Thursday, January 17, 2008

NFL Championship Picks

Thirteen years old. Who do you know that is thirteen years old? How would you describe them? Awkward? Moody? Think they know everything? Zits? What do you know at thirteen years old? Most kids that age are still waiting for there first kiss at the awkward dance in the school cafeteria. Kids that age only care about Xbox and Taco Bell. Nothing significant in your life happens when you are 13.

Unless your favorite team goes to the Super Bowl. I was 13 the last time the Packers were in the Super Bowl. Thirteen! At that point, my memory was really only a good eight years old, and I could always remember the Packers as a decent NFL team. I do have some pre-Favre memories of Majkowski and Dilweg, but I try to block those. And at 13, my team was in the Super Bowl for the second straight year? How could I comprehend how hard it is for an NFL team to do that at thirteen years old?

Granted, we lost that year to Denver (thanks NFL Network for replaying that game three nights ago), but at that point I thought, "oh we'll be back soon." Well, we haven't been. And there's no guarantee we'll make it back this year. But the Packers are currently in a place they haven't been in the last ten years either, the NFC Championship Game. Ten years, really? Even blind squirrels have been to the NFC Championship game in the last ten years. (sorry Lions, Niners, Cardinals, Redskins, and Dallas. Dallas?) I guess I forgot about the Eagles little run there. Anyway, ten years is a long time. And with some of the teams we've had, you think we would have been there at least once. And there have been many heartbreaks along the way... 4th and 26... 6 picks in the dome.... Vikings / Falcons losses at Lambeau.... T.O catch after the Rice "fumble". It's been a tough ten years.

But the Pack is back, and this time it's back in Lambeau. But ten years! So much has happened to me in ten years, I'm a different person than I was ten years ago. Hell, I'm a man. I'm 23! (I have previously told people Mike Gundy references are getting old. But they are not yet, although their shelf life is expiring. Any Jim Mora Playoffs? reference should be banned though. Wasn't that about ten years ago too?) I think part of the reason I'm soaking this week in and not being able to go five minutes without talking about it is because how little I realized when I was 13, that going to the NFC Championship Game is a huge deal.

But I guess if we lose, it will just be another heartache. On to the Picks.

Chargers at Patriots, Sunday 2pm CBS

The similarities are eerie between now and the 1996 season, the year the Packers last won the Super Bowl. Let's take a look.

Packers beat Niners at home by 21 in the 1996 Divisional Round
Packers beat Seahawks at home by 22 in the 2007 Divisional Round

Panthers upset Dallas 26-17 to travel to Green Bay for the Championship in 96.
Giants upset Dallas 21-17 to travel to Green Bay for the Championship in 07.

Patriots cruise past a team in the divisional round and host the Championship in Foxboro in 96.
Patriots cruise past a team in the divisional round and host the Championship in Foxboro in 07.
The Jaguars shock the Broncos in Denver 30-27 to advance.
The Chargers shock the Colts in Indy 28-24 to advance.


There's more reasons than that though why I think the Patriots are going to be victorious in this one. First of all, they are 17-0. Why sit here and list stats about how good the Pats are when all I need to do is write that they are 17-0 (that and I don't want to look anything else up. I've exhausted Wikipedia already with this column, that's not my style). A lot of people have been questioning their defense over the last few weeks, but I'm not one of them. (I will however question them next week if they play the Packers!) They already took care of the Chargers once this season, and the genius that is Bill Belichick now has to worry about Billy Volek and Michael Turner. I think he'll be fine.

The Chargers have been playing hot, and this is basically the same team plus Chambers that when 14-2 last year, but they've had two tough contests in the playoffs already that I think will catch up to them. Plus, I just don't think they are the team that can win in Indy and New England in back to back weeks. I'm sure Rivers, LaDain, and Gates will all end up playing, but the Patriots have a date with destiny on February 3rd, and Norv Turner isn't going to be the one to stop it.

New England 35, San Diego 20

Giants at Packers, Sunday 5:30pm Fox

Those similiarites between 96 and 07 see the Packers hosting another title game at home. Who doesn't remember Terry Bradshaw handing the NFC Championship trophy to Mike Holmgren on a cold Sunday afternoon? I don't care what kind of story the Giants are this year (Eli performing on the big stage, Coughling getting through to the boys after a rough start, rebounding without Tiki, 9-1 on the road), the inspirational Sam Mills story couldn't do it for the Panthers couldn't do it eleven years ago. I might have crossed a line just there. Not sure. No, I think I'm fine.

What I'm worried about is that almost everyone is rooting for the Packers this week, more specifically Brett Favre, to knock down New England's perfect season. And when everyone thinks something will happen, for example Pack/Cowboys and Colts/Pats, we get Giants/Pack and Chargers/Pats. I wouldn't be surprised if they have already painted Packers and Patriots in the endzones in Glendale, Arizona. And that worries me. We could just as easily end up with a Chargers/Giants matchup that pits Eli vs. Rivers as we could one that pits Favre vs. Brady.

Like last week, I was worried about the Seattle game (especially down 14-0), but I knew the Packers had the better team. The Packers don't have anything the Giants don't, and I think the Packers matchup better at every position than the Giants. Ryan Grant may have been coy on PTI this week, but there is no question he wants to do what he did last week against the Giants. Favre knows this is most likely his last shot at a ring, and he'll do whatever it takes to win this week (wait, that might be a bad thing). Much like this blog, the Packers game may not be written smoothly, but it will satisfy in the end.

Also, Uni Watch pointed out the Giants may have been the first team to ever win two road playoff games in a row in their home jerseys, and, well, they are back in white this week, and that's all the reasoning I need.

Packers 23, Giants 9

By the way, if you're going to Lambeau this week, make it twice as loud as last week. No way a team is going to beat the Packers in that environment, and I do not want to come this close to the Super Bowl and not get there. I got too many emotions riding on this game. That, and 20 bucks.


Anonymous said...

1) I still care about xBox and Taco Bell, and im 23...ouch, that hurts to see when you actually type it out.

2)I need NFL network.... i could watch all the games the play on there.

3)Back in the 'Lac tomorrow eh?

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