NFL

2016 Match-up Mania: Conference Championship Sunday

This week we build to the games that decide the participants of the Super Bowl.  A secondary football holiday among the purveyors of the pigskin known as Conference Championship Sunday.  There was a time where these games brought better football than “the Big Game” itself.  I won’t dance around it.  Both these games show promise.  One is a rematch between AFC postseason rivals where one side was missing their starting quarterback in the previous contest.  The other, an NFC shootout that is so epic that if it were a western, it would be John Wayne vs. Clint Eastwood meeting in the town square at high noon.  What more can I say that Michael Buffer can’t say better?

On with the MuM. . .

Steelers vs. Patriots

Two fundamental philosophies face-off against one another.  There’s the disciplined, locked-down, methodical, imperial Patriot culture under “Darth Hoodie”, Bill Belichick against the unbuttoned, hair-down, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, rebellious Steelers coached by Mike Tomlin.

When one examines the roster, both teams have multiple Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, solid running backs and receiving threats, but defensively, the edge goes to the immortal James Harrison and Pittsburgh.  That being said, in Foxboro, New England is tough to beat and their O-line is good enough to protect Tom Brady who will manage yet another solid performance by his offense.  That being said, goodness knows if he repeats last week’s showing, this will be the only endorsement he’ll get from our new President for 2016.

 

Packers vs. Falcons

I strongly recommend some regulatory body list this game as a fire hazard. Seriously, setting off these many fireworks indoors is dangerous and you better bet loosing arrows from Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers inside the Georgia Dome is exactly that.  While there may be skeptics out there that question the Packer offense without Jordy Nelson, if last week’s performance wasn’t enough to dissuade analysts from that concept, I can’t help you. I can only beg of you . . .do not be that guy:

Ryan, Julio Jones, Davante Freeman, and company completely dismantled the Seahawk’s defense in a fashion I’ve never seen, though.  Heck, even Muhammad Sami got in on the action.  There’s no reason I can see that Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers can lead the Green Bay defense to stop the Falcons from flying all over.  While that’s true, I don’t see Rodgers melting under the pressure leading the Cheesehead offense past Vic Beasley and the Falcons front.

The only advantage I might give Atlanta is balance.  They have a far more dangerous running attack than the Pack. But at day’s end, how do I pick against the best quarterback currently playing the game?  Advantage: Rodgers.

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