NFL: Liver's 2009 Conference Championship Picks

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NFL: Liver's 2009 Conference Championship Picks

So who says The Liver can’t take TWO kicks in the sports nuts in a 10 day span? Now you know why I cringe when everyone and his sister jumps on the Cowboys bandwagon.

Simple fact was the Cowboys lost because the Vikings pass rush was dominant sacking Tony Romo six times which was a season high for him. Home field also was huge. If the Cowboys play that game at the Death Star, it’s a different game. Minnesota clearly was the better team on Sunday though in their 34-3 domination and I give them all the credit in the win so I don’t want to hear any of you Cowboys haters coming out of your momma’s basement and bathroom tiles screaming “sour grapes.”

Strange to think that the play of the game came with 5:53 left in the first quarter of a scoreless game. The Cowboys had been moving the ball their first two possessions, picking up four first downs. The offense looked like the same one that had been moving the ball at will over the last month.
 
Fourth-and-one at the Minnesota 30-yard line. That series they already had rushed three times for 21 yards.

What do the Cowboys do? Wade Phillips (and yup he’s back next year Cowboys fans) decides to go for a 48-yard field goal with Nate Kaeding…I mean…Shaun Suisham.

What was it with field goal kickers last weekend? What is it with Cowboys field goal kickers continually kicking me in the nuts and costing me money like a woman?

You HAVE to go for it there, but they opt for the kick and, of course, Suisham shanks it left. I could sense Eric the Lions fan and Chris the Steelers fan bracing for the tsunami that hit L.A. this past week only it was Sunday morning and the sun was out. Next Vikings series, Favre hits Sidney Rice for a 47-yard touchdown pass…game over…just like that.
 
You know your field goal kicker SUCKS when I have to cover my eyes every time he lines up for a kick. As Brian the Cowboys fan in Austin so eloquently stated in the first quarter of the game; "If not for the extra points, I’d say Dallas should eliminate the kicker position and save the money."

Sign of the apocalypse No. 1: After Flozell Adams was out of the game, I threw out the dreaded “The game is over” bit but as it turned out, it was true. Did Roy Williams even play in the game?

Bad sign when The Liver is drunkenly singing “When the Music’s Over” at halftime.

I cannot WAIT for the Cowboys/Vikings rematch next season. True, it will be in that shit bag dome that they play in but you better believe that the Vikings running up the score at the end of the game is going to be the dominant, driving factor for the 2010 Dallas Cowboys. 

I don’t care if it’s the 2007 Patriots or 2009 Vikings; running up scores is for cowards and in case you haven’t noticed, just see what’s happened to the Patriots since then, sports karma ALWAYS "swims up and BITES YOU ON THE ASS " to use a Richard Dreyfuss-ism from Jaws .

Think the Vikings were pissed off that EVERYONE picked the Cowboys?

I’m not going to let one bad game destroy the genuinely strong feelings I have about this team and their future, however. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement but I think it will be good in the long run much like the Cowboys playoff loss in 1991 when the Detroit Lions (yes that’s right) took apart the Cowboys 38-6 in the Divisional Round. Incidentally, that’s Eric the Lions fan’s proudest moment as a Lions fan. Incidentally, that's the last playoff win the Detroit Lions have enjoyed. Did I mention that was also the only playoff victory the Lions have enjoyed since 1957?

That was an up and coming Dallas team that had talent but did not have real playoff experience. After that loss, the Cowboys won two consecutive Super Bowls and three out of the next four overall. For the first time in 14 years, the Dallas Cowboys will enter the next NFL season with a legitimate “Super Bowl or bust” mentality.

Coming up later; how going from Cloud Nine to Cloud Four and a half in nine days is a good thing, how hard it is to stop saying “dude” and “man” cold turkey and how The Liver now lives in a world where Drew Barrymore wins acting awards over Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Jessica Lange. I think it’s safe to say that the Golden Globes are the Hollywood awards show equivalent of the NBA only everyone’s drunk AND corrupt. This definitely helped with the harsh sting of 34-3; Brian the Cowboys fan texting during the Globes,"Hopefully the Golden Globes will help me forget the Dallas loss today. And by 'Golden Globes' I mean boobies."

Hard to believe but one more of these columns and then The Liver will begin the long depression known as “The Off Season.”

Sign of the apocalypse No. 2: The Liver just made love to a W-2 with NOTHING deducted under "Federal Income Tax Withheld," "Social Security Wages" and "Social Security Tax Withheld."


Of course it goes without saying that the following picks AGAINST THE SPREAD are for RECREATIONAL USE ONLY . Only Rick Pitino, LeGarrette Blount, Donte’ Stallworth, Braylon Edwards, Bob Griese, Miguel Cabrera, Tila Tequila, Bill Belichick, Steve Phillips, Travis Henry, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Tony Romo, Elizabeth Lambert, Mariah Carey, Tiger Woods, Richard Heene (a.k.a. Balloon Boy’s father), the Liver’s biological father (a.k.a. The Most Interesting Man in the World) and all Somali Pirates would be drunk enough to question the Esteemed Liver's picks.


