NFL Championship Sunday Trash Talk

As exciting as the Women’s March was yesterday, and it was stunningly awesome to behold, today we have football. And not just any football, it is Championship Sunday.

First up is Green Bay at Atlanta. The Pack has been on such a roll of late that it is hard to bet against them. But Atlanta has to be favored. They are at home and Matt Ryan has also been on a Rodgers like spree himself. The Falcons also have a better running game. But what really makes the difference is just how banged up Green Bay’s receiving and defensive back corps are. They are running on fumes in both. From the Journal-Sentinel:

Barring any setbacks during pregame workouts, receivers Jordy Nelson (broken ribs), Davante Adams (ankle) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring), and safety Morgan Burnett (thigh) are going to be available, according to a league source. Nelson, Adams, Allison and Burnett all remained questionable after practice Saturday, which means they have a 1 percent to 50 percent chance of playing.

The Packers made one change to their injury report after their Saturday morning practice, listing running back Christine Michael questionable with a back injury.

How bad is it? The Cheese just elevated rookie Max McCaffrey from the practice squad just in case, and he has never played in a real NFL game. Also, Clay Matthews has not been quite the same since suffering a shoulder injury a while back, though he is fully playing. When you get down to it, I just think the Falcons will score slightly more than the Pack, but should be fun to watch. Now if the Pack defense really puts on a game, then all bets are off.

Some healthy scoring and a close game might be on store for Pittsburgh at New England too, though it is doubtful it will be the kind of shootout the first game promises. Big Ben and Tom Brady. Brady is 9-2 against the Steelers and has blistered them in the process. But, as Fox Sports points out, Brady has been rather pedestrian in AFC Championship games:

In 10 appearances in the AFC title game, Brady has a 76.3 passer rating, 12 TDs and 12 INTs. That’s more like Brock Osweiler than Tom Brady.

And for all the talk of Ben, Bell and Brown as an offensive juggernaut, it has been the Steelers defense that has them to this point. The Pittsburgh offense managed just 18 points on 6 field goals last week against the Chefs. But the defense, once again led by the seemingly ageless James Harrison, was tough as nails.

I can’t find a way to bet against the Pats, especially at Foxborough, but this could be a hell of a game. I look for Brady to put up enough points to take this one, and it also should not be forgotten that the Pats are much better than people think at running back, between Blount and Dion Lewis both at full speed.

UPDATE: The Steelers were rousted by someone pulling the fire alarm in their hotel as they slept. Authorities have released a forensic sketch of the suspect, and it is attached to the right.

And there you have it. Music today is a brand new song, “Shine” by Pat Benatar done specially for the Women’s March and in support of related causes. It is really pretty kick ass, give it a try.

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.
41 replies
  1. Bay State Librul says:

    Good analysis

    Prediction:

    If the Pats lose, Don the Con will claim the Patsies won.

    Fucking Don has jinxed us

     

  2. scribe says:

    Well, it’s that time of year again:  today, not two weeks from now, is the day NFL teams play the best football of the year.

    It’s a doozy pair of matchups:  Mr. DiscountDoublecheck rolling into HotLanta, the town everyone save King Roger the Coward forgot.  And in the late game my Stillers cough and puke flu bugs all over Foxboro.

    Quick take:  I think the Pack will take their game.  Aaron Rogers is just too hot to stop.  Hard to believe now that people (myself included) were chapped with Pack management for ditching Favruh for him.

    King Roger the Coward-Clown will continue his effort to avoid facing the Krafts, Cheatin’ Bill, Biebs and tens of thousands of rabid fans, not to mention James Silverback Harrison and the rest of the Stillers.  To that end, he chose to go to Atlanta for the second straight week, casting a plethora of signals to all who care to look that the Royal Selection for winning the Super Bowl is Atlanta.  And reaffirming that King Roger is a moral and physical coward.

