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CRASHER

Member Since 23 Jan 2003
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Topics I've Started

Super Bowl 49!

01 February 2015 - 04:42 PM

Sorry, didn't have much of a write up for this....to be honest this game is as dead even and unpickable a contest as I can remember....and while I'm hoping and praying for an awesome game tonight, to be honest, the NFL Playoffs this year kinda sucked....we'd have one good game a week and a bunch of stinkers.....idiotic controversies on a weekly basis, and this whole deflated balls thing which I have NO INTEREST AT ALL IN (I've never taken a football and made it half a pound lighter, I can't tell you if it's easier to catch or if you even notice it....and hell if they're gonna let recievers wear I CAN MAKE ONE HANDED CATCHES IN MY SLEEP sticky gloves.....I honestly don't give a rat's damn about the weight of the football....and neither does the league since it helps inflate their perecious QB stats anyway....if it helped a defensive player make a tackle....oh they'd be ALL OVER IT....but the real reason this is a "story" is because it's the patriots.....case in point....as I was coming home from the gym, I heard a sports update "NFL officials looking into the Atlanta Falcons pumping in fake crowd noise to their home games"....this should shock no one....Atlanta sports fans are the most comatose fans in sports anyway....but isn't this "cheating" too?? Where's the wrath? Where's the media uprising? Oh yeah,.....it's not the Patriots and the Falcons are irrelevant....so the Fraud Fest goes on......like I said....this is a pick 'em game....and oddly enough the last time we had a game this dead even was the Titans and Rams....and we got a major snowstorm in the area THAT night too....ha.....well just enjoy the game, I hope it lives up to the hype....and we can discuss away as it goes on....once my chili is ready.....enjoy!!!

 

(I've actually flipped my pick like three times in thinking this up....but since when in doubt you take the team that has the least weaknesses (and I LOVE the troll value in this pick), I'll take the Patriots with a late score to win it.... 24-21

NFC/AFC Championship Weekend and NFL Awards!

18 January 2015 - 10:44 AM

You can tell my excitement level for some games at this time of year by how quickly I sit down and write up these previews…and look….it’s Sunday morning and I’m just STARTING the AFC/NFC Title game preview…yeah considering these games are for the right to play in the Super Bowl….they kinda suck…..but fret not, I’ll piss off plenty of people in my NFL End of Season Awards Section….so we have that to look forward to!!!!

 

Sunday January 18:

3pm:

Green Bay At Seattle:

It’s funny how this year’s playoffs seem about redemption here, Dallas wins and comes back, the Pats overcome the Ravens….I could go on….but we all remember the Green Bay/Seattle game that put the Seahawks on the map and began decades of debates over officiating and “what is a catch” (though they did get the FAIL MARY right people….get over that)…if Green Bay could pull this one off it would truly be the ultimate in redemption, eh? (well maybe more if it had been Romo slaying the playoff demons in the place they began…but whatever)

 

How the Packers got here:

We all know about the “catch that wasn’t” last week…and I’ve been screaming about the stupidity of that rule for almost a decade now with Calvin Johnson (I have a rant about things I want the NFL to fix, I’ll save it for the Super Bowl writeup)….but that wasn’t the turning point of that game….the turning point in the game was the Cowboys totally screwing up that Field Goal situation at the half (all Dallas needed to do was manage the clock, kick the FG as time ran out and gone into the damn locker room up ten…but noooooo, they get stupid chuck the ball on 3rd and 1, and the whole game turned on that over-aggressive play)…..credit to the Packers though, they did do everything they needed to do to put that game away once the momentum shifted their way….

 

How the Seahawks got here:

Best record in the NFL, and it has its perks…you get to beat up on teams like Carolina in your building on the way to the NFC Title game…the formula is the same here….beat up the opponent, run the ball, force turnovers and make NO mistakes on offense and trust in the league’s best secondary to shut down the fancy pants passing offenses the league is in love with now…..

 

Who will win?

Seattle doesn’t lose at home (they’re like 12-1 at home in playoff games or something sick like that)….EVER….and the Seahawks are built to beat up and finish off teams like Green Bay…its just genetic engineering….A-Rod would have to play the game of his life and Eddie Lacy would have to get about 150 yards rushing to pull this one off….not happening….

