Jazz: And now we come to the end of another season of Hot Air football prognostication follies. After bringing home the W in the regular season, the postseason has been a bit of a rough ride. Ed pulled ahead early, but last week I managed to pick the Patriots and go 1-1, bringing me to a 6-4 tie. So now it all comes down to this. I would do the Aragorn Black Gates speech at this point, but frankly, I’m not that inspired. And yet, it’s once more into the void. Let’s wrap this season up in style.
Ed: Here I was, skating into the championship weekend with a 6-2 record, and all of a sudden bad luck hit me like, oh, a defensive back slamming into a receiver about ten minutes before the ball arrived. WTH? Not that the Rams don’t deserve credit for a gutsy effort in a very hostile arena, but there will always be a very big asterisk on their win. Thankfully both games turned out to be wildly entertaining, with two OTs and lots of drama and occasionally competent officiating. Can’t wait to see what we get tonight!
Jazz: So who will hoist the Lombardi trophy tonight? Sure, I know that New England is the favorite. Normally we break down the season stats, looking at who puts up the most yards and points, whose defense has the most stops, sacks and interceptions. We can also talk about who has the most experience in the postseason and all the pressure that entails. Are the Rams the clear leader in any of those areas? Nope. But guess what… I don’t care. We’re down to Any Given Sunday and I will remind you of a story from my boyhood. Fifty years ago, the New York Jets showed up at the Super Bowl to play the Colts. And the Colts were an 18 point favorite on the Vegas line. Everyone knew they were going to win. To top it all off, many tall tales suggest that Joe Namath showed up for the game with a hangover. (Others have hinted that he cured it with some hair of the dog.) There was no way they could take down the Colts. And yet they did. And they become legends. And tonight, the Rams will do the same to the Patriots. Why do I know this? I don’t. But I just want to see that look on Brady’s face. I’m taking Los Angeles to win it 31-24 over the Patriots.
Ed: Let’s just acknowledge that almost no one outside the state of Massachusetts will be rooting for the Pats. As a native Angeleno myself, I’ll be pulling for the Rams to win one for LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana, obviously). They played a tough game on the road last week and beat a high-performing team, so it’s too glib to call them unprepared for the big game. However, the Pats did the exact same thing last week too, and they’ve been doing this for seventeen years. They have a bad taste in their mouth from last year when the Eagles pulled a J-E-T-S on them out of nowhere. They’re not taking anything for granted and they want some vindication for last year’s upset loss.
I will offer a couple of insights from the season stats. Both teams had top-five offenses and mid-range defenses. They’re about as evenly matched as any Super Bowl contenders can be. Both teams are relatively healthy, with each team missing one wide receiver. The Pats’ defense was slightly stingier, however; they were seventh in points allowed, while the Rams were twentieth. That plus the experience of both the coaching staff and key players for the Pats in these situations will make the difference. I’ll predict that the game ends Patriots 28-23 over the Rams.