Championship Review and Super Bowl Preview

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Championship Review and Super Bowl Preview

The Pats and G-Men prevail and prepare for Super Bowl XLII. With two weeks until the big game, let's review some random AFC/NFC Championship postgame thoughts and Super Bowl matchups.

AFC ChampionshipSan Diego vs. New England

Probably the sloppiest game in NFL history. If there was such thing as the WNFL (Women's National Football League) it would resemble Sunday's game.

The Patriots found a new method of winning and it looks like this: Brady throws 3 INT's, Moss is limited to 1 reception for 18 yards, and Belichick apparently forgets the playbook on the team bus.

And the result? Patriots 21 Nate Kaeding 12. Makes sense to me.

As for the Bolts, Phillip Rivers made a surprise guest appearance after a week of "doubtful" talk (rumor has it he went under the knife a week before the game) and TomDanian LaLinson (I'm citing copyright infringement on the LT nickname) finishes with 2 carries for 5 yards and decided to pout under his helmet for the remaining time.

Is it just me or have the Chargers been doing an inordinate amount of talking and not much walking? First, Rivers yaps at harmless Indy fans. Then, Igor Olshansky (who?) calls out the Pats for no particular reason. Finally, news just broke that Kevin Hardwick (who?) referred to Richard Seymour as the "dirtiest blankety blank" this side of the Mississippi.

Please, just admit that you hate the Patriots with a passion and are tired of them winning. You're not alone.

I'll be the first to admit this Chargers team has probably the best young talent the NFL has seen. But don't give me a pile of crap and tell me it's chocolate cake. In other words, don't mistake youth and passion for flat-out immaturity. Tomlinson should give last year's "classless" speech, except apply it to this year's Charger's team.

And just so you don't think I'm completely bias, Rodney Harrison should put a cork in it, too. He's too old to be hitting late and jawing at the sideline. He's going to give himself a heart attack. Belichick must feel like an ashamed father when he's around Rodney.

Imagine both of them carpooling home after a game. Belichick is irate after another 15 yard penalty courtesy of Harrison. "Well, you've really done it this time, Rodney! Do you realize I'm the head coach of a professional team, dammit?!? I drive a Dodge Stratus!"

Anyway, my friend, Sean, brought up an interesting point after the game -- where was Tomlinson's team spirit? Look, I understand he's injured and frustrated and bummed that he couldn't give his usual 110%, but is a little applause too much to ask? How about lending advice to Turner and Sproles who were attempting to shoulder the load on the ground? Hell, how about removing your helmet for a split second and pretending to give a rip? Your team was in the hunt from beginning to end and, mentally, you were elsewhere.

No excuse.

That being said, I'm not entirely convinced that Tomlinson was even under that helmet. Is it possible that Norv Turner pulled a sleight of hand and secretly sent him to the locker room in the 1st quarter? I kept expecting Tomlinson to emerge from a cloud of smoke in the remaining minutes, complete with pyrotechnics and a lightning bolt cape.

NFC ChampionshipNew York vs. Green Bay

Was this supposed to happen? Did Favre's final run at immortality reach an abrupt end?

He's human. Imagine that.

Favre showing a glimpse of his former self at the beginning of the season sparked a 17 week dialogue of, "Does he have one more in him?"

The uncomfortable answer is, "No."

Favre had an ungodly amount of mileage and was running on empty. For some reason today's football fan maintains the belief that Favre somehow transcends the game -- that when he shows signs of dominance he's unstoppable. He's "The Ironman," he has to win, right?

Favre will retire (you gotta assume) as one of the best and most respected athletes of all time. The NFC Championshp slip-up doesn't take away from his legacy and, even without a solid 2007 season, he still has shoe-in Hall of Fame numbers and a breathtaking salt and pepper beard that would make George Clooney jealous.

