Wednesday, January 12, 2011
One thing I hate is when radio and TV personalities make predictions and then don't own up to them after the games take place. So here you go:
"The Ravens can stop the run just about as well as anyone ... Ravens by seven."
The Ravens actually won by 23. I'll take it.
"I'm not ready to pick against Peyton Manning ... I don't trust Mark Sanchez ... Jets kicker Nick Folk has one of the lowest field goal percentages in the league ... Colts in a close one."
Sanchez led the Jets down the field with under a minute to go and Folk hit the game-winner. I suck.
THEME SONG FOR THIS WEEKEND'S AFC MATCH-UPS (fast-forward to 1:00 mark):
Turns out that video's kind of weirdly inappropriate. But what I'm trying to say is: I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it. I mean, a classic Ravens/Steelers match-up AND another Jets/Patriots game? That's fantastic!
#5 Ravens (13-4) @ #2 Steelers (12-4)
Saturday, 3:30 CST
-They've split 2-2 over the last two seasons, every game has been decided by three points and each team has scored 67 points total.
-In the 2008-09 AFC Championship, Pittsburgh defeated Baltimore 23-14 en route to a Super Bowl victory.
What to watch for: Both teams rank in the top five in rush defense. Will Ray Rice or Rashard Mendenhall be able to carve out any success, or will the game's outcome rely on the arms of the QBs?
X factor: Troy Polamalu. In my view, he's the most important defensive player in the NFL. He's a forced turnover waiting to happen.
Prediction: This one comes down to the last play. When in doubt, take the home team: Steelers by three.
#6 Jets (12-5) @ #1 Patriots (14-2)
Sunday, 3:30 CST
-I wanted a third Jets/Patriots game. I needed a third Jets/Patriots game. These coaches hate each other like Brett Favre hates retirement.
-They split their regular season match-ups, but the Patriots won 45-3 in New England in Week 13.
-The Jets are trying to make it two straight years in the AFC Championship; the Patriots last made it in '08.
What to watch for: When the two coaches shake hands after the game, will Rex Ryan make any attempt to eat Bill Belichick? Will Belichick use his secret knowledge of the rare form of martial arts known as aikido to kill Ryan in 1.2 seconds?
X factor: The tight ends. The middle of the field is often the easiest place to attack the Jets given their strength at cornerback. That works just fine for the Pats as Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowki combined for 16 TDs this year. On the other side, Dustin Keller had five TDs of his own this year including one against New England in Week 2.
Prediction: Belichick is a Master Technician (seriously, that's the name for those who are Level 6 aikido), and now he has a chance to game plan against a team he's already seen twice this year. Plus, he's got some dude named Brady on his sideline. Patriots in a game that's kind of close but not really all that close.