Thursday, January 26, 2012

Peyton's Place?

This past season the folks in Indianapolis were never more reminded how important a franchise quarterback is when Peyton Manning was out with a neck injury. The iconic QB single handily kept the Colts a playoff/Super Bowl contender each and every year when he was under center. This year without Peyton the season was destined to be a failure and they fell apart to a horrible 2-14 record. His replacements at QB (i.e. Dan Orlovsky, REALLY?!?) were put in a no win situation as they had no chance to live up to the standard Peyton had set. The front office was never prepared, nor the team, for the idea that Peyton Manning wouldn't be leading this team once again this season. Now with Peyton's health and playing future in question where do the Colts go? This is the $28 million question. Keep the icon or look in your crystal ball that is the NFL Draft and select "Every body's All-American" Andrew Luck. This is now the dilemma the Colts find themselves into. Looking at the future of the franchise or the possibility that Peyton heals and is able to revert back to his Hall of Fame form. What does a franchise do?

A good poker player will say the Indianapolis Colts have tipped their hand by their actions within the past months. The shake up within their front office and change of head coach speaks of change for the future. The house that Peyton built is crumbling all around him. Mr. Manning's resume speaks for itself. The yards passed (54,828), the completions (4682), the touchdowns (399), the Super Bowl Championship he brought to Indy (over my poor Bears) all now seems like a distant memory. I believe the Colts franchise wants to assure they are relevant in the future and making a difficult business decision and moving forward rather than live in the past means letting Peyton go. This almost seems sacrilegious but it happens. This is the nature of the business and the state of the NFL nowadays. Think of recent iconic franchise quarterbacks that have played for other teams. Joe Montana leading the Kansas City Chiefs. Brett Favre leading the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets. This will be difficult for Colts fans to grasp, however; it isn't even certain Peyton is able to recover fully from neck surgery. They could let Petyon go and use the #1 draft pick or could "Herschel Walker" the first pick and stockpile them since the team needs so much help. Whatever they do I don't see Peyton wearing a Colts jersey again. The Colts owner, Jim Irsay, has 28 million reasons and a deadline of March 8th to decide what direction their franchise will go.

The Colts were smart in 1998 to draft Peyton Manning #1 overall and not take another quarterback in Ryan Leaf. Amazing how different that could have turned out says the San Diego Chargers.

I feel this year with the #1 pick, LUCK will be on the Colts side again. Unfortunately for Peyton everyone's runs out some time.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NFL Conference Championships

Are you ready for some football???

NFC Championship. Check!

AFC Championship. Check!

A chance to play in Super Bowl XLVI. Checkmate!

Let us start with the NFC.

San Fransisco 49ers v. New York Giants.

This is not necessarily what everyone had going into this season but both teams have shown to be deserving of being here.

They met earlier in the season on November 13th and played a stellar game which came down to a defensive stop on 4th down that kept Eli Manning and company from attempting a game tying touchdown. The Giants out gained the 49ers 395 to 305 and were able to out rush San Fran by 16 yards in this game but still came away with a loss. Winning on the road takes mental toughness and the issue for New York was turnovers and penalties. Winning the turnover battle and not making dumb mistakes can mean the difference between advancing on to the Super Bowl or opening Mel Kiper's 2012 Draft Report a month early.

The way the Giants have been playing these last few games has been somewhat remarkable. It was just a few weeks ago they were on a questionable list of even making the playoffs. Now after dismantling the Atlanta Falcons and dethroning the Green Bay Packers they are just 4 quarters away from Eli's second Super Bowl. They have been playing aggressive hounding defense and the offense has been excellent also. I have the utmost confidence in Eli performing in the clutch when things get tough than I do in Alex Smith being able to duplicate what happened against the New Orleans Saints. I feel Eli and his running back tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs will be able to run enough to keep the defense honest and allow Eli to find Cruz and Nicks open in the secondary for a couple tuddies. I think New York's defense will rattle Alex Smith enough with hurries and knockdowns that he will throw at least 1 pick six. Frank Gore will be able to get 80 to 90 yards on the ground with one big run but it will ultimately be David Akers with four field goals as their only points of the contest. In order to win in the biggest game you have to hit pay dirt. The final score of the NFC Championship game will be New York Giants 24, San Fransisco 49ers 12.

Which brings me to AFC.

New England Patriots v. Baltimore Ravens.

What can you say about this game that hasn't already been said. You have future Hall of Fame players all over the field. New England's Tom Brady and Wes Welker (yes if he keeps it up. The guy just catches everything.) Baltamore's Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

The two teams are polar opposites of each other. New England seems to score at will. Baltimore will make you work for every yard you get. The problem is Baltimore's defense isn't as young as they used to be. It isn't just get us 17 points and we will take care of the rest. If it weren't for the Texans playing last week with third string quarterback T.J. Yates I think we are talking about Patriots v. Texans. Ray Lewis and company need big help from the their offense which I just don't see it happening. Joe Flacco is a good quarterback but Tom Brady he isn't. There have been reports this week about comments made by Ed Reed towards Joe Flacco and regardless of what they say that can't be good for team unity. It also doesn't help when you are playing against a team like New England who can smell blood in the water like a shark. New England's offense is more than capable of scoring and their defense is more than adequate. If they can just contain Ray Rice and not let him get astronomical rushing numbers then they have a wonderful chance to advance. Time of possession will be key. The more touches Brady gets the better chance the points rack up. If Brady gets help from the law firm BenJarvis Green-Ellis and he can be productive and help create some short third downs and keep them from third and longs it will be a good day for the Pats. I see Brady hooking up with Welker once, Gronkowski twice, and Brady sneaking in one as well. Ravens get a meaningless touchdown to Bolden in the final seconds and the final score of the AFC Championship game will be New England Patriots 31, Baltimore Ravens 13.

Setting up a rematch of Super Bowl XLII with the New England Patriots and the New York Football Giants.

I'm ready for another go. Aren't you???