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NFL conference playoffs outlook

Author: Johnson
Posted: 19 Jan 2005

Well shit, it turns out I was only 2-for-4 in my predictions for last weekend's games. My mistake and, to all those who placed monetary wagers on my picks, I apologize. When I'm rich I'll think about paying you some reparations. In the meantime, though, I'd like to discuss just what happened and what we have in store.

I'd been saying it for a week or two -- the Jets beating the Steelers being the only worthy story of the 2004 NFL season -- and it damn near came to be. Heh, in writing that introductory sentence, I recalled the last two minutes of the fourth quarter and what happened. In case you missed it, the game was tied -- tied, I cannot stress this enough in this game that probably had the biggest point spread in all of betting that weekend -- and Doug Brien, the Jets' placekicker, managed to blow two game-clinching field goals, sending the game into overtime. What happened in overtime? The Steelers marched down to field goal range and showed Brien what a game-clinching field goal looks like. I thikn we all thought that the Jets had the game in the bag, though. I even joked before the second field goal attempt about how he must be the most nervous field goal kicker in all of football in recent history. Wide left! Not even close! Jebus, save us.

You may recall that I also picked the 8-8 Rams to eke out a win over the Falcons. Well, they failed to do that. They didn't even come close, actually.

You may also recall that I also picked the 8-8 Vikings to ride their momentum over the Eagles. Well, that didn't happen, either. Shit happens. Have a nice offseason, Randy.

I'll point out, though, that I did call the Jets' final score of 17.

And now we come down to the game everyone around here was waiting for -- Pats and Colts. I think this thread sums it up nicely. It's also an excellent display of the article commenting system I wrote working perfectly. To quote 311: fuck the naysayers 'cause they don't mean a thing, and this is what style we bring.

That said, on to this Sunday.

First up, we have the Atlanta Falcons (11-5) at the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) at 3:00p. Vick and McNabb. As the games unfolded last weekend, I started to realize just how much I'd wanted to see this game. It's like Culpepper vs. McNabb, but hopefully without Culpepper sucking. I'm just going to come out and say this one instead of dancing around it for a bit. Falcons win, and quite possibly decisively. The Eagles are missing that jackass Terrell Owens, for one. The two teams haven't met this season, so that's another level of excitement. I don't know. QBs running all over the place. In that light, though, I think Vick'll make McNabb look like Drew Bledsoe. Motherfucker was unstoppable last weekend. It'll be a good game, you can be sure of that. Watch for Vick running all over the place, watch for plenty of long bombs, and watch for McNabb throwing into the sidelines when he realizes Owens isn't there. This game is going to the Falcons, who damn well deserve it. Don't get me wrong -- I love the Eagles. In fact, I'm surprised I'm calling this game as definitively as I am given that. Watching the Falcons, though, I just get a feeling that they deserve it. The number of times I think to myself (or scream out loud) "shit, Vick has to be dead after that hit he took to knock him out of bounds after running for fifteen yards," it just has to happen. As that duvet cover guy on the McDonalds commercial says, just watch the game. Falcons win, 38-24.

This brings us to the New England Patriots (14-2) at the Pittsburgh Steelers (15-1) at 6:30p. I'll be up front about this one as I was withthe Colts game and declare that this game, too, terrifies me. I've watched Roethlisberger since they started talking about him in Week 2 (and shit, at this point I can spell his name without even thinking about it) and it's a fantastic Cinderella story. I may have said it last week, but if I didn't, I'll say it now. He's this year's Tom Brady. He's nothing amazing, no Mike Vick or Peyton Manning, but the man just seems to continually be in the right place at the right time -- just like Brady. A lot of people will say "there's so much more to being a quarterback than scrambling and hitting deep passes," and they're right. It's about knowing the game, having eyes in the back of your head, trusting your offensive line, and knowing when to trust your offensive co-ordinator and when to change it up on the line when you see something you don't like. I just typed "it's about being a leader" but then deleted it. I don't live in Pittsburgh so I don't have the same perspective, but I don't see Roethlisberger as the same sort of leader that Brady is. And when you get right down to it, Brady isn't a leader, either. He's more like a mascot than anything. Before you start sending me angry emails, listen. He's not a leader on the team. Yes, he's a good player. Yes, he's a good QB. Look at the rest of the team, though. Tedy Bruschi is a leader. Troy Brown (a true competitor) is a leader. The array of receivers -- Branch, Fauria, Givens, etc -- are leaders. Corey Dillon, the much needed RB we needed, is a flash in the pan. I love him, but he's a flash in the pan. Tom Brady, much as I love him, is also a flash in the pan. No team is its quarterback, and Peyton Manning proved that last Sunday (though I certainly said enough about Vick and McNabb earlier). Anyway, I've rambled for long enough about quarterbacks and I've hopefully made my point. To get to the point, this game is going to be tough, grueling, and close. Watch for The Bus running through our defense for the first half, watch for Dillon doing the same but with more finesse and for the whole game, and watch the field goals. This game is going to come down to field goals, at least for momentum. I thank those above that we have Adam "Endorsement" Vinatieri on our side. Pats win it by 7 in the 4th; let's say 23-16.

Falcons and Patriots in Jacksonville on February 6th. See you there.

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