“Pick’em Pal-AFC-NFC-Title Games”
It doesn’t get any better than this, the games for the AFC-and-NFC championships on Sunday in the NFL.
Pick any storyline you want and there’s something to talk about.
2-coaches the San Diego Chargers never seriously considered, Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera, are coaching against each other when Arizona visits Carolina.
Bill Belicheck, “Belicheat” to some, is back there again with the much disliked Tom Brady, seeking their 9th trip to the Super Bowl. Of course Belicheck has never won a ring since Spygate and more recently Deflategate.
Cam Newton has arrived as a supertar, and a folk hero in Carolina, the quarterback who made it, when the other drafted alongside him, Robert Griffin III is about to be released.
Carson Palmer, viewed as a malcontent when he forced his way out of Cincinnati, went to Oakland where careers used to die, bounced into Arizona, survived another knee injury, and is having the best year ever of a very good career.
Tom Brady, with a chip on his shoulder the size of Plymouth Rock, is what he is, a master surgeon, quick release, get the ball out of there, with a touch of flair and alot of fire.
Peyton Manning, trying not to become Johnny Unitas in his final days of greatness, is trying to manage what appears to be an ill-fitting offense imposed by coach Gary Kubiak.
Who’s going to win these matchups?
Carolina’s home field counts for something, as does their ferocious defensive front. Yes they may take away the Arizona limited run game, but how are they going to defend all those down the field receivers, Larry Fitzgerald, Johnnie Brown, and Michael Floyd? Look for Arizona to play disciplined to keep Cam Newton in the pocket, stop his freelance runs, make him throw the ball alot, to a weak part of his offense, the receivers. Arians will do something different, and then the challenge to see if Rivera can counteract it. Arizona wins.
Denver has been living on borrow time. Manning is no longer Manning. I thing running yards are going to be tough to come by, but not letting Peyton be Peyton, no huddle-hurry up, find the mismatches, making him run the ball so much, has limited their options. This probably as far as Kubiak can push this team, even with Wade Philips superb defense. That is mastermind Tom Brady, who does it all, regardless of what the defenses do to him. Sure the Broncos may get some sacks, and may for a bunch of punts, but after you have limited him on five possessions, what are you going to do the other 6-times he has the ball. Belicheck’s defense slows down Manning and stops the run game. New England wins.
Come Super Bowl Sunday, it will be a guy everyone seems to like (Arians) vs a guy no one likes (Belicheck.