Meanwhile, the unbreakable New York Giants defy the odds and win on the road for the third straight week. If ESPN did a poll in week 1 asking which Manning is more likely to reach the Super Bowl, the results would've read: Peyton 95% Archie 4% Eli 1%.

The G-men sealed the deal in OT, 23-20, with a Lawrence Tynes winning field goal, which eventually led to every announcer and analyst exclaiming the, "Third Tynes A Charm" phrase -- brilliant!

By the way, I miss Jeremy Shockey in an odd way. You gotta love a guy who can dominate in the red-zone during the day and pose as a WWE wrestler at night. Is there any doubt that he could impersonate Triple H at parties? Put their pictures side by side and tell me they couldn't be a tag-team.

At the same time, the name Kevin Boss tends to grow on you. Columnists will have a field day if he somehow catches the winning touchdown. Imagine all the "Who's the Boss?" and "Oh, so Boss!" headlines. Kevin Boss is a catchy WWE name come to think of it. For the record, I think all tight ends are capable of being wrestlers.

It's appropriate that the Giants earned a trip to Arizona. They gave the Pats a nail-biter and near loss in week 16. And, once again, the Giants are the dangerous underdogs.

Super Bowl XLIINew York vs. New England

First of all, can we all agree to rid ourselves of the numerical burden that is the Super Bowl? I had to inconveniently Google "Giants vs. Patriots" to find the random assortment of Roman numerals that were awkwardly thrown together. This poppycock has to stop before Super Bowl XXXLLVVIII.

Anyway, this east coast battle (sorry west coast fans, hit the beach) should be quite a showdown. Like I said, these two already gave us fond memories a few weeks ago, and it shouldn't be any different this time around.

It should be noted that both teams match-up extremely well. Let's review...

Manning vs. Brady

Edge: Brady
Reason: As strong as Eli's appeared in the playoffs, you can't go against Tom in big game's. Granted, he was a near no-show in the AFC Championship, but the worst is likely behind him. The Brady to Moss combo won't be contained for a third straight week.

Burress vs. Moss

Edge: Burress
Reason: Believe me, this is a slight edge, only because Burress has been more resilient than Moss in the previous weeks. Plus, Brady possesses more passing targets than Eli and doesn't hesitate to spread the ball around. Moss is definitely more of a distraction for the D on the field (and off).

Jacobs vs. Maroney

Edge: Maroney
Reason: He single-handedly carried the Pat's offense against San Diego and was strong versus the Jags as well. Speaking of strong, Jacobs is a beast and could run all over the Pat's senior citizen linebackers, but they tend to put the clamps on in the 4th quarter.

Bradshaw, Toomer, Smith, and Boss vs. Faulk, Welker, Gaffney, and Watson

Edge: Patriots
Reason: Faulk is a sensational passing back, Welker's presence is invaluable and can sub for lack of a running game (if necessary), Gaffney is the go-to-guy on any other team, and Watson is a big red zone target.

The Defense

Edge: Giants
Reason: The Pats "bend but don't break" defense bends too much in the first half, although they pull through when it counts. Nonetheless, New York's front four can be overpowering and flat-out scary. There's a reason Brady joked about "sitting Osi and Strahan" before week 16's game.

The O-line

Edge: Patriots
Reason: Put simply, they give Brady an ample amount of time to pitch and tent and camp in the backfield. Oh, and they resemble a group of bearded Vikings that would make the, uh, Vikings envious.

Special Teams

Edge: Draw
Reason: Probably too close to call. On one hand you got the Giant's speedy returner (Hixon), who returned a kick versus the Pats in week 16. On the other hand you got the Pats ability to make crucial plays, such as Kelly Washington's endzone flip in Sunday's game.

Coughlin vs. Belichick

Edge: Belichick
Reason: Come on, Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl? An easy choice. Kudos to Coughlin, though. There was a time when Giant's fans were iffy on whether he was the right fit. For the first time in awhile he's managed to stand on the sideline without looking totally constipated.

Final Score

Giants 24, Patriots 28

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