So here we go, just 2 weeks left of football to enjoy. Even with how shitty this season was, it’s still football. Life just is never the same without it. You go through withdrawal on Sunday’s. Sometimes you get the shakes. You find yourself trying to fill the void watching past Pro Bowl’s and the 1998 Tennessee Oilers highlight VHS. Embrace it while you can.
New England at Denver
Everything says to take the Pats here. Brady at this point is far superior to Manning. Billichick is far superior to Kubiak. But the Broncos have been getting pissed on all season and just love it. Every week they can legitimately play the “we don’t get any respect/nobody believes in us” card. Last year after the NFC title game, Doug Baldwin said in a post game interview “nobody believed in us!” or something to that affect. Sure Doug. I didn’t hear anyone in the media, any fan, literally anyone take the Packers in that game, or take anyone else going into the playoffs other than the Seahawks to win the NFC. It was so ridiculously fabricated. But this is legit. All season everyone has been more than happy to say the Broncos are doing this on smoke and mirrors. But everyone overlooks that defense. That D is elite. Tom Brady for whatever reason can’t win in Denver. And Peyton Manning has defeated Brady in the playoffs the last 2 meetings. For all the sheer HATE that Manning gets from his detractors, he wins today, he’s 3-1 in the AFC title game vs Brady. And the weather isn’t expected to be bad. A little windy but not near as bad as last week and +7 (44.6F). That is a real good thing for Manning. I don’t like people who are apologists, but I do tend to side with those backing Manning right now. The hate for Manning just seems to have gotten ridiculous. His receivers were dropping balls and it was extremely windy last weekend. It isn’t an excuse when it’s a fact. People over use “excuse” these days as bad as they do with “he just wins”. “Well he needed a fumble to win the game”. And when he had a kicker miss a makeable field goal 10 years ago did you forgive Manning for that? What about when his D allowed Mark Sanchez to march down the field with a minute to play 5 years ago? That was Manning’s fault too wasn’t it. Again, Manning isn’t what he was. But with a solid run game and the best D in the league he is capable of putting 20-27 points on the board today which would give the Broncos a great chance to win with that D. Having said ALL of this, I’ll still say the Pats win this one by 3, but I think it’ll be a tight game and the Broncos have a much better chance to win then people are giving them.
Arizona at Carolina
The Cardinals benefit greatly from playing at home. Carson Palmer has a messed up finger right now that really seemed to effect him last weekend. And while yes, the Panthers nearly blew it last weekend, they didn’t. They have done this a lot all season. The same thing happened against Green Bay, happened against the Giants, it’s just what they do. They get a big lead and they relax, especially Cam Newton. That is Newton’s personality. I’d love to crush him for it…but he always gets away with it so I guess it’s working. Let’s not forget too, the Seahawks needed to execute a fake punt, and Russell Wilson made some unbelievable plays to keep the Seahawks alive in that game. I love Carson Palmer, but he’s not the QB Russell Wilson is, and has yet to prove he is anywhere near as clutch as a guy like Wilson is. At home, only getting 3 points, I love the Panthers. I honestly don’t think it’ll be that close of game.
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