 

Winner: Seattle

Game Quality: *** (I’m hoping the Packers keep it somewhat interesting)

 

6pm:

Indianapolis at New England:

I really didn't have much to say about this one that I won't when I break it down....so I figured why bother?

 

How the Colts got here:

The Colts may have had the easiest trip to the Conference Championship in the entire history of the NFL, they get the Bengals who last won a playoff game when I think I was in elementary school :P…not to mention Andy Dalton and that pillar of playoff softness….then not only do they get the king of playoff collapses in Peyton Manning, but they get an INJURED one…and a bunch of mercs on defense paid and bred to fail in the big spot (nice to see Demarcus Ware suck and be useless in a playoff game for someone else too!)…so basically the Colts got Luck on and off the field and in their matchups (to be fair Luck has cut down on the interceptions BIG TIME in the first two games….but lets see how he does against an actual playoff team)

 

How the Patriots got here:

Unlike the Colts they truly did get here the hard way….overcoming two separate 14 point deficits to their nemesis in Flacco and the Ravens….and this is the most balanced and deep Patriot team in a long long time, its hard to pin a weakness on this Patriot team, they’re very deep talented and diverse….and lest we forget the last time these two teams met, Jonas Gray punched his ticket into the Fantasy Football Hall of Fame in one night!

 

Who will win?

Kinda obvious here isn’t it?? I don’t think the Andrew Luck show is going to be good enough to slow down the Patriots (Trent Richardson didn’t even make the trip….say what you want about that trade, but considering the Browns took Manzell with the bonus first round pick, I’d still say the Colts won the deal….)….plus this is a “House Money” game for the Colts….they had no business getting this far anyway, but I get the feeling this game will be more coronation as opposed to competitive football game tonight….

 

Winner: Patriots

Game Quality: ** (I’m not into these games today)

 

NFL End of Season Awards:

Rookie of the Year:

Let me just say this year….I discounted ALL THREE of the rookie WR’s this year, especially when two of them were on crappy teams that stunk and were behind all the time and had nothing else to do but chuck it up all the time and hope and pray….if there was an “ESPN Highlight player of the year” award I’d be putting those receivers up for it (well maybe not Kelvin Benjamin….if I was gonna pick one receiver, there’s one that skipped the flashy and was productive on a team that made the playoffs and won a playoff game with him)….go ahead….start yelling Giant fans…the reason Beckham was on Sports Center all the time is because your quarterback stinks and is inaccurate and he had to jump and dive like a circus monkey to make catches….I also thought heavily about Jeremy Hill too, since he took the Bengals on his back and got them into the playoffs as well….I expect rage over this….but hell for a QB to survive all 16 games in Oakland with that offensive line and HORRIBLE running game (77.5 yards a game)…think about the beating this kid took….and DID WELL in spite of it (3,200 yards, 21 TD and only 12 INTs, and he had almost 600 pass attempts this year….and survived!)

 

Winner: Derek Carr

 

Offensive Player of the Year:

This one was rough….so many candidates in a league that allows NO defense…. Dez Bryant was SICK this year, so was Antonio Brown (but both had running backs who had awesome years that made their jobs easier), ditto with the Nelson/Cobb/Lacy trio…..so I was trying to look around for a guy who had an AWESOME season….but didn’t have a lot of help here….and I think I found my winner…. He threw for 4700 yards, 40 TDs (yeah he threw 16 picks and a lot went for TDs, but that’s because his running game was trash once Bradshaw went down, which is when the INT’s went up)…of all the awards I’m giving the is the one I will admit I’m least enthusiastic about this and can probably be talked out of it…but he had an awesome year (remember when the debate was him and Robert Griffin?? How funny is that now), and he deserves the credit:

 

Winner: Andrew Luck

 

Defensive Player of the Year:

The biggest no-brainer in NFL History possibly….I don’t need to spit out the stats since you know them all, there was almost no competition in this one…the only guy who came close to a thought in my head was Clay Matthews for being as dominant as an inside linebacker as he was on the outside….no one else even deserves to be in this paragraph….plus if I don’t give it to him he might find me and beat me…or worse put me in the next crappy NFL Mobile commercial when he’s dancing badly with the school chaperones

 

Winner: JJ Watt

 

Coach of the Year:

