The NFL Semi-Finals.

Not A Longshot in Sight.

Not A Longshot in Sight.

Is Conference Championship Sunday better than Super Bowl Sunday?  Is this the one-day pinnacle of the NFL season?  I’ve heard this argument made, and while it makes sense on some levels (you’re getting two premium games as opposed to one) I really don’t like to hear Super Bowl Sunday disrespected in this way.  I can hear people saying all the pros you might list about Super Bowl Sunday don’t really apply to the football: parties, crazy prop betting, the commercials.  Well, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?  If you are basing your argument solely on the amount of football, then your basic regular season week would reign supreme.  Siding with the conference championship games is like saying you prefer your birthday to Christmas, because on your birthday you don’t have to buy anyone else gifts.  Poor attitude.  So, while this Sunday is big, let’s not get it confused with the real thing.

***

The media, the fans, the announcers, they all love to boil games down to one thing.  If it’s possible to sum up a game in one sentence, or a quickly formed fragment–that’s the road people will take.  The games couldn’t be any better for that this weekend.

BRADY vs. MANNING

I can’t believe this is the 1st game of the day.  No disrespect to the further west residing people of Seattle, but I never thought this game would be the appetizer.  Is it TV network based?  It has to be.  Anyway, the battle between the generation’s two best quarterbacks will kick things off on Sunday.  The hype has actually become so intense around the quarterbacks that people are backing off.  The thing has been to say, “You know what, no matter what happens Sunday–it’s not going to define the legacies of these players.”  I’ve read that 100 times.  You know what I say to that?

ERRONEOUS, ERRONEOUS on all counts.

This game doesn’t impact their legacies?  Are you serious?  At some point we’re going to watch these guys battle in a big game for the final time.  They will eventually stop playing Super Bowls and wining MVPs.  For all we know, this could be it–what if Pey-Pey gets a scary neck scan after the season?  We’re not talking about whether or not these guys are making the Hall of Fame, we’re talking about best of ALL TIME.  You’re telling me if Peyton get’s his butt kicked again this Sunday, he’s got any claim to being the best?  With one Super Bowl and a career of getting bested by his most significant rival?  No chance.  And, for Brady we’re now about 10 years gone from his peak as a “winner.” A couple more losses in big games, and he’ll have officially faded away.  A fourth Super Bowl and he might be kicking aside Montana and Elway.  So don’t tell me the legacies are set.  They’re never set.  Ask O.J.

***

Defense vs. DEFENSE

I heard Ray Lewis breaking down the NFC championship game on Friday and he was speaking with a particular level of passion.  I didn’t exactly follow what he was saying, but I could tell he was fired up for this game.  Ray Lewis would like to play on both of these teams.  Seriously, anyone need a pre-game dance?

Colin Kaepernick has started to exert his control over the Niners a bit, so I might be stretching it with my headline there, but this is still the game that has everyone relying on the old “smashmouth football,” routine.  We’re going to line up AND PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH.

In Seattle, the defense, the crowd, it’s all morphed into this aura of invincibility.  And, aside from a blip against the Cardinals (and really, sometimes Carson Palmer just beats you), the Seahawks have been impossible to handle at home.  That includes throttling the same Niners on their last visit.  The Seahawks defense ate Kaepernick alive and the blowout put an apparent gulf between these two teams.  But, in the weeks and months since, the Niners clipped Seattle in San Francisco and are playing what most people perceive to be the better brand of football.  The question is, can they play it in Seattle, against that DEFENSE?

***

The Picks…

Big Dub, 7-0-1 (Whistle)

Three more wins to go for Pick ‘Em Immortality.

New England (+5.5) over Denver.  As much as I hate Peyton I have to admit the matchup between him and Brady is a coin flip. The defenses of each team is a coin flip. Special teams? Keep flipping the coin. The only edge I can clearly give any team comes at head coach. Do you really trust John Fox in this spot? I know Peyton is the one who really runs the show, but I just have this feeling that Fox is going to eff this thing up more so than Peyton.

San Francisco (+3.5) over Seattle.  Russell Wilson has proven an ability to manage games and not lose games, but I’m not sold on his ability to win games. The Nners and Seahawks are even across the board except offensively. Too many weapons for San Fran to go along with a red-hot Kaepernick.

***

Grossy, 5-2-1

Denver (-5.5) over New England.  What I noticed right away was that the line felt a bit high.  I was expecting to see the 3, 3.5 stuck on this, but for Denver to be this favored indicates to me that they are the better team.  They blew a big lead to New England on the road this year, but that game was so odd, you almost just throw it out.  Hard to imagine a New England team this decimated making it to the Super Bowl and the line is telling me Denver.

Seattle (-3.5) over San Francisco.  Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense might not be in top form, but I’ve seen no indications that the Niners can win in Seattle.  I’m not sure they can even compete.  I think Kaepernick’s rise the last two weeks has been a bit overblown.  Pete Carroll’s going to the Bowl.  Live with it.

***

Kraft, 3-5

  1. New England (+5.5) over Denver
  2. Seattle (-3.5) over San Francisco

***

Nichols, 4-3-1

  1. New England (+5.5) over Denver
  2. Seattle (-3.5) over San Francisco
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One thought on “The NFL Semi-Finals.

  1. SEA -3.5. San Francisco and Kaepernick in particular have been getting too much attention in the press. Only thing that makes me nervous is picking contrary to Dub.

    DEN -5.5. Vegas is BEGGING you to take the points. BEGGING YOU. DEN 37 NED 21.

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