NFL FINAL FOUR ~ Who’s Going to the Superbowl? Update: Bumped ~ Injury Report Added
posted at 8:30 am on January 21, 2012 by Rovin
While I’m sure Ed will have a thread up on the main page on Sunday, why not start the conversation. There’s certainly plenty to talk about after last weekend where two teams that were expected to win, didn’t, leaving two top ranked quarterbacks in the NFL sitting at home on Sunday.
The battle at Candlestick between the Saints and Niners was one for the ages pitting the Saints #1 ranked offense against one of the best defenses. Yet few predicted that Alex Smith and the Niners would put 36 points on the board, and as it turned out they needed almost every point. Drew Brees did not disappoint with his aerial show going 40/63 with 435 yards in the air. But the Niners defense and special teams proved to be the difference in the end picking up five turnovers by the Saints. The Niners also completely shut down the Saints ground game with 14 carries and only 37 yards, basically making the Saints a one dimensional team. But it would take a 14 yard strike from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis with nine seconds left on the clock for the Niners to pull out the victory. The 49ers will face the New York Giants at home this Sunday in the late game, (3:30 pm Pacific—6:30 pm ET), on FOX. Both teams are coming off tremendous emotional highs by defeating their favored foes last weekend.
Arguably, the hottest team in the NFL took down Aaron Rogers and the vaunted Packers with relative ease on Sunday 37-20. Rusty, and emotionally drained were the words I heard the most about the Packer’s poor play, and counting the starters that were rested in their last game against Detroit, sports pundits thought the Packers had lost some momentum in an otherwise stellar 15-1 season. But the 49ers, Ravens, and Patriots all won their division games with a similar length of rest. All that said, it is this football fan’s opinion that the Giants just flat out took the Packers to the woodshed while exposing the worst rated defense in the NFL giving up an average of 411.6 yds per game and 299 average thru the air. Eli Manning went 21/33 for 330 yards and three TD’s while throwing just one INT. Sporting a 27th ranked defense themselves, the Giants played relentless recovering three fumbles while forcing Rogers to scramble often away from his comfort zone. If the Giants play anywhere near this level on Sunday, they will have a legitimate shot at playing in the Superbowl.
Over in the AFC, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were anything but rusty as the Pats put up 35 points in the first half against Tim Tebow and the Broncos before coasting to a 45-10 victory. Brady’s offense looked like a well oiled machine in each of their drives while Denver could find nothing to stop them. Brady went 26/34 for 363 yards and playoff record six TD’s. The Patriots will host the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game at 1:00 pm Pacific, (3:00 pm ET), on CBS.
In the Sunday morning game the Baltimore Ravens held off a stubborn Houston Texan’s team 20-13 setting the stage for another classic between the Ravens and the Patriots. The Ravens intercepted T.J. Yates three times and the Texans’ lost a fumble setting the tone for a sloppy game. I looked like Yates was forcing the ball into tight coverage several times instead of finding his check down receivers. Both teams played decent defense, yet the Ravens gave up 132 yards to Arian Foster, but the turnovers were just too much for the Texans to overcome. I’m thinking this Houston team will be back in the playoffs and a force in the AFC South for many years to come.
So, who’s going the BIG SHOW? Some one said the NFL was already printing Patriots-Giants tee shirts. While I’m not sure how the AFC Championship game will turn out, I think the Niners defense will shut down Eli and the Giants enough to put the “Gold-Diggers” back into another Superbowl after a long drought.
Of course, most of you should know by now I’m a lifelong 49er “Faithful”.
Update: Injury Report Added
Complete injury report here at the NFL SITE (Note: the Patriot’s injury report is longer than the other three teams combined—wonder how much of this damage came from the Texans???
Giants Injury Report (provided by the BleacherReport)
TE Jake Ballard (knee)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)
QB Eli Manning (illness)
C David Bass (illness)
LB Mark Herzlich (ankle)
CB Corey Webster (hamstring)
DE Justin Tuck (shoulder)
DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle)
WR Hakeem Nicks (ankle)
49ers Injury Report
CB Tarell Brown (thigh)
WR Ted Ginn (knee)
C Jonathan Goodwin (calf)
LB Patrick Willis (knee)
S Dashon Goldson (ankle)
TE Delanie Walker (jaw)
The Ravens Injury Report is only listing safety Ed Reed (ankle) as probable. As I’ve mentioned above, the Pat’s IR reads like a laundry list of “owies” and you can see it at this same Ravens link.