Another no-brainer here….Bruce Aryans did WONDERS in Arizona….and yes he ran out of quarterbacks and players but they had an all-pro team on the IR this year….and kept going…in a division with Seattle, San Fran and St Louis….and kept going….Larry Fitz on the decline….and kept going….no running game….still going….Coach of the Year isn’t a big enough award for this man and the job he did with the Patchwork Cardinals….and kept winning…..if I could give the Coaching Job of the DECADE…this man did it….no one else came CLOSE this year

 

Winner: Bruce Aryans

 

Comeback Player of the Year:

This one was a bit tough…yeah I could go with the cliché of Gronk (but sorry, ACL tear recoveries don’t impress me anymore)….I’m sure there’s a player or two you always forget about and all that….this is a tough award to remember all the players for sometimes…and it has no stats you can base it on…but one player overcame the most difficult thing you can overcome….obscurity….who outside of the most hardcore fantasy football fan remembered who the hell Justin Forsett was?? (he had a nice run in Seattle a while ago but that’s about it)…..to come from that 6th in the NFL in rushing?? Yeah that’s a HELL of a comeback!

 

Winner: Justin Forsett

 

NFL MVP:

I kinda waffled on this one and I’m trying to NOT let the playoff games steer my judgment (if I did Andrew Luck would be way higher on this list)…and there were a lot of people to talk about here…. Levon Bell (look how the Steelers stunk without him in the playoffs, he’s THAT important to their offense)…..I can say the same about Demarco Murray (but I think him and Romo split the MVP duties, and when you split it with a teammate you ain’t that valuable)….I really tossed and turned about my final two choices….no QB in football does as well or has as much success as Russell Wilson does with those crappy receivers and TE’s in Seattle (he takes the load on his shoulders and makes plays with his legs, head and arm too like no other)….but in the end….there can only be one…and this one wasn’t an easy one….but the ONLY one 38 TDs to only 5 INT’s….that’s just SICK….no team needed their QB more than Seattle and Russell Wilson…but A-Rod was unstoppable this year (unless my fantasy football money was on the line…)

 

Winner and League MVP: Aaron Rodgers

NFL Divisional Round Playoffs!

09 January 2015 - 05:27 PM

The last big “true” weekend of football until next September (man that used to sound sooo far from now….funny how now I think “damn look at all the hockey I can play on Sundays now!!”….and even more disappointing it would be if you looked at the potential stinkers we have this week (and poor game placement over the weekend).the good news is the road to the Super Bowl is almost complete, and if you’re not playing this weekend, you’re already on the golf course!! We’ll save the filler for next week when I’ll really need it….four games left to talk about!!!

 

Saturday January 10:

4pm:

Ravens at Patriots:

It’s going to annoy me all weekend that this game is so buried into the “game we don’t really wanna show but we gotta” time slot….stupid CBS picking the games beforehand…this should be Indy and Denver…don’t really have to say much to introduce this one….it all gets covered below:

 

How Baltimore got here:

They may not get here pretty….but boy when they do….the numbers and stats for the Ravens are just SICK…. 9-0 on the road with Flacco, a strong pass rush and Nata looked good after his four-week PED-vacation….the O-Line was strong and this offense is so balanced across the board when you look at them and say “who do we have to stop?” you kinda stutter and go …”ummm….I dunno!?!?!?!” ….add in a flawless kicker and good punting game and you can see why the Ravens are a force when they get to the playoffs….but also understand why they struggle to get in every year….

 

How New England got here:

It’s not the same old story here…..yes Brady is still Brady (for the most, he had his stinkers this year)…the offense aside of Gronk doesn’t scare you but they do complement each other nicely (Lafell and Amendola for example….the thousand running backs they got)….and an improved defense, this is the first true “team” the Patriots have in a long, long, long time….and of course we still have Darth Hoodie firing his force lightning and that coaching staff too, which are always a force to be reckoned with….

 

Who's gonna win?

The Ravens do give the Pats FITS, they just seem to be born and bred to knock them off, and they have more often than not of late…the Ravens are Road Warriors on the level of Hawk and Animal….and whoever wins this game is winning next week too no doubt (least to me), I’d really love to pick the Pats here and they do seem to play their best when I expect them to fail….but it’s sooo hard to go against the hot hand, and I looked foolish enough doing it last week….I might be rooting hard for NE, but I don’t think it’s gonna matter….and this will be a good, close and downright awesome game….shame it couldn’t wait till NEXT week…..

