What a great weekend of football, 4 games, 3 of the 4 were balanced. I learned a lot, let me try to summarize that:
- Peyton Manning is no longer that scary QB that could score at will. All he really has left is tons of skilled players around him.
- The Patriots are not as good as I thought. Brady and company got a bit lucky to escape with a win, and that expensive secondary was dissected by the amazing Flacco, all day long.
- The Packers almost blew it at home, and they scare nobody right now. Maybe Rodgers was hurt, but it didn’t appear so. This is the end of the road.
- Seattle just like a year ago is in a class by themselves. It will take a masterful performance for any of these three teams left to prevent the Seahawks from repeating.
The game we at SR waited all week long for was on first. Ravens came out to prove that their 2-1 playoff record at Foxboro was no fluke. They dominated for most of the game; Flacco’s passing was precise, he even installed Mayor Smith on Revis Island, because Revis was cleanly beaten. by a good route and excellent pass. The Patriots run D struggled to contain Forsett, Something unusual, as the Pats were struggling to survive, it took a rare Brady run to get a TD. Yes, I know he runs, but a 4 yard TD run on third down is like him running 40 yards.
In the end the Patriots won because Belichick simply out-coached Harbaugh. This is one occasion when an experienced, innovative HC had the upper hand.
I have to say that this Patriots team is as good as we have seen in recent years, but there is still something missing, and that something maybe weapons at WR. The way they played this game makes it hard to believe in them moving forward. I picked the Patriots to win.
The Panthers didn’t really belong in the dance to begin with, not with a losing record. However, they arrived in Seattle with intentions to shock the home team, that lasted about…; it never really got started. They are simply no match for the Seahawks, not in January, not in Seattle. The home team toyed with them and put them away. Carroll’s team is a well coached and talented group in every area. They can beat you defensively, by running or by passing, you can chose your weapon. I had them to repeat, and I am yet to see any reason why they wouldn’t.
I picked Seattle in this game.
The Packers must have been watching the Patriots’ approach to a home game, the day before. They allowed visiting Dallas to control the game for basically 3 quarters. Eventually the better team prevailed, but is that the best they could do? Cowboys complained about a catch that was but wasn’t, and frankly I kind of smiled; only a week ago they were on the other side of that argument. Sports creates the most hypocritical humans. Cowboys had a good season, nothing to be ashamed of, going to Lambeau in January is never easy. The Packers become the volunteered sacrifice for Seattle. I had the Packers in this game.
The only game that featured a road win. I did pick the Colts to win, not because of some great insight, but because of two main reasons: 1. Luck has had as good a year as Manning, meaning no advantage there. 2. The Broncos have looked pedestrian since losing in St. Louis.
The Colts were the better team from the very start. Their defense played better, their offense was much more crisp. IThe Broncos defense never really pressured Luck, as he had great protection all night. The Broncos are clearly the more talented team, but Andrew Luck was the better QB. In the 4th quarter, when we are accustomed to watching Manning comeback and score quickly, I never had the feeling he could put any kind of serious drive together to do so.
In my opinion (I’m sure we find out an injury), Manning should consider walking away, before he will suffer the way so many other greats have. A great career, probably the best regular seasons ever, but its over.
3-1 last week, 4-0 this week, I fully expect to be 2-0 next weekend, my predictions and preview will be on Friday.