Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Hangover: Conference Championships, 1-21-2008



We’re already late, so I’ll skip the small talk. A few random thoughts on the games…

- The Patriots looked beatable yesterday, but what makes them scary isn’t how unbeatable they look on other days. It’s the fact that, on a day when their quarterback looked as shaken as he has all year, on a day when their defense was giving up the long plays that they’ve been vulnerable to all year, this team still won. They may be beatable, but it’s going to take a hell of a game.

- To that end, someone needs to explain to me how Kevin Faulk is beating teams on screens every time there’s an obvious passing down. At some point, don’t you stop giving that up? If you’re going to get beat, at least don’t get beat by the same thing every single time.

- Whoever is Tom Brady’s publicist needs to do something about how every single photo he takes makes him look like an enormous douche. He’s an incredible player, and he’s not a bad looking guy, but WOW…does every candid shot need to have him holding a purse or making a weird face?

- The “Shut Down Moss and Let’s See What Happens” game plan works, it’s just about three months too late. True, they haven’t lost yet, but the teams that have pulled it off haven’t had the firepower to take advantage of it.

- As true as what Nick Hardwick is saying about Richard Seymour may be, IT’S MISSING THE POINT!!! Everyone needs to stop talking about anyone on the Patriots except for Rodney Harrison; it just muddies the waters and distracts people from the real antichrist of football. Nobody was pointing out that the deck chairs didn’t match on the Titanic.

- Chris Chambers didn’t come through on an easy deep ball, which cost the Chargers an interception. Welcome to the Miami Dolphins’ existence for the last five years. Little wide receivers are going the way of the dinosaur. We’ll revisit this discussion when someone grossly overpays DeSean Jackson in the draft.

- Why teams don’t cover the middle of the field more against the Pats is beyond me. The Chargers picked up at least two INTs doing it. Brady isn’t some sixth sense mutant; he just knows his game plan really, really well. Why not try and disrupt it a little?

- Kevin Faulk? The best passing down back ever (according to Skip Bayless)? Really???

- He’s the quarterback who gives the Packers the best chance to win, but Deadspin.com makes an excellent point: On a night when his team needed him to sit back and just not screw up, Brett Favre was outplayed by a quarterback who, despite maturing a lot, shouldn’t be outplaying him.

- I look at the Packers and I can’t tell whether they’re primed to be great for a while, or just the beneficiaries of everything clicking at the same time for one great year. On the one hand, that offense is young (minus Favre), and Rodgers has shown he’s capable of being a great replacement. Also, the front seven on defense is nothing short of dominant. On the other hand, Favre is getting old, and you have to wonder what losing him will do to that offense, Donald Driver is going to lose a step some time soon, and how long can the Grizzle Gang of Woodson and Harris stay in top form? Next year will tell us more about this team’s future than this past season.

- Personally, I think they’ll hang around in the top tier, but I’m firmly entrenched in the Rodge Lodge.

- On a related note, I haven’t seen a corner as overmatched as Al Harris was against Plaxico Burress since the last time I saw the Jets play anybody (hooray for the homer heat!).

-What the hell happened to Tom Coughlin’s face? He turned red! I’m researching Botox and its side effects in the cold to see if this confirms my opinion since day one of the season that Tom Coughlin has had work done.

- Eli Manning is on the verge, but he’s not quite there. That’s a very good thing for Giants fans going into the biggest game of his career. It’s been remarkable the way Giants fans and the New York media have gotten a little common sense and decided that while he hasn’t been bad at all, he hasn’t been amazing (which would lead to the “HE’S FINALLY ARRIVED!” madness that always seems to follow him). Instead, he’s played very well exactly the way he’d been asked. If he does it one more time, and Coughlin has a game plan for a full 60 minutes (as opposed to the 45 he planned for last time), Eli will be making his “well, aw shucks, did I just win?” face as he holds up the Lombardi Trophy.

- Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are the “Thunder and Lightning” combination that pretty much every running back tandem ever has claimed to be. Bradshaw looks like Tiki catching passes out of the backfield, but with a little more initial burst. Meanwhile, The Iron Horse Brandon Jacobs has bested Marion the Barbarian as the most painful running back to tackle in the league. Charles Woodson has a bruise on his chest in the shape of Jacobs’s shoulder.

- As for the game coming up in two weeks? I really don’t know. I want to believe it will be a great game, and I think it can be one, but two factors are working against it:

First, the Pats beat the Giants on a night that the Giants were giving them their BEST shot. I just don’t know that the Giants have another 45 minutes like that in them. Give me some time and I’ll come up with a rationale as to why.

Second, the Pats have been playing in cold weather games, and now make a move to dry, pleasant weather, on fast turf. How will a Giants secondary held together by wishes and dreams keep up with speedsters like Moss and Stallworth?

Still, there’s a game to be had here. That Giants ground game has been dominant, and the pass rush is built to challenge Brady’ timing.

We’ll see. In the meantime, keep checking the site. We’ve got a lot of content going up this week, including Super Bowl matchups and profiles, more characters dropping in with predictions, and more of the TiT coverage you’ve come to know

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