I should have wrote this yesterday…my bad…but all this “getting back into hockey shape the hard way” stuff I’m doing….good God it kicks your ass….and now adding some sore ribs to all the rest…yeah yesterday was no fun and I wasn’t sitting in front of the computer and doing stat research (plus I admit I was caught up in Montreal and Toronto and Tortorella losing his damn mind for the Canucks last night and I wasn’t turning THAT off)….Good thing the games start at 3 today, as football makes way for SPORTS ENTERTAINMENTS, as the Super Bowl participants will be named amongst all the other crap the NFL shoves down your throat along the way….and in a rarity the two best teams in the AFC and the NFC actually face off for the right to play in what better be an insufferable blizzard two Sundays from now!
Sunday January 19th:
New England at Denver:
Boy the NFL must be creaming themselves here….they got two big rivalries, four of their “top teams” (and boy speaking of….did the officials do all they could last week to ‘help’ these match-ups along or what?)…funny enough that these two teams turned the game over to their running backs and ran their way into the AFC Title game….since I only have two games to talk about we can really focus on this and break stuff down…..
Stacking up the offenses:
The Bronco offense kinda speaks for itself this year….no team can line up receivers like Thomas, Decker and Welker (add in the Tom Brady butthurt jokes that have been going on and on and on and on this season right?)…. Knowshon Moreno has been the balancing
act in the running game, and Monte Ball has been getting better game by game for the Broncos….add in Julius Thomas and this offense is as STACKED as the league has…and even with all the o-line issues the Broncos have, Peyton was only sacked 18 times this season….it’s hard to find a weakness here (aside of Peyton’s playoff history)
The Pats on the other hand are more of a mixed bag and they kinda just go with what works….one week it’s Amendola getting 19 catches, the next week is Shane Vereen channeling his inner Dave Meggett (or Reggie Bush for you young people out there), the next week is Blount running for 200 yards and carrying bodies all over the field….it does make the Pats a bit tougher to defend since you don’t really know what’s coming until its too late and they’re rolling you with it….I’d like to think and tend to lean towards the Pats using the power run game like San Diego did in that Thursday Night game, but it’s going to be hard to pass up not throwing on this weakened secondary with no Chris Harris, or Miller…. And not to mention the Pats did it before to the Broncos this year..
Stacking up the Defenses:
Looking at these defenses has kinda made me regret doing the format this way….neither one of these units are any good….and now the Denver one has injuries piling up on it to make them equally as vulnerable, though maybe inserting Champ Bailey on a corner might help that….and John Fox is a defensive-type coach….he’s going to have to go to the bag of tricks here to come up with something that does just enough to slow the Pats offense down enough to prevent this from being a 45-42 kinda game….
The same holds true for the Pats….Darth Hoodie is reaching deep into the Dark Lord of the Sith bag of tricks to keep this defense afloat and functioning…hell look at the Pats depth chart on D…the only person you MIGHT know is Talib….but here they are again….12-4 season….and they SMOKED the Colts last week (yeah they had some referee assistance)…but they still got the job done and Belichick sure does know how to stop what you do best….I’d guess we see Talib shut down Thomas and hope to God the rest does their job too…. This game won’t be won by the defense, but it will be one by the one that does just enough….
Who’s gonna win??
This is a tough one…in fact I had to come back to it after stressing the NFC game (and doing all the awards stuff)…this game has “last team with the ball is gonna score and win”….and this is a Tom Brady kinda game….it’s easier to trust the guy who has the history of doing it over the guy who has the history of NOT doing it when it’s all on the line….so expect the Patriots in a nail biter which should make some awesome television!
49ers at Seattle:
Ah, the NFL’s premiere blood match….oh wait, the NFL frowns upon defense intensity and hitting, right?? Well there’s gonna be a TON of it here, add in this being the 5th meeting in the last two seasons between the two, there’s gonna be no surprises here….
Stacking up the offenses:
We all know how these teams roll….and roll is a good word for it, these teams try to run you over like a flatbed truck….
The 49ers have the better passing weapons, Davis, Crabtree and Boldin are all better than anything the ‘Hawks throw out there each week (especially with the weekly Percy Harvin injury, good God I thought he was gonna shatter like the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2…bad analogy…he got up….Harvin won’t….), the 49er O-Line is as good and nasty as anyone in football, and Colin Kapernick is blessed to have the keys to a Ferrari custom-made for what he does, he’s not the most accurate or elegant passer in the league…but he’s also fortunate enough to have a coach who also was an average at best QB in the NFL and he knows how to use what he has in him…add in the depth at running back with Gore, Hunter and so on…this is an offense that will make you reach for the ice packs when the game is over….a few long drives could quiet this absurdly loud crowd that can change games and disrupt any teams offense…no matter how many times you play there….
Seattle believes in a similar style of offense….the tackles are getting healthier and Seattle relies more on Lynch then any of the teams left rely on one player, the receivers are eh at best with Tate and Baldwin, but the 49er secondary isn’t the strength of their team and it may only take 2-3 big plays to really win this game…and Russell Wilson (despite his only 100 yards passing last week)….still has that IT factor and could be that guy to make that ONE play you need to win this game or prolong a drive to put this game away….and I do feel Wilson is a bit better than Kap is….
Stacking up the Defenses:
Seattle has the best secondary in football, and can shut down any passing attack and make mistakes and inaccurate throws into turnovers and even scores….Kap isn’t the most accurate guy on the planet and his stats in Seattle need an upgrade to be awful
Who’s gonna win?
