Saturday, January 17, 2015

PIGSKIN 2014: Championship Weekend


Football Sunday

Regular Season Results:
On Vacation! 

Final Regular Season Record:  107-100-5
Wild Card Record:  0-4
Divisional Round:  2-2
Overall Record:  109-106-5
BAGELS in the Basket:  -2

National Football League ~ The Final Four
Friday Line ~ NYDN

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -6 1/2 (Baltimore Colts)
Win; 45-7 Patriots

This is a rematch of the 2006 championship game,
won by the Colts 38-34 in Indianapolis.

This is New England's 11th trip to the AFC Championship game since 1970, 
their 8th trip since the 2001 season, and their third in a row.  

The Colts last played for, and won the AFC championship in 2009 over the Jets.
This is Baltimore/Indianapolis 5th trip to the AFC title game since 1970.

I gave Andrew Luck and the Colts respect all season, but turned on them as soon as the playoffs started.  They in turn made me eat my words, but I'm not about to pick them over Tom Brady and the Hoodie.  Sorry Colts fans, but I still feel Indy is a one trick pony.  I think their running game has overachieved in Ahmad Bradshaw's absence, and I feel their defense has overachieved as well.  

I know - they limited the Bengals to 10 points in round one, and held the Broncos to 13 points last week.  Well, the Bengals are notorious for wilting like boiled noodles in crunch time, and Peyton Manning was playing with a torn quad.  I can't see Indy's defense neutralizing The Gronk (as if) without opening up another part of the field for Tom Brady.  

There's the rub.  Who do you like better in a shoot-out?  This Sunday, I side with the Master over the Grasshopper - or, did you not see Brady recover from a pair of 14-point deficits against the Ravens defense?   

Defensively for New England, expect them to bend, but not break.  Andrew Luck is good......, for an interception a game, and last week he threw a pair against the (defensively minded John Fox coached) Broncos.  Belichick will devise something to perhaps induce two more.  

I've been following Bill Belichick's career since his days here as defensive coordinator of the Giants.   He's the most prepared and adaptable head coach in football.  The 1/2 point also made this an easier pick too!  Nuf ced.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -7 (Green Bay Packers)
Loss; 28-22 Seahawks, O.T.

The Seahawks lost the 1983 AFC title game to the Los Angeles Raiders; 30-14.  
This is Seattle's third NFC title game, and their second straight.

After their glory years of the 1960's, the Green Bay Packers did not return to the (post merger) NFC title game again until 1995, which began a run of three straight.  They've been to the NFC championship game twice more since then, for a total of 5 appearances.

Offense wins in the regular season, but in this game, defense wins championships.  

I'm not a doctor, but I did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.  Aaron Rogers' calf (injury) is still not 100%, and any treatment he's been receiving might have gone for not - as in.., NOT playing on grass this weekend will only hasten any potential pain or cramping.  Plus, flying to Seattle, albeit from Green Bay, won't help either, as prolonged altitude promotes dehydration.  

Therefore, it should be somewhat easier for Seattle's defensive front to find Rogers in the pocket.   Then of course, Rogers must risk throwing into the Legion of Boom.  

Green Bay's secondary doesn't pose nearly the same threat.  Whether Russell Wilson keeps the ball and rushes, or puts in the air, he will limit mistakes, and keep Green Bay's defense on the field longer than Aaron Rogers would prefer.  

For whatever reason, the Packers have been a terribly different team on the road, and Seattle is perhaps the worst place for a visiting team.  Seattle's 12th Man is surely going to bring the noise, particularly in this championship game setting.  

And, don't forget, if not for a reversed call on the last play of the game, the Dallas Cowboys beat Green Bay last week.  

All that said, it's still going to be tough for Seattle to cover 7-points, but with a turnover, I think it's the smart way to go.  They've been on a roll since Thanksgiving, and they're the defending Super Bowl champions.


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