NFL Divisional Playoff Trash Talk – Platinum Style!

Yes, it used to be that all that glitters turns to gold. How archaic that is; it’s platinum now baybee! Our football weekend is now down to eight teams and four games. All pro, because the student athletes have all returned to the classroom (okay, yes, most of them are probably rolling in South Beach and setting up their off season PED schedules, but a boy can dream, no?). There has been some movement of the coaching and GM fronts, but none of it all that earth shattering, so lets get down to business.

The best games are the two Saturday matchups. First up is the Ravens at Denver. No reason to name check the players here, you know who will be on the field and how great they are. The key factor really may be the weather. “Mostly cloudy with isolated snow showers. Highs around 17.” Brrrrrrrrr! Trust me, it is COLD in Denver when conditions are like that, and there is no dome like Peyton had in Indy. Partially due to the cold, partially to not fully restored grip from his nerve injury, Manning has taken to wearing a glove in the cold for the Broncos. It may not be optimal, but I expect he will deal, and it will be no hayride for Flacco either. Both defenses are strong and relatively healthy, so the game may well come down to who gets untracked, Ray Rice or Knowshon Moreno. this could be a great game, but it is, after all, in Mile High. Oh, and Peyton has won nine straight against the Ravens. I think this is the end of the line for Ray Lewis. Donkos get er done.

The nightcap Saturday is maybe the topper of the weekend. Pack at Candlestick Park to visit the Niners. This is like old times, back in the day of Favre and Montana/Young, the road to the the NFC Championship always seemed to involve these two teams against each other. And it was always a killer matchup. Still is. This year, the Niners rolled The Cheese in GB early in the year. But that was before the Pack got untracked; they seem to have some of the momentum back now, and have even found a decent, though not spectacular, running game. Dujuan Harris is no Frank Gore, but he has given the GB offense some help with tough yards. Both defenses have all their key folks back and ready to go. Both teams have had problems with their place kicking, but Mason Crosby has been good the last two games. But in the Aaron Rodgers versus Colin Kaepernick battle, you have to take Discount Doublecheck (and he STILL has a chip on his shoulder over the Niners not drafting him as a hometown hero). Cheese Baby!

The Sunday slate opens with Seattle at Atlanta. This should be a great game, pairing maybe the hottest NFC team, the Squawks, versus the number one seed, Atlanta. Try as I might though, it still doesn’t seem to have the luster of the Saturday games. Seattle looks like a steamroller right now and Atlanta seems kind of underwhelming for a number one seed. Make no mistake however, the Dirty Birds and Matt Ryan are traditionally extremely hard to beat in their home dome, and they are very solid. The Falcons are desperate to avoid a fifth straight playoff loss, the Squawks are on a serious roll; something has to give. My head says take Atlanta at home; my gut says Seattle gets the upset.

Last, and emotionally kind of least, is Houston at New England. Lately it has been Houston playing like patsies, not the Bill Bels. As good as the Texans have been over the entirety of the season, it is just darn near impossible to generate any sense of belief in them right now. Last week Houston looked like crap in barely holding off the Bengals, who played pathetically. Four weeks ago, the Texans were blown out at Foxborough, and the Pats didn’t even have The Gronk that game. Gronk is back, and Tom Brady is not going to let up off the gas. Adam Shefter thinks the Texans might be an upset special. Not me, I think the Texans have a problem. Ring the Bill Bel!

There is the ultra shiny Platinum Coin Playoff lineup folks. In some regards, this is the best weekend of the NFL year, what with two must watch games on both days. Great stuff. Music by Simon and Garfunkel with a Hazy Shade of Winter, cause it will be just that in Denver at Mile High.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
106 replies
  1. Bay State Librul says:

    If you believe in the statistical wisdom of Nate Silver, than it’s Patriots v Seattle.

    My homegrown picks:

    Baltimore upsetting Denver.
    SF edging Green Bay
    Pats by a whisker and
    Seattle over Hotlanta

    Pats kill the Poe-men
    SF takes down Seattle

    and The Pats match up with SF

    What, nothing on the Hall of Fame shutout.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    “AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong plans to admit to doping throughout his career during an upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey, USA Today reported late Friday.”

