Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My favourite football week

The Super Bowl is always a letdown, even when it's a terrific game, like last year. It's the last game of the football season, and you know you're not going to get to watch football again until the CFL season starts up. So it's bittersweet for us football fanatics. The best weekend for me is this coming one, Championship Game week, where the teams are decided for the Super Bowl. Two games, same day, football overload, and the most important games there are before the big one, which is bittersweet. I still have two weeks to anticipate seeing two of these teams in another game. Here are the two I think I will see:

Baltimore - Pittsburgh: The Steelers are favoured to win it all by a fair margin. They are favoured in this game, and favoured to be the eventual champions, favoured in every conceivable way. But not so fast. Here they are, playing a Ravens team they have beaten twice this year. Once in OT, and once on a controversial did-he-or-didn't-he touchdown. Beating a team three times in a year is rare. Beating a team as good as Baltimore three times in a year seems like an incredibly tall task. The Steelers have only one playoff game under their belt, and I'm still not sure how good they really are, having beaten only a up-and-down Chargers team without LT. And the Ravens are for real. Totally, utterly for real. The Titans were better than the Steelers, the Ravens beat up the Titans, the Ravens will take this one in an upset. It's an all-bird Super Bowl!

Steelers, 23-14. The Ravens looked like they were about to make a game of it, and then some, toward the end of the third. But at a certain point, a rookie is going to actually look like a rookie, I guess. And Troy Polamalu made Joe Flacco look like a rookie in this game a few times. Wasn't he supposed to be hurt? Either way, the Steelers look very powerful, and seem poised to take the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia - Arizona: The Cardinals have performed way beyond anyone's expectations in the playoffs this year. Way beyond. And Kurt Warner has never been better. And Larry Fitzgerald has been an absolute monster. And I am tempted to take the Cards at home. But they get the home game here because of their terrible division, not their record. The Eagles actually had a better record during the season. And they have posted two huge road wins in these playoffs, both of them bigger, I would argue, than the two Arizona wins. 'Zona may have beaten Atlanta, which surprised me, but Philly beat Minnesota, who was better than Atlanta. Then the Cards shocked the world (and me) by beating Carolina. But I think the Giants were the better team there too. The only team I have been right about both weeks has been Philadelphia. And I'm going with them again, covering the 3 points. All-bird Super Bowl! Go Eagles!

Cardinals, 32-25. An incredible, improbable result to cap off an incredible, improbable season. The Cardinals are in the Super Bowl? The Cardinals? Amazing. I was cheering for Philly, but wow. The Eagles were game. After a dreadful first half, the Eagles came out in the third quarter on fire and started hammering the Cards. Were this game 65 minutes long, Philly would have taken it. But once again, no team seems able to stop Larry Fitzgerald, and the comeback was too little too late against a resilient Arizona team. I had a problem with a couple of pass interference no-calls late in the game, but the better team on the day won. Setting up what might be the lowest-rated Super Bowl ever. I have picked against the Cardinals in every playoff game so far. That has been silly of me.

I have so far gone 4-6 this postseason, straight up, and 3-7 against the spread. So I suck. Don't listen to me.

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