(something to consider when rooting against the “cheating” Patriots)
Here’s some interesting things to consider when watching Championship Sunday:
1. Can the Packers win with zero healthy WRs?- The packers WR core is decimated with injury. Nelson is not suiting up for the second week in a row, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison were both limited or DNPs at practice this week, which leaves only Randall Cobb as a viable threat for Rodgers at the WR position. They will need to be creative with Montgomery and Cook this week in order to pull off the upset on the road in ATL.
2. Will Bennett feast vs the Steelers?- The Patriots offense looked subpar at best vs a very stingy Houston defense. The Steelers are very talented up front but lack the secondary that Houston has. Gronk has typically demolished the Steelers zone coverage schemes in the past. Gronk has 8 TDs and averages almost 100 yards a game in 5 career games vs the Steelers. Can Martellus Bennett come close to this type of production? If so, I like the Patriots chances this weekend.
3. Falcons D containing Aaron Rodgers- What Rodgers is doing, is nothing short of historic. He is putting up ungodly numbers and almost singlehandedly won the game in Dallas last week. The Falcons D was dominant vs Seattle and Russell Wilson last week. Playing at home, in the last game ever at the Georgia Dome, this defense has an opportunity to show the world that they can play.
4. Can Pittsburgh turnover Brady enough to win in Gillette?- Brady has been good for a turnover a game in the playoffs during his hall of fame career. One turnover will not be enough as it has not been enough for other team in the past (New England is 6-3 when Brady only throws one interception in a playoff game). If they can turn him over more than once, they may be able to keep the Patriots under 30 and have a chance.
5. What will the dumb conspiracy be this year?- Pittsburgh has the flu right now, odds are, someone blames the Patriots for biological warfare this week. Just the way it always goes. Last time the Steelers came to Foxboro, they complained that they were getting the radio broadcast in their headsets (sup zo!). Let’s see what ridiculous excuse the NFL decides to believe is the key to the Patriots success this year!
@fozberry64 on twitter
(similar to this but not even close to the same)
WINNER: JASON GARRETT!
Not going to lie, it was a CLOSE decision. Andy Reid was up to his usual tricks and screwed up the clock enough at the end of the game where he didn’t have any timeouts and there was zero sense of urgency. Could have easily been him this week but he comes in third.
Also could have been old friend Bill O’Brien! His decision to kick a field goal to stay down 17-16 instead of going for a TD when he has that inept offense deep in the red area was the biggest loser decision ever. He of all people should know that you cannot go into Foxboro and expect to win by kicking field goals in the redzone. It’s just not an option. The second he did that I said, “well that’s dumb, his offense will never be that close again.” Sure enough, they never got in the red area for the rest of the game. Gotta play to win there Bill.
And now to our winner, Jason Garrett. Garrett having his offense spike the ball on First down, with a time out, at the GB 40 yard line with 50 seconds left was the dumbest move of the year. Not only did it leave Rodgers with too much time after kicking the field goal but it took away a down they needed to get the next first down! The play there was for Garrett to take his time out and have 50 seconds to get 5 yards to kick a field goal. 50 seconds is a lot of time to manage. No reason to waste a down with 50 seconds left and you still have a timeout on the edge of Field Goal range! It was maddening. Absolutely the worst coached team this weekend was Dallas. They have a stellar team but with that coach, they will never win anything.
(Let’s hope this year’s Packers v Cowboys game is as entertaining as the one from 2015)
New England over Houston 34-10: Easiest money for the weekend. Patriots not only win easily at home, they probably cover a historically large spread too against the worst team to ever win a playoff game. Make it 7 straight AFC title games for Brady and the Patriots.
Kansas City over Pittsburgh 24-18: Kansas City finally gets over their home playoff hump and keeps Pittsburgh at bay. Their defense/special teams are just too opportunistic. I expect this to be visible as Big Ben has struggled away from Heinz Field this year. Costly turnovers haunt the Steelers in this one as Smith game manages his way to another title game.
Atlanta over Seattle 35-31: The team that kicks the field goal always loses. This time, it’s Seattle. Their offense just won’t be able to keep up and overcome the defensive loss of Earl Thomas. Ryan will finally get over the hump and win a game he’s supposed to at home in the playoffs. Quinn and Shanahan should have a great gameplan in place for this one and barring a Dan Quinn game mismanagement, Atlanta will move on.
Dallas over Green Bay 31-30: Dalla is going to have to put up points and lots of them to win this one. Green Bay is hot but without Jordy, Rodgers has classically struggled. This is a little factor but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mike Mccarthy has his Grady Little moment in this one. He will leave that one point on the board somewhere whether it’s an ill advised fourth down attempt or bad play calling deep in his own end. He will be the goat in this one as Dallas survives and advances.
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