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Sunday Morning Bloody Mary: Childhood Influences Championship Weekend Picks

At one point my life's journey took a pit stop in the great state of Minnesota as a youth and by in large, I became a Twins/Vikings fan, with guys like Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek becoming my childhood heroes. Many people who have moved around may experience the same thing; sometimes you become a fan of the city you're living in -- some don't because of the team's influence on the person's primary teams. But many do. And I quickly learned of the Vikings' rivalry with the Packers and Bears (3:00pm, FOX). Forcing me to pick a winner between the two teams is like asking which leg I'll like to have amputated.

Until this.

A bar in St. Paul called Tiffany Sports Lounge is planning on roasting a 180-pound black bear as a show of support for the Green Bay Packers this afternoon. My sports ancestry makes me proud. Now if only we can find a Steeler...

When I turned 10 years old, my journey left the Twin Cities for the Queen City just as the Bengals reached the Super Bowl during the 1988 season. A year later, the Pete Rose scandal broke out and the Reds won the World Series in 1990. How could I not fall in love with Cincinnati sports? Scandals, championships, we had it all. And I did. And the 20 years since it's exploded to the point that I write about the Bengals daily, actually watch nearly every Reds game on TV if I'm home with a passion that consumes my flow of life.

So we know the rivalry in the AFC North.

The Pittsburgh Steelers host the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game (6:30pm, CBS). As pointed out last week, picking a team to cheer for between the two is hard. On one hand, the New York Jets have been the bane of Cincinnati's existence recently. On the other hand, it's the Pittsburgh Steelers. And there's nothing I hate more than Steelers fans promoting how many championships that they've won. I'm actually grinding my teeth right now. As for injuries, Troy Polamalu (Achilles), Brad Smith (groin) and Jason Taylor (concussion) all figure to go.

So I decided to break it down like this. I'll pick teams that I'm cheering for and I'll pick teams I believe will win this weekend.

Teams I'm Cheering For: Packers, Jets
Picks To Win: Packers, Steelers

I just might curl up and read a book by the fireplace instead.