INDIANAPOLIS – With the NFL playoffs starting Saturday, Colts.com has targeted six public figures, insiders who cover the league and former quarterbacks to predict the course of post-season play.
The Honorable Mitch Daniels served as Indiana's 49th Governor from 2005-13 and is embarking on his second year as President of Purdue University. Daniels is an avid sports fan for years, counting the Colts chiefly among the teams he follows.
Here are President Daniels' predictions:
Colts over Kansas City: I tried to keep my hopes under control as this amazing Colts team kept finding a way no matter who got hurt, but I'm bought in now. I worry about not having Vontae D., whose return seemed to matter a lot, but I see at least one more win coming. COLTS
Cincinnati over San Diego: San Diego feels like the hotter team right now, but Cincinnati is tough at home even when it's not this cold. Dalton has been erratic, so maybe he has one of his more solid games after throwing two weeks' worth of interceptions last week. BENGALS
Philadelphia over New Orleans: Saints on the road, Eagles playing well and especially an improving defense. Would expect a close one. EAGLES
San Francisco over Green Bay: I keep arguing with myself, but the 49ers just seem so much more complete a team than the Packers, and even a healthy Aaron Rodgers doesn't totally neutralize that. And this will sound backward, but a weather forecast of zero makes me tilt further toward SF, with their defense and multiple running weapons. Close call. FORTY-NINERS
Denver over Colts: This would be asking for too much magic. Would love to be wrong, but I was told to be honest. BRONCOS
New England over Cincinnati: People say you can't trust the Bengals, and this is where my trust runs out. PATRIOTS
Seattle over San Francisco: If it were anybody else but the Seahawks, anywhere else but in their home stadium, I'd go with the Niners. Possibly the two best teams in the league, would have made for a good Super Bowl. SEAHAWKS
Carolina over Philadelphia: As well as the Panthers have been playing, especially at home, I can't pick against them. PANTHERS
Denver over New England: Might need a third digit on the scoreboard for this one. For several reasons, I'll be keyed up more for this game than any the Colts aren't playing in, so come on, Denver. BRONCOS
Seattle over Carolina: Starting to feel like a homer, but this team has earned the right to be favored anytime they're on their own turf. SEAHAWKS
Super Bowl XLVIII
Seattle over Denver: No one would love to see #18 win another ring more than I would but if this is the matchup, and especially with no Von Miller on the field, I have to lean toward the more complete team. SEAHAWKS
Check back in 60 minutes for another playoff prediction from a celebrity, insider or former star quarterback.