 

Winner: Ravens

Game Quality: ****

 

8pm:

Carolina at Seattle:

I don't really have much to say about this....I guess it's the late game because it's west coast....but this is defintely the most likely game to skip if you have to like go have a life at some time this weekend (which for me means watch the NHL....heh)....if I don't hit enter and move on soon I'm just gonna feel the need to fill space and talk garbage here sooo enter key it is.....

 

How the Panthers got here:

They won WORST PLACE in the NFC South, and then beat a team that would have been better having me play QB the day after my knee surgery last week….needless to say the Panthers have had the path of least resistance, but only one running back has been hotter than John Stewart….the defense is getting better….and this team is “Seattle light” with a few better weapons on offense, but a lesser version of Russell Wilson at QB

 

How the ‘Hawks got here:

Home field dominance….awesome defensive play…..and an MVP-Level performance from Russell Wilson at QB (no QB in football is more dangerous of making plays on the run with his arm AND legs than Wilson is)….a beastly running game (bad pun intended) with Lynch…..Seattle only turned the ball over 14 times this year….this team does NOT beat itself, and makes you do the same to try to beat them, they make you blink and then pounce on you (kinda like those creepy Angel Statues in Dr Who…eeeeppp)

 

Who will win?

This is as much a no-brainer as it gets….barring a disastrous injury, Carolina is just bringing rocks to a gun fight and this won’t even be close…..even if Seattle gets up by 2 Field Goals the quicksand will start sinking around Cam and it will probably be ugly by the time I post my Don Cherry pic on facebook during hockey night in Canada….this will be pretty brutal and I’ll be shocked if Carolina gets more than 10 points

 

Winner: Seattle

Game Quality: DUD (this could get ugly by half)

 

Sunday January 11:

1pm:

Dallas at Green Bay:

We all know the hype and all the crap that’s gone into this game….but here’s a fun stat for you….the Packers (51) and Cowboys (58) have combined for the least and the second fewest punts in the NFL this year….so the offenses will be all over the place…and certainly the story in this game!

 

How the Cowboys got here:

 Butthurt fans aside (and really if I hear one more Steeler fan piss and whine about “bought off refs” need I remind them of the gift calls they got in the Arizona Super Bowl….and that gift of the millennium gift in the Pit-Seattle Super Bowl….but those don’t matter….or Giant fans forgetting those helmet-velcro catches….the point is…..good teams TAKE ADVANTAGE of their breaks, and bad teams cry like Crosby does, and Stafford surely cried like a bitch all game after (they had him miked, it was pitiful….man up and play the game….I’ve played enough low-end hockey games where we’ve been jobbed by the refs, playoff games too….you don’t win…or come back by whining, and I’m done talking about this now :P )…the Cowboys overcame a horrific first half (which I can vouch for I did drink enough to pass out at the half, only a text from my GF woke me up enough to see the score go up to 20-7, I should apologize for the nasty comment I sent her for reviving me….but she’s used to it by now….and they sent her to India for two weeks, so she’s sorts safe from it now….), got their offense in gear….and by God had a HUGE defensive play from a guy named Demarcus on defense in the 4th Quarter….that was certainly new! Dallas made the best of their chances and got it done….the formula stays the same here, especially in the bad weather….pound the ball….make that defense HURT and control the game….make enough plays on defense to help the offense, and pray to God that Jason Garrett doesn’t have to make the big decision….

 

How the Packers got here:

The best QB in the league (and probably the MVP because the NFL votes like that)….the most dangerous WR Tandem in the league in Cobb and Nelson…a bull of a running back who balances the offense and just enough playmakers on defense to get those key turnovers……I’d not call the Packer D “good” but it sure makes the most of the chances they create, and having that offense put up enough numbers to make you press sure fits into that vulture mode the Packers thrive on…..

 

Who will win?

These teams are pretty even on paper (Packers pass the ball a lil better, Dallas runs it better), this game is going to come down to intangibles….and quite honestly I think the Cowboys are tougher than the Packers and can push and bring the physical game to them and I’m not sure the Packers can handle that, the nasty weather should fit the Cowboys style more than the Packers….and Dallas is over the hump, usually teams that get over that hump are fast and loose…..but I’m still counting on the Cowboy toughness over the Packers finesse-type game….I just hope I stay sober for this one…..