    On deck, Roger Clemens.

  3. Bay State Librul says:


    This summer MacNamee v Clemens defamation suit will go to trial.
    The good state of New York will fry his Yankee arse.

  4. phred says:

    Happy Packer Day All! So lets see, I agree with bmaz (mostly): Broncos, Packers, Falcons, and I picked Houston for an upset just for fun : ) Heck, I’m last in my pool this year, it doesn’t really matter who I pick ; ) As long as my Cheesers win, I’m a happy camper : )

    Just as an aside bmaz, all the platinum in the world won’t buy us separation of powers… Congress threw the game years ago. Good thing I like bananas ; )

  5. phred says:

    @Bay State Librul: Just for the record, I don’t ; )

    By the way, is anyone else as repelled as I am by the prospect of Armstrong prostrating himself before Oprah? Good lord doping is one thing, sacrificing one’s dignity on the altar of pop culture is another. I had more respect for the guy when he was just a cheat.

  6. Bay State Librul says:


    St Augustine’s Confessions, The Confessions of Nate Turner?
    If he was sincere, he should follow Thomas Merton’s path to the Abbey
    of Gethsemane………

  7. bmaz says:

    @phred: Just to be clear, and so I can really go up in flames when I am wrong, my final call was with the Squawks over the Dirty Birds.

  8. bmaz says:

    Adam Schefter: “John Elway to Tom Jackson on Peyton Manning: “He’s a great player with a chip on his shoulder, which is always dangerous.””

  9. rosalind says:

    @phred: i must decline your most generous offer.

    (however should things go south for my West, i will be forced to switch to West-Coast roots rooting – San Mateo boy Tom Brady! Chico son Aaron Rodgers! – so there is hope for you yet!!)

  10. emptywheel says:

    @Bay State Librul: Trying to find the wedding invite envelope I picked out the bracket on. I know I said Atl would beat the Squawks–now rethinking that. I know I said the 9ers would win through. Said Ray Lewis would beat Peyton–I think w/Peyton’s arm strength down you free up the D to collapse in on Peyton and pressure him. And I definitely took the Patsies today.

    Still, I hate picking the Pats, bc if they lose, then I’m doubly bummed.

  11. angry bitter drunk says:

    It was obvious to me from a long time back that Armstrong was a liar. He was just such a bully, and I figured he wouldn’t be unless he needed to cover up his conduct behind the scenes. It still disgusts me that some media yahoos defended him as long as they did.

    On the other hand, many others immediately saw John Edwards as a phoney, and I didn’t get that from him. I guess early in the 2008 primary circus I was more impressed by his rhetoric and didn’t really start to consider his character till he threw Marcotte and that other blogger under the bus.

    It’s just funny that different people can get a read on some people, while missing the true character of others…

  12. angry bitter drunk says:

    @emptywheel: My sense is Seattle is overrated and over-publicized, because the media has fallen in love with its Russell Wilson-is-so-tiny-and-cute narrative. They also push the Falcons-can’t-be-good-because-they-lost-in-2010-and-2011-meme, which is, you know, bullshit. I’m very confident Atlanta wins that game convincingly.

    My sense is the Packers and Broncos are the best teams, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Niners, Patriots or even the Falcons get to the Super Bowl…

  13. emptywheel says:

    @phred: Look on the bright side. Such self-flagellation used to be done at Billy Graham’s altar. So I’m grateful a secular black woman has replaced that ritual.

  14. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: I really vacillate on the Squawks and Falcons. The Falcons are exceptional in their home dome. Like a ridiculously good record. But the Chees went down there and waxed the in their Super Bowl Run a couple of years ago, so they can be had in the playoffs.

    Cheese and the Peytons, oh what a glorious day!

  15. emptywheel says:

    @rosalind: Also, I wish I could remember where, in the second week of the season, I said NFC W was most improved division. I picked the 9ers to win it all before the season (had my doubts in the middle of the seasons, but I’m a believer again). But I’ve had so much fun watching the Squawks come on, even though I don’t like Carroll and have always disliked the Squawks.

