy Horse. Miles is a jerk, and a tough one. Sam is a bonkers old coot with a pickaxe and a blinding fanaticism for shiny objects.
Who will win? Trick question: Neither. That's because while they're busy fighting each other, Minnesota Vikings mascot Ragnar will storm in and go all Berserker on everyone, swipe the trophy, and peel out on his chopper.
(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
So congrats, Vikings fans. You may have had a horrible season, and your team may be embroiled in a PR disaster over alleged cowardice and homophobia among the coaching staff, but at least your team will win pillage the Super Bowl.