Friday, January 30, 2015

Big Game Blahs

I'd had some grandiose plans to write about the two Championship games and how they were studies in contrast. The New England Patriots won their game in a runaway romp that would have happened whether their footballs were fully inflated or not, or if they'd been playing with clay pigeons. On the other side, the Seattle Seahawks got here on a prayer, or, more appropriately, a wholly gutless performance by the Green Bay Packers. It wasn't the fault of Aaron Rodgers, and it wasn't the fault of poor Brandon Bostick who was needlessly turned into a national flog, it was the idiotic coaching job done by Mike McCarthy, who managed the game with the tenacity of a scalded dog, turning what appeared to be sure Touchdown opportunities into Field Goals, failing to allow his offense to take advantage of 5 Seattle turnovers and instead just let the Seahawks hang around. This is probably the worst thing you can do against the Seahawks, because if you let them slip back in, all of a sudden things just snowball for them. The Seahawks didn't deserve to win that game. They came out looking like they'd took too much Adderall at the pregame meeting and played like a team that was overconfident and expected the Packers to just capitulate to them. Well, the Packers did capitulate, but it just took a little longer for the Seahawks to take advantage of it.

So, now, here we are, the Seahawks and the Patriots in a BIG GAME matchup of two teams that nobody likes. Even the Seahawks fans seem to have this dispassionate relationship to the team; I'm of the belief that the idea of the "12th Man" is more a self-aggrandizing tactic in the same vein of "Got Rings!" for some American League Baseball team that plays in New York. It's more about drawing attention to themselves than it is about the team. The "12th Man" will probably be out in full force on Sunday in Arizona, but if the Seahawks don't play well, you'll see them either abandon ship or start trouble. Patriots fans aren't much better, but at least you can see there's some kind of connection to the team. They're Patriots Fans, not a "thing."

So, there's still a game to be played here, if anyone's still paying attention, and it should be a good game on the surface. The Patriots have put together probably their best team as a whole in several years, probably since the 2007 season when they went 16-0 and annihilated everyone in sight. Tom Brady is healthy, Rob Gronkowski is healthy, they're running weird gadget plays that keep their opponents confused and even their defense is improved thanks to the addition of Darrelle Revis.

But then, there's the Seahawks. The Seahawks, the Seahawks, the Seahawks. Obviously you don't need to be a genius to know that I'm not rooting for them in this game, but for some reason, for as close as many seem to think the game is going to be, I have this sick, sneaking suspicion that this game could turn out an awful lot like last year. Pete Carroll probably laid out triple-HGH-laced adderall for his team this week, Marshawn Lynch has spent the entire week clowning the NFL and working himself into a frenzy, and Richard Sherman has been running around doing Richard Sherman things. There's not been a consensus pick either way in this game, which is like what happened last year. Denver came in with this high-flying offense and took the field like a bunch of bitches and the Seahawks just stomped them. I can absolutely see the same thing happening this year. The Patriots lost two Super Bowls to the Giants because they were facing a defense that hit Tom Brady in the mouth and wouldn't let them grab a toehold, and that's the kind of game the Legion of Adderall likes to play.  But if the Seahawks somehow can't get out of their own way like they did against Green Bay, the Patriots probably won't let them slip back into the game. Still, you go with your gut in a game like this, and as much as I would like to see them get slapped around and humbled like they so richly deserve, my gut says the Seahawks will win this game.

Pick: Seahawks 29, Patriots 13

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