NFL Championship Week Review

Posted: 01/22/2013 by levcohen in Football
Tags: , ,

Surprisingly, I got both picks right.

The 49ers had a comeback win over the Falcons after falling behind 17-0 to start the game. The final score was 28-24, as the 9ers held the Falcons scoreless in the second half. The final score was very close to the 31-24 I had predicted.

Keys to the win:
1. The threat of Colin Kaepernick running: Kaepernick pulled the ball down to run just twice, and picked up just 23 yards on the ground. But the Falcons clearly had to commit extra man power to keep an eye on Kaepernick, which opened up more room for the passing game and Frank Gore.

2. The 49ers defense clamped down: The 49ers wouldn’t have been close to winning had their defense played the way they did in the first half. They didn’t totally shut the high octane Falcons offense down, but they forced two key turnovers with the Falcons driving.

3. The 49ers converted their chances and scored touchdowns: Settling for field goals is always a big area of concern for teams, but even more so for teams with struggling kickers. I can’t imagine an NFL kicker who looks worse than David Akers right now (Akers missed his only field goal attempt, a 38 yarder). This is why it was so important for San Fran to score touchdowns and not field goals, and they succeeded in converting four times.

My pick: 31-24
Score: 28-243/3

The Ravens upset the Patriots, and it wasn’t even very close, with the score ending up at 28-13. I’m happy that the Ravens won, but I’m shocked at some of the postgame conduct by Patriots fans, coaches, and family. First, coach Bill Belichick refused to talk to CBS, another obnoxious move by an obnoxious coach. Then Wes Welker’s wife posted on facebook, “Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!” This is all true but it really should be left unsaid. She has apologized since then. Finally and by far most appalling, Torrey Smith of the Ravens tweeted that some Patriots fans had taunted Smith about his brother’s death, which happened in September. This behavior is awful and another one of the reasons you should hate the Patriots.

Keys to the win:

1. The Ravens kept the Patriots offense in check: The Patriots scored just 13 points in the game, and were shut out in the second half. This was the worst the Pats offense looked all year.

2. The Ravens adjusted at halftime: In the first half, all of Joe Flacco’s throws were very difficult to make and had a very low chance of succeeding. In the second half, Baltimore changed it up, giving Flacco some easier throws to make. The results were great. Three points in the first half were followed by 24 in the second.

3. Turnover differential: Just like in the other game, some key turnovers decided the outcome of the game. The one I’m thinking of involved Bernard Pollard’s rattling hit on Steven Ridley which led to a fumble when the Pats were driving. The Patriots turned it over three times (granted, two were on desperation drives) while the Ravens didn’t turn it over once.

My pick: 34-31
Score: 28-13
2/3 with over/under wrong

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