Sunday, January 18th
(2) Green Bay Packers @ (1) Seattle Seahawks -7.5
3:05 PM, FOX, Seattle, WA
Limited mobility, 24/35, weak planting leg, 316 yards, diminished pocket movement, 3 TDs, -4 yards rushing, 125.4 RTG.
Good and great are seldom the same man.
Strip a key facet of Aaron Rodgers’ game and plant him in the backfield in the pistol only to be picked apart when you know what was coming. smh.
The Cowboys nearly eked out a 4th quarter comeback from a damaged Tony Romo, who gave a gusty performance of his own, after repeatedly stopping in what looked like poorly executed yoga poses while trying to stand up after getting the life nearly knocked from him a few times. After the hell I imagine Romo endured to play this season, I wouldn’t be shocked if he wasn’t totally upset with the idea of watching this week’s round on the couch with some cocoa.
As for the Packers, their season could end where it began, and in similar fashion, without another Herculean performance from Rodgers.
The Seattle secondary is better than that of the Cowboys. I’m not breaking continuums with that news, so it’s certainly no secret to the Packers. Thus, the Packers will need to run the ball. Six straight completed passes on six consecutive plays will likely not work against the Seahawks like it did against the Cowboys.
Forcing the Seahawks to respect the run should draw enough attention to allow Jordy Nelson to sneak his way beyond the legion.
On the plus side for the Packers, Davante Adams will stretch the Seahawks even more to respect all parts of the field.
The ‘Hawks’ biggest weapon on offense is in the news again for exactly what he didn’t say.
After a season rife with uncomfortable interviews resulting in selective, repetitious one-word answers and repeated fines, Marshawn Lynch finds himself in the hole again when it comes to feeding the media beast.
Whether it’s steadfast resentment towards the idea of the interview; a fear of an inability to self-edit his speech, as seen in his E:60 piece with ESPN, which would undoubtedly result in a fine anyway, creating an interesting catch-22 damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario; or something deeper in the vein of mild social anxiety, it certainly does not affect his play on the field.
All ‘bout that action, boss.
Lynch will need to be productive on Sunday to keep that freak Aaron Rodgers off of the field. The Packers have lost the time of possession battle in all four of their losses this season. Plus, that beast mode feels to be at the heart of the crowd influence and even hypes up their own defense.
It’s difficult to assume anything for this game based on week one’s game where the Seahawks laid it on the Packers. If anything, the advantage would be with the Packers, as they look to have made the greatest transformation from week one until now.
Seattle took more a parabola-like dip in play from that week one performance to now be back at that dominating caliber, making their differential in play less perceptible.
Rodgers’ throwing ability will be determined in part by Richard Sherman. Rodgers never threw Sherman’s way back in week one. While I don’t expect that to happen again, the Packers will likely be wary of throwing his way. However, Rodgers hadn’t laid down the R-E-L-A-X blanket at that time.
This game will come down to the running game for both teams. While the Packers do most of their damage through the air, the “12” in the stands will do their best to disrupt the number 12 on the field.
Winner ATS: Seattle
(4) Indianapolis Colts @ (1) New England Patriots -6.5
6:40 PM, CBS, Foxborough, MA
Aaron Rodgers chooses “New York Bozo;” Andrew Luck chooses “Lord of the Rings” references. Call fakes and audibles can be just about anything, but Luck’s choices point to his nerdy side, which is not exactly a bad thing.
It is known that Luck is an uncommonly smart athlete contrary to his caveman-ish appearance, given his architecture major at Stanford and apprenticeship under Jim Harbaugh. But, his progress from his rookie season to now is quite astonishing.
Now that the positives are out of the way, it’s time to pick on the NFL’s only remaining non-bye team.
I know it’s hard to win games in the national football game. Any given week, that’s why you play the game…vomit. There was another cliché in the luck of the draw that has an Indianapolis team that couldn’t beat good teams during the regular season on the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
It’s one thing to prey on the Tennessee Titans of the league; it’s another to withstand the upper echelon.
Excluding the week 16 contest against the Cowboys that didn’t mean anything, the Colts had four losses during the regular season in which they gave up an average of 490.25 yards—three of those four teams were/are playoff squads, and one will be a repeat on Sunday. The last time these teams met, the Colts surrendered a meager 503 yards, 246 of which were on the ground.
The defense is where this Colts team has failed this season; Luck has carried the team on his league-leading passing yards, but it was all for naught when the opponent was good enough to take advantage of a defense used to the likes of the AFC South.
The Colts have taken the cupcake route to the AFC championship, avoiding the perennial brutes of the AFC North and facing two quarterbacks with weak playoff careers.
Against the Patriots, the Colts will need to play mistake free, which includes all of these post-season drops, mainly from their leading receiver.
With the demons from Baltimore aside, the Patriots feel like the most likely of the four remaining teams to make their way back to the Super Bowl. Luckily for them, the rest of the season will not involve anyone with the name “Manning.”
The Patriots likely will not have to do anything spectacular on either side of the ball, other than hold the Colts to under 24 or so points.
The only danger for the Patriots is if they let Luck on the field for too long. The running game for New England against Baltimore is the sole reason that I feel completely confident in the Patriots’ ability to handle the Colts: 14 yards rushing on 13 carries and still managing to score 35 points and come away with a win makes it hard to imagine a situation where they’ll rush for less and not win. When the legs churn and the clock ticks, Luck and his weird beard can do nothing but watch.
There’s little doubt that Luck will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league in the upcoming years, but his post-season play is off to a clunky start. Not flat, but clunky. There are plenty of ups: Three of his five playoff games totaling over 300 yards passing and completion percentages above 60 in just as many games. However, with the good come the turnovers: Nine TDs to ten INTs will often shorten playoff trips. Plus, Luck’s playoff career high in INTs for a single game came just last season against those dag nab Patriots.
Winner ATS: New England
Spreads courtesy of CBS Sports.com