20120124-102945.jpg

And then there were 2! When the NFL Playoffs started, 3 weeks ago, I stated that I wouldn’t be too shocked if 11 out of the 12 playoff teams made it all the way to the Super Bowl (Denver being the odd man out) But did I ever expect a rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and New York Giants? No way! After going 4-0 in the Divisional Playoffs round, I went 0-2 on Sunday’s games. I knew that I was “going against the grain” with my picks, and I paid for it. The positive thing is that I learned a valuable lesson this week that I will try to remember in future Conference Championship game MATCH-UPS.

Here is WHAT I THINK I LEARNED FROM THE NFL THIS WEEK:

CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER TEAMS DON’T MAKE BONEHEADED MISTAKES IN CRUNCH TIME!!!

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs BALTIMORE RAVENS

Winner: PATRIOTS

This was a hard-fought, back and forth game, that showcased a high-powered offense versus a lock-down defense. For the majority of the game, these two noteables reigned true. The Patriots easily moved the ball down the field, show-casing their powerful offense. Then suddenly, the Ravens would hit the brakes and hold them to field goals. But that was what we expected. The intangibles for this game were New England’s suspect defense, and Baltimore’s inconsistent play at the quarterback position. Which “achilles heel” would do enough to help its team win the game? Once again, both proved to be game, and had some big possessions in this game. But like I said before, CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER TEAMS DON’T MAKE BONEHEADED MISTAKES IN CRUNCH TIME. With seconds left in the game, the Ravens found themselves on the 11-yard line, with their fate in the hands of one of the best kickers in the league. As I followed the action on my mobile app, my mind ventured ahead to overtime. I thought about the coin toss, and the new rules. When I looked back down, I saw the score was still 23-20 Patriots, and the ball possession had changed sides. I waited, thinking that my app had a glitch. Then I realized….HE MISSED! After a few minutes of shock and disappointment, I uttered to myself, “CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER TEAMS DON’T MAKE BONEHEADED MISTAKES IN CRUNCH TIME”. We’ve seen this act from Baltimore before. Last post-season, their trip home was the consequence of squandering a 21-point halftime lead to their division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. That lead was wiped out within 5 minutes of game play, due to multiple fumbles by running back Ray Rice, and a “pick 6” from quarterback Joe Flacco. At this point, I’m wondering if this team will ever get over the hump of BEATING THEMSELVES in big games.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP: NEW YORK GIANTS vs SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Winner: GIANTS

Another hard-fought game, that featured two teams battling back and forth. Even though I picked the 49ers to win this game, I knew the Giants were riding a wave of momentum greater than any of the 11 other teams. Both teams proved to be “game”, and the defenses definitely came to play. The difference in this game came down to one BONEHEADED PLAY. In overtime, after a strong stand by their defense, the Niners were awaiting a punt to take over ball possession. The ball soared through the air, and once again, I found myself thinking ahead to what would happen next. Would San Fran orchestrate the game winning drive? Would the Giants “D” continue to hold strong? And then, with defenders and confusion all around him, San Fran’s kick returner (who will remain nameless) decided to make a play on the ball. The play resulted in a loose ball, returning possession back to New York, with the game in hand. I sat there with one question repeatedly rolling through my mind. WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why is he trying to make such a dangerous play at such a vital time in the game? But that goes right back to my lesson for this week. CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER TEAMS don’t lose games over BONEHEADED mistakes. Obviously there has to be a winner and a loser, but there’s a difference in getting beat, and beating yourself.

On to the Super Bowl.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s