Sports analysts need to start taking a new view on the NFL Championship games this weekend. How many more times do I need to hear the “no team can beat another team three times in one season” theory? When will ESPN change the bottom line NFC headline from “first time in a non-lockout season two teams with less than 10 games meet in Championship game?” I enjoy listening to Skip Bayless because of his propensity to favor Philadelphia sports, but I don’t know how much more I can hear of his assertion that the Cardinals are better off without Anquan Boldin starting. And wait… Donovan McNabb got benched!? When was this? What has it done to him mentally? Did it turn his season around and resurrect his play? And what is this I hear about a tie against that team in Cincinnati? However, the one thing I will never get sick of is the clip of Andy Reid admitting that “that cheese whiz” is the stuff that gets stuck in his playoff beard the most. I wonder if he’s eating “that cheese whiz” with chopped up steak, or just slurping down cups of it by itself.
What would I like to see more of, you may be asking. How about some Correll Buckhalter? The man only gets a few plays every game, yet he always seems to have one drive where he picks up bundles of yardage.
Why not hear more about the young core of Eagles linebackers that have matured so much this season, most notably after Akeem Jordan took over the weak-side position from Omar Gaither, the heir to Jeremiah Trotter. Stewart Bradley seems to have about 11 tackles a game and lead the team with 108. This group has become professional run stoppers – not just professionals who get paid to stop the run.
How about something different from the players? I’m not asking for trash talk, but it seems like every player from all four remaining teams give the same interview: “It’s gonna’ be a dog fight. Both teams are playing so well right now. We’re really gonna’ have to buckle down. The name of the game is turnovers. I’m real excited to get this thing goin’.” It’s starting to sound like Conan O’Brien and every single show he does. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Conan, but shouldn’t his excitement level about a show with Jennifer Aniston be a whole lot more enlivened than say, a show with a rare Guatemalan lizard expert? Every night it’s, “We got a great show for you tonight folks. I’m very excited. Heh heh heh heh, no but seriously gonna’ be a good one tonight!” Changing it up a little wouldn’t hurt. Give me a little spice NFL players! (And the trash talk from the Steeler’s punter Mitch Berger doesn’t count)
And PLEASE stop talking about a potential all-PA Superbowl. It hasn’t happened yet, and I guarantee that’s not what the teams are talking about. The Eagles aren’t thinking about a prospective Cheesesteak vs. Primanti ultimate showdown (and based on living in Pittsburgh for the past two years, even the ‘burghians would grant the cheesesteak the victor). The Steelers are focused on the Ravens, and the Eagles on the Cardinals. Just give all potential Superbowl match up talk a rest until late Sunday night.
For those of you who missed my last post, or have just not gotten around to reading it yet, I predicted a 31-17 Eagles victory.
As for the AFC Championship game, with some snow showers and a temperature around 19 degrees at kickoff, I imagine this will be a game won on the ground or “in the trenches” as fancy football analysts tend to put it. I see little or no scoring in the first half, just as the last meeting went. I don’t think it will come down to a last minute Santonio Holmes-esque did-he-cross-or-didn’t-he game winning touchdown or field goal. I predict bad games by both quarterbacks, with the rookie playing like a rookie for the first time in a very long time. Steelers 17 Ravens 13