It’s time for the conference championship games, and after one of the most fucked up and unpredictable seasons we’ve seen in a while, we’re left with the four teams that everyone figured would be here before this whole mess started.
The NFL has to be happy, because no matter what they’re going to get a marquee matchup in the Super Bowl. The only way the NFL could cast any doubt on whether or not this Super Bowl will be a classic is if they did something ridiculous like playing it outdoors in February in a north-eastern stadium known for its unpredictable winds. Oh… that’s exactly what they’re doing? Well, shit. Now, I don’t exactly hate the idea of cold weather Super Bowls, mostly because fuck whiny sports writers who will complain about missing out on a warm weather vacation, and fuck the corporate shit heels that typically attend these things, but I can’t help but worry that as a fan I’m going to end up feeling a little robbed if the weather has a serious effect on the quality of the game. BUT LET’S NOT FOCUS ON THE NEGATIVES!
We’ll be getting some combination of Denver/New England vs. Seattle/San Francisco and every casual fan will be thrilled no matter what unless Colin Kaepernick doesn’t turn his damn hat around during the post-game interview. This isn’t Cooley High, Kaepernick! Show some respect! *googles “Cooley High” to make sure that reference makes sense. Ehh… close enough.*
With so much hype surrounding these games, it’s hard for me to say anything that hasn’t been said already by one idiot or another, so let’s get to the picks, where I will rehash and address some of my favorite moronic storylines because there are just so many to go around. Last week’s picks went 2-1-1, and as always the home team is in caps.
DENVER -5.5 vs. New England
Yes, I’m taking the Broncos, and as a Patriots fan this makes me very sad and very angry. The only thing that makes me sadder and angrier is looking at New England’s defensive depth chart. I mean, Jesus Christ these guys are supposed to stop the best offense in NFL history on the road in what will likely be perfect weather conditions? I mean, fuuuuuuuuuuck. Granted, there are very few certainties in this year’s NFL, but there are a couple things I know for sure about this game. Firstly, Kyle Arrington will have to cover a very talented wide receiver, and secondly, Kyle Arrington is ass. Additionally, the Patriots’ front seven is about the NFL equivalent of a front three and a half, so if the Broncos want to run the ball, they will run successfully. If they want to throw the ball, they will throw successfully. It is hard for me to imagine a scenario where Denver’s offense gets off the field without scoring points. Now, what New England CAN do, is move the ball. And they will have to. Lots. Denver’s defense is nearly as banged up as New England’s, so if Brady can sustain drives and keep his defense fresh and Manning off the field, the Pats are in good shape. This should be easy with New England’s newfound running game, right?
I don’t know if that’s exactly correct. Logic would tell you to run the ball and eat as much clock as possible, but Denver is giving up a lot more talent when they go into sub packages. The more defensive backs on the field, the worse they get. There’s a chance that Marquice Cole could play in this game, for Chrissakes. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Marquice Cole is basically an NFL secondary’s equivalent of when a wrestler’s tag partner turning heel in the middle of a match and pulls his hand away from a tag as his teammate is mercilessly beaten. This is going to make it very tempting to spread the field and throw the ball, putting the game literally in the hands of an injured and unreliable receiving corps (more like receiving CORPSE! Am I right? Fuck off.) Josh McDaniels’ play calling may be a big part of why the Patriots win or lose this game and as a Pats fan that makes me uncomfortable since I’ve seen him call a fair share of head-scratching big games. Penalties could also be a big factor, as New England is rarely penalized at home, and has often benefitted from drive saving defensive holding and pass interference calls that are fewer and further between on the road.
Now, for the top idiotic storyline dominating this matchup: How will this game affect the legacies of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady? On one side, you have the argument that by winning this game, Peyton Manning will get to take all of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl rings and flush them down the toilet, then walk through the Hall of Fame rubbing his dick on the busts of every other quarterback enshrined within. On the other side, you have the argument that if Tom Brady wins this game, somebody will run onto the field and pull off Manning’s human mask to expose that he was a giant chicken this entire time like on Animaniacs, and his records and MVPs will forever mean nothing because giant chickens aren’t allowed to play football and only guys who bang super models can be in the record books. In actuality, none of this matters because the game is being played outdoors in February in New Jersey and the NFC participant will field an actual competent real life defense so nuts to the both of you.
San Francisco +3.5 vs. SEATTLE
I am absolutely thrilled that we’re getting a third installment of this game, and if you care about football at all you should be too. These teams are almost mirror images in terms of style, but couldn’t be more different in terms of personality. On one sideline you have Jim Harbaugh in his eight dollar mom khakis, and on the other you have Pete Carroll who I can assure you has never paid less than two hundred dollars for a haircut. In one huddle you have Russell Wilson, who spends all of his free time inspiring sick kids at children’s hospitals, and in the other you have Colin Kaepernick, who (one assumes) spends all of his free time teaching those same sick children gang signs. Then on one side of the field you have a brash, young defense who runs their mouth constantly while trying to hit you in yours, while on the other side you have… okay basically the same thing.
Why am I picking San Fran when Seattle has won their past few meetings at home by a combined score of about 800-5? Because I think the 49ers have the ability to stop the run while maintaining an edge that keeps Russell Wilson in the pocket. If they can make Wilson try to beat them standing still they’re in great shape. It will come down to the Niners protecting the ball, and could be as easy as not allowing the Seahawks defense or special teams to score points. In their last meeting San Francisco got the win by limiting the Seahawks on the ground and forcing them into 3rd and long situations. With the way they handled Carolina on Sunday I could see them being able to pull off a narrow victory doing the same in this one. Also don’t discount the possibility of an Anquan Boldin/Richard Sherman fistfight in this game. Boldin needed to be restrained from Panthers defensive backs several times last week, and Sherman isn’t exactly going to tell him how big a fan he is. Generally wide receivers aren’t known for being able to backup any tough talk, but remember that Boldin once had his face broken into about a hundred pieces, then screwed back together, and then played two weeks later. If they do come to blows my money is on Boldin since Sherman went to Stanford so he must secretly be a giant pussy.
The top idiotic storyline defining this matchup: Why can’t that ruffian Colin Kaepernick be more like that swell Russell Wilson fella? Now, let me preface this by saying that I agree that Russell Wilson seems like an A+ person. I have never heard a bad word spoken about the guy, and his dedication to charity is incredibly admirable. The world would be better served with more Russell Wilsons. Having said that, has anyone stopped to think that maybe spending all of your time with sick kids and disabled vets is a fucking bummer? “Hey Andy, would you like me to throw a touchdown pass for you on Sunday?” “Doctor says I might not live that long.” “Well I can’t fucking throw one on Wednesday, so here’s a jersey. Don’t touch me.”
So what if Colin Kaepernick wants to spend all of his free time taking selfies and fucking his shoe collection? This is America. Not everyone has to be Ghandi. And we live in such a goddamned cynical society that I am now CONVINCED that Russell Wilson is hiding something. At least I know where I stand with Kaepernick. I guarantee if you looked in Colin Kaepernick’s closet you would find a bunch of basketball jerseys, a hundred pairs of dumb looking sneakers, and maybe some sex toys. In Russell Wilson’s closet maybe you’ll just find some nicely pressed dress shirts and a Bible, but maybe also you will find A HUMAN HEAD! I’m not saying that Russell Wilson is a murderer, but we can’t discount that possibility. Maybe he spends all of his time at children’s hospitals because only a dying child’s life force can grant him his supernatural quarterbacking abilities. WE MAY NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH!