NFL Championships open thread

posted at 12:30 pm on January 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

What a surprisingly good playoff series we have had in the NFL this year!  Most of the games have been exciting, close-run affairs, and one even went (oh so briefly) into overtime.  Three of the four teams still alive in the post-season have won Super Bowl titles in the last eleven years, and one team — the New England Patriots — has played in four of those games, winning three of them.  Home teams have won almost all of the games, while the one team with the biggest perceived home-field advantage, the Green Bay Packers, ended up losing to a team that made two other Super Bowl appearances in that time, the New York Giants.

Today’s games will produce this year’s Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of super games in the league championships.  Here are my picks:

  • Ravens at Patriots — The Baltimore Ravens have been two different teams this season — unbeatable at home but mediocre on the road.  The Patriots, on the other hand, only lost once at home and have been peaking toward the end of the season.  The weather will play against the Ravens, and the able but aging defense will have a tough time against Tom Brady and the New England offense.  The Patriots will go to their fifth Super Bowl in ten years with a 31-20 win over Baltimore.
  • Giants at 49ers — Eli Manning and the Giants are on a roll in the playoffs, dominating Atlanta at home and then Green Bay in Lambeau Field.  The 49ers barely beat the New Orleans Saints last week in a wild finish after having a 17-0 advantage over the Saints in the first quarter.  This one should be a shootout, and the 49ers have the home-field advantage, but something tells me that the Giants will play better ball control than the Saints did last week and prevail over the scrappy, big-heart San Francisco team.  Giants win 27-24.

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Giants ‘D’ holds. Niners just not getting it done on 3rd. *Giants haven’t either since early on, I will admit*

predator on January 22, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Come on Giants! Prove Obama right for once and go to the SB!!!

skeedro on January 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM

can’t give manning that kind of time.

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM

No overtime! I don’t have enough booze!

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM

SF has all 3 time outs.

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Damn! I may have to warm up the car for a quick run.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

lmao…..Wait!!!

19 seconds!!

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM

2 timeouts w/ 12 seconds

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:06 PM

and the smell of OT is in the rain-soaked air.

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:07 PM

OT!!

Ugly on January 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Overtime. What a great set of games.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM

NOW!!

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Peyton should’ve done the OT coin toss. “Heads. I heard him say heads. You callin’ me a liar?!”

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM

<< Imagining Predator's mad dash to the convenient store.

skeedro on January 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM

NOW!!

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM

LOL! *starts car, makes an Indy car type run to the corner store*

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Rain sure has picked up

Ugly on January 22, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Now that both teams have had a posesssion…we’re sudden death right?

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Yep

Ugly on January 22, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Now that both teams have had a posesssion…we’re sudden death right?

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Yes.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:22 PM

SACKED!!!!!!!

Ugly on January 22, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Giants recover! Yes!

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Oh crap, game over

Ugly on January 22, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Pats-Giants rematch

haner on January 22, 2012 at 10:29 PM

This. Is. INSANE!

abobo on January 22, 2012 at 10:30 PM

Hate to sound like a broken record, but there’s nothing wrong with a fair catch – the most underrated play in football.

This is the second playoff game single-handedly lost by a punt return guy.

This game is only in overtime because of the other dumb play by the same guy.

forest on January 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Turn out the lights…..

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM

GISNTS GOT IT!!!

abobo on January 22, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Oh, Happy Day!!

skeedro on January 22, 2012 at 10:34 PM

Houston, we have a rematch.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:34 PM

……the party’s over.

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 10:35 PM

And the fat lady sings!

Good job Giants!

Ugly on January 22, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Eli’s comming!

diogenes on January 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM

Believe

diogenes on January 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM

For all you soccer-hating football fans,

Yet again, the little guy wearing the soccer cleats makes or breaks the game.

Heh. Indeed.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Great game… I like those close ones where little things count and my team got beat.

Congrats Giants!!! Well Done!

lexhamfox on January 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Christien –

if you read his lips right after the kick he was saying

“I am a a real football player, I am a real football player”

Go back and watch it. I dare ya.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Yet again, the little guy wearing the soccer cleats makes or breaks the game.

Heh. Indeed.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Punt returners wear soccer shoes?

forest on January 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Coughlin > Belichick

Flash back to that old “Jetsons” episode ehere George and Spacely go to the Super Bowl.

All the players were Robots controlled by the Genius Coaches

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Yeap. You’re right. No doubt. Those 0-0 ties without a single call of gooooooaaaaallllll are a match for what we just watched. Never realized it until now.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Christien …the kicker couldn’t even get his helmet off. Hilarious.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

forest on January 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Look at the cleats. There’s your answer.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Yet again, the little guy wearing the soccer cleats makes or breaks the game.

Heh. Indeed.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Punt returners wear soccer shoes?

forest on January 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Good point.

And Yeh I am pretty sure OchoStinko could have made that kick.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:42 PM

I will enjoy Ravens fans whining. Music to my ears.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

You won’t see me whine. Lee Evans keeps both hands on the ball and the Ravens are in the Super Bowl. The future looks bright for my Ravens while the Stealers will be fighting for 3rd in the division next year. You know, being $30 million over the cap has a way of gutting an aging defense…

ManWithNoName on January 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM

Great game and great season, Niners fans! Those turnovers are killers–Saints fans feel your pain.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:44 PM

:( lost it by a knee…………..

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Both great sports, and I love ‘em both.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Joe Biden was right, the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl!

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Everything in the ’80s was better, not least of which was the 49ers. These clowns didn’t convert a single 3rd down. That’s a team trying to continue the superbowl legend of 49er’s?

keep the change on January 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Both great sports, and I love ‘em both.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:46 PM

And I can respect that. Just pokin’ some fun at ya.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM

You won’t see me whine. Lee Evans keeps both hands on the ball and the Ravens are in the Super Bowl. The future looks bright for my Ravens while the Stealers will be fighting for 3rd in the division next year. You know, being $30 million over the cap has a way of gutting an aging defense…

ManWithNoName on January 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM

You just did whine. I see I struck a chord.

The one thing you can count on with the Steelers is they will be back,
A Ravens fan should know that. You were predicting a 9 in 7 or 8 and 8 season for the Steelers. How did that go?

Oh and you have Flacco. So sorry.

What is that lifetime record for Bmore vs. the Steelers? How about in the playoffs? Do tell.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Yeap. You’re right. No doubt. Those 0-0 ties without a single call of gooooooaaaaallllll are a match for what we just watched. Never realized it until now.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Check out the number of ties vs. wins. Exciting.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/standings/2011

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Check out the number of ties vs. wins. Exciting.

http://www.mlssoccer.com/standings/2011

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Heh. Yep. As many ties, or more, as winners. How very Euro. No wonder we had to bail them out of two World Wars. *I still think you’re cool, Christien*

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM

OK, football fans, I’m out. Gotta get up for work at four.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Brady vs Manning 2: The blood feud!

abobo on January 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Also as a long time Pats/Sox fan since the 70′s the arrogance of the damn bandwagon jumpers has also a tendency to “make me upset” once my teams started posting wining seasons.

F15Mech on January 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM

predator on January 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Hope you’ll chant USA! USA! with me when we get our first World Cup.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM

The New York Football Giants ain’t scared. Tommy Bundchen will get a pounding just like the last time.

Stu Gotts on January 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM

has also a tendency S/B also has a tendency (My typing skills suck)

F15Mech on January 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Okay, now that the 9ers have lost I will probably watch the SB. I wasn’t going to watch if the 9ers where in the game.

Voter from WA State on January 22, 2012 at 10:54 PM

I say this about the Pats. I guess I will spend a good day with the kids instead.

watertown on January 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM

YAY G-MEN!!!!!!

It really is a case of Deja BLUE!

RedRobin145 on January 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Stu Gotts on January 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Is Bundchen his maiden or middle name? I thought it was “Imthebestdecisionthisorganizationevermade.”

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Brady vs Manning 2: The blood feud!

abobo on January 22, 2012 at 10:58 PM

I hope this super bowl is less boring then the last one.

F15Mech on January 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Eli isn’t getting out of a sack and throwing a miracle like the last superbowl. He’d better score quickly and often, and the defense better pick it up or Brady is going to pick them apart.

Stray Cat on January 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM

You just did whine. I see I struck a chord.

The one thing you can count on with the Steelers is they will be back,
A Ravens fan should know that. You were predicting a 9 in 7 or 8 and 8 season for the Steelers. How did that go?

Oh and you have Flacco. So sorry.

What is that lifetime record for Bmore vs. the Steelers? How about in the playoffs? Do tell.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Didn’t strike a nerve, just stating the obvious. Flacco has far more upside than Roethlisberger at this point. I never thought they’d have less than 10 wins either. We’ll see how the ‘revamped’ Stealers look next year. I will miss Arians calling pass plays on 3rd and short downs though.

ManWithNoName on January 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Eli isn’t getting out of a sack and throwing a miracle like the last superbowl. He’d better score quickly and often, and the defense better pick it up or Brady is going to pick them apart.

Stray Cat on January 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Ummm…you do realize the Giants have already beaten the Patriots in week 9 this season?

Mitoch55 on January 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Ummm…you do realize the Giants have already beaten the Patriots in week 9 this season?

Mitoch55 on January 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM

I do realize that. That was then. Whole different ballgame now. And no I’m not a Pats or Giants fan. I do like Eli though.

Stray Cat on January 22, 2012 at 11:28 PM

We were in a restaurant earlier today, & we all said, “Gross, who’s destroying the national anthem?”
We kept watching as the cameras scanned the players & the crowd, & finally they showed some old geezer with a big crazy wig.
Disaster!

itsnotaboutme on January 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Flacco has far more upside than Roethlisberger at this point. ManWithNoName on January 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Gotta say that I suspect Flacco had a better quarterback rating than Manning, Brady or Smith today. For what that’s worth. ESPN touting up Manning as elite. 32/58 passes? Mediocre at best. The Giant special teams won in overtime. At least Brady admitted it when he had a bad game.

Christian Conservative on January 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Ummm…you do realize the Giants have already beaten the Patriots in week 9 this season?

Mitoch55 on January 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM

I do realize that. That was then. Whole different ballgame now. And no I’m not a Pats or Giants fan. I do like Eli though.

Stray Cat on January 22, 2012 at 11:28 PM

And Giants had a number of key players come back from injuries since then giving them a boost. Having Giants as undergods now is an easy bet in Vegas, they’ll beat Pats yet again.

riddick on January 23, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Christian Conservative on January 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM

you couldn’t be more wrong

i doubt any other qb in the league could have done better bunder the circumstances

no blocking, in climate weather, no run game, took what the san fran D gave which wasn’t much, but was enough

that was a gutsiest of gutsy performances

Sonosam on January 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

And Giants had a number of key players come back from injuries since then giving them a boost.

As did the Pats.

crazy_legs on January 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Flacco has far more upside than Roethlisberger at this point. ManWithNoName on January 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Gotta say that I suspect Flacco had a better quarterback rating than Manning, Brady or Smith today. For what that’s worth. ESPN touting up Manning as elite. 32/58 passes? Mediocre at best. The Giant special teams won in overtime. At least Brady admitted it when he had a bad game.
Christian Conservative on January 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Flacco would have died under the same circumstances

Sonosam on January 23, 2012 at 9:38 AM

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I’ll give the G-men credit for playing excellent defense though out the game—(only one third down conversion by the Niners and Smith) and kudos to Manning and his offensive line that gave him all day to complete passes thru three quarters of the game, (Victor Cruz was awesome), but it was two critical mistakes by a replacement kick returner that handed the Giants another trip to the Superbowl. Just like Roger Craig’s untimely fumble in the Championship Game in 1991, another 49er has passed/fumbled a gift to the Giants. The 49ers made it to the playoffs with a great defense that forced turnovers. Last night it was their own turnovers that brought their season to an end. Good luck in the SB G-Men, but remember, you owe us Niners two now.

(note: As much as Vernon Davis contributed to the scoring in this game, he must also be reprimanded for his two stupid penalties, both unforced and unnecessary.)

(second note: The 49ers are in desperate need of some quality wide receivers. Again, I give the deserved credit to the Giants overall defense and their secondary, but Smith and the Niners can’t expect to make it to a Superbowl with only one receiver that can get open, (separation), who happens to be a tight end.

While it was a heartbreak to see the Niners lose in this fashion, as I’ve said in other post, for a team that went 6-10 last year to a team that was a few mistakes away from going to their first SB in many years, (thanks to Jim Harbaugh, a great coaching staff, and the talent they have to build on), the future for this team looks certainly brighter than the previous years of futility. The 49ers will be back.

Last note: To the PATHETIC humans that have posted death threats to Kyle Williams on twitter and other sites—GET A LIFE! It’s only a game!

Rovin on January 23, 2012 at 9:46 AM

<blockquoteIs Bundchen his maiden or middle name? I thought it was “Imthebestdecisionthisorganizationevermade.”

Do you doubt it?

WyattsTorch on January 23, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Ummm…you do realize the Giants have already beaten the Patriots in week 9 this season?

Mitoch55 on January 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM

So are you saying the game should be cancelled?

Wade on January 23, 2012 at 4:24 PM

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