    But, to be fair, going to New England he would run a real risk of actual trouble.  Beyond Patsies’ fans flying banner planes past King Roger’s clifftop lair and accosting him at the supermarket with chants of “Free Tom Brady” (http://wjbq.com/one-of-our-employees-shouted-free-tom-brady-at-roger-goodell-in-a-grocery-store-video/ note that the guy was not fired but rather that his employer posted the story with pride), The Krafts have thrown down.  As Mr. Kraft The Younger said last week:  “Owners don’t extend invitations”.  He then pleaded ignorance on how “Park Avenue” decides where the Commissioner will go to attend games.  http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/patriots/the_blitz/2017/01/jonathan_kraft_on_roger_goodell_in_foxboro_owners_dont_extend

    This week, Kraft The Elder went further:  “Sometimes, the league really messes up, and I think they really messed this up badly,” he said in a wide-ranging discussion in his Gillette Stadium office here. “But we’ve all agreed to subjugate our right to disrupt everything” — the Patriots declined to fight the league over financial penalties it levied on the team — “I mean, we can, but we’re a partnership. There’s jealousy, there’s envy, there’s stupidity. Sometimes, life is unfair, and you have to suck it up and move on and not use it as an excuse.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/sports/football/patriots-robert-kraft-nfl-roger-goodell.html?_r=0

    I mean, a high school kid turning in Exponent’s report on allegedly deflated footballs would have failed physics because it defied the Ideal Gas Law.  But, as noted in a scorching editorial (on the Chelsea Manning commutation – Chelsea blew the whistle and went to prison,  the war criminals she exposed never felt a handcuff) last week in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, law protects the powerful and buries their dark secrets while exerting its full weight on the poor and powerless.  And that’s what the Second Circuit did.  It protected King Roger and his minions, ignored high school physics and, as noted here back when, even increased their power.

    All that said, Biebs, Cheatin’ Bill and the Patsies have been taking it out in the best way, the way your coaches and parents told you to:  excel, don’t retaliate, and ram your success in your oppressors’ faces.  They come into this game with a lot in their favor:  Biebs, Blount, Edelman, Malcom Butler, and most of their team healthy.  And good coaching.

    The Stillers come to Foxboro also healthy, at least in the football injury sense.  The flu went through their locker room earlier this week, though today’s reports say those who had it are recovered or recovering in time for the game.  They, too, have someone King Roger the Coward wants to avoid:  James Silverback Harrison.  There was that story about him coming out of a pile holding a human heart http://www.theonion.com/graphic/james-harrison-comes-up-from-bottom-of-pile-with-h-18902

    It seems the League’s “random” drug testing schedule isn’t so random after all.  Harrison reports he’s been tested at least 5 times this season.  Indeed, he was tested on December 1, 12 and 16.  This, while a number of (less prominent) Stillers haven’t been tested at all.  It would seem Harrison’s exoneration from the false charges raised by al Jazeera last year didn’t sit well with “Park Avenue” and they’ve set out to get him.  He continues to perform at a very high level, sacking Alex Brown last week and getting 6 tackles and 2 stuffs.  As Golic said “I want to be James Harrison strong for one day.”  You should note, too, that after the Stillers came back from KC last week Harrison went straight to the weight room.  Like he did after winning the Super Bowl.  TB12 needs to watch out.  You may have seen it in The Onion, but that doesn’t mean UPMC doesn’t/won’t have a wing devoted to players injured by the Stillers’ D.  http://www.theonion.com/article/steelers-players-make-surprise-hospital-visits-spe-55113

    I have a hard time picking this game.  Both teams have great offenses.  Both have good defenses, with their play highlighted by stars:  Stillers’ LBs (especially Harrison) and Pats’ Butler and Hightower.  The upshot:  regardless of who wins, King Roger the Clown will have to face the winner in two weeks at the Super Bowl.  Unless he manages to have his thumb on the scales of the referees enough to tip it.

    So, pick em at Foxboro and the Pack goes to Houston.

  3. John Casper says:

    bmaz, scribe, thanks.

    Anybody got anything about Ed’s son, Max McCaffrey? Went undrafted, but innertubz claim he ran 4.36 at Duke’s pro-day.

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/2016/03/23/former-duke-wr-max-mccaffrey-runs-unofficial-4-36-40-yard-dash-at-pro-day/a6n5bgj/

    Given the Packers injury situation, isn’t it likely he’ll at least play special teams?

    “McGinn: Pass protection technique drawing praise” is an “inside baseball” look at pass-pro techniques.

