NFL Playoffs: Championship Weekend Predictions
The Green Bay Packers should have been playing in the NFL playoffs this weekend. All they needed was a healthy roster and a championship caliber defense — we don’t ask for much.
When faced with a grim reality, there basically are three options: shut it down and assume the fetal, go Jim Morrison and drink it away, or face it head on. Since the first two options inevitably end up in a bathtub in Paris and we have no plans for that just yet, we are going with the final option.
If you were paying attention this season, then you’d probably say we are left with the final four teams that we should be left with, and that is pretty rarified air for the NFL these days. With that being the case, this Sunday should be a pretty great day for football, and this is how we see it.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks — Line: Seattle by 3.5
Shawn: Picking this game is like choosing between the dentist and the proctologist.
On one sideline we have the No. 1 d-bag of the NFL — now that Jim Schwartz has been given his walking papers — his cocky-as-shit quarterback and the rest of the we-are-the-49ers-and-we-are-too-good-for-your-visitors-hotel asshats. On the other sideline, we have the grand champions of shit talk even though they never won anything, PED-taking, cheap-shot artists and their enabling cheerleader of a head coach who is probably looking for the lip balm even as I write this.
Who I’ll really be pulling for here is Bane, hoping he can make the entire field suddenly implode, swallowing everybody but the fans in the stands.
Frankly, I believe the 49ers have the better team. They have the better coach. They have much better offensive weaponry, and they have the better quarterback.
Seattle has the better defense and the advantage of playing at home where the 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have struggled. As he did in the first half last week, Kaepernick has a much harder time against defenses with the speed to shut down his scrambling.
Like that game, this one likely shapes up as a defensive battle in the first half as both teams look to establish the run and bloody the opponent. Whichever team can get the play-action pass game going first will likely be the winner.
Seattle needs to shut down Kaepernick as they have in the past, pound the ball with Marshawn Lynch and then get enough plays out of Russell Wilson to put it away.
Even though I can see that all happening pretty easily, as it has in the past, and even though my distaste for the 49ers perhaps outdoes my disdain for the Seahawks, I am still leaning towards the team with the more balanced offensive attack. As good as they are, Seattle essentially has one great corner in Richard Sherman, who blanketed Anquan Boldin in the last match-up in Seattle, with no one on the other side to worry about. That won’t be the case this time around. With Michael Crabtree playing, Kaepernick will always have the option of going to whoever Sherman isn’t covering.
So, if Kaepernick plays well, Seattle loses. Seattle and Russell Wilson don’t have a passing attack that scares anyone. They HAVE to get the run going, and then work off of that.
Tough game, but I like the 49ers.
49ers 24, Seahawks 20
Monty: Look, the San Francisco 49ers are a supreme collection of suckbags. I think we can all agree on that.
Unlike most of you, I do not hold the same disdain for the Seattle Seahawks. That’s probably because I watched Pete Carroll build USC into a powerhouse and because Russell Wilson is a Wisconsin Badgers great.
Anyway, none of that matters here.
Everyone is riding the 49ers’ dick. They’re the hottest team in football. They’re the best team in the tournament. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
The 49ers can all go suck a fat dick.
The last two times the 49ers played in Seattle, they’ve gotten killed. The combined score of those two games is 71-16. Meanwhile, San Francisco wins in their crappy park, but their victory margin in the last two games is just nine points total.
That tells me that Seattle is the better team, since neither of these teams has changed much over the past two years.
Seattle knows the recipe for beating San Francisco. Pound Marshawn Lynch. I can’t see that guy being denied this week. Beast Mode, all the way.
And unlike Shawn, I like Seattle’s secondary quite a bit. Yeah, Richard Sherman, but they also have probably the best safety tandem in the league in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
I think they’ll be able to cover Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin just fine.
Then there’s the crowd. Yeah, Seahawks fans are mostly a bunch of ignoramuses, but they’re loud ignoramuses.
King dick, Jim Harbaugh, and that smug asshat Colin Kaepernick get to go the fuck home.
Seahawks 24, 49ers 17
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos — Line: Denver by 5.5
Shawn: The NFL got the prime match-up they wanted here with the two best quarterbacks of their generation facing each other.
With defense being showcased on one side of the bracket, this game should bring the offense.
I believe the New England Patriots have been sort of a smoke-and-mirrors team all season, though they certainly were rounding into a bigger threat when Rob Gronkowski was playing.
The Broncos trounced the Patriots for a half in New England and then took the second half off, eventually losing the game thanks to a debacle on a punt in overtime.
The Denver defense has been soft all season with injuries, suspensions and holding big leads all having something to do with it. If the Patriots can run the football and keep the Denver offense on the sideline, therein lies their best chance.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would have to really pull something off here. Even though Peyton Manning has had his issues in the playoffs and in the cold, the smart money is on the Broncos here.
Broncos 38, Patriots 31
Monty: Is anyone else tired of hearing about Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady? I sure as hell am.
Yeah, great! Two great quarterback are playing each other in the playoffs! And they’re facing off against each other for the umpteenth time! Let’s recycle these same fucking stories we’ve been doing since the first time they matched up! Wooooooooooo!
I’m also fatigued of that. So much so that I’m watching Sixteen Candles right now instead of any sort of sports programming.
Denver’s got the record-setting offense. They’ve got the home field. You know what that reminds me of?
The 1998 Minnesota Vikings.
Gary Anderson is my favorite Viking of all time, by the way.
So, obviously I’m going New England here. The question is why?
Ultimately, it comes down to two factors for me.
One, whatever you think of him, Bill Belichick is the far superior coach to John Fox. I feel like his team will be better prepared and have a laser focus.
Two, Peyton Manning. Look, the guy is a great quarterback. What he isn’t is a great playoff quarterback. He’s been in the league 16 years. His teams have made the playoffs 13 of those years. Eight of those years, he didn’t win a single playoff game — one and out. He has only one playoff comeback, one playoff game-winning drive and one Super Bowl win (against the Rex Grossman-led Chicago Bears).
Rex Grossman, bro.
Manning has a knack for throwing away playoff games, similar to a certain gunslinger we all know. I’m surprised it didn’t happen last weekend.
I say it happens this weekend.
Patriots 27, Broncos 24
Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.