Last week’s record: 2-2

2009 record against the spread (regular season and playoffs): 145-112-7 (.564)


Sunday, January 24

N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis (-8)

At least I was right about the Jets last weekend. There were a lot that thought I was crazy but the match-ups indicated that the Jets had an excellent chance to win and they did in stunning fashion 17-14 over the once-unstoppable San Diego Chargers.

And who would think that this would be such a delicious match-up?

In yanking Peyton Manning and other starters in the third quarter of the Week 16 game with their team ahead by five points, Jim Caldwell was looking to save his starters for the postseason rather than go for immortality and a perfect season. Colts QB Curtis Painter became a pop culture phenomenon and the Jets rallied for a 29-15 victory that set them up for the playoff-clinching win they got the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Now it comes to this: Jets/Colts for all the marbles and a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.

Key match-up is if Darrelle Revis is on Reggie Wayne. Does that automatically mean that Peyton Manning’s best receiver is nullified? Fact is that no QB is better or more consistent then Peyton Manning when it comes to spreading the ball to multiple receivers so even if Wayne is neutralized, it still may not matter.

Another key will be if the sluggish Colts run game can catch fire against the Jets run defense.

The Sanchize has gotten better as the playoffs have progressed and will be playing in a dome with no weather disadvantages that caused him trouble late in the season.

True, the Jets are still a one-dimensional team but they have shocked everyone so far, so why can’t they do it again? Their defense has been better than advertised and, along with their run game, is why the Jets have made it this far.

Fact is that the Colts have not lost a game this season when their starters play the whole game. This isn’t Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers who seem to have a knack for dominating in December and then blowing it in January. Rex Ryan clearly out coached him on every level.

Then again, it’s Jim Caldwell and I didn’t even know he could talk until after the last Jets/Colts game where he had to explain himself like a man accused of a triple homicide following “The Decision.” You really can’t tell who has the upper hand, coaching-wise here.

The Colts defense only gave up 12 first downs to the Ravens and the Ravens have a running game very similar to the Jets. Can they duplicate that success against THE best rushing offense in football?

The Liver was all set to take the Jets here to cover but then discovered today that Rex Ryan’s cockiness has permeated the team to the point where the team's merchandising staff signed off on the decision to start selling 2009 Jets AFC Champions merchandise. The Liver is as cocky as the next degenerate alcoholic NFL handicapper with a 56 percent win percentage against the spread but I don’t think the Colts are going to like that. I'd bet my soul on this...if I had one. Pick: Indy


Minnesota at New Orleans (-3½)

Let me just say this up front; if you thought The Liver hated Brett Favre and the Vikings before last week, you’ll sense a new level of vitriolic sports hate here. Saints 52-0 would be nice. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. That’s because if that Vikings team that destroyed the Cowboys comes out like that two more times, they’re going to be Super Bowl champions and The Liver’s and countless others’ 2009 NFL nightmare will be a reality.

Then again the Vikings haven’t beaten a good team on the road save for Green Bay and Brad Childress is due for a bone-headed coaching decision that costs his team late. I love Sean Payton in this coaching match-up. But New Orleans plays in a dome just like Minnesota does so the Vikings might not feel like a true road team save for all the noise going against them this week.

I can’t really tell how good the Saints are just because that Cardinals defense was pathetic. They made Reggie Bush look like Jim Brown.  Why did he have to have his best game as a pro now? You know what that means for this game and I don’t know if I can handle another Kim Kardashian cam throughout this game so maybe I do want the Vikings to win…MAYBE? Upon further review, give me the whore cam.

Can the Saints offensive line protect Drew Brees against that vicious Vikings pass rush? If Brees gets time, he can pick apart any secondary. If Minnesota wins, they have to control Brees the way they controlled Tony Romo last week.

The biggest liability for the Saints defense is against the run and the Vikings won’t deviate from that no matter what the score is. Look for Jabari Greer to not allow Sidney Rice to torch the Saints secondary the way he did against the Cowboys.

This could be an instant classic but I’m going with New Orleans at home with an out of control crowd looking for the first Super Bowl appearance in team history. Pick: New Orleans

Important FYI : If it ends up being Vikings/Jets in Super Bowl XLIV, The Liver just might launch himself off the Hollywood sign. That means that either A. Brett Favre is winning a Super Bowl or B. Kim the Jets fan is going to insufferably bust The Liver’s balls for LIFE . It’s bad enough that Giants won Super Bowl XLII two years ago. I don’t think I can handle a cruel, heartless world in which BOTH the Giants and the Jets each win a Super Bowl in a two year span. Just thinking of Brad Childress and Rex Ryan facing off makes my sports head hurt.

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