I've used this exact intro before but damnit it's perfect and we're playing the hits at 3:09 am as I pound my keyboard.
Conference Championship Sunday is one of the most bittersweet days on the sports calendar.
Bitter because after tonight, we only have one more NFL game until September. But sweet because we've got some incredible matchups (on paper) in what should be a great day of football.
Last week my picks went 3-1 (although I bet Giants ML because I am addicted to plus signs and stupid). The Bills are the frauds I've been saying they are all season. What an embarrassing home loss!
Josh Allen fumbled the game away moments after I hit send (plz disregard me saying the Vikings are legit af).
We've got an incredible slate ahead of us; let's fullback dive into the games! Before we do, the idea of playing one Conference Championship Game on Sunday and the other on Monday is idiotic. If the league does that, I'm obviously not gonna stop watching, but I will be upset for at least a little while!
NFC Championship Game:
San Fransisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles. 3:00 pm. Fox.
During the last couple weeks of the regular season, I had a take that the NFCCG would end up being Packers @ Bucs because the whole conference is fraudulent, and those two QBs could still go on a run. Here we sit on game day with the top two seeds facing off for the George Halas Trophy. Maybe there's a reason I'm like 3-48 this season gambling.
I love that we're going to see the league's top offense vs. the league's top defense. That's what playoff football is all about. Studs vs. Studs. Dude-on-dude action. Cinderella runs can be fun, but sometimes chalk is cool. Historically the top defense has the edge in playoff matchups (this data only goes up to 2021, but what I said is still "facts"), but it's a lot closer than you'd think.
I'd rather see the Niners win. I love Kittle. Deebo is a stud, even with his dip in production. They use a fullback. Great uniforms. Sure they lie about their location in their team name, but they're far from the only team in the league that takes some geographic liberties.
Speaking of liberty. Philly has had quite a sports year. Their MLS team made it to the finals. The Phillies won the pennant. The 6ers are the East's current two seed, but the Eagles are that scumbag city's pride and joy. The Linc is gonna be rocking, and even though I have yet to be right about Brock Purdy turning into a pumpkin...today is the day. Rookie QBs are winless in conference championship appearances, and he's a fucking square. Being a God guy is fine, but idc how old you are; if that's your take on reefer, you can kick rocks.
He's played well since taking over for Jimmy G, but the competition over that stretch isn't all that impressive. Has he been down two scores at any point? Shanahan is a great coach, and you know he'll scheme up an outstanding opening script, but if the Niners are down 14 at any point in this game, is Brock Purdy really gonna dig them out of that hole?
That situation is something I could see playing out because the Eagles, as great as they've been this year, have a problem where they have one huge quarter (usually the 2nd), then stop scoring. It's a while back, but in Week 3, they beat the Commies 24-8, and all 24 points came in the 2nd quarter. The following week when they beat Jacksonville 29-21, 20 of their points came in the 2nd quarter. In week 6, they beat Dallas 26-17; you guessed it, 20 of those points came in the 2nd quarter. Week 6 was a long time ago, but that trend is something to think about going into this game.
I heard this on PMT, but I agree and could've easily come up with myself...with both of these coaches, I wouldn't be shocked to see some crazy 4th shit to try to steal a possession. It wouldn't shock me at all to see one of these teams face like a 4th & 2 from their own 38-yard line on the opening drive and go for it to send a message. I feel something funky coming. You know Shanahan goes crazy in the playoffs, and Sirianni has some Charlie Kelly wild card in him for sure.
San Fran has been a great story this year. They've been the exception to the rule, with QB play being the most crucial part of today's NFL, butttttt I think this is the week their Mr. Irrelevant QB looks as such. Is this dude really the next Brady or Kurt Warner? There's like 80 QBs who are currently alive that could win with this roster. Fuck, even Kenny Stabler could make things interesting with McCaffrey, Deebo, Aiyuk, and Kittle.
Deferring is all the rage in today's NFL, but if the Eagles win the toss, I think they should elect to receive to try and make Purdy come onto the field already trailing.
