By Tom E. Curran NBCSports.com Lemme get this out of the way right now: This wasn’t my idea. The men pulling strings on the puppet that is me ... they’re the ones that came up with it: "Say, Tom ... why dontcha pick a Super Bowl winner from the 12 teams left standing as the NFL playoffs begin?" Since I’m not in the business of telling my bosses to sit and spin (at least not in this economy), I agreed. Of course, they won’t be the ones answering the emails that begin, “Dear Hack …" and end by asking how many years I played in the NFL. (Answer: Not so many). No, they’re the ones standing on the ground clapping while I’m the jackass waving from the bridge about to bungee jump. Fine. But before I reveal the winner of Super XLIII and ruin the surprise for everyone, let’s look at some facts to consider. Before the season began, I picked the Eagles to beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl. As you snicker, please remember what some of my NFL-covering brethren and sisteren had for their picks. Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune had the Cowboys winning the Super Bowl. Six of the eight gents doing the picking at USA Today had the Cowboys winning the NFC (they won’t). Five of the eight had the Chargers winning the AFC (they might). Intrepid Skip Wood had the Jets winning the Super Bowl (snort). Over at Sports Illustrated, Peter King had the Patriots over the Cowboys, Don Banks liked the Chargers over the Saints, Dr. Z had the Patriots over the Eagles and NFL insider Mike Lombardi had the Seahawks beating the Chargers (double snort). At ESPN.com, John Clayton had the Chargers over the Cowboys, Sal Paolantonio had the Cowboys over the Chargers, Matt Mosley had New England beating Dallas and Seth Wickersham had the Colts beating the Saints. Suffice to say, most everyone had a combination of the Patriots, Cowboys, Colts and Chargers pummeling each other at the top of the league with a stray Eagles, Vikings or Saints mixed in. Well, it didn’t work out that way. And now we’re down to a dozen and -- from that group -- we can automatically eliminate a few teams. By the time Super Bowl C rolls around in 58 seasons, the Arizona Cardinals will still be Lombardi-less. And the Dolphins are meat this weekend as well. The Vikings? Sorry. Next step: Every one of the past 10 seasons and in 25 of the past 27, a No. 1 seed has made it to the Super Bowl. So this year, your No. 1 seeds are the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans. Which of the two is going to make it since there’s a better than 92 percent chance that one will? We’ll take the Giants. They’ll play the lowest remaining NFC seed (which will be either Philly, Atlanta or Arizona) next weekend. Only the Eagles will make them sweat (the teams split during the regular season). After that, they’ll be dealing with the Panthers at Giants Stadium, a rematch of the great Week 16 game won by New York, 34-28. I trust Eli Manning a lot more than I trust Jake Delhomme. So there’s your NFC entrant. Meanwhile, not since 1993 have two No. 1 seeds met in the Super Bowl. So we can eliminate the Tennessee Titans right there. The non-No. 1 seeds that have made it since 1993 -- 5, 3, 6, 2, 3, 2, 2, 4, 4, 2, 4, 2, 2, 2. That adds up to 43. Divide that by 14 and the average lower-seed team to get into the playoffs is the No. 3 seed. This year that would mean the Dolphins would represent the AFC. However, since I have veto power in this little exercise, I’ll take the Chargers, seeded fourth, instead. And that’s not a stretch, even though the Bolts are 8-8. The way Philip Rivers is playing and with the running tandem of Darren Sproles and LaDainian Tomlinson and the best special teams core remaining out of all the teams, San Diego is tremendously dangerous. Dangerous enough to knock off Pittsburgh and Tennessee in consecutive weeks on the road, which is what they’d probably have to do? Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. And once in Tampa, there’ll be no stopping the gritty, gutty 8-8 Chargers from turning the NFL on its head and making the 11-5 and playoff-less Patriots flip their collective lids. They take out the Giants 31-20. You heard it here first. But only because my bosses made me! ------------------------- Works for me.