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