  16. rosalind says:

    @emptywheel: totally, just for the sheer amusement factor of watching the East-Coast media heavies freak out: “no one is going to watch two West Coast teams!!”

  17. Peterr says:

    Donks (though the prospect of repeated shots of Elway grinning at the nation really disturbs me)

    Cheese (comparing these 9ers with Teh 9ers of Yore is a really big stretch, and as a former East Bay person, rooting against the 9ers is not much of a stretch at all)

    DirtyBirds (just because)

    BillBels (Houston is playing like patsies maybe because they are at this point)

  18. TheraP says:


    The whole thing disgusts me. I view Armstrong as so desperate for attention that he’s willing to grovel for it.

    He’s only after an audience. Reminds me of Sarah Palin in that way.

  19. scribe says:

    Tuned in just in time to see some really sloppy kicking game play by the Crows, then Flacco as the second coming of Darryl Lamonaca and shortly thereafter Bad Peyton shows up -> 14 Balmer points in 42 seconds.

    Surely isn’t a boring game so far….

  20. scribe says:

    Hell, I just wish it would get boring for about 15 minutes so I could get my dinner going and not miss anything.

  21. Peterr says:

    Dan Dierdorf sounds like he wants to slap on some pads and get out on the field. The game is clearly bringing back some old memories . . .

  22. JohnLopresti says:

    I want to be generous to the guitar-playing guys in the clip…probably the penultimate time I paid to go to a movie, guy called dustin Hoffman played college “Graduate” to Anne Bancroft’s Mrs. Robinson. One of the scores was a nice canonical riff. Terry Gross probably still is protecting Hoffman; in an interchange in the interview, Bancroft describes Hoffman’s screenplay mandates, where there was ambiguity in the script as written. I am not sure the date of the interview; but it was sufficiently modern that the Mrs. Robinson’s character’s being 40 years old afforded a chuckle to both Bancroft and Gross. Sometimes npr sanitizes those interviews; a Keith Richards interview comes to mind in that regard.

    I ain’t got much to say about Candlestick. I remember how wierd the hill it was scraped into in South San Francisco seemed, approximately contemporary to “The Graduate(‘s)” liberal message. I guess the guys still were waiting to emigrate from Kezar.

    Those were rough times for Simon and Garfunkel, and it was surprising they still could play together. It was almost as if each of them was too kind to sing folksong or movie score, and too hard driving musically to make up stuff just so song lyrics would be pretty. But I believe the movie’s opening and closing both were filmed at UC Berkeley. As a 2nd or 3rd year postgrad, I was ashamed UC was so portrayed. Though some of it could have been about me, at the time.

  23. emptywheel says:

    @rosalind: I’m BACK!

    And FWIW, the LAST play before the salon started and the FIRST play after the salon ends have resulted in Manning lemon-sucking-face. (Tho the Donkos will get this back)

    And my prediction that the Ravens could throw on Champ has played out. AND the Ravens are beginning to get to Peyton.

  24. Peterr says:

    @emptywheel: If the Donks lose, it’s going to cause great consternation in Oakland. The call on that fumble is IMHO doubtful, and reminiscent of the infamous “tuck rule” game in which the Patriots beat the Raiders.

    Raiders fans have little love for folks in Denver, but if this call costs them the game, that may change.

  25. Peterr says:

    Charlie Pierce weighs in:

    I see where Nate Silver, who is always right, has picked a New England-Seattle Super Bowl. Suppressing my feeling that Nate is just fking with people like Joe Scarborough now, I can see the New England half of that happening, but not until we all come through a possible Tom-and-Peyton tsunami in the AFC championship game, but I can’t see Seattle winning two road playoff games in a row, especially if the second one is in Green Bay in January, even if Al Gore is correct about that climate thing.

    Click through to discover that the center of the galaxy smells like raspberries and tastes like rum.

  26. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: I got yer Lemon Sucking Face for ya.

    Right here!

    Though such proffer will probably cost me when it comes to the primary Cheese. Let me say that I only have so much Lemon Sucking Face so as to not offend football gods for CHEESE purposes.

