Monday, January 17, 2011

NFL Championship games are set!

Last week, I predicted a Packers-Bears NFC Championship Game. WIN. I also predicted a Pats-Ravens matchup in the AFC. FAIL. But it's a happy fail.

-I still think New England wins that game two out of three times. But that's why they play the games; the Jets were the better football team yesterday and it wasn't even close. Mark Sanchez was the better quarterback, Rex Ryan was the better coach, and everybody already knew that the other 21 starters on the field were a huge advantage for the Jets.

Continue to hate on Ryan at your own risk. You may think he's brash and annoying, but I can't think of an NFL coach that has the back of his players like Ryan does. And his players have his back too, just check out Bart Scott's post-game interview. He may do things differently than a guy like Bill Belichick or Mike Tomlin, who he gets to face off with again this weekend, but his players respond and what he does works.

Arguably the most important aspect of being a head coach in today's NFL is the ability to motivate your players and get the best from their abilities and Ryan sure seems like a genius in that regard. Add in his defensive prowess, which he used to disrupt Brady and the Pats' offense all day yesterday, and you have a damn good head coach.

-The Steelers made me look foolish for picking the Ravens. Similarly built teams with a drastic difference at the quarterback position in favor of the home team; how could I miss that pick? Joe Flacco wasn't terrible and was victimized by two awful drops from Anquan Boldin in the endzone and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on their final fourth-down play, but Ben Roethlisberger's throw to Antonio Brown is the stuff championship-caliber rapists (errr...quarterbacks) are made of.

-The Packers won what was essentially their fourth consecutive playoff game, including two must-win regular-season matchups with New York and Chicago, two teams with 10-plus wins. And they didn't just beat the Falcons, they dominated them. That game is much different if Matt Ryan protects the ball at the end of the first half, though.

The Packers were my preseason NFC pick to go to the Super Bowl and they're looking awfully good right now. The debate between Aaron Rodgers and Roethlisberger as to who is the best quarterback remaining is legitimate despite Big Ben's previous Super Bowl experience.

What Rodgers has done of late, especially with an inconsistent running game, is beyond impressive. He's been knocking on the door of the elite tier of NFL quarterbacks over the past few seasons with his impressive statistics and a Super Bowl victory would cement his status with Brady, Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

-The Bears dominated the Seahawks and there really isn't much to talk about. Jay Cutler proved he can tear apart a bad secondary, good for him. When Chicago played Green Bay in Week 17 the Bears scored 3 points. I'm not saying they're going to get blown out at home this weekend, but there's a reason Green Bay is favored by 3.5 points on the road.

Predictions to come later in the week...

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