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Conference Championship Picks by the National Writers

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No Disrepect Intended
13 of 20 'Experts' Pick Colts

While the rest of the country says New England fans make too much of the national media's disrespect for the Patriots -- which is just a myth anyway -- 10 of 14 ESPN, Sports Illustrated and USA Today writers pick the Indianapolis Colts to beat New England on Sunday.

The breakdown goes like this: Five SI writers (Don Banks, Jeffri Chadiha, Nunyo Demasio, Peter King and Tim Layden) are taking Indy. So are ESPN's Sean Salisbury, Ron Jaworski, Mark Schlereth, Chris Mortensen and Mike Golic. USA Today's Jarrett Bell, Larry Weisman and Jeff Zillgitt round out the 13.

Picking New England: Michael Silver and Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated; Eric Allen and Joe Theismann and Allen of ESPN; and Nate Davis, Tom Pedulla and Skip Wood of USA Today. ESPN's Merrill Hoge's pick is not yet listed.

ESPN's Accuscore feature predicts Chicago and New England.

Last week, the SI writers picked New England, 4-3. Silver is the only one to take New England both weeks. At ESPN, only Salisbury picked the Patriots over the Chargers. I am unable to find the USA Today's writers' picks from last week.

But if you really want disrespect, check out the NFC picks. Only SI's Chadiha and Demasio and USA Today's Jarrett Bell picked the Bears.

All three picked both Chicago and Indy, the two teams with black head coaches. All three writers are black as well. ESPN's Allen, who also is black, is taking New Orleans and New England. I only mention it because the status of black coaches in these playoffs has been a topic of lengthy discussion in the mainstream media.