NFL Conference ChampionshipsJanuary 21st, 2011
It's hard for me not to think the Jets will beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. I want to pick the Steelers, the Steelers are very, very good. They're also very, very tough but...
Two weeks ago my gut told me the Jets would beat the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning (Unstoppable Peyton as some may know him) and the Jets did just that.
Last week I picked the Patriots to beat the Jets overriding my gut which was insisting I stick with the Jets. The Jets, as you know, won.
I know what many people are thinking, they're thinking the Steelers have a ferocious defense and are playing at home with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake; they're thinking that defense will be unbeatable. They're also thinking - and I paraphrase - "I'm not betting my money on Mark Sanchez."
Okay, I hear that but...
1 - The Jets have a pretty ferocious defense themselves, a defense that held Tom Brady (Invincible Tom as some may know him) to an 88.9 passer rating (Mark Sanchez's was 127.3).
2 - A defense that held Bill Belichik's vaunted offense (Unbeatable Bill as some may know him) to 21 points - 11 less than the Pats' season average - and 7 of those 21 points came as the game, for all intents and purposes, ended.
3 - On the other side of the ball, Mark Sanchez (he who will not be wagered on) threw for 3 touchdown passes and zero interceptions and had a passer rating of 127.3 (did I mention Brady's was 88.9?)
More buts? Okay...
4 - Pittsburgh's ferocious defense just didn't look ferocious to me. They gave up 24 points to Baltimore in spite of Baltimore's frantic quest to self destruct.
5 - Pittsburgh gets credit for all those Raven turnovers but, did you see them? They didn't look like takeaways to me, they looked like giveaways.
6 - And what about Anquan Boldan and T.J. Houshmandzadeh there at the end of the game trying the old "Let's see if I can catch the ball using only my chest" trick?
Now I'm not saying Pittsburgh was lucky to beat Baltimore. They weren't lucky, they were better. And I think it will be harder for the Jets to stop Ben Roethlisberger than Tom Brady. He's much tougher to sack and he can gain serious yards with his legs. He'll escape the Jets pass rush and create positive yards doing it. And the Steelers defense is legitimately ferocious. They will beat up the Jets offense. But, but... I just have this feeling in my gut...
I never learned to play a musical instrument so I'm not sure what a metronome is. Yet for some reason, after watching Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offense methodically roll through the Atlanta Falcons I feel much closer to truly understanding the metronome. To say the Packer offense is methodical and clocklike isn't really fair though, is it? I mean sure, the Packer offense is like a metronome IF metronomes could fly. And could change colors and shapes. And could sing and dance. And could play musical instruments.
How good is Aaron Rodgers? I don't know. Nobody knows. He's showing us how good he is now, he'll be showing us for years to come. I do know he's very hard to rattle, very hard to sack. I do know that he always knows what he's going to do with the ball, where he's going to throw it and he gets rid of the ball amazingly fast . I do know that if his blocking breaks down (rare) he's as dangerous running as any QB this side of Michael Vick.
I also know he's got a very good team around him. Early in the season it seemed like injuries would cause the Packers to fall apart. Instead, they've come together, they're a really good team and by team I mean team. They play as a well drilled unit, they all know exactly where they're supposed to be, what they're supposed to do and they do it. Like clockwork, or, like a metronome.
Which brings us to this two part question - does a Bear know what a metronome is, does a Bear care?
The Bears dominated the Seattle Seahawks, they demolished them. So what? Well okay, I'll go along with that but I will point out that Jay Cutler had ten times as many rushing yards as last week's star du jour, Marshawn Lynch. He had more rushing yards than the whole Seattle team. That's Jay Cutler we're talking about.
And by the way, that same Jay Cutler (Flammable Jay as some may know him) is running a pretty tight ship himself. He and Mike Martz (Damn the Torpedos, Full Speed Ahead Mike as some may know him) have teamed up to create and conduct a running, mostly mistake-free offense! Should I repeat that? Running, mostly mistake-free.
When you play solid offense and you have the defense and special teams the Bears have, good things happen.
Now, another two part question - will good things happen against the Packers, how good? Hmmm.
Say, did you know the Bears and Packers have played each other more than 180 times, more than any other two teams in the NFL? Just trying to avoid answering the second part of that two part question.
But if I have to answer, I'll say as the quarterbacks go, especially Jay Cutler, so will go the game.