By: Chris Dagonas
Everyone SHUT UP! The games are coming on!
What games? WHAT GAMES?!?! The NFL is in the conference finals, that’s what games, so I’m literally not moving from my couch all day Sunday.
First off, we have the Denver Broncos hosting the New England Patriots (3:00 PM, CBS). This is a matchup of the best two quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Manning will throw for about 700 yards, most likely. Brady will counter by throwing for 680 yards. Denver has thin air, you know.
Wes Welker used to play for New England, but then they were all like “Get outta here, you midget!” and they released him. Very quickly, the Broncos saw that he was available and that he would mesh well with Manning, and signed him up. Welker will be looking for revenge, and he’s going to play his best, and the Broncos are probably going to try to throw him the ball on every down.
Did you know the Broncos have a centre named Manny Ramirez? And that Manny Ramirez was also a famous Boston Red Sox outfielder/dread-lock wearer? And that Boston is in New England? See where I’m going with this? Sabotage, that’s where I’m going with this. Ramirez is a double agent, and as centre has direct access to Manning and his playbook. He is also responsible for protecting Manning, and if the Patriots are able to create a lot of pressure and sacks, I think we’ll know why.
The Broncos wide receivers are the best group of wide receivers since the Urbania Pee-Wee Cowboys. Welker, Demariyus Thomas and Eric Decker, could have all been Pro-Bowlers.
The Broncos defense is a run-stopping, pass-allowing machine. The secondary ranks 26th out of 32 in passing yards allowed per game, so pretty-boy Brady should have little problem finding his tiny receivers. Which brings me to the Patriots offense.
Tom Brady’s jaw is made of stone, but his right arm is fading. According to a Kirk Goldsberry piece for Grantland, Brady’s long-distance throws are about 35 percent likely to connect, versus about 45 percent for Manning. The Patriots offense is built on short throws, (and short receivers HAHA) so the Broncos will be wise to clog the short throws and test Brady’s downfield abilities in single coverages.
The Patriots wide receivers look more like a bunch of middle school soccer players. Leading receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are both under 6-feet tall, and Edelman was the only one to reach 1000 receiving yards, and just barely.
The Patriots defense is a football vacuum, third-best in the league at taking the ball away from the offense and giving Brady a short field to work with. Whether by forcing fumbles (Knowshon Moreno was notorious for fumbling earlier in his career, but has cleaned up his act this season with no fumbles) or interceptions (from Manning, that’s highly unlikely) the Patriots will be looking to end Bronco drives early and score off turnovers.
With the ball in the air so often, the outcome to this game will turn on which defense is able to disrupt the passing game, either through pass rushing or from interceptions and turnovers. Neither has been very strong in this department in the regular season, so we are probably in for a real circus.
Once that game ends, you should probably go see your family and friends, if you have the time. But make sure you’re back on your couch by 6:30 (TV tuned to FOX), because that’s when the two best west-coast teams do battle.
The Seattle Seahawks were everyone’s favourite pick to win the Super Bowl, back when picking Super Bowl winners was a thing to do. (You know, August.) They have done nothing since then to dissuade their supporters, and in fact have probably acquired quite a few more in the meantime. Russell Wilson has been dropping Napoleon Complex bombs all over the league, on the warpath since he was slighted by every other team, and drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He only attempts an average of about 25 passes per game, which is near the bottom of the league, but is merciless in his accuracy and timing. He can also use his legs to escape defensive pressure. The Seahawks also boast Marshawn Lynch, and clicking this link tells you all that you need to know about him. He is no human, he is probably a robotic wildebeest with the speed of a cheetah and the power of three bulldozers. The Seahawks are owned by Microsoft executive Paul Allen, so he probably had Lynch designed in a lab by richly-funded engineers.
If the Seahawks ever do surrender the football, they have the benefit of the number one overall ranked defense. First in points allowed, first in passing yards, and first in turnovers. (A middling 9th in rush yards per game, just shameful.) Cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas are serial assassins, trained to seek and destroy wide receivers, tight ends and passes that are not perfectly thrown. Again, Microsoft is probably involved in some way.
But the 49ers are not just going to show up and lie down. They are the defending NFC Champions, and have not lost much from last season’s team. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the greatest two-sport athlete since Tecmo Bowl’s Bo Jackson, and receiver Anquan Boldin’s hands are like a black hole from which footballs can never escape. They are a run-heavy team, including Kaepernick, and will try to use the Seahawks’ aforementioned “deficiencies” in that department to their benefit.
Have you met Patrick Willis? He is a heat-seeking nuclear missile built to resemble a human being. His tackles turn running backs into ground beef, and wide receivers into instant vapour. He digested Brian Urlacher and stole his strength. I sure hope he doesn’t have to tackle Lynch, because the world might end. I’m getting my affairs in order just in case.
Both games will be crazy! The Patriots and Broncos will throw the ball all over the place, with two of the league’s best old-school pocket-style quarterbacks. Over/Under: 65.5
The Seahawks and 49ers will keep the ball on the ground, and will beat each other down until one lone survivor is left to carry a blood-soaked football into the end zone for the winning, and sole, touchdown of the game. Over/Under: 7.5
Whichever style of football you prefer, you’re bound to get it on Sunday. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you about the apocalypse.