The conference championship matchups are set. Basically, with the Colts' loss, it's going to be the Patriots against either the Packers or the Giants in the Super Bowl...and that means I have to root against the Packers, which stinks, since they are my secondary team again this year (for matchup reasons - Packers-Patriots has already happened, but you should know that if you're reading this). I think it's unlikely the Patriots will lose...but at least they're the early game next Sunday, and if they do, I can root for Green Bay late. (Truth be told, I wouldn't mind rooting for the Giants, either - they've grown on me this year - I'll get more into that later in the week.) Here's the recap:
That Green Bay game went sort of how last week's playoff games went. It turned out the way I expected (Green Bay blowout), but took a little while to develop. The Seahawks jumped out to the 14-0 lead, and I started to think there was something to all of these people picking Seattle to win in Green Bay. Then the Packers came back, and Brett Favre just looked like there was no way he was going to lose. It was like the dominant Packers of old. Favre has never won in Dallas, so he and the Packers look like the biggest beneficiaries of the Giants win.
I was disappointed by the Jaguars' performance. Their offense played much better than I expected, and their defense was underwhelming. I thought they would beat up the Patriots more than they did...and now the Patriots head into the conference championship game against a weak opponent, and they're sitting pretty. There's also a chance there might be a storm in New England next week, though I don't know the details. San Diego in New England, and possibly in a storm...I don't like their chances there.
The Colts ought to be ashamed of themselves. There's no call for losing this game. I know Antonio Gates played, which makes a difference for Philip Rivers, but this was a game they should have won. You know what it is? It's bad karma because Bob Sanders acted like a jerk to Nate Kaeding after he missed that field goal (how bad is Kaeding in the post-season - kicking like that in New England isn't going to get you to the Super Bowl). I don't care if you did go to college together - that's bad sportsmanship. (And I should know - I won my Little League sportsmanship award a few times.) I'm not surprised Billy Volek was effective - hasn't he done this type of thing before, at least in the regular season? I feel like he may have even done it in the playoffs - but I can't remember right now and I have more pressing concerns before bed than looking that up. This type of game makes gambling on games (or participating in the type of pool I'm in) a bummer, because I'm sitting there rooting for different scenarios to work out so I can win a bet...and then I realize at the end that while that was going on, I missed a pretty good football game. One last thing about San Diego - they had some legitimate gripes about some of the officials' calls in that game. It seemed Norv Turner was complaining about every call - but I think he had the right to.
The Giants did what I thought they could do. Towards the end of this game, I was actually rooting for the Cowboys to score a touchdown, so the Giants could come back and kick a field goal, force overtime, and I could get the over....then they showed Jerry Jones on the sideline. And I wanted the Giants to win........bad. And there was nothing more rewarding for me, someone who lost his over/under bet, so see Jerry Jones standing there at the end of the game, with his arms crossed, looking like a loser. That was great. I don't know that the Giants continue their Pittsburgh Steelers-type wild card run next week in Green Bay - but I think it will be an entertaining game.
Here's who did what this week (though you may have picked winners, I'm counting everyone's results against the spread, because that's how we do it around here):
Justin from NYC: 1-3
Southern Bureau: 1-3
The Wife: 1-3
Dave in Brighton: 0-4
Southern Bureau: 3-1
Dave in Brighton: 2-2
The Wife: 2-2
Chargers-Patriots, Giants-Packers in the conference championship games. Interesting matchups. Make your picks in the comments section on Friday.