Man oh man oh boy oh Lord. Shiiiiiiit, man. Last week I equated the game between the 9ers & Panters like the epic battle between Rocky and Thunderlips seen in Rocky lll but this week’s two Conference Championship games are going to be even more perplexing to predict. This weekend it’s Hogan vs. Bundy territory. I don’t even know where to begin with these two match-ups. Honestly, take matters into your own hands and roll the dice and take control of your own destiny. Better yet roll an eight sided die to make things more complicated because that’s where we’re at right now. I can conjure up all the mystical magic in the world but The God’s that be aren’t answering. We’re on our own now.
Pats & Broncos
Brady is 10-4 against Manning all-time and 2-1 against him in the post-season. Those numbers don’t really mean anything though, do they? Yes, the odds are in Brady’s favor but sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and the past is always the past. Seriously, all the number crunching in the world doesn’t factor into ‘the moment’.
I like what I saw from both teams last week. The Pats are leaning hard on their running game and getting the most out of it. If there is any one tactic that can beat The Broncos it’s a sound running game keeping Manning off the field. If they can pound the ground with LaGarrette Blount and mix in some play-action The Pats have got it made. A lot of people don’t think The Pats have a chance but they’ve done it before, several times over and they can most definitely do it again. Never count out The Pats.
The Broncos, like The Patriots, relied on a solid running game in their victory last week against The Chargers and used the passing game effectively when they had to. It was an impressive football victory. It’s funny to think that two teams known for their bread and butter passing games turned to their jam. A lot of dingle berries that dangle their berries think that Manning and co. need to get out in front early with an offensive onslaught but I’m of the opinion they need to keep things close for the duration of the game and put the ball in Manning’s hands to win in the final minutes. The Pats are sneaky and the one way to keep them in check is to keep the game close. If The Pats fall behind early they are likely to pull out some shenanigans like they did in their 34-31 victory the last time these two met in Week 12.
In my personal opinion I think this is going to be a nick and tuck game with several lead changes. The Pats are golden in the big games and they will most definitely have a good game plan going into this one but I feel like whomever has the ball last is going to win and I think that’s going to be Manning. As dangerous as The Pats are Manning knows the sand in his hourglass is running out so it feels like now or never. Sure, there is always next year but the time is now for him.
Hawks & 9ers
As much as I sincerely hate, hate, fucking red-haze hate the douchey 9ers and their bubble butt coach they are playing the best football of all remaining 4 teams right now. They are playing phenomenal D and solid offense and they beat The Panthers in Carolina at their own game and The Packers in un-Godly cold weather in Green Bay. They have a great receiving corps and a tough running back. Unfortunately for them though, they are entering the single toughest environment to win in. Seattle is a real bitch of a place to win on the road there will, literally, be 66,700 Seattle fans screaming their lungs out every time San Fran’s offense is on the field. I love how Seattle is not selling tickets to anyone from California. Fuck ’em.
Seattle is going to put in a very strong defensive showing. I think everyone, including the 9ers and 9ers fans know that. The big question mark is how will the offense perform? Russell Wilson does not make mistakes but he also doesn’t take big chances. When he makes mistakes it’s because he is in desperation mode and The Hawks have been in that mode only a handful of times this season. He’s not used to playing from behind. Marshawn Lynch is, in fact, a beast but he can be stopped by a very tough 9ers D if they become one-dimensional and lean on him too much. Wilson and the receivers are going to have to step it up several notches over their recent play. If they phone in the passing game they will lose. Percy Harvin has to stay healthy, not get knocked out and become a factor in this game. He keeps the D honest and allows other players to get open. He also allows Wilson the opportunity to scramble and make plays with his little legs.
9ers QB Colin Kaepernick has played really well this post-season but he’s also gotten away with a few bad throws. Make no mistake, if he makes a bad throw The Hawks Legion of Boom will make him pay and take advantage. I can see Sherman or Thomas or Chancellor making a game-changing play. Seattle’s ferocious D will not give Cpt. Kap much to work with so he’s going to have to play of full 60 minutes of mistake free football. That’s a tough mission to carry out at Century Link. Many have failed and only one has succeeded in two years (Carson Palmer!?)
So In the end I have to go with Seattle’s 12th Man. It’s unlike any other environment for a visiting team to play in and win and although The 9ers are playing phenomenal football Seattle has the best defense in The League playing on their home turf. Russell Wilson hasn’t been great the past few weeks but the little guy is full of magic like ‘Lil Harry Potter and I think he’ll be the difference. I said before and I’ll say it again – I’m not going against The Hawks this season. They’ve just been too good, too often and when it’s time to shine, they do.