Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 NFL Playoff Pickery -- AFC/NFC Championship

Last Week

Joe: 2-2 (1-3 vs. spread)
Aaron: 3-1 (3-1 vs. spread)


Joe: 5-3 (5-3 vs. spread)
Aaron: 5-3 (5-3 vs. spread)

Baltimore at New England (-6.5)

Joe: Let's get it out of the way right now: the Ravens defense is not what it once was. New England's going to be able to score on them. But after all this talk of how pathetic the Ravens' offense looked against the Texans, it should be remembered that Houston's defense is waaaaaaay better than New England's. Look, real talk: I don't want the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I don't want two weeks of the media finding new ways to say the same old shit about Brady and Belichick, inventing brand new hero stories to tell about Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. So if the Ravens could just do me a solid and exploit that weak Pats defense, get Tom Brady to make a few mistakes, maybe knock Welker out of the game at some point, that would really be the best for me personally. I am, however, a pessimist. New England 27, Baltimore 23

Aaron: If the experts are to be believed, then the case for the Patriots is that Joe Flacco is the quarterback of Ravens. And, while I doubt this phenomenon merits a mention within anyone's contrived "gambling manifesto" (sponsored by hindsight!) I do think if your team's key to victory is the debatable competency of the other team's quarterback, then you're setting yourself up for some hubristic sh*t, son. The Patriots' shaky defense was their most frequently reported shortcoming, but there are other cracks within the sanctimonious bunker-that-Belichick-built. The Pats had trouble putting away opponents at times and a potentially close score plays into the Ravens' strength (defense) while negating their weakness (Flacco). And, after Welker got his bell rung in Pittsburgh in late October, the Pats' offense never really regained that over-the-middle passing approach. Have I talked myself into a Ravens' upset in which Flacco does just enough to win and Baltimore's defense makes a late stand? Yup. Baltimore 24, New England 21

NY Giants at San Francisco (-2)

Joe: I will gladly eat crow on underestimating the Giants (and/or overestimating the Packers) last week. That was an incredibly impressive display. And if their defense can shut down an offense as potent as Green Bay's, it's hard to imagine how the 49ers will score much at all. Meanwhile, the Niners deserve to be credited for going blow-for-blow with the Saints in that insane 4th quarter last week. But up until then, they'd been the recipient of some crazy luck and some uncharacteristically bad Drew Brees throws. Not that Eli Manning hasn't been known to lay an egg either, but at some point, he really did stop being the big choker all the Manning-haters wanted him to be. There's a danger I'm picking too much with my heart here, but ... NY Giants 31, San Francisco 20

Aaron: It's been more than 15 years since the 49ers were this relevant this late in January. As someone who vividly remembers their insufferable fanbase throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, I can't say I was rooting for it. Over the past week, the 49ers' win over the Saints has been indelibly stained with "clutch-y" clich├ęs and the never-ending after-party for QB Alex Smith -- who unquestionably played the best game of his mediocre career. But, even as the Saints gifted and re-gifted the 49ers with a multitude of turnovers, the game was in doubt until the final few seconds. I like another close game this week due to the Giants' ferocious defensive front slowing down the 49ers offense and the likelihood that Eli Manning will have a few of his patented "bad Eli" drives. But, as the 49ers have proven in the playoffs, it's the last drive that matters. NY Giants 27, San Francisco 24


Carrie said...

Haha - I lived in El Cajon until 1996, and I STILL hate the 49ers because of an obnoxious 49ers fan in my third grade class. 1994 was a rough year.

that mexican guy said...

So glad to see the 49ers bounced out. Perhaps it's my bitter Raiders bias showing through...but, yeah.

Love how every SF fan blames Kyle Williams, but NONE of them acknowledges that QB Alex Smith turned back into the dependable pumpkin he's been for eight years.