No NFL team has won 4 road games in a row since 1966, that tells you how HARD that is to do…the Seattle secondary is good and tough enough to shut down Boldin and after what they did to Jimmie Graham I don’t doubt they can do the same to Vernon Davis….and this game is gonna be a 4 yards a carry kinda slugfest, it won’t be high scoring and I do think home field DOES matter….especially in Seattle…and the 49ers don’t really attack Seattle where it’s weakest, add in the rivalry and all that’s on the line, I expect a WAR and Seattle to hold on for a close one here….
NFL End of Season Awards:
Rookie of the Year:
There were a few players you can choose here….Keenan Allen stepped up and became a legit top threat when the Chargers lost receivers…. Gio Bernard also was very productive this year, but no rookie did more to carry their team once he got the ball like Eddie Lacy did, almost 1200 yards rushing, and 11 TDs and added a scary power back to a finesse offense that was desperately looking for balance and a guy to take the pressure off of A-Rod for years to come….they found their guy…..
Offensive Player of the Year:
The glory boys (the QBs) can have their award later…which is sadly what the MVP award has become (with the excessive salaries, no touching the QB rules, and passing stats getting bloated like Italian Families during the holidays….I guess you can’t blame them)…but at least this award can give credit to other offensive players who were amazing this year….Josh Gordon missed two games has stiffs like Weedon and Campbell throwing him the ball and still had 9 TDs, 1,600+ yards receiving and was dropping 200 yard receiving games like they were going out of style….Antonio Brown had a 1,500 yard season that no one outside his fantasy football owners realized….even Calvin Johnson “only” had 1460 yards this year…and even backs like Leshawn McCoy behind that Warp Speed offense (and be fair a Star Trek reference like that needs a good Dr McCoy behind it…make it so!)…but no offensive player has as good or diverse season as Jamaal Charles did, 3rd in rushing with his 1287 yards (he’d have pushed 1400 if he had played week 17), but Charles was also 5th amongst RBs with his 71 receptions (and lead all backs with 104 targets and 693 yards receiving) and 7 TDs receiving….Charles truly did it all for the Chiefs this year and hands down deserves this award!
Defensive Player of the Year:
As much as I applaud defensive play and want to see MORE of it in the NFL, damn it’s a bitch to truly break these down…..there’s not a bunch of stats to go on and while I do try to watch everything, unless I was watching game film, you’d never really get deep and TRULY look and say….”wow….look at THAT guy”….so I do what I can (and be real no one out there reading this would be able to do the research either )….there were players who you notice and make lil notes on during the season…156 tackles (including a 25 tackle effort against the Saints….it hurts to think about that)….4 INT, 2 sacks and 8 passes defended, and this 2nd year player has grown into being the heart and soul of this Panthers defense….people will go and say “what about this guy or that guy?” and I’m sure you’ll have a point, but I stick by my pick….plus I get a silly kick out of using the Darth Vader voice and going LUKKKKKEEEE….I amuse easy…and congrats Luke Kuechly ….. LUKKKEEEE….I am your presenter!!!
Comeback Player of the Year:
Not an easy one here either, opposed to last year when both Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson made this a ten second write up and you were done….I had to dig some this year for it….you could make a case for Alex Smith after being delegated to the bench last season to come back and do what he did for the Chiefs was awesome (and I admit I root for him after being shown the San Fran door)…..you could also say the same about Phillip Rivers…he was supposed to be done and washed up and the Chargers were in transition….you’re close though….after trying really hard to think of anyone else who was deserving I ended up deciding on RB Ryan Matthews for the Chargers….always banged up and constantly missing games until this year, he was close to being considered a Darren McFadden type of bust for the Chargers….but then he got healthy and he took the lead back job back in San Diego 1,255 yards and played in all 16 games (both career highs) and probably a career saving campaign (yes having Woodhead and Brown to spell him helped but he still had a helluva season)…hell look how the Charger offense struggled against Denver without him…..
Coach of the Year:
There were a LOT of coaches this year who deserved this award (hell I can probably list half the league….or just omit, Schwartz, Schiano and Garrett and you can make a case for most folk)….but one coach got more from less than anyone….you lose Welker, Hernandez, Gronk, Woodhead, Wolfork and if I listed everyone the Patriots lost to free agency, injuries and police departments this damn thing would be three pages long, and you’ve gotten the hint by now….yes they get help playing in a bad AFC East, but still, Darth Hoodie finds that magic formula to win games with his team and keep Tom Brady upright….if the Patriots end up in the Super Bowl it might just be because his hoodie-ness put the old Force Choke on Peyton Manning this afternoon…..so yeah in a year there were a lot of options….there was only one choice Bill Belichek
Like I said before….they should just rename this “Quarterback of the Year award”, but when you set all the glory boy records (passing yards, passing TDs…hell even attempts and completions)…..you can make your case for Tom Brady with the weapons he had to grow and develop on the fly….you could have made a case for Russell Wilson (especially with his weak WR group, but he ran out of gas as the season dragged on), you can certainly make a case for McCoy and Charles too, but heaven forbid we don’t bow and praise the QB’s….and yeah, when you re-write the record book like #18 is doing, as much as I don’t like him even I can’t dispute the year Peyton Manning has had….so take your Buick, put on the Free XM/Sirius Radio, drive over to Papa John’s…eat that stuff they call “pizza” and take your damn award and GO…..