Like many football fanatics, I view tomorrow as a day like an official holiday. We have a couple of outstanding games with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. What more could an NFL fan want? I join many in eagerly awaiting these games. The day of the AFC, NFC championship games is one of the best days of the year in sports. It is a day that we can forget about all the problems in this world and just concentrate on some football. Having watch many of the playoff games, I have a few random thoughts and predictions that I would like to share.
1) Is Green Bay running out of gas? The Packers are the sexy pick to win the Super Bowl. They won their last 6 regular season games and 2 playoff games. Each one of those final 6 regular season games had a great deal at stake along with the 2 playoff games. I wonder what kind of toll that will have on their squad heading into their matchup with Atlanta. Playing that many highly important games in a row has taken some kind of toll on their team. On top of that, the Packers have many injuries to deal with. Will this magic run of theirs finally come to a screeching halt in Atlanta?
2) The overrated bye week. During the final weeks of the regular season, I kept on hearing pundits talk about how important it is to finish as a top 2 team and garner a bye for the first round of the playoffs. Well look what happened to New England, Atlanta and especially Dallas. Those teams came out flatter than pancakes and their rust was very evident. I think it is important to keep on playing every week so you don’t lose that rhythm and timing. Sure it is nice to rest players, but I doubt an extra week of rest will really make that much of a difference at the end of the season.
3) MVP of the playoffs. How can anyone argue that it is not Aaron Rodgers? He is playing at an unbelievably high level right now and his 8 game stretch might be arguably the best that any quarterback has ever had. He is the sole reason that the Packers are such a dangerous team right now. Add his playoff experience and the Packers are very legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
4) Do not fret Cowboy fans. If I were a Dallas Cowboys fan, I think I would still be in complete mourning over their heartbreaking loss to the Packers. This was supposed to be the year that the Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl based on their regular season. It was not supposed to be another one and out for the Cowboys. But as they say, wait until next year. This loss may be a blessing in disguise for a very young and talented team. They will be contenders in the NFC for many years to come. But first of all, they need to shore up that defense a bit.
5) Generally bad games. The Dallas versus Green Bay game was an instant classic, but the rest of the games were rather boring and lacked any real drama. How many of the games would you want to watch again? The only game that comes to my mind is the above game. The rest lacked any type of drama.
Finally, it is time for me to reveal my predictions for tomorrow and why. I like both home teams Atlanta and New England to meet in the Super Bowl. Nobody in the league can stop Atlanta at home; they have a bit too much firepower at home. If this game were played at a neutral site, I would probably pick the Packers, but it is not. Plus Atlanta has the type of offense with a strong running game that might keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. I look for the Falcons to win 42-31. New England has some issues and are very ripe to be beaten but I just like the fact that they are playing at home. Furthermore, how can you bet against a team coached by Bill Belichick? He will find a way to win again. I like the Patriots 34-23. I hope everyone enjoys the games and best of luck to the fans and the teams still remaining in the playoffs. I wish my team were still playing!