No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

2011 NFL Football – Conference Championship Sunday!

It’s weird in a way, but I didn’t expect these conference championship games although according to the seedings we are pretty close to having what we should. In the AFC we have #1 v. #2 with the Ravens & Patriots going at it. In the NFL we would have expected #2 San Francisco to get to the conference championship, but I think most people would have assumed the Saints would have beaten the 49ers and the Packers would have beaten New York giving up Saints @ Packers instead of Giants @ 49ers. There is a ton to watch here obviously, but one things I’m really interested in seeing is Joe Flacco. When you look at truly elite QBs in the NFL that have won championships you really stop with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees & Aaron Rodgers. Flacco wouldn’t leap into that category should he win a championship because his stats aren’t as good as that quartet, but he can definitely jump into the fray with guys like Eli Manning & Ben Roethlisberger. The other guy to look for? It’s Eli Manning. If Manning can somehow get back to the Super Bowl and win it, it’ll give the Giants QB 2 championships which has to bring him into that club of Brady, Brees, Rodgers and big brother Peyton. Plus Eli has the stats to back it up. He almost passed for 5,000 yards this season along with 29TD. Eli’s 4,933 yards passing this season is a greater total than Peyton has ever had in a single season. Those two guys will be the main guys I’m watching this Sunday. Let’s look at the games.

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
The 7-point spread seems like a little much to me. There are two thoughts going through my mind on this one. The first thought is that the only legitimate top shelf teams New England has played this year has been Pittsburgh & the NY Giants. New England lost both games by the combined score of 49-37. Not a huge margin, but the game against the Giants came in Foxboro so New England can’t blame road woes on either. It’s easy to argue Baltimore is better than Pittsburgh because the Ravens waxed them twice. I think you could also make an argument that the 12-4 Ravens are better than the 9-7 Giants, although the postseason Giants might very well be better than the postseason Ravens currently. The Patriots simply haven’t played anyone en route to their current 14-3 record. Remember that their playoff win came against Denver with arguably the worst statistical QB in the NFL! Can New England beat a good football team? The other thought is about the mini-controversy stirred up by Ravens safety Ed Reed who said his own QB Joe Flacco was rattled by the Texans defense in Baltimore’s divisional round win over Houston. That has to be tough to hear for Flacco, but he did look rattled in that game. On the other hand, New England doesn’t exactly have the same defense Houston does so it’s likely Flacco won’t face that kind of pressure. It’ll be truly interesting to see if Flacco can step into the truly elite among QBs in the NFL. Getting a playoff win against Tom Brady & the Patriots would do a lot for his confidence moving forward. Guys like Ed Reed & Ray Lewis know Father Time is catching up. I think the Giants & 49ers showed last week that defense wins championship and the Ravens prove the same thing this weekend. Despite the crazy line for New England, I think Joe Flacco makes the leap and gets the victory. PATRIOTS (-7)
I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see the Giants & 49ers win last week, showing that the road to Super Bowl championships really is paved with defense! The Giants feel almost exactly as they did in 2007 when they won a Super Bowl except this time Eli Manning is going through the playoffs as a Super Bowl champion instead of a QB that nobody knew could pull off the big one. New York has finally gotten healthy and it shows defensively as the Giants are putting massive pressure on the QB. They beat on Aaron Rodgers last week and took the Super Bowl MVP completely out of his game en route to a surprising beat down of the defending Super Bowl championship who also happened to be 15-1 at the time! Yeah, that was impressive. So was Eli Manning and his control of the offense along with a healthy running tandem of Brandon Jacobs & Ahmad Bradshaw. If you are looking for a weakness to the Giants, you aren’t going to find one easily. For the 49ers, Alex Smith has to be on his toes because he’s going to see massive pressure. The 49ers definitely opened up some eyes by both limiting the Saints on offense until the 4th quarter, but also showing they could get into a shootout with an elite offensive team and still come out ahead. San Francisco is going to come out aggressive on defense. They are better at takeaways than any other team in the NFL and they’ll hit you hard & often. This game is going to be about defense unless the Giants offense goes nuts. I’m not sure that will happen, but I do think in a matchup of Alex Smith v. Eli Manning, you have to take Manning. San Francisco has been on in an INCREDIBLE ride and there is now doubt Jim Harbaugh is coach of the year. However, the clock is about to strike midnight, and when it does, the Giants will be going back to the Super Bowl. 49ERS (-2.5)
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January 21, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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