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/mcginn/2017/01/21/mcginn-pass-protection-technique-drawing-praise/96847704/

  4. What Constitution? says:

    Pat Benatar delivers an anthem with a voice of truth, clarity, strength, beauty and freedom. Thanks for sharing that.

  5. rosalind says:

    Great song! The distinguished gray haired gent is Pat’s husband Neil Giraldo, the two married 34 years strong. The woman in the hat is producer/singer-songwriter Linda Perry.

    Football…eh, don’t got much. Got a lot of drama taking place around town at the moment as Mother Nature’s deluge is saturating drought-dried earth and hill houses are a’tumbling down. Go…Atlanta?

  6. bmaz says:

    Sooooo, the Colts hired a shrink to try to improve the relationship between their GM and coach:

    On Saturday, Colts owner Jim Irsay insisted that there were no issues between coach Chuck Pagano and now-former G.M. Ryan Grigson. On Sunday, some evidence contradicting that assertion emerged.

    Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Colts hired a psychologist to help improve the relationship between Pagano and Grigson. The effort focused on ways to improve communications between the two men.

    That certainly worked out well. Even the Colt’s punter said “thank god, about time” or something similar when Grigson was finally canned.

  7. scribe says:

    EW says that, while her flight might keep her from watching the game live, her sources have gone all Brad Grey-Al Gore-Sopranos finale.  For those of you who may have forgotten, knowing his buddy Al was flying somewhere out of TV range while the finale was to be going out to the masses, Grey gave him a DVD of the finale to watch on the plane.

    Who knew King Roger had the games already in the can?

  8. John Casper says:

    If anyone’s interested Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s beat reporter Tom Silverstein offers excellent commentary after most plays.  http://live.packersnews.com/Event/Live_game_blog_Packers_vs_Falcons

  9. Peterr says:

    One might expect that folks in KC would be engaged in all manner of “what if” flagellation, but news out of the Dominican Republic put football out of everyone’s mind:

    Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who mesmerized fans with his precocious talent, scintillating fastball and fiery swagger, was killed in a traffic crash in his native Dominican Republic, the team confirmed Sunday morning. Ventura was 25.

    The wreck occurred on Carretera Juan Adrian, a highway near Rancho Arriba, a town in the San Jose de Ocoa province of the Dominican Republic, according to Jacobo Mateo Moquete, a colonel in the Dominican National Police.

    Damn. Not only an incredible pitcher (see Game 6 of the 2014 World Series vs the Giants), but also a truly beloved guy in and out of the clubhouse.

  10. Peterr says:

    Oh, and put me down for the Cheese and the Pats.

    Sorry Scribe, but if the Chefs’ less-than-stellar D could keep the Big Ben & Co. out of the endzone all through last week’s game, they are going to be deeper trouble vs the Patsies.

    • Valley girl says:

      p.s. I live in Atlanta.  Been listening to the sorry history of the Falcons for years on radio sports talk.  Great turn-around.

  11. scribe says:

    It would appear that the palace intrigue on Park Avenue goes on apace. Krafts are out, Blanks are in. King Roger has shifted his base of support from those who made him, turning his ire on the Rooneys, Krafts, and their ilk. One has to wonder how long it will be before the Maras suffer a purge in turn. Small farmers, producing cheese, get the back of King Roger’s hand.

    Disgusting that the Georgia Dome is all of 25 years old and already has wrecking crews lining up their equipment out in the parking lot.

    • Valley girl says:

      Maybe b/c Arthur Blank owner.  Heard him bragging on radio about the oculus in the new facility.  I don’t know the history. But, Atlanta doesn’t have the same sense of history preserved as other cities.

       

       

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    We spent three years in Atlanta until one day our girls came back from school  with a drawl.

    I miss Fulton County Stadium

    • Valley girl says:

      I do too!  Only saw live BB there, during the Braves’ glory days.  It was a great venue as far as I experienced it.  And easy to get to on MARTA.  I’ve lived here +35 years, and I’m SURE I haven’t gotten a Southern drawl.  But then I was not young when I moved there for an academic job.  But, still in my heart a CAian born and bred.

       

  13. scribe says:

    For those wondering, the SZ editorial was on 1/18. http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/chelsea-manning-obamas-strafmilderung-ist-nur-eine-geste-des-anstands-1.3338058
    The headline said that “Obama’s commutation of Manning’s sentence was merely a gesture, a sop, of decency.”

