Isn’t Football just a crazy game? Last week in the Conference Championship Round both games came down to field goals… that’s right field goals. Four teams battle their asses off for 60 minutes (Giants-49ers even played some overtime) to have the game come down to two “routine” kicks. The first game, NFC Championship came down to a 32-yard field goal for the Ravens. A 32-yard kick that kicker Billy Cundiff probably makes in his sleep, but in this moment with 11 seconds left and a chance to tie the game he shanked it left….way left. In the AFC Championship game it came down to a 31-yard attempt from Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, and he nailed it just inside the left upright to seal an emotional victory. For one team a complete collapse and for another pure bliss…what a difference one play can make.
The Ravens looked like they had Tom Brady on the ropes, limiting him to just 239 passing yards and 2 interceptions. They also neutralized the Pats’ running game and with their final drive looked poised to win the game in overtime, but it was not meant to be. It was definitely not the finest day for New England but they found a way to pull it out.
In the other game the 49ers and Giants both played incredible defense; so good that both sides stopped countless drives that looked destined for the end zone. The 49ers gave Eli a lot of opportunities to close the game out, but he just couldn’t impose his will in this one…this game would come down to who flinched first. The moment would come late in the first overtime when second string return man Kyle Williams (of the 49ers) lost a costly fumble that set the Giants up with amazing field position and all but sealed the victory for the visitors. In a game as close as that one it has to come down to a field goal and it did…thankfully the moment was one Lawrence Tynes was all too familiar with. He hit that clutch field goal against Green Bay in 07’ and he nailed this one against San Francisco. Make no mistake, that was a huge kick even though it was only a 31-yarder (yeah Billy Cundiff).
With the Giants and Patriots winning its official…there will be a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl upset in NFL history, but this time I’m not so sure who has the edge. The Giants have looked awfully strong the past 4-5 weeks and I’m sure they’ll give New England a fight for their lives out there. With that said, let’s take a look at the 5 players that will decide who walks away with the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVI.
5. Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots: If you play fantasy football you know who this guy is. Teams have tried everything on this guy all year; play him physical, bump and run and even putting a lockdown cover on him all game…nothing works. He didn’t have a big day last week for New England, grabbing a mere 6 catches for 53 yards, however because the Giants secondary has been playing so well I look for Brady to look for short throws to his tight ends (the two-headed beast that is Gronkowski and Hernandez) and to his main slot man, Wes Welker. Wes Welker is a good fantasy football pick.
4. Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants: The heart and soul of New York’s defense JPP has been killing it for the G-Men all season. The Giants defense won them that game last week; they’re simply making the difference with their hustle, determination and their will to win. If Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck can dial up the pressure on Brady, they’ll quickly have him recalling a 5 sack day in the 07’ Super Bowl. The Giants Defense is a good fantasy football pick.
3. Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants: Last week the Giants got a huge game from Victor Cruz which saw him go for 10 catches and 142 yards. The Giants had previously been riding the hot streak of Hakeem Nicks to victory, but they’ve shown they aren’t a one receiver team (predominately). If either Cruz or Nicks can have a big day the Giants will be in good shape. Both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are good fantasy football picks.
2. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: The man that’s won it all, 3 Super Bowls and 2 MVPs (add on 2 Super Bowl MVPs to be fair) is on the game’s greatest stage again looking to further add to his legacy. Brady will come out of the gates trying to score, and The Pat’s have the offense to be dangerous. Unfortunately they lack a consistent defense which could be a turning point, but if Brady plays at the level he is capable of this could be a game for the ages. Tom Brady is a good fantasy football pick.
1. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: The question of who the better Manning brother is has never been debatable…until now. Eli has been his team’s leader out there, and he’s shown that he has what it takes to win when it counts. Nobody gave his team a chance, but his ability has taken this team to the next level (not to demerit what the team as a whole has accomplished). Now it’s his time to show that he is that great; not good…great! Eli had a solid fantasy game last week throwing for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns, a game that was far from his best. I think this game will come down to Brady vs. Manning, and I’ve watched enough NFL games to know…never vote against a Manning. Eli Manning is a good fantasy football pick.
What a game its going to be right? Who are you rooting for? let me hear about it!