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Conference Championship Weekend

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A whole season comes down to one game to determine whether or not a team plays in the biggest game or goes home just short.  The games in Foxboro and Green Bay should be pretty exciting... and cold.  Weather.com says that the weather at Foxboro should be in the high teens or low 20s and windy, while the weather in Green Bay should be a hign of 6 degrees and windy.  Cold and windy means perfect playoff weather.  I hope it snows in one of the two games; watching the Seattle/Green Bay game was just plain fun.

PREVIEW

San Diego @ New England (-14) - 3:00 pm EST on CBS.


Hugging like old friends on a Sunday afternoon.
(Picture from here.)

The first game on Sunday, just like the other game, is a rematch of Week 2 action.  New England won 38-14 after leading 24-0 at half.  San Diego, which started the year 1-3, was never in the game at all.  Tomlinson was held to 43 yards on 18 carries while Rivers was 19 of 30 for 179 yards, including 2 TDs, 2 INTs (one of which Adalius Thomas returned 65 yards for a TD), a lost fumble and 3 sacks.

On the other side, Brady went 25 of 31 for 279 yards with 3 TDs, 1 INT, and a sack.  Maroney had an average day, with 15 rushes for 77 yards, while a then healthy Sammy Morris added 10 rushes for 51 yards and a TD.  Oh, and Moss only had 8 catches for 105 yards and 2 TDs.

Last weekend, the Pats looked in control nearly the entire game.  Jacksonville never really got their running game going and without that, they didn't stand a chance.  Brady's too good for a team to win without having the strength of their own offense working.  San Diego has to run to have a chance.

On the other hand, San Diego knocked off the defending champions with their best players (Gates, LT, Rivers) either extremely hampered by injuries or on the sidelines for long periods of time.  Billy freaking Volek led the Chargers down the stretch and the San Diego defense came up huge in the win.  (Full Disclaimer: I'm a big Volek fan and have not understood why he never got a starting shot after leaving TEN.)

For the Chargers to win, they need the defense to come up big.  Like, wicked big.  Oh, and Igor Olshansky probably didn't help anything.

This whole Randy Moss situation would probably be a distraction... if it wasn't the Patriots.  The machine continues on.

PREDICTION

The line right now over at Yahoo! is 14, which seems low, even for a Championship game.  New England has been just plain dominant and most of the stars for San Diego are banged up pretty good.  My guess, Brady and Co. pile it on and rub it in to the talking Chargers.

I'll take the Pats to win and cover.  If San Diego isn't ready, this could get very ugly very quickly.

PREVIEW

New York (Football) Giants @ Green Bay Packers (-7) - 6:30 pm EST on Fox.


Head pats and ass slaps, one last time. (Image from here.)

The second game is a rematch of a Week 2 35-13 win by the Packers.  Farve was 29 of 38 for 286 yards, with 3 TDs, 1 INT, and 1 sack.  DeShawn Wynn had 10 rushes for 50 yards and 2 TDs while Brandon Jackson added 17 rushes for 35 yards.  Ryan Grant has added so much to this offense.  Rookie WR Jones led the way with 4 catches for 75 yards, while Donald Driver, Donald Lee and Bubba Franks all had TD receptions.

On the other side, Eli had a rough day, going 16 of 29 for 211 yards with 1 TD, 1 INT and 1 sack.  Backup QBs Lorenzen and Wright also saw some action.  RB Ward had 15 rushes for 90 yards.  Shockey had a team leading 5 receptions and 60 yards, and Burress had a TD.

Like I said earlier, Ryan Grant has given the Packers a new dimension of a consistent running game, which only helps out Farve and the passing game.  Farve doesn't have to win the game, but only "manage" it.  I hate that term in most instances, but here it is different.  He can take his shots down the field.  He can scramble and make plays.  He just doesn't have to force the ball.  Most times when a QB is asked to "manage the game", it is because he doesn't have the ability to do a whole lot else.  Not the case here.

Eli, on the other hand, can't make mistakes.  He has avoided the costly plays in this recent run, which is why the Giants are playing for a shot at the Super Bowl.  The running game is much different with Jacobs now than it was with Ward in the first meeting.

But the biggest difference is the Giants defense.  They have come alive under 1st year DC Spagnuolo.  They get pressure on the QB.  They force mistakes.  If Strahan, Umenyiora, Tuck and Co. can get to Farve, then the Giants have a shot.  If not, the decimated secondary (Ross is day-to-day, Dockery is Out, Madison is Doubtful) is in for a very, very long day.

PREDICTION

The current spread from Yahoo! is 7, the same line as last weekend's game in Green Bay.  The Giants have been playing well, but their secondary worries me.

I like the Packers to win and cover.  The Giants will be in it until the end, but I think the passing attack from green Bay is just too much.

As always, let me know what you think.  Pats-Packers Super Bowl?  You see an upset this weekend?