    Let the record reflect the same.

  27. phred says:

    Tap, tap, tap,… ummm, is it Packer time yet??? I hate these slow drawn out defensive slogs in the playoffs ; )

    By the way, Peterr, did you read the first comment (and responses) on Charlie’s post? Hilarious : )

  28. phred says:

    @emptywheel: Nice job hosting Trevor. I’m looking forward to that book. I only had time to stop in briefly, but I read through the thread…

    And as I type, I can feel a Manning lemon-sucking face coming on… ; )

  29. angry bitter drunk says:

    Wow what a choke by the Broncos. They might have lost that game when they didn’t throw on third down at the end of regulation. They absolutely lost when they didn’t throw on that 3rd-and-1 in OT.

    Gawd it was like watching Denny Green in ’98, or Schottenheimer… any number of times.

  30. emptywheel says:

    @angry bitter drunk: I think Peyton is FAR weaker than anyone is letting on. Certainly, I think kneeling w/30 seconds left is testament that he COULDN’T score.

    If so, a lot of the seemingly inexplicable play calls in that game start to make sense.

  31. bmaz says:

    Just fuck me. Man I suck at football prognostication. Clearly y’all ought to roll with the Dirty Birds and Tejans tomorrow. Wow.

  32. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: I have not always been this right (6-0 thus far, assuming nothing crazy happens in Candlestick). But this year I’m on.

  33. phred says:

    Congrats rosalind!

    Good luck to your 9ers : ) They are my favorite NFC contender left…

    Just wait ’til next year, though ; )

  34. emptywheel says:

    @phred: You know, getting you and Rosalind in the same place is more than enough reason for you to book tickets to NN next year.

  35. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Hello. Lemme second this thought. You know, last year I failed to get Marcy on the dance floor in the basement of the biker bar (other constitutional oriented wonderful girls were not so lucky as to escape though). This year, I want to dance with all the girls! (Caveat: I am the WORST dancer in in the history of human males).

  36. Phoenix Woman says:

    The Ravens-Broncos game was hard for me. On the one hand, I wanted to see Ray Lewis have at least one more game before he hangs it up for good; on the other hand, I knew a Broncos loss would get the Tebow worshippers out trying to proclaim that their boy (whose playing time with the 6-10 Jets this year didn’t seem to have helped them all that much) would have beat the Birdies.

  37. Peterr says:


    Bmaz, before you answer that question, you need to be aware of the consequences.

    If you say “no,” Green Bay Packers, Inc. will repossess your Cheesehead headgear and the State of Wisconsin will ban you from setting foot within the boundaries of the State, unless it is for the purpose of learning to polka, in which case a “learner’s permit” must be carried on your person at all times.

    If you say “yes,” it had better be true. Or at least, it had better be true by NN . . .

  38. ess emm says:

    Brian Billick just announced he’s going to Gitmo this summer. Great work down there he says. Jesus.

  39. phred says:

    @Peterr: ROTFLMAO, Peterr ol’ chum, I had no idea you were so familiar with my home state ; )

    Between the prospect of meeting rosalind in person and hearing a polka played at a hippie convention, how can I resist??? ; )

  40. orionATL says:

    i’ve watched ryan pull this win-out-a-hat trick every year since he was a rookie.

    but, boy, those play-callin’ coaches need some coaching.

  41. Peterr says:

    @phred: There are *lots* of Lutherans in Wisconsin.

    I’ve had many hilarious conversations with other pastors, when the conversation turns to odd questions/situations that come up when congregations interview candidates to be their new pastor. In the present context, the question asked of a friend of mine comes to mind: “Pastor, what do you think of a ‘polka liturgy’?”

  42. phred says:

    @Peterr: LOL : ) An idea whose time has clearly come!

    Oh to have seen the look on your friend’s face and to have heard the answer ; )

  43. scribe says:

    @phred: You’d be well advised to give the polka people what they want. If you do, they will be devoted to supporting you forever.

    A relative has been playing the accordion for over 70 years now, and there are no musicians or fans more serious or devoted than the polka people.

    Please, take my word for it.

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