Giants vs. 49ers - Giants - The Giants come into this game with a lot of confidence and momentum. Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career, and the Giants pass rushers are impacting games in a major way. Coach Tom Coughlin may have done the best coaching job this season, and right now everything seems to be falling into place for the Giants. But while many people expected to see the Giants in the postseason, the same cannot be said for the 49ers, who most expected to be in the toilet bowl, not a heartbeat away from the Super Bowl.
Jim Harbaugh has done a magnificent job in transforming the 49ers from a laughingstock into a contender. It seems like just yesterday, when Mike Singletary was dropping his trousers and banishing Vernon Davis from the sideline, but look at them now. They’ve come a long way, but the questions is, can they go the rest of the way?
I think the Saints underestimated the 49ers last week. The 49ers came in with a chip on their shoulders because nobody believed in them, and they came out and busted the Saints lip open with early turnovers, and a surprising early lead. Alex Smith played like the franchise QB he had been drafted to be. After all he’s been through, I guess it’s only fitting that he have his share of glory too.
But unfortunately Alex Smith is not the only QB in this game searching for validation. Even after having already won a Super Bowl, Eli Manning has still been fighting to have his name mentioned among the elite QB’s in the league. Always in the shadow of his older brother Peyton, Eli more so this season than any other has emerged from that shadow, and is the main reason the Giants are where they are right now.
I said last week, this is Eli’s time to shine, and he is playing with a confidence, and a swagger that he’s never shown before. The Giants may be the most complete team still playing. In every aspect, they are performing at a high level. The mojo is on the side of the Giants, and I believe they are Super Bowl bound.
Giants - 31
49ers - 24
Ravens vs. Patriots - Ravens - The Patriots should win this game. Should being the key word. They should win, but. There’s something about the Ravens that’s just screaming out to me, that this is their time. John Harbaugh has distinguished himself as one of the top coaches in the NFL, but that championship pedigree has always eluded him. Almost, but not quite good enough. But something seems different now.
Before, thinking of Harbaugh going up against Bill Belichick, and I would think he might be overmatched. But that line of thought has changed. Right now, I think Harbaugh is ready to go toe to toe with Belichick, and prove that he just might be the best coach in the NFL. But there is no question which team has the best QB. Joe Flacco has come under fire from his own teammates, and still has a lot to prove.
People say he doesn’t have enough weapons, but I remember when Troy Brown was Tom Brady’s number one target, and he still won championships. The time has come for Joe Flacco to put up or shut up. These kinds of games are where stars emerge, where unknowns become heroes, and legends are born. Joe Flacco wants people to give him the respect he feels he deserves, but out on that gridiron, nobody gives you anything, you have go out and take what’s yours.
If this is Harbaugh vs. Belichick, then it’s also Flacco vs. Brady. Brady will never surrender, he doesn’t know how. So Flacco is going to have to take that glory away from him, and earn the respect that he craves so dearly. I think Flacco comes out and plays his best game of the season, and leads the Ravens back to the Super Bowl. It will be close, but the Ravens will win a hard-fought tooth and nail game.
Ravens - 24
Patriots - 23
Divisional Playoff Week Review - I went 2-2 for the week. I really wanted to the Saints vs. the Packers, but I got burned on my predictions of them to win. but that’s why they play the games. People’s opinions have no bearing on the outcome.
Year to Date: 147-79, which is 65% correct.