 

Winner: Cowboys (why do I do this to myself??)

Game Quality: **** (anyone for an over/under on shots?)

 

4pm:

Indianapolis at Denver:

Its sad how the NFL screwed up the schedule this week, the 2nd best game is buried at 4pm on Saturday and this stinker in the works is in the “premiere game slot” (I get not wanting to have Green Bay in the nighttime or earlier on Sunday….but geesh…)….there should be plenty of time for Peyton Manning ass kissing in this one….I’m not too excited about this game….obviously….

 

How the Colts got here:

They played the Bengals last week….any other reason really need be said? :P

 

How the Broncos got here:

Just another typical Peyton Manning type season….out-gun a bunch of lesser teams (at least early, later one at least the Broncos started running the ball, St Louis beating the piss out of Manning might be a blessing in disguise because it made the handoffs more frequent), get a lead and let the pass rushers be pass rushers (the reason no one runs on Denver is because they’re usually too damned far ahead), but still….seeing the Manning game come up short enough in the post-season….if the AFC was stronger I’d really be nervous about banking on this team….

 

Who will win?

Nice to see Demarcus Ware back in post-season form….0 sacks, NO QB pressures…..that’s the guy Dallas gladly let walk and steal money from the Broncos….Manning is still Manning, but the Colts are sooo one-dimensional and ripe for the picking, the Broncos should be able to run it for 150+ and that should be enough (a further knock on Manning….8 of his 9 career playoff wins….he needed a hundred yard rusher in them)…hell watch Ware get a sack or two on this crappy Colt line and people can wax poetic about the Peyton Manning of the Defensive Line too….this game can’t end fast enough!!

 

Winner: Broncos

Game Quality: * ½ (I’m not optimistic here)

NFL Wild Card Weekend!

03 January 2015 - 11:56 AM

The NFL Playoffs are here!!! Usually this is a sad time of year for me....the Cowboys have blown in it (again) in Week 17....the anti-football season is over and gone with and I usually have to deal with the Giants and/or Jet fans driving me nuts in the playoffs....but this year NONE OF THIS IS TRUE!!! Hell you can say half the teams playing this week don't belong in the playoffs and we have two flat out STINKERS this week....bad weather in Carolina and Pittsburgh and lots to talk about!! But before I get to it and since I only have four games to talk about here, I figured I'd take a look back at my pre-season predictions and see how God Awful they were (plus it's always fun to look back, and I'm saving my NFL Awards for the NFC and AFC Title week since I'll need the filler in that preview)

 

AFC East: NE (11-5), Buf (8-8), NYJ (8-8), Mia (7-9)
Actual: NE 12-4, Buf 9-7, Mia 8-8, NYJ 4-12

AFC North: Pit (11-5), Bal (10-6), Cin (8-8), Cle (6-10)
Actual: Pit 11-5, Cin 10-5-1, Bal 10-6, Cle 7-9

AFC South:  Ind (12-4), Jax (7-9), Ten (6-10), Hou (4-12)
Actual:  Ind 11-5, Hou 9-7,  Jax 4-13, Ten 2-14

AFC West:  Den (11-5), SD (9-7), KC (8-8), Oak (6-10)
Actual: Den 12-4, KC 9-7, SD 9-7, Oak 3-13

NFC East:  Was (10-6), Phi (10-6), Dal (7-8), NYG (6-10)
Actual: Dal 12-4, Phi 10-6, NYG 6-10, Was 4-12

NFC North:  GB (11-5), Chi (10-6), Min (6-10), Det (6-10)
Actual: GB 12-4, Det 11-5, Min 7-9, Chi 5-11

NFC South: NO (12-4), TB (7-9), Atl (6-10), Car (5-11)
Actual: Car 7-8-1, NO 7-9, Atl 6-10, TB 2-14

NFC West: Sea (11-5),  St L (9-7), SF (8-8), Ari (6-10)
Actual: Sea 12-4, Ari 11-5, SF 8-8, St L 6-10

 

So six picks dead on, but nailed six of eight division winners (and I only picked Washington because they played Dallas in Week 17 :P ), and nailed my San Fran will miss the playoffs predicition...eh, not terrible considering how damned impossible it is to predict NFL injuries and things like Jay Cutler imploding and the Saints being terrible at home this year....anyway....enough of the past...on to the teams still alive this week!!!!

