Why the hell is it that every year there's a damned local team still playing in this Final Four Weekend?? Seriously, are the local bars this desperate for bandwagon beer sales?? (yeah they probably are)....and yeah it's a coincidence, but hot damn it's an ANNOYING one and I'm sick and tried of EVERY year saying the same garbage on "why I can't be happy for the local team"....yeah they can go stick it.....anyway, this is the last true football weekend till September, we all know the Super Bowl becomes Sports Entertainment with 5 million awful song and dance acts, the commercials become better then the games, and it's got something to do with EVERYTHING but the goddamn game being played, yeah it's cold it's snowy and I am cranky as hell.....time to get to this!!AFC Championship:
Baltimore at New England:
How did the Ravens get here?
Well Jacoby Jones helped a LOT....his massive brain farts aside, the Texans really did outplay and beat the Ravens up in the trenches (but Scott, TJ Yates was picked three times....yeah because his team was put in a hole thanks to a moron on special teams and the Texans had to try to be what they ain't...)...and really at that point the Raven defense was able to keep the Texans from making this one interesting last week....hey least Flacco didn't screw it up right???
How did the Patriots get here?
Best record in the AFC and they were gifted a perfect, custom-made opponent....one-dimensional, no passing offense that the Pats were able to beat up and bully Tim Tebow (funny how when he's on one knee reeling in pain and exposed as the no-talent he is, it doesn't get a funny nickname right?).....and yeah that Brady guy tossing only six touchdowns didn't hurt either...the Pats got healthy and prepared and a beatdown ensued for the first playoff win in like 4 years for the Pats....
How do they match-up?
Again it's a strength vs strength and weakness vs weakness here....the Pats offense and the Ravens defense....but the Patriot offense should be able to spread em out and work the weaker Raven secondary and maybe try to exploit the TE match-up against some aging linebackers.....while the Ravens are gonna need to run Ray Rice lots....that didn't work too well for Denver last week....this game is going to be a MAJOR defining moment in Joe Flacco's career as an NFL QB, they have some nice weapons at WR and Rice can catch it like no other....but the Ravens offensive minds....and now the league....they ain't trusting Flacco in the spot (and looking at his playoff numbers over his career I don't blame them).....can Flacco erase the doubts and take them where only Trent Dilfer did before?? (yes that's a dig, NFL Network: No Huddle.....they kept calling him Dilfer with a better arm, here's his chance to prove them right!!)
Who's going to the Super Bowl?
I like the Patriots again to slow down the running game and like they did with Tebow, make him throw and expose them.....and when the Ravens get spread apart, they get exposed and in trouble....no one spreads em out like the Pats do....it's gonna be cold, but clear....which means no one's getting slowed down, so yeah....everything seems to point to me taking the Patriots....but I swear I must have offended the sports Gods again with some hockey based douchebaggery.....so yeah.... excuse me....while I kiss the sky......
Game Quality: ***
NY Giants at San Francisco:
How the Giants got here:
The only Wild Card team left and the only team to win on the road this playoffs....they got here by mauling an Atlanta team that didn't realize the 17th game of the season mattered.....and a Green Bay team that was still celebrating Christmas....add in a fluke hail mary, and you get one of those teams that just seems to have stuff fall their way.... EVERY TIME....a good pass rush and Eli Manning being one of those jakked up QBs....and you have the formula to win in the NFL now.....
How the 49ers got here:
Guts....heart....talent....will, a total gut-check effort and a coming out party from Alex Smith that Joe Flacco has wet dreams of....yeah the Saints were too aggressive last week, but that's what got them to the show, and they died by it....but still better then out-thinking yourself, and they got a new DC now anyway....the leagues best defense, a top-tier running game in Gore and Hunter, and you get an old school throwback team that plays hard and gutty with defense and special teams play!
How do they match-up?
Pretty much just like they did two months ago.....they ain't changed a bit....the Giants are a bit healthier, but the Niner O-line is getting more seasoned as well.....the Giants should be able to take some deep shots with the threat of a running game definitely in the equation....but it's NFC Title time in San Fran, you KNEW it was gonna be rainy and messy out there....it always is....will this affect the Giants deep threats or the 49er speed defense more? That's gonna be the key to this one.....
Who's going to the Super Bowl?
You know, you can break it down all you want and weigh all the players and personnel and how this and that is supposed to play out, and then David Tyree gets a football stuck to his helmet....or the 1000th time someone catches the Hail Mary.....call it what you want....this Giants team has a flare for stupid luck bordering on the edge of "if this was a video game I'd slam my controller call total bullsh!t and hit the reset button!!!"...but yeah I'm playing the "sports Gods hate me this much" card....I'm sticking to it....two weeks of Manta Chest-Thumping and Giant "fan" frontrunning....yeah that's about as torturous as it can get for me.....
Game Quality: **** (flair for the drama too....)