Philly's already started greasing the flag poles, and you know some crazy assholes will still make their way to the top. Jalen Hurts is a winner and will lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in seven seasons. Don't be surprised if AJ Brown goes off after being a nonfactor last week.
AFC Championship Game:
Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs. 6:30 pm. CBS.
In the American Football Conference, we have the same matchup in a Championship Game for the first time since the Ravens and Patriots met in 2011 ('12) and 2012 ('13). A decade later, the two best QBs in the league are facing off with a Super Bowl berth on the line.
Of course, the biggest question going into this matchup is the health of Patrick Mahomes. How bad is the ankle? I'd rather have Mahomes at like 65% than like 28 QBs in the league, but against a fantastic Cincy D (20.1 ppg/6th best in the NFL) with some beasts on the d-line, his mobility (or lack thereof) will likely be the difference in the game.
Time is, and always will be, a bitch. This will be Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs 5th straight appearance in the AFCCG, and all five have been at home. The 2011-2018 Patriots made 8 straight AFCCGs but never played more than two straight at home. You gotta give KC their flowers for this run.
BUT, this game is Ilya-Bryzgalov-humongous-big for Kansas City. It's a swing game; they're gonna be either 3-2 or 2-3 in five straight home championship games. Should Cincy go on to win the Super Bowl, the narratives drastically alter, and the debate for the league's best QB gets even more interesting. Don't forget how awful the Chiefs were historically in home playoff games before the Mahomes era (Andy Reid was there for two home playoff losses)!
Mahomes and Kelce deserve about 58% of the "why Dozo finally won his fantasy league" pie, and Brady to Gronk will always be the greatest QB-TE duo in NFL history, but these two continue to close the gap. Because of their importance to team Cooking Up Sutton Good, I followed KC closer this year than in the past, and what Travis Kelce did this season cannot be understated: 110 receptions for 1338 yards and 12 TD. It's safe to say he was a great selection at 15 overall. He was just as dominant in the Divisional Round. 14 receptions for 98 yards and 2 TD. It's sort of a basic take, but it's true. If Cincy can keep Kelce in check, they should roll.
Now, that's much easier said than done. But in their week 13 matchup, Cincy held Kelce to just 4 grabs for 56 yards and forced his only fumble of the season in what ended up being the game's turning point. The Bengals have the guys to keep Kelce in check. "In check" could still be 7 catches for 105 and a score, but the Chiefs' weapons outside of him aren't that scary. If you can contain Kelce, you can beat KC. JuJu is a solid NFL WR; McKinnon's scored in like 93 straight games, but with no Tyreek, these aren't the same Chiefs, even if they didn't skip a beat without him from a production standpoint (1st in PPG & yards). The KC offense is a little different without his instant deep ball threat. Toney and MVS are not Tyreek Hill.
I'm biased. I love Joe Brrr. One of my best friends is a Bengals fan, and I want them to win it all for my guy, but I'm worried. I think Cincy is a better team, but Kansas City has the leg up from a coaching standpoint, and they're at home. That "Burrowhead" shit could quickly come back to haunt Cincy.
Patrick Mahomes should be MVP. He threw for 41 TDs and 5250 yards without Tyreek Hill and scored four more on the ground. Did you know he's only lost 18 games in his career as a starter (including playoffs)? But he's 0-3 vs. the Bengals the last two years.
This matchup has the potential to be the most entertaining game of the playoffs, but that's all pertinent on the health of Patrick Mahomes' right ankle. Even if he were 100%, I'd still pick Cincy. Because I respect him and think he's still gonna play well, I do think this gonna be a close game (unlike the Bengals' utter EMBARRASSMENT against the Bills in Buffalo, NY...where it was snowing). I might bet Hayden Hurst first TD.
I got home from ub** @ 2:30ish and grinded on this blog and graphic (mostly the graphic; those take forever but I fucking love making them) until 8:45 am.#HireDozo
As of 8:46 am I've peppered the following:
Eagles ML & Bengals ML parlay: +237, 1u
Hayden Hurst 1st TD, +1300, .2u
Double result: tie/CIN, +2200, .1u