There were 12 contenders fighting for the Vince Lombardi trophy. After Wild Card Weekend, there were eight. Now, four more contenders have fallen away after a crazy Divisional Round, and the four left standing head into their respective conference championship games next Sunday.
Last week, we put our experts head to head (or paw to toe) with the pros. Check out the original post where we introduce the contenders if you want a refresher on which pets and objects are in the running as well as their impressive resumes. The real experts, consisting of former players and professional sports journalists, fared generally very well over the last few weeks, and some of our animal friends did surprisingly well too.
Of course, there is the flip side. Some pups just can’t pick worth a dang, but also, some humans can’t either. Where does everybody stand after the Divisional Round?
Leading The Pack
We have two front-runners in our Pet Pick ‘Em challenge. One isn’t much of a surprise – Mike Golic is not only a human, but he’s a former NFL player and currently hosts a popular sports talk radio show. His current record is an impressive 7-1 (his only wrong pick was Dallas in the Divisional Round).
The other 7-1 record holder? Yep, it’s a pooch. Kylo Ren the pup is also rockin’ the picks with the ease and proficiency of an honest-to-goodness football expert, whose only misstep so far has been going with the Seahawks before they were rolled by Atlanta.
There are a bunch of other top contenders in our pool of experts, including humans, like amateur fan Matt. Matt is 6-2, which isn’t too shabby. He’s joined in a tie with several others, including Fox Sports writer Dieter Kurtenbach, Dibs the bearded dragon, Ella the cat, Korra the cat, and Mr. Chester the dog. Good job, Mr. Kurtenbach and Matt – you’re picking as well as these fine animals!
Interestingly, our trusty Coiney (er, coin we used for our coin toss) who got them all right last week, faltered and missed every single pick this week. The other qualified experts, such as Michael Irvin, aren’t doing as hot as Kylo the dog (Irvin is at 5-3, same as Mike Florio). The FiveThirtyEight DataLab is also falling off a bit with a 5-3 record. You can see how Coiney and your other favorite pets are faring in the complete rankings at the bottom of this post.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have those experts who aren’t doing all that great. Most of these are pets, but Leo, a baby human, is also running a 3-5 record (we certainly don’t hold that against him, though – he’s an infant and probably just wants more milk right now).
The rest of the 3-5 (and under) crowd are all cats and dogs. Fortunately, even those at the bottom aren’t completely missing all the picks, as Artemisia the cat and Riggins the dog both have a couple correct picks. Riggins, as we mentioned last week, is half blind, so you can’t blame him at all (don’t you dare even try), and Misi (as her humans like to call her) has better things to do, such as rule over the household like the queen she is.
This Weekend’s Games
As we gear up for the conference championships, we’ll really get to see who pulls away from the pack, and who is happier chasing tails or sitting on a windowsill. Now that we’re getting down to the wire, there are fewer games to pick. As the numbers grow smaller, the games become exponentially more important. The winners of this weekend’s matchups will go on to represent their respective conference in the Super Bowl.
Our most fabulous pet picker, Kylo, is gunning for Atlanta and New England to head into the big dance. Amateur fan Matt thinks Pittsburgh will edge out the Pats, while 6-2 Korra the cat thinks the Packers will represent the NFC in Houston. Our favorite half-blind canine, Riggins, also feels strongly that the Super Bowl will feature Green Bay and New England. Bentley, his partner in the Pick ‘Em Pound, is also predicting an Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady Super Bowl.
What will your picks be?
Below is a graphic that contains the full standings. But first, we thought you might like to see some of these pets in action!
Our “animal experts” were pets submitted by members of the Fanatics.com team. Pet owners were given cutouts of the logos for each playoff team and asked to record their furry (or scaly) friends’ choices. Some owners chose to put the logos on the ground, while others put them in a bowl. There were no hard rules for how the choices had to be made, except that owners were not allowed to influence the choices.
The real experts included in this study were selected at random from a pool of former NFL players and sports journalists who currently cover the NFL across a variety of networks and mediums.
No real playoff prediction would be complete without a “wild-card” element, hence our inclusion of random people and inanimate objects, like our beloved Coiney.