Last year, my Conference Championship weekend picks column clocked in at almost 2,000 words. That’s what happens when my favorite team plays its blood rival, with an undercard featuring what may have been the final Peyton Manning–Tom Brady playoff matchup. This year? I’m thinking closer to 200 words. The only reason I’m even doing this at this point is academic, so my picks are on record. I’m 5-3 so far in these playoffs—and I have a pretty good feeling I’m going 2-0 this weekend.
Indianapolis at New England
Last year, the Colts followed a rousing playoff victory (their epic 45-44 comeback over the Colts) with a trip to Foxborough that ended in a 43-22 shellacking at the hands of the Belichicks. This year, the Colts follow a rousing playoff victory (the 24-13 win in Denver that sure looks like it ended former franchise savior Peyton Manning’s career) with another trip to Foxborough … and I have a feeling it’s gonna end the same way. Last week, the Colts played up on Denver’s receivers and forced an injured Manning to try to beat them over the top—a strategy that could, in theory, work against the Pats as well, as Brady is no longer a particularly effective downfield passer. I just think the Pats are so smart and creative that they’ll find ways to counter what the Colts are doing (witness the crazy formations and trick plays they ran last week during their comeback over Baltimore). And while the Pats defense is a bit overrated, the Colts’ offense is so one-dimensional (seriously, Trent Richardson covers kickoffs now) that I think the Pats will be able to stymie T.Y. Hilton and Indy’s downfield passing game. This feels like Pats 35, Colts 17, and Brady will have yet another chance (only his third…) to tie Joe Montana with four Super Bowl wins.
Green Bay at Seattle
Help us, Aaron Rodgers. You’re our only hope.
Only, here’s the problem: Aaron Rodgers is hurt. And while an injured Rodgers is still better than 90% of the quarterbacks in the NFL, the only chance for the Packers in this game is for him to be the otherworldly, closest-thing-we’ve-seen-to-Joe-Montana-in-the-last-two-decades quarterback that he was in the 2011 playoffs. But seeing as how he’s playing on one leg, I don’t think he’s going to be able to fend off that pass rush and beat that secondary in that hellhole of a stadium. Meanwhile, Beast Mode is just going to punish that mediocre Packers defense, and you know Russell Wilson will find a way to make a couple of big plays. Seattle beat Green Bay 36-16 back in week one, and I don’t foresee this contest going all that much better. Lets say Seabitches 30, Packers 20, and I’ll have to sit and watch the bandwagon douchebags in “12th Man” jerseys celebrate their second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl.
So our Super Bowl will be Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick. The Seabitches vs. the Massholes. A Seattle repeat or Brady tying Joe Cool.
Man, fuck this season. With a pitchfork.