Only three games left in the NFL season, excluding the Pro Bowl. Actually the Pro Bowl would probably count as -0.5 games, because that’s how bad it has become. A drawback to writing for multiple sites is that you have to avoid repeating information when writing a preview for the few games left, but my early week broke up the monotony with a much-needed trip down memory lane.
Part of what makes this the best time of the (NFL) year, also makes it the worst when people overreact to playoff results.
This Week’s Articles
Captain Comeback Divisional: Last-Minute Shockers by Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens – Cold, Hard Football Facts
One of the more epic playoff games ever, Baltimore at Denver, deserved an epic-sized recap. See what the refs screwed up, how Chris Kuper disappointed in his return, Joe Flacco’s big-play postseason, the worst defensive mistake in NFL history, and whether or not the Broncos played it too conservatively late. Also, the Falcons and Seahawks play one of the most exciting fourth quarters in playoff history, and Matt Ryan finally gets a chance for a game-winning drive in the playoffs. He only had 0:25 to do so. Finally a look at more dominant wins by the 49ers and Patriots.
Peyton Manning’s 9-11 Playoff Record Is a Call for Help – Cold, Hard Football Facts
If you think Peyton Manning’s playoff career should be defined by 11 losses and eight one-and-done seasons, then you have some cold, hard facts to read up on. A game-by-game recap of Manning’s eight early playoff exits, looking at the real reason his teams lost that day, and the unique circumstances that have produced such a record. Stats, tables, GIF images, the whole nine yards this week.
One example: Two yards away from beating the Chargers, and your rookie TE forgets the snap count and gets beat for a sack.
Joe Flacco Eyeing an Elite Contract, But Is He an Elite NFL QB? – Bleacher Report
Can you believe Joe Flacco is going to start as many AFC Championship games (3) in five seasons as Peyton Manning and Dan Marino each started in their career? But that says more about the Ravens than Flacco, and even though he said he was the best quarterback back in April, he’s still not an elite player. A look at what kind of long-term contract Baltimore should offer Flacco.
The Thinking Man’s Guide to NFL Conference Championship Games – Bleacher Report
An information-filled preview for each game on Championship Sunday. Find out how the Falcons not only own the fourth quarter under Matt Ryan, but are also the top scoring differential team in the first quarter since 2008. With Ravens/Patriots, a look at Baltimore’s fatigue, the bad news for rematches in this round, the great runs by No. 4 seeds since 1990, and New England’s absurd home-field advantage.
Ravens Want to Win, But Patriots Need to Win – NBC Sports
Previewing the AFC Championship again, this time focusing on how the Patriots need a Super Bowl win to validate historic success since 2007. Despite a 76-20 regular-season record since 2007, these teams have come up empty in the playoffs despite being the favorite each time. There is still plenty to play for with the Ravens as well, making their third AFC Championship since 2008, and looking for the Hollywood ending for Ray Lewis before he retires.
NFL Conference Championship Predictions
For all the people who went 1-3 or worse last week, going 2-2 doesn’t sound so bad, though the AFC, my favorite conference, had my two wrong picks.
- 49ers over Falcons, 23-17
- Patriots over Ravens, 27-23
Please, no game-deciding special teams plays this year. Last year was brutal enough.