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The Shutdown Corner playoff brackets: The first round was ugly for our picks

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(USA Today Sports Images)

The thing about filling out a bracket, as any NCAA Tournament fan can tell you, is that all it does is cause grief.

And with that, let's go back and check out our NFL playoff picks after one round, shall we?

Not one of our four writers – Anwar Richardson, Jay Busbee, Eric Edholm and Frank Schwab – has a clean bracket after one weekend. All four picked the Chiefs ... and hey, that looked good for a couple hours!

Let's check the carnage and have these guys explain themselves, starting with best bracket remaining ("best" being relative in this crew) to the guy that picked the Bengals to go to the Super Bowl. There are the same brackets from last week, with the (many) mistakes crossed out:

JAY BUSBEE

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Well, in this crowd, a 2-2 first round and having all four of your conference championship picks alive qualifies you as an expert. Anything happen in the first round that makes you question your final four picks?

Since I went nearly straight chalk for the final round, I'm feeling good about picking three No. 1 or 2 seeds. I'm most nervous about New England, because Indy has that lunatic team-of-destiny vibe about them. (Andrew Luck slam-dunking the football into the end zone will be part of his permanent highlight package.) Over in the NFC, San Francisco still looks like they're on a conference-championship track.

ERIC EDHOLM

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I guess that Eagles bandwagon fell apart pretty quick, huh? You give the Saints any chance of advancing to the NFC title game now that they've advanced?

Yeah, it certainly did. But the Saints really impressed me there. They showed a toughness on both lines of scrimmage I wasn't sure they had. Defensively, they pressured with only three and four rushers, were effective doing it, and the offensive line paved the way for an impressive power run game — without Pierre Thomas. Can they do that in Seattle? The job is tougher, but we will not see 34-7 again. This will be a far closer game, even if the Saints come up just short.

ANWAR RICHARDSON

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An 0-4 first round ... what happened?

Kansas City Chiefs stopped playing in the second half, Cincinnati choked again in January, I bet against Drew Brees and had too much faith in Green Bay. Does that cover it? Feel free to kick me while I am down. Indianapolis finally showed what can happen when Andrew Luck is forced to carry its team. And it is definitely time to start believing in the San Diego Chargers. Now it's time for me to pull an “Opposite George” to have correct picks in the future.

FRANK SCHWAB

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You picked the Bengals to make the Super Bowl. The Bengals ... in the Super Bowl. YOU PICKED THE FREAKING BENGALS TO MAKE THE SUPER BOWL?!?!?!

Yeah, that was me. I thought Andy Dalton would pull a Joe Flacco. I underestimated Marvin Lewis' inability to win in the playoffs. All season I believed the Bengals were a pretty good football team ... but they just never are in January. I'm also looking at a pick I don't believe is coming true (I think the 49ers are going to the NFC title game, not Carolina, after seeing San Francisco play so well last week). Hey, there's always next year.

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