Saturday January 3:
4pm:
Arizona at Carolina:

Boy it's been a tough week for ESPN...Lebron is hurt (and the NBA is unwatchable anyway), their precious SEC got their sh!t pushed in during

the college football playoffs and now they get the first ever NFL Anti-Football Playoff game!!! 3rd String QB vs the 7-8-1 Panthers...OH BOY!!

This is the mother of all "hard sells"....Arizona has done ZERO on offense the last month, terrible QB play, no running game and despite the

Jedi Magic Bruce Aryans has pulled to keep this team together, especially on defense...he's just starting to run out of players...

 

How Arizona got here:
....a hot start....solid play from Carson Palmer (remember him?) and big plays from the WR's (when they had a QB who could throw an NFL Football) carried the load while the running game struggled (at best)...and the patchwork defense played its balls out to get them here, the problem is that most of the players that got them here are now on IR and I don't think any team I can remember came into the playoffs on this kinda free fall...

 

How Carolina got here:
...flip the script here....despite not winning a game for TWO MONTHS, the Panthers got healthy (mostly getting a productive Johnathan Stewart) and put together just enough wins to win an awful NFC South division....improved defensive play and just enough offensive production from the TE's and Kelvin Benjamin to balance out the offense...and Cam running and playing at full speed again (he was dinged up all year)...Cam may not be putting up flashy numbers but he's shown the toughness and the will to prove he's gonna be worth the money the Panthers are gonna have to pay him in the near future...as the Cardinals got cold, the Panthers have gotten hot and could be a dangerous out (and end up over .500 if they go on a run, ha!)

 

Who's gonna win?
I think I made this obvious.....home field....running game....defense....QB Play, the only thing Carolina doesn't have an edge in is coaching....but Aryans is playing with 53 Pawns, while Carolina has Rooks, Bishops and Queens flying all over the place.....
Winner: Panthers
Game Quality: **

 

8pm:
Baltimore at Pittsburgh:

....good news for the Ravens....Levon Bell is NOT playing this week with the knee injury he got last week (might be the most important thing the Bengals do all season)....bad news Ravens fans....the Steelers aren't rolling out a 3rd String QB like their last two opponents did....but at least they get Nata back to fill the middle of their D-Line, you know, to slow up that running game that the Steelers won't rely on with Bell on the sidelines this week, either way these games are always ice packs and body bag type games....that's what makes them so damned fun, and believe me the Broncos are sitting and hoping the body count is HIGH in this one (since they don't wanna see EITHER of these teams next week)

 

How The Ravens got here:
The Ravens have been a weird team to figure out all year....yeah they get to the QB as good as anyone in the league does, but when they don't sack the QB, they get burnt by them, Joe Flacco has been as up and down as any QB not named Cutler this year....Steve Smith was strong early, but he's slowed down, at least Torrey Smith is picking up the slack, the TE position has been hurting without Pitta, at least they have stability in Justin Forsett (you know the comeback player of the year that no one wants to talk about), the Ravens are talented enough to beat anyone....but inconsistent enough to lose to anyone too.....

 

How the Steelers got here:
This is not your "classic" Steeler team for sure....this team is run by its offense...an improved and healthy line has given Ben time and space to chuck it to his receivers, Antonio Brown is as good as anyone in football, and Bryant and Wheaton are also dangerous deep threats, Heath Miller is the perfect underneath guy who's not afraid to sit down and block as well (expect a lot of him in the backfield to help protect to replace Bell)....a younger defense with a solid front 7 and a secondary who's getting better as the veterans are being fazed out...and as long as Tomlin doesn't trip any punt returners...he's the perfect coach for this team....

