In the words of Marshawn Lynch, you know why I’m here.Unlike Beast Mode, it’s not to avoid a fine. There are no fines that I’m aware of for missing out on your football blog post right before the Superbowl. I guess it’s good we’re here, just in case. As this is my last NFL update of the season, I’d like to thank anyone who’s come by to read the Weekly Scrimmage. I appreciate you taking the time, as I learn where I’m taking the blog. It’s definitely been interesting, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. So again, thank you to everyone reading.
Conference Championship Picks
I did something really dumb a few weeks back. I fought against reason and picked the Colts anyway. All the way up until writing the post, I had the Pats and the Seahawks. I was so darn sure of it. I probably would’ve picked the Packers with a healthy quarterback but that wasn’t the case. Speaking of that game, who takes the blame for that? Does McCarthy now start the job security countdown? The Packers played passively and played not to lose down the stretch. With the best quarterback in the game, they hardly challenged a clearly injured defender in Sherman. It’s more than a little confusing. When you have a champion on the ropes, you’ve got to keep swinging. Still, I knew better than talking myself into Luck leading the Colts into Foxboro with a new mindset than years past. These Pats just seem to be in Indy’s head. As an Indiana man who’s not a Colts fan, it’s an odd perspective. I still find myself disliking New England.
Pats versus Seahawks hype
It’s really stinking hard for me to separate myself from my dislike of New England. As this is a blog on ‘teh internetz’ and not something super professional (does that still exist?), I’ll just be honest about that. I know part of it is my penchant for rooting against the favorite. And I guess that speaks pretty highly of how Belichick and company have handled their business. I’m begrudgingly impressed. I grew up just hating Michael Jordan and every stinking time he stuck that tongue out. Yelling at every foul call the dude got, I remember rooting for any team playing against his Bulls. I was a Sonics fan. I grew to love Gary Payton as one of my favorites. I remember rooting hard for that Jazz team two years straight. And of course, my Pacers. I remember being in Illinois at my grandma’s house when Reggie pushed off on Jordan to hit the three and force game seven. The rest of my family was outside, enjoying each other’s company, I was seeing if Indy’s season was ending that day. I jumped off the couch, yelling something about game seven when that shot went in. But even though I hated Jordan at the time, I could always respect his maniacal drive. Dude was relentless. And it was easy to like Phil Jackson. He had a sweet ‘stash, and he felt like a good dude. It seemed like the triangle had players playing basketball (mostly) the right way, with guys getting a chance to get shots. But this Pats team feels different. It’s true I wouldn’t root against them if they didn’t have the success, but the culture feels very different. It feels like one that capitalizes on small wrinkles in the rules to get ahead, one that will take shortcuts, and one that will outright cheat to get ahead.
A lot of people recently have taken up issue with the Seahawks and their brash personas exhibiting themselves through success. I kinda get when people complain about players talking too much, but I don’t personally have a problem with Sherman and others. They’re out there, proving themselves to be positionally dominant. And while he can be annoying, I don’t find him to be raw enough to be completetly disrespectful. When it comes to Lynch, I think it’s a shame that he treats the media the way he does, but I think some of it brought on themselves. Mostly, I think it’s a shame that in a league where quarterbacks get too much attention, a championship level team has one whose spotlight should be a little brighter. Wilson isn’t an amazingly gifted QB, especially in today’s NFL with gaudy numbers. But he’s an incredibly leader and hard worker. He’s the kind of guy who inspires great performances in his teammates and quietly steadies the ship.
So who wins the game?
The NFL has become a league of parity. Unlike the NBA, where it’s unusual for the two teams battling in the Finals to be outside of the four or five best in the NBA, the NFL regularly gets that kind of game to decide its champion. This year, I believe we have the two best teams. New England and Seattle are number one and number two in average point differential at 9.7 and 8.8 a game respectively. Looking at those numbers, I think the difference of nearly a point per game is impressive. The only team that was anything close was the Green Bay Packers. In fact, the stat was a pretty clear indicator of who would be playing for the title as the Ravens, Broncos, and Cowboys were other top performers. The way these teams achieved this were through different means, the Patriots have an improved defense but its success rests on the shoulders of Tom Brady. While the Seahawks held opposing offenses to roughly seventy yards less a game than New England. Experience and coaching are favorable match ups for New England, as they often are for them. But Pete Carroll is good at rallying the troops and seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve. The running game advantage has to be in favor of Seattle, with Lynch’s demonstrative approach and Wilson’s ability to scramble. They say that defense wins championships, and Seattle is the winner on that front. Where that will likely be tested is in the secondary, whether or not Sherman’s injury slows him at all and if the Legion of Boom can impose their will on the smaller new England receivers. The one wild card here is the colossal beast known as Gronk. Possibly no truer words were ever spoken when he proclaimed, “Yo soy fiesta.” The man is nearly impossible to bring down and he opens up more of the field for Brady to do work. The receiving corps on the other side, while not terrible, is not an imposing group. I guess this feels like a game that may be an epic. The kind of game that involves two teams playing at their best. The kind of game that history remembers. And I think this game will cement the New England Patriots place in history. So there it is, I’ve made my pick. And I kinda just hope I’m wrong. In any case, I’m looking forward to enjoying myself with friends and at least having some good commercials. Let me know your plans below. Thanks for stopping by.