NFL Championship Sunday
What a bizarre weekend we’ve got on deck.
On the one hand, we’re going to have the hullabaloo surrounding the presidential inauguration, with all the rancor, bad feelings, protests, arrests and fun that comes with it. Grab your popcorn, people.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
On the other, we’ve got football! Glorious football. We’ve got the best football in this country, believe me. We’re going to make Championship Sunday so perfect and Mexico will pay for it.
Say it with me now: It’s going to be “yuuuuuuuuuuuge.”
Enough with the tired Trump impression, you say? Fair enough. It’s hacky and I feel I’m better than that.
Honestly, I’m just trying to fight off the depression that popped up starting on Monday. Because Championship Sunday is truly the last day of the football season. The final time that true fans get to revel in their favorite game.
The Super Bowl is when the posers show up. You know whom I’m talking about. The morons that ruin every Super Bowl party because they don’t care about the game. In fact, they’ll do everything possible to ruin everyone else’s fun by blathering during the action and asking inane questions:
“Who is that guy?”
“That’s Cam Newton.”
“Is he good?”
“Sigh, yes, he’s pretty good.”
“He’s really tall.”
“Sigh, I know.”
“How long has he been in the NFL?”
“It’s called Google. Use it.”
“Where’s Peyton Manning?”
“He retired last year.”
“What kind of name is that? How do even pronounce it? Is it … Kooo-wetch-leee?”
“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SHUT YOUR STUPID PIEHOLE!!”
And don’t get me started on the Pro Bowl. I feel there are shenanigans with that. I refuse to believe that a game where you have to watch 22 men on a field clearly not trying can draw similar ratings to an NBA Finals game. How? How does that happen?
Anyway, I digress.
Enjoy Sunday, people. This is really it until the Hall of Fame Game in August. Here’s hoping they actually play that game this year.
PACKERS AT FALCONS, 3:05 P.M. ET
Here are a few things that stand out. The Packers come into this game featuring a defense that was 21st in the league in points allowed. The Falcons are worse, in 27th place in the same category.
The two quarterback in this game, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, threw for more than 4,000 yards each and combined for almost 80 touchdown passes. So, what’s the conclusion I’m drawing from this?
Easy. Bet the over. Vegas odds makers have listed the over/under at 60.5. There’s no way these two teams don’t top that by the start of the fourth quarter.
The Packers are on fire, having run off eight straight wins, while the Falcons are riding a five-game win streak of their own. And what’s more, both teams are playing excellent football, at least on the offensive side.
But if you put a gun to my head, I have to go with the Falcons. They’re at home and when you compare the teams’ offensive firepower, you have to give the edge to Atlanta. That’s even if Julio Jones is slowed by his turf toe injury.
The reason for that is the Falcons’ backfield depth. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are dual threats and sliced up the Seahawks in the divisional round. Expect more of the game on Sunday. If the Packers move up and try and neutralize the run, Matt Ryan is going to burn them deep with Jones or Taylor Gabriel.
And with this being the last game in the Georgia Dome, expect the crowd to carry their team to an emotional high.
STEELERS AT PATRIOTS, 6:40 P.M. ET
All my Baltimore peeps must be in quite the pickle this week, eh? I’d make a Sophie’s Choice joke here if it weren’t so offensive and inappropriate.
Who are you rooting for? You can either pick the Patriots (blech) or the … Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady will meet an AFC Championship Game for just the second time. Funny, I would have thought it would have been more, but whatever.
“You’ve got one game to get to the Super Bowl. You’re going to the dragon’s lair,” Roethlisberger said to the Associated Press. “And we’re trying to slay the dragon.”
Dragon is an interesting word to the Patriots. Especially Tom Brady. I guess this dragon loves hair product and wears Uggs. (And is still dreamy, that dimple-faced bastard.)
What I hope will happen: Ben Roethlisberger carves up the Patriots secondary with big plays to Antonio Brown. Tight end Jesse James is surprisingly effective at finding soft spots in the coverage and makes some big third-down grabs. Running back Le’Veon Bell keeps doing what he’s doing, patiently finding ways to rip through the front seven and make tacklers in the secondary miss. The Steelers defense breaks out and gets pressure on Tom Brady while being creative with their coverages. Pittsburgh wins and goes on to meet the Falcons in the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady weep, hold each other gently and announce they will both retire immediately. Chowdah-heads all over the country hold candlelight vigils and forget they were Patriots fans within 15 minutes.
What I know will happen: Antonio Brown’s head is all screwed up from FacebookGate and he struggles as a result. Big Ben is let down by his supporting cast because of the rash of the flu that has spread through the Steelers locker room this week (it’s true, look it up) and he takes a horrible hit that either knocks him out or severely limits him. Le’Veon Bell patiently waits for holes that will never open. Meanwhile, Tom Brady will throw 5 touchdown passes while Skip Bayless tweets with glee. The Patriots win by 40 points and head to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady makes more adorable videos of him trying to speak German with Sebastian Vollmer. Chowdah-heads all over the country celebrate and become even more insufferable.
Pick: Patriots. God, football is annoying.
Enjoy the games this weekend!
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.