By: Shawn Davis
Sorry for the late post but this is the Los Angeles edition where “fitting the description” and being handcuffed by the L.A.P.D. happens. Thanks guys, I could’ve stayed my ass in NYC for that type of treatment. On to it…
My Super Bowl prediction of Denver-Green Bay exploded last Saturday night – and I’m still mulling over how bad the Broncos executed (or should I say were executed) on defense. Another narrative emanating from the aftermath is the killing of Peyton Manning and his legacy. Now the interception he threw which directly led to the Ravens kicking the game-clinching field-goal through the uprights is his fault, and his alone. That cannot be debated in any way. To say that he’s a “choker” isn’t warranted but his career playoff record is 9-11 – and it has to be mentioned when viewing what he’s done thus far. It’s almost unfair how excellent he is in the regular season, but once the knockout season begins it’s as if he’s playing football for the first time.
If Champ Bailey plays just an average game – for his standards – the Broncos win; if Rahim Moore ensures that THE ONLY play that the Ravens could possibly run (a deep strike along the sideline) doesn’t get behind him, the Broncos would be hosting the AFC Championship this weekend. Had their kicker had a chance of his own to make a clinching kick – and converted – pundits would be raving over a “tough, but clutch win by Manning.” Am I wrong? I doubt that highly.
As Manning walked off the field in the crestfallen manner in which he did, I was positive that he knew a great chance to get back to the Super Bowl just evaporated.
I’m bothered for a few reasons:
A) Manning never threw a nine route (a deep pass along the sideline, in-between the numbers) or a deep route in the seam (the middle of the field). The whole game! When these teams met a few weeks ago, he completed two passes of the aforementioned variety within the first drive.
B) The MEGA conservative play-calling in the fourth quarter. Why didn’t head coach John Fox put the ball in the hands of Manning when they were facing a 3rd-and-7 with two minutes in the game?
C) The Denver kneel-down with 31 seconds remaining in regulation! I mean, really? Why not let Manning take two or three shots to get in field-goal range? Why take a chance by letting the game get to overtime?
D) Was Rahim Moore asleep? Was he taking a phone call?
Green Bay’s defense has been bending all season long and Colin Kaepernick decided to just put them down; like the rabid dog that’s been terrorizing everyone for months and the locals just got sick of running into their homes so they called whomever that specializes in that field. The Packers have been too reliant on their quarterback to put out every fire on game day…and there were too many for one man on Saturday evening.
In watching Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin and Cam Newton this season I realized that they are what everyone always wanted Michael Vick to become. All the other quarterbacks have established a consistent pocket presence that Vick never cultivated in all his years in the league.
Wilson, in my opinion, is at least the equal and may even be a better quarterback than Griffin or Andrew Luck. As the Falcons jumped out to a 20-0 lead (and I was eating some flimsy pancakes with a hot date) I had no doubt that Seattle would find a way to claw their way back into things. Watching Tony Gonzalez finally win his first playoff game was enjoyable but the Falcons barely held on to that one, seriously. They should have some legitimate concerns now that the 49ers are coming to the Georgia Dome.
That leaves me with the Patriots-Texans…suuuuuuure; I’m staying away from that one but I am disappointed that Rob Gronkowski will miss the entire postseason with that nagging forearm injury. So Houston, that final score could have been a lot worse with number 87.
San Francisco @ Atlanta
Will the Falcons be exposed this weekend by Colin Kaepernick’s best Willie Beamen impression or will his “invisible juice” wear off? I’m looking at this game and it’s hard for me to choose the NFC representative for the Super Bowl (and I feel the same way about the AFC Championship). I try to keep it simple by looking at a few points and then making the pick. (See where that got me last weekend! Damn Broncos!)
I think Kaepernick makes a few good plays but Atlanta contains him better than they did Russell Wilson and they punch their ticket to New Orleans to play for the Lombardi trophy; adding more salt to the wounds of the local football fans. Imagine the Falcons winning the title on the home-field of their main division rival…yeah, it’s possible.
My pick: Falcons over 49ers, 28-27.
Baltimore @ New England
The Ravens just feel like they’re pushing forward while the whole world looks the other way (Vegas has them as an eight point underdog). I’m picking this with my heart because I cannot see the Patriots in another Super Bowl, well; I don’t want them in another Super Bowl. That’s it!
Sorry for not being objective but it’s my column, deal with it.
My pick: Ravens over Patriots, 27-24.
Last Week: 2-2
Regular Season: 164-92