R.I.P. Taylor Negron The Resurrection of Andrew Wood
Growing up, I was a huge Andrew Wood fan. He was the singer of Mother Love Bone, which, all things considered, is the band that wrote the book on most of what came out of Seattle in the '90s. Even though he grew up in Seattle, Wood was a HUGE Dallas Cowboys fan. Recently, I came across a website where Wood’s family is auctioning off a bunch of his shit, including his Cowboys shirts ($700 each). As soon as I finish this column, I am purchasing one, which will be proudly displayed in my home.
Now, we all know why Wood loved the Cowboys in the ’90s. They we’re a dynasty comprised of Hall of Famers that were destined for greatness. Ironically enough, this is what the Seattle Seahawks are turning into: the Cowboys of the 2010s. This team is beyond built, with seriously about six Hall of Famers, and a future Hall of Fame coach. They have stars that you probably haven’t heard of yet. Like emerging tight end Luke Willson, for example. This guy is going to run amok next year. Plus, I wouldn’t put it past Seattle to go out and pick up an insane free agent wideout this offseason. (Larry Fitzgerald?)
A game like this coming Sunday’s against the Packers is the kind on which dynasties are built. You're forced to out-muscle a team that deserves to be in the conversation with you. We all knew that Carolina last week had a puncher's chance against Seattle, but had no business being compared to them just yet. The Packers, looking to build a dynasty in their own right, can visualize Seattle being a thorn in their sides for the next several years. What better way to set a tone for recurring playoff run-ins than going out there and upsetting them on their home field, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line?
This is what is at stake in Sunday’s NFC Championship game. One of these teams wins, and one becomes the other’s bitch.
Seattle’s win against Carolina proved that they're more well-rounded team than the Packers. Frankly, Green Bay’s defense is underwhelming, and would have essentially blown the game had Dez Bryant’s reception stood. (Side note: I officially think Dez is the best wideout in football after this season, and has also blossomed in to an amazing team leader.) Green Bay has a tendency to give up too many yards via the pass. It frustrates me that they are so copacetic with giving up the middle of the field like they do. Mix that with a dangerous Seattle run game, and it’s not good for the Green Bay D. Marshawn Lynch, love him or hate him, is the most insane running back in football. I’ve never seen a player play with more angst. Try and tackle him, and he’ll drag you like RuPaul.
The only way the Packers win this game is if Aaron Rodgers outguns the Seattle D, plain and simple. He needs to be two steps ahead of them and hit miniscule windows. I also think Rodgers' nagging leg injury will heavily come into play. One thing about Rodgers is that he is the best QB in the league when he's outside the pocket. He scrambles and shakes defenders, and slings it great on the run. His offensive line is decent, but Rodgers' ability to extend plays is what allows receivers to get open. That said, last week against the Cowboys, he only had four total plays outside the pocket the entire game. This dude’s leg is hurting. And lets face it, the Cowboy defense is nowhere near the Seahawks. A limited-mobility QB for Seattle’s defense to snack on is fish in a barrel.
Speaking of dynasties, the only team that would be considered a dynasty since the Sex and the City era is also in the mix this weekend. After Tom Brady led the Patriots to his third Super Bowl win over the Eagles in 2004, the last thing I would have thought was that I’d associate this team with not winning the big game. Well, that’s what the Pats are in the year 2015: a plethora of playoff appearances, a couple blown AFC Championship games, a couple of blown Super Bowls, and there you have it: New England Clam Chowder. Is that the red or the white?
This is it for the Patriots. They will not make it back to this level again with Tom Brady and his ever-changing and consistently questionable supporting cast. There are simply too many teams on the upswing in the AFC. Hell, the Bills might even be the favorite to win the AFC East next year. Let’s not even think about the NFC, which has contenders up the ass. The Pats are on the verge of losing players to free agency or grim reapers, and losing their offensive coordinator to another team, or the Jeb Bush administration. Drafting and building a team for the future will soon become a priority.
The Pats should beat Andrew Luck’s Colts this week somewhat easily. They frankly don’t have a choice. It’s impossible for New England to get away with laying an egg this game. The torture they’d receive from losing to an upstart team like the Colts would be staggering. They are the better team, have the experience, and they are playing at home. They are also facing a team with a lack of a defensive identity, who’s had to play an extra week. Everything in this game works in New England’s favor.
What doesn’t work in New England’s favor is that the Colts are without a doubt peaking as they roll into this game. New England is coasting. There's no way that the Pats should be confident right now after almost getting blindsided by the Ravens last week. It took them a perfect fourth quarter on both sides of the ball to claw back from an early deficit and get the win. The Colts, on the other hand, should be on cloud nine after going into Denver and escaping with a win which no one saw coming. It also greatly hurts the Pats that the Colts are playing as loose as they are. Until the Colts become the team to beat in the AFC, which arguably wont happen until both Manning and Brady retire, they are playing with house money. Everything they do prior to that is gravy on meat that has yet to be served. They are playing the football equivalent of Matthew McConaughey's voice.
I do not like the Colts to pull this game out, but something tells me it stays close 'til the end. Threes are wild in this one. Lot of field goal attempts from two of the best kickers in the game. God help the Patriots if they lose.
So, that being said...
Indy +7 over the Pats
GB +7 over Seattle
And your Super Bowl match-up on Sunday, February 1 in the home of Bud Macintosh and Doyle Johnson,
THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS vs. THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS