A vote for Andy, today's picks

Before we get to the staff predictions on today's playoff games, and let's hope they are more competitive than yesterday's, a few notes to pass along ...

* Eagles coach Andy Reid received one vote for NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press. A 50-member national media panel makes the selection. Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis won the award with 20 1/2 votes, followed by the Saints' Sean Payton (20 1/2), San Diego's Norv Turner (9), Indy's Jim Caldwell (7) and Reid and Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt with one piece. In case you were wondering, our Paul Domowitch is on the panel and cast his vote for Turner.

* The Michael Vick to Rams speculation continues with today's Bernie Miklasz column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He cites a reader poll with 62 percent in favor of Vick becoming a Ram. His bottom line:

"Vick would be an upgrade, at least until the Rams draft and develop a young quarterback to take over.

"The Rams have a severe shortage of playmakers, and Vick is a playmaker. The Rams are boring, and Vick is anything but dull. Pro football is supposed to be entertainment, and Vick is a charismatic performer. The Rams must create some sizzle, and Vick would have people buzzing about the franchise again. Pro and con.

"Vick might not immediately transform the Rams into a winner, but at least he'd make them relevant again. Whether you love him or hate him, Vick is a compelling reason to watch the games."

* The Cleveland Plain Dealer takes a deeper look at new Browns GM Tom Heckert and analyzes his work in the draft over the last few years with the Eagles. Not a lot new here for devout Eagles fans, but it does provide a little bit of the guiding philosophy that the Eagles tried to use in selecting players.

"The best-case scenario is to get some of your needs done in free agency and then worry about the draft and then take the best available player," Heckert said. "Because that's the last thing you want to do is force a pick in there just because of a need.

"That's our goal, to hopefully build this team where you don't have to do that. You can draft the best player that's available and then you don't have to worry about reaching for somebody."



The Vikings are favored by 3 over the Cowboys at the Metrodome (1 pm, Fox)

Les Bowen: Cowboys

Ed Barkowitz: Vikings

Bill Conlin: Cowboys

Paul Domowitch: Cowboys (weekend best bet)

Marcus Hayes: Vikings (weekend best bet)

Mike Kern: Vikings (weekend best bet)

Vegas Vic: Cowboys

The Chargers are favored by 7 1/2 over the Jets in San Diego (4:30, CBS)

Les Bowen: Chargers

Ed Barkowitz: Chargers

Bill Conlin: Chargers (weekend best bet)

Paul Domowitch: Chargers

Marcus Hayes: Jets

Mike Kern: Jets

Vegas Vic: Jets