 

Who will win?
....well since I was just talking coaching, I'd say the coaching matchup is a push....the Ravens might be a bit better on defense....but even without Bell (Ben Tate is a vet and should be able to handle the pass protection and the token running duty they'll need from him to keep the Ravens pass rush honest)....and the Pitt WR vs the Ravens Secondary is wayy too lopsided for the Steelers to take the Ravens in this one....but it will be a close one...and nasty and fun and all that good stuff too!
Winner: Steelers

Game Quality: **** (NBC did pick the right game)

 

Sunday January 4:
1pm:
Cincinnatti at Indianpolis:

Oh boy....this is the hardest game of the week to figure out....neither one of these teams are all that glorious (and probably don't deserve to be in the playoffs, crazy to say abot an 11-5 Colts team, but half their wins are from that damned awful division)

 

How the Bengals got here:
Jeremy Hill has done a LOT to help the Bengals get into the playoffs....with a spotty passing game (AJ Green has been often injured, and no coincidence that Andy Dalton has stunk without him, the Bengals offense is highly limited outside of Green in the passing game, and the occasional chunk play from Bernard in the passing game)...a good secondary, but limited pass rush (only 20 sacks...egads) and a pretty bad run defense...geesh how the hell did they make the playoffs this year....well they DID play the NFC South which was four wins...no wait...they TIED Carolina....oi....this is a stranger playoff team than the damned Ravens....

 

How the Colts got here:
The Colts on the other hand you can sum up in two words.....Andrew Luck....yeah he's thrown a lot of picks (and a high number of pick 6's too) but no young QB in the league has been asked to do more with less than Luck has and he's done amazingly well with it....look at their running game....then look away! The Colts defensive numbers are amazingly not too different from the Bengals ones (who most people would assume is the better defense), the Colts average a sack more per game than the Bengals, 10 more INTs and forced seven more fumbles this year (wow!)....and if the Bengals don't have AJ Green in this game the Colts can certainly be more aggressive on defense which will  fit their style.....

 

Who will win?
Its looking like no AJ Green, that's gonna hurt for Sunday...not to mention the WORLD of pressure on Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton with no team even going 0 for their first Four cracks at the playoffs....a soft defense and Andrew Luck just has that 4th Quarter Magic that the Bengals can only wish and dream for.....this sounds like an upset pick.....but I'm ok with that.....I'll take Luck and Pagano over Lewis and Dalton anyday of the week in a playoff game...
Winner: Colts
Game Quality: ** 3/4 (this could be delightfully ugly!)

 

4pm:
Detroit at Dallas:

Ah, the game of the week....supposedly....remember kids, if it's cold out and your feet are numb you can step on anyone you want....twice....and get away with it....I think we all know the hype here, and this one doesn't need much hype.... #1 running game vs #1 running defense, and the Lions are getting Suh AND Fairley back....and don't forget about that Calvin Johnson guy too.....

 

How the Lions got here:
A stout defense, like I said #1 against the run, and a feared defensive line (stomps, sacks and run stuffs too)....the Lions were lead by their defense (16.8 points/game) , 41 sacks and 2+ takeaways a game...the offense suffered a bit as the reigns were put on Matthew Stafford and Calvin had an injury-filled year (Golden Tate did fill in nicely over the season) and a spotty running game of Joique Bell and Reggie Bush's three healthy games this year were a big plus....the Lions are a more solid and dangerous team then you'd expect because they've been under the radar of Seattle, Green Bay and even Dallas all year long.....

 

How the Cowboys got here:
This one's pretty simple....everything the Cowboys did came from their offensive line, when the Dallas line controlled the game, the running game dominated, Tony Romo stayed upright (thankfully its harder to "accidentally" stomp on a bad back then a aching calf muscle), Dez Bryant was all world and Demarco Murray made Emmitt Smith very angry wiping one of his records off the books...the Dallas offense let the Dallas defense be more aggressive and focus on turnovers and pass defense and Rod Maronelli did an AMAZING job with a unit that was the league's worst last year and allegedly was made workse casting some of the dead wood (yes I'm looking at you Demarcus Ware....) and solid special teams.....least Jason Garrett figured out he can't coach for a spit and did an all-world job in delegating....

 

Who will win?
Usually when you line a top defensive line against a top offensive line, the offensive line wins out, especially when it comes to the running game, not to mention if Detroit overplays the run, Dez Bryant will MURDER them with the big plays....and people want to give Tony Romo crap about his post-season?? Go look at Stafford's post-season numbers...hell go back to College....Stafford hasn't won since he was chasing cheerleaders in high school, and Dallas just has too much firepower for the Lions to stay with them, which just means Stafford is a time bomb ready to implode if he has to throw it over 30 times (God help me...I'm trying like hell to not feel confident about this, everytime I feel good about the Cowboys I end up drinking a bottle of whiskey....hopefully i stay sober Sunday.....)
Winner: Cowboys
Game Quality: ***