This weekend really hurt. My pride and self-confidence were both shaken to their cores on Sunday by the outcomes of the two conference championship games. I was cruising into the conference championship weekend 7-1 in the playoffs picking winners and making even money against Vegas (if I had been gambling) and felt really good about at least one of my picks. Not only did I miss both, I was heinously wrong. My score predictions, based on point differential, were off by a total of 55 points…seriously don’t listen to anything I say (as if that needed reiterating).
As it turns out, offensive line play is kind of important. Tom Brady played remarkably well considering that he looked like a really good player on a bad high school team when New England had the ball on Sunday. Denver just dominated the line of scrimmage, and at the end of the day that was all that mattered. “The Sheriff” did just enough to give Denver a win, and even though Tom still gave the Pats a chance at the end the two-point conversion to force overtime came up short. Hats off to Denver, and good luck in the Super Bowl, where you won’t be coming up against intramural flag football caliber blocking.
One last thing, or actually five last things, about this game. Actually wait, let’s preface this by saying: 1) this is in no way, shape, or form an attempt to take credit away from the Broncos they deserve all due credit for the win and 2) I’m normally not fond of this game, but it feels appropriate here. We’re gonna play a little Pats’ blame game for who cost New England the AFC title the most yesterday really quickly. Here’s the ranking:
1. Offensive Line- see above
2. Bill Belichick/Josh McDaniels- they got outcoached by Gary Kubiak and came up with a horrendous 4th and 1 play call when they have Tom and Gronk
3. The NFL/Roger Goodell- remember when they decided the extra point was too easy and moved it?
4. Tom Brady- remember when he deflated balls (allegedly) and turned the NFL and Goodell against him?
5. James White- if you wanted the Patriots to win Sunday, how many times did you say to yourself: why do they keep throwing to James White? My count was 451.
Once the shock of New England losing finally wore off, Carolina was already up 24-7 on Arizona and well on their way to putting me in an 0-2 position for the day. The NFC championship game was just a blur of touchdowns, interceptions, and dabbing. Carson Palmer was a fumble and a pick away from a “Full Delhomme” if I remember correctly, and Carolina squashed the Cards’ late comeback efforts like a boot squashes a roach. There isn’t a whole lot to say except that Carolina looks like a team on a mission, and that train is fueled by the doubts of people like me. For the record, the Panthers finally fully converted me about halfway through the first quarter of that game and without further ado my playoff prediction is…
Carolina 27, Denver 20
Credit Cover Photo to Streeter Lecka/Getty Images