Well, last week stunk.
Over the course of the year I’d been downright killin’ it. Every week was been a good one for me, more or less, until last.
I will stand by one loss vehemently. Seattle should have beaten Atlanta. They were the better team overall, but they came out flat and didn’t decide to play their brand of football until the third quarter. They paid for it.
As for the San Fran-Green Bay game, I was dead wrong on that one. San Francisco returned to the style of football that made them so scary for parts of the season and Green Bay looked bad. Still, you can’t help but wonder if things might have been different if the Packers hadn’t fumbled that kickoff inside their own 10 early in the game. They were up 14-7 and playing well. Then the fumble and all of a sudden Colin Kaepernick looks like he’s been spawned by a mad programmer at EA Sports looking to make a QB with a 110 rating (out of 100, for those of you who don’t play the game).
And, let’s be honest, Denver should have beaten Baltimore. How the Broncos blow that coverage inside the last minute is something that makes no sense. If the Broncos don’t screw up there, everything’s different.
But as our favorite hoodie-wearing coach would say, it is what it is.
This weekend promises to be a fun one, I just wish it would hurry up and get here already. As of this writing, the Patriots-Ravens game is 49 hours away. It’ll be painful waiting for it to get here. As you may know, I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan. The opening lyrics to one of my all-time favorite songs seem very appropriate, and sum up how I’ll be over the next few days, and at kickoff on Sunday night.
The waiting drove me mad
you’re finally here, and I’m a mess
For the record, I was 1-3 last week. Matt was 2-2.
San Francisco at Atlanta, NFC Championship Game: I have believed all year long that the Falcons are vastly overrated, and that did not change last week. Yes, they beat Seattle, who I thought was going to the Super Bowl. There are quality points in football, just results. They got it done, and Matt Ryan and company finally won a playoff game. That monkey is off of their backs.
Now they have to deal with the 800-pound gorilla that is the 49ers. When the Niners play at the top of their game, they’re the best team in the league overall. They have a superb defense, arguably the best in the league, and a dynamic offense.
I was right that Kapernick would have jitter last week. I didn’t foresee them lasting for just one drive. The pick-six interception was a bad one, but he more than made up for it over the next three and a half quarters.
CK is basically Randall Cunningham v2.0. He’s electric, and it’s going to be interesting to see what defenses come up with to stop him. When they’re running the offense out of the pistol, and using the read option attack, they’re deadly. Now, I don’t know if they’ll get the kind of production out of Michael Crabtree that they did last week, but that’s a very good offense.
Atlanta’s best hope is that the Niners run into the jet lag issues that Seattle had last week. With the game starting later in the afternoon, 3:30 PM, that’s not as likely. Their body clocks will be three hours behind, but it’s not as jarring playing at lunchtime as it is breakfast time. Atlanta was able to get off to a huge lead early, and then held on for dear life. I don’t think they’ll be able to do that again.
Now, Matt told me he was taking the Falcons in this game. For the record, he told me this from a bar, so obviously his thinking could be clouded.
- Rich’s Pick: Niners
- Matt’s Pick: Falcons
Baltimore at New England, AFC Championship Game: And here we are again, one year removed. I wonder if Billy Cundiff will be watching (he was waived by the Niners today)? If he is, which team is he rooting for? Is there anyone who would want to see a SF-BAL Super Bowl less than Cundiff?
Well, I think Billy is going to be okay. There are always job openings for mediocre place kickers, and his former team that wears purple is not going to be playing in the Super Bowl.
I get it, the Ravens have been on a roll, and they’re playing their best football, blah, blah, blah. They’ve figured it out with their new offensive coordinator.
This game is all about what Tom Brady is able to do. Against the Ravens, he’s been very good. He threw for 335 yards, on 28-of-41 passing, in the first game against the Ravens this year, with 1 TD and 0 INTs. In five career games against Baltimore, he’s lost just once, and that was the game this year, 31-30, with some very questionable replacement referee stuff happening late in the game. The replacement refs were rattled that night. If you remember, the loudest ever “B###S###” chant ever was serenaded on those officials in the third quarter. Everything seemed to go Baltimore’s way after that. Coincidence?
I totally expect that this game will be close. It just will. If I had to bet the spread, I’d be taking the Ravens, because 10 points is ridiculous. The last two games between these teams were both decided by a single point. The one before it was a field goal. The Ravens always play the Patriots close.
This game is in Foxboro, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Patriots win this game, they just do, and we all say goodbye to Ray Lewis. His final dance will be at Foxboro, but it will be during the pregame. The Patriots will be doing the postgame jigs.
- Rich’s Pick: Patriots
- Matt’s Pick: Patriots
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.