Well I picked both NFC games wrong and both AFC games right this weekend, but, then again, who didn't?
Let me get this out of the way -- do you people really enjoy the unexpected, like upsets and longshots coming through? I'm learning this about myself ... I do not. Instead, I feel gyped because I'm not getting the New Orleans-Green Bay battle royale I so desperately anticipated as a Super Bowl appetizer.
I want to see the two teams that played the best over the course of the entire season go at it for a title berth. Think about it: Brees vs. Rodgers -- The First Team to Score 50 and Give the Opposing Defensive Coordinator A Migraine Wins.
Meanwhile, San Francisco and the New York Giants are a pair of frauds -- sadly, one of them is going to the Super Bowl. Outside of Palo Alto and Yonkers, who the hell wants to see that? Yes, I said F-R-A-U-D-S. San Francisco played 6 games against the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks. And, anybody that calls a team with Alex "Please Don't Bench Me Again" Smith a contender needs a session with a shrink or to put the bong down. The Giants? Had anybody in the NFC East been decent this year, Tom Coughlin would be playing golf this week in Myrtle Beach. But, the Eagles blew double-digit fourth-quarter leads at home to San Francisco and Arizona, and Tony Romo turned back into Tony Romo in December. Winning a division at 9-7 means you were the best of your bunch at being mediocre. I'm still trying to figure out how a team that lost to Vince Young beat Aaron Rodgers.
The only way you get me to watch the NFC title game is if Joe Montana steps behind center -- and Lawrenece Taylor is lined up on the other side. Failing that, I'll be practice my putting on the carpet (I need the practice) with my daughter (she's deadly from 15 feet) when that schlockfest kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
As for the AFC title game ... hey Baltimore, you put up a good showing on defense and played enough offense to win Sunday, but I got the bad feeling that you're about to get trucked, and Bell Belichick is at the wheel. I heard Jim Nantz say the Patriots defense recorded its 13th tackle for a loss Saturday -- with three minutes left in the 3rd quarter. And Tom Brady's got this year's recipe for success down pat -- screw the running game, pound away over the middle with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez until the defense pinches the middle -- and forgets that Deion Branch is still in the league.
Game stat programmer AccuScore gave the Giants a 16% chance of winning that game on Sunday (meaning that, statistically, if they played Green Bay five more times, the Pack would win them all). So I'll give New England an 84% chance of winning Super Bowl XLVI, knowing how much that helped the Packers on Sunday.
Other facinating tidbits:
Here's my final grade on Tim Tebow: he was essentially a rookie QB this year -- with an incredibly high ceiling, especially if the Broncos can work on that throwing motion -- on an otherwise subpar team. What kind of offensive weapons did he have around him? Where was the deep receiving threat? And, as much as people wanted to say the defense kept Denver in games to allow them to win at the end, that unit gave up 32 or more points five times. With the Raiders having a new coach and if San Diego continues its unexplainable drain-spiraling, Denver's got a real shot to get back to the playoffs next year.
The Saints turned the ball over five times -- and still damn near won the game. What's that say about them, or the 49ers?
The NFC team will be the point-spread underdog in the Super Bowl no matter what matchup we get. Book it. I'm thinking somewhere around 6 points. At this very second I'm inclined to say Patriots by 21 over "whoever", but too many screwy things happen at the Super Bowl, which takes most players completely out of their element, to say that with any confidence.
From the "Pitchers and Catchers Report in 36 Days" file: My hometown Philadelphia Phillies just signed Joel Pineiro, who graduated from the same high school as me (Colonial H.S. in Orlando). Two years ago, he signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the L.A. Angels. Now he's coming to spring training on a minor-league contract. Hope he saved.