Well, I was right on about every game last week – except for Denver. That’s three out of four again. Look, the Broncos should have won that game – just like the Colts should have won the week before. Except the Broncos really fucked up. They had the single worst defensive play of the season when they gave up that TD with 30 seconds to go. Where did you think the pass was going to go? Why was a safety not standing on the goal line? They fucked that up, then in OT Peyton got pushed around and finally made a fatal error. I opined last week about Peyton’s ability to play in cold weather in the playoffs, and while I picked him to win I kind of knew that he wasn’t going to.
Both the Patriots and the Niners dominated, but only the Niners looked like a playoff team. Harbaugh held that read option look until the playoffs and it worked. The Falcons might be prepared for it, but I doubt that they’ll be fully prepared for it. The Packers are struggling lately in the playoffs, and that game made a strong case for the importance of a running game in a pass heavy league. They couldn’t establish a play action. Meanwhile the Patriots just keep scoring, no matter who Brady is throwing to. Doesn’t matter. While Joe Montana might have had Jerry Rice all those years, Brady doesn’t need just one guy, he can make any guy a star.
So this is the second to last column of the year, then a hiatus until the season kicks back up again. So you should be full of sadness. Me, I’m going to go cuddle with my guns before they are taken away. Just kidding. I don’t cuddle.
San Francisco at Atlanta – January 20, 2013, 3:00 PM ET +3.0 49.0 O/U
The first game kicks off in the Georgia Dome, which sucks for the Niners. I think they have that energy at home which really helps the team and Atlanta gets super lucky at home. Like last week, when they nearly gave the game away and just beat the Seahawks. Frankly, I’d love to pick the Falcons to win this game and I think they can, and might. But I have to put more value on Colin Kaepernik than one should put on a human being. The guy is a good pocket passer, has the patience of a veteran and makes RGIII look like a chicken with his head cut off. Whether it’s a designed run or a snap decision, the kid has his head on straight. Now, Harbaugh busted out the read option against the Packers who have no run defense and play a classic smash on the line. The Falcons also play a smash, but in preparing for either the Seahawks or Redskins with that week off, they prepared for a running QB. Their secondary just didn’t prepare for the deep ball. So that’s what it comes down to, if the Falcons can contain Kaepernik, and I don’t think they do. At least not for a whole game. He won’t peel off 181 against them, but he’ll get a couple runs, extending plays. For that, I’m taking the Niners to just edge out the Falcons, though I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong.
Baltimore at New England – January 20, 2013, 6:30 PM ET -8.5 51.0 O/U
In this rematch of last years AFC Championship game, not much has changed. Of course the Patriots are favored, but the Ravens are playing with some sort of fire, and you can credit Ray Lewis for that. The now cyborg ex-con is a locker room preacher and gets a team fired up. Joe Flacco, who played amazing last week to little or no fanfare, is still the key to the offense. The kid has a fantastic arm and uses it. The Patriots secondary will not be able to stop the deep ball, and this game will certainly come down to who can score the most points. The Patriots front seven and the defense will have to be on the ball this week, no flip flopping like they’ve done all season. Belichick always finds a way to win, or at least compete in these types of games. The real key for the Pats though is Welker. If he can continue to David Copperfield opponents, then a win is nearly guaranteed. I’m not too worried about Gronk being out, as Hernandez can carry that load and there will be plenty of tricks up the sleeve of the Hoodie. Patriots to win.
Now, for your entertainment, Bad Lip Reading does the NFL. Hilarious!