Pocket Doppler Prognosticators – Championship Weekend
Each week last season, the 3 Founding Fathers of Pocket Doppler (Wally, Harland O. Dog & Chris Richards), Senior Angel Colleen and favored stepson Rich would square off in picking the winner of the Packers, Sunday night & MNF games in an attempt to prove their football acumen and entertain. We’re going to make another valiant attempt at it this year. Unfortunately Chris had to bow out for this season (or happily escaped, take your pick) so Angel Kelly has joined the team. We’re continuing on into the playoffs now & adding to the regular season totals.
Harland O. Dog: 39
It was a rough week, not only for the Packers but also for the Prognosticators. Almost nothing went the way we all wanted it to (the Packers game, whether one picked against them or not) and Peyton Manning looked…old at the end of his game. The Falcons won but still failed to impress. I get the sense we’re all going to be a bit cranky in our picks this week. Let’s see what happens:
Harland O. Dog
For most of the season, I’ve tried to make these picks based on who I actually thought would win, regardless of any personal preference. Since that approach hasn’t served me very well in the playoffs, I’m basing my selections for the Championship round on the team that I want to win.
49ers @ Falcons – Coming on the heels of last week’s supposed domination of the Packers, I assume most would expect San Francisco to be a ‘lock’ in this game. But the Packers had a chance early in that game to put the Niners on the ropes and failed to deliver the knockout blow. After Sam Shields “Pick-6″ of Colin Kaepernick gave the Packers a 7-0 lead, they had San Francisco backed up deep in their own territory with a 3rd and long. If Green Bay could have forced a punt there, they might’ve been able to add another score to put S.F. in an early hole. Unfortunately, they let the Niners off the hook when Kaepernick was able to find running back Frank Gore for a long gain. That play, along with a muffed punt that provided San Francisco with an easy score, probably changed the entire complexion of the game. To that end, Green Bay’s season ending loss at Minnesota probably cost them more than they’re willing to admit.
What does all that have to do with this game? Well, I’m glad you asked. This time, San Francisco has to go on the road and they won’t have the benefit of an extra week to prepare for Atlanta. In having an entire game film of the Niners’ read option attack to study, I feel confident that the Falcons will at least do a better job of defending it than did Green Bay (not that it would be difficult). If Atlanta can succeed where the Packers failed, they’ll be advancing to the Super Bowl.
Ravens @ Patriots – Lo and behold, the Ray Lewis farewell tour continues at least a week longer than many (including this observer) would have figured. For that, Lewis can offer at least a partial thanks to Denver Broncos’ head coach John Fox, who demonstrated an appalling lack of confidence in his future Hall of Fame quarterback at the end of regulation last week. The Broncos had the ball on their own 20 with 31 seconds left in the game along with two timeouts. Rather than have Peyton Manning attempt to set up a game winning field goal attempt for strong-legged kicker Matt Prater, Fox instead opted to have Manning take a knee and run out the clock. It was an inexcusable lack of judgment that left Fox looking foolish when the Ravens won in overtime.
New England has won 5 of the 6 AFC Championship games that it has played at home. But the Ravens are one of the few teams to have a semi-successful track record against the Patriots and have already defeated them during the regular season. Baltimore was only a missed Billy Cundiff field goal from advancing in last year’s playoffs. This year Cundiff is long gone; replaced by more reliable rookie kicker Justin Tucker who hit last week’s game winner in overtime. If the Ravens can exploit New England’s secondary the way they did Denver’s, they can correct last season’s early exit. Plus, I’d like to see Lewis on the Super Bowl stage, if only to annoy the many fans who remain convinced that Lewis ‘got over’ on a murder charge.
Harland O. Dog’s Super Bowl Matchup: Atlanta Falcons vs. Baltimore Ravens
49ers @ Falcons – Not the match-up anyone wanted to be picking this week but what’s done is done so not much we can do about that. After watching the 49ers last Saturday, it’s little hard to go against them especially with the close game Atlanta had against Seattle. The Falcons playing at home will be of some help but it’ll also mean a faster track for Kaepernick to run wild. I’m going to end up going with the Falcons here though. I think after watching Kaepernick destroy the Packers, there’s more than enough tape for the Falcons to have a plan in place to contain him better & to be completely honest, no way I can root for the 49ers after they knocked the Packers out. Falcons finally break through here to play in New Orleans.
Ravens @ Patriots – Last week I picked against both these teams, shows what I know. Again, I want to pick against the Patriots because I don’t want to see them in the Super Bowl again but they’re a solid team & I still have doubts about the Ravens. So logic dictates I should be picking New England to advance, but I won’t. Ravens win a close win to make it an all avian Super Bowl.
Wally’s Picks: Falcons & Ravens
49ers @ Falcons – How does one just cut to chase and opt for the zombie apocalypse? How long would it take for Godzilla to rise out of the Atlantic and stomp on over the Atlanta to squash the NFC Championship opponents? Two quarterbacks masquerading as the real deal–meh. Hey, Atlanta, here’s a hint: Kaepernick is going to hold on the ball run on you. Oh, and defend against Michael Crabtree, too. One team I hate with every fiber in my body, the other is a complete and utter pretender that at least served up a steaming dish of karma for the Seabirds.
Ravens @ Patriots – What