And now we’re in the overture for the Greatest Game of The Year, when the last four survivors of this season slug it out for the right to represent their conference in The Super Bowl. And we’ve got four teams with varying degrees of experience in the playoffs, and four teams with varying degree of competency–hell, we have one team that has gotten here pretty much by the dint of being the only competent team in a division full of chuckleheads. And since this is going to be a short column, I’ll finish up with my speculations on which of the match-ups Goodell wants to see.
Before we begin, a reminder–I am putting together a braintrust of 32 super-fans, one for each of the teams (well, 31 plus me), and I still have a lot of teams open. So if you’re really devoted to your team, contact me and see if there’s a seat available on the Synod of Thirty-Two.
(And for why I’m putting together the Synod of Thirty-Two…welllll, you may find out very, very soon.)
So let’s get to it, then!
49ers vs. Falcons (Sunday 3:00 p.m.)
Atlanta, you should feel very, very lucky. After all, if it wasn’t for Pete Carroll experiencing a moment of weakness and trying to ice your kicker, Seattle would have won and I would have been obligated to do the PYT horsey dance in public. The thing that worries me about Atlanta going in is the way they allowed the ‘Hawks to get back into the game so quickly, racking up a rather impressive amount of points before that lucky break. Both the Atlanta offense and defense are impressive, but are spotty in their effectiveness. While I originally thought the Falcons would take it, my beliefs are being shaken as we get closer to the games.
And then we have the weird and wonderful San Francisco 49ers. The strange mid-season switch to Colin Kaepernick seems to have worked for them…and yet I’m not entirely sold. San Francisco’s defense is just not all that good, and I think the success of the team has rested solely on how unfamiliar everyone is with their rookie quarterback. I suspect this reliance will bite Harbaugh on the ass and prevent the dream ‘Brother vs. Brother’ match-up I’ve been pulling for. I think this is going to be an ugly and unwatchable game, but in the end I’m going with my original gut instinct and declare Dem Dirty Birds the victor by a possession or less.
Ravens vs. The Sucking Black Hole Of Evil (Sunday 6:30 p.m.)
And here’s the game I’m soooooo looking forward to, because it will be the game that shuts up so many fair weather New England fans.
For you see, no matter how many times casual fans and commentators and other people who are lazy in their discussion of football claim that New England is The Greatest Team Evah, they’re really, really not. In the last half decade, the Sucking Black Hole’s game play has been in decline. All you fair weather fans who slurp New England butt look at those games where the Crybaby Quarterback runs up the score to win by, I dunno, nine hundred possessions don’t seem to take the same notice of those games this season where they lost close. Every one–whether football player, coach, GM or owner–degrades after a while, and while New England extended their reign through copious amount of cheating and assholery, they can’t hold it off for long.
And let’s be clear here–the Ravens are a different team in the playoffs, and they have New England’s number. If it wasn’t for some bad luck on Baltimore’s part, they would have gone on to meet the Giants last year. And those other playoff game they played in Foxboro? Yeah, Baltimore won that. The Marlboro Man is a QB who seems tailor-made for the post-season, and he’s got plenty of offensive weapons (Jones! Rice! Boldin!). Plus there’s that insane defensive squad, headed by the team’s morale leader on his last ride and some of the scariest, cleverest ballhawks in the league. If the Ravens can exploit the Sucking Black Hole’s weakness in the secondary, they should easily win by a possession or less.
Super Bowl Possibilities!
The Most Likely: Ravens vs. Falcons (The game for the title of Roughest Team In The League. Two QBs who entered the league at the same time looking for entry into the Club Of The Elite. Two Veterans looking for a ring on their last tour of duty.)
The One Roger Goodell Wants The Most: Sucking Black Hole vs. The 49ers (Two teams that have a heritage. The idea of The Team of The 80′s vs. The Team of The 00′s. The Young Turk Vs. The Wiley Veteran.)
The Most Entertaining: Ravens vs. 49ers (The Harbaugh Bowl….sorry, that’s all I got, but imagine the two brothers getting into a fistfight at halftime in front of Beyonce!)
The One Only Atlanta and Boston Want To See: Sucking Black Holes vs. Falcons (….at least you get to exploit the idea that this will be New England’s second Super Bowl loss in a row.)
I’m not sure what’s going down next week, although if myself and TO.com maven Kelen Conley can put it together, what may go down is a really big surprise for people who love their clueless commentary in their earholes. Regardless, see you next week!
Last Week: 3-1
Season: 156-123-1 (.557)