    The lede of the editorial was this:
    Die Whistleblowerin Chelsea Manning deckte Kriegsverbrechen auf. Ihr wurde der Prozess gemacht – den Kriegsverbrechern nicht. Das Recht schützt noch immer die dunklen Geheimnisse der Mächtigen

    “The whistleblower Chelsea Manning disclosed war crimes. The prosecution was brought against her, not the war criminals. The law protects, as always, the dark secrets of the powerful.”

    In the text they got sharper:

    Dass Präsident Barack Obama jetzt ihrem Antrag auf Strafmilderung stattgab und ihr rund 28 weitere Jahre in Haft erließ, ist erfreulich für Manning, es ist eine Geste des Anstands, nicht mehr.

    Das Wort Geste, das verraten alte Lexika, gab es bereits um 1500. Es ist entlehnt aus gestus, das meinte “Gebärdenspiel des Schauspielers oder Redners”.

    That President Obama today signed off on commuting her sentence and saved her 28 years is a joy for Manning, [but] it is a gesture of decency, nothing more.
    The [German] word “Geste”, old dictionaries reveal, was already in use around 1500. It derives from “gestus” [Latin], which meant “a dumb game [pantomime] of actors or orators”.

    They then go on to compare Obama on whistleblowers to Nixon, and he comes out on the short end.

    • Peterr says:

      And note that SZ is a generally well-respected center-left paper, not a complete lefty tabloid rag that can easily be dismissed. Among other things, they were the folks who received the massive Panama Papers leak, and have consistently been on the side of those who reveal government misconduct.

      • scribe says:

        And they’ve been all over warrantless wiretapping, especially in Germany, since jump.

        Keep in mind, too, that they have to be even more scrupulous in their reporting because of German journalistic practice and law – no First Amendment there.  They do an excellent job and write at a high level, which helps me keep my German sharp.

        • Peterr says:

          Asking for a friend . . .

          Any news site recommendations for a high school student wanting to engage/improve their German?

          • scribe says:

            You can listen to most German radio stations livestreaming their feed.  Go to radiolocator.com, which collects information on every radio station  in the world (a couple MIT guys got bored one night…) and search through Germany.  If you go to ARD-affiliated http://www.ard.de/home/ard/ARD_Startseite/21920/index.html stations (like Bayerischer Rundfunk http://www.br.de/index.html or Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk www.mdr.de) they put the text of the news they just read up on their website.  Similarly Deutschlandfunk, www.deutschlandfunk.de/

            roughly equivalent to NPR here, puts the text of their news up on their website.

            You can get fun stuff like this article, http://www.br.de/themen/wissen/handschrift-schrift-schreiben-100.html

            celebrating World Handwriting Day.  As the article explains, back in the 70s the manufacturers of pens and such decided to create a holiday celebrating handwriting, so as to boost sales.  They chose John Hancock’s birthday….

            For newspapers, most of their major papers (and minor, local papers, too) put their stuff up without the pain of a paywall.

            Suddeutsche Zeitung http://www.sueddeutsche.de/

            Die Zeit (also in English online) www.zeit.de

            And you can go on….

  14. Peterr says:

    The Stillers are continuing with the same stellar offensive game plan that took out the Chefs: get to the redzone and kick a FG. Unfortunately for them, the Stillers defense is not able to keep the Patsies out of the endzone as they did the Chefs.

    The bad news about setting a record for most FGs in a single game is that it means the rest of your offense couldn’t get the job done, drive after drive after drive . . .

  15. John Casper says:

    Per Valley Girl’s “ask bmaz or ew for my email addy. I’ll tell you what I know.”

    If, when either has time, I’d appreciate it.

  16. scribe says:

    Well, now, one more domino has to fall and King Roger will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to … oh, snap.  Wait a minute.  Wasn’t King Roger the one who wanted to eliminate the kicking game from football?

    No foot in football….

    Dipshit prig.

    Let’s try it again:  well, now, one more domino has to fall and King Roger will get to be dragged, fully against his cowardly will, to hand the Lombardi to Kraft the Elder and to face Biebs eye to eye and face to face.

    Go Pats.

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