There are only three NFL games left this season (sorry, Pro Bowl, you don’t count).
In the blog I started before I began writing for Rant Sports, I wrote a post prior to Week 17 of the NFL season. In that post, I picked the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks to meet in the Super Bowl. Do I still feel that way?
If your team is no longer playing football this season, you’re probably not ecstatic about the AFC and NFC Championship games, but if you’re a football fan, you should be. Both games should be highly entertaining. Remember the comeback the Patriots mounted in Week 12 against the Denver Broncos, eventually winning 34-31 in overtime? How awesome was that game? Well, unless you’re a Broncos fan — but I’m hoping for the same outcome on Sunday.
The obvious storyline that will continue to be beat like a drum until the AFC Championship is over — and it may not even stop then — is Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning XV. I don’t really care for this storyline because Brady and Manning are never on the field at the same time. They play against each other’s defenses, not each other, but I do get why Brady vs. Manning is compelling, so it needs to be talked about.
Brady holds a 10-4 advantage in head-to-head matchups with Manning. The postseason is a little bit closer where Brady has a slight 2-1 advantage, so Manning could pull even with a win on Sunday. In addition, Manning would have two AFC Championship Game wins against Brady, while Brady would only have one. This just can’t happen. It just can’t.
You can call me a huge homer if you want — I know I am, but Brady is better than Manning. The latter may have more MVPs than Brady, but Brady is 18-7 in the playoffs and Manning is 10-11. Brady has three Super Bowl rings and five Super Bowl appearances (and is two ridiculous plays and a Wes Welker drop away from another Super Bowl ring or two). Manning? He has one Super Bowl ring and two Super Bowl appearances. Manning began his playoff career with three-straight losses. Brady started his playoff career 9-0 to win those Super Bowl rings. Manning also has two stretches of two-straight one and dones — 2007 and 2008 as well as 2011 and 2012. Brady has one stretch of two-straight one and dones — 2009 and 2010. Brady has three playoff comebacks: 2001, 2003 and 2006, along with six playoff game-winning drives: 2001 (2), 2003 (2), 2004 (1) and 2006 (1). Manning has one playoff comeback and one playoff game-winning drive (2006).
Again, I may be a huge homer, but everything I just wrote are all facts.
Now to the actual game.
The Patriots were a 8-0 in the regular season at home and made it 9-0 when they beat the Indianapolis Colts at home in the Divisional round, but were 4-4 on the road.
After the Divisional round, Brady said the following regarding the Broncos opening the week as a five-point favorite when he was on the Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI sports radio in Boston that Monday morning:
“Truthfully, I don’t turn the TV on, I don’t read anything. I just try to focus on what I need to do and like I said, put all that stuff around us — I know different times, coach will make us aware of, I know when we played Baltimore nobody picked us to win, and I’m sure no one is going to pick us to win this week. We’ve got a bunch of underdogs on our team and we’ll be an underdog again, and we’ll see how that shapes up at the end of the week. But I know we’re as tough and as physical as we’ve ever been, and that’s how we’re going to need to go out and play this game.”
The Patriots can run the ball effectively with LeGarrette Blount (who as of late has been running like he is being is maneuvered with an XBox controller), Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have made all Patriots fans forget about that other slot receiver who went to Denver in the offseason.
I know on paper Manning has more weapons than Brady — Manning probably has more weapons than just about any other QB in the NFL — but this game comes down to two things:
1. I trust Brady more than Manning.
2. I trust Bill Belichick more than John Fox.
Hang on … I have to enter the “no jinx zone.”
Patriots 27, Broncos 20.
Just for fun here’s my NFC pick too:
Seahawks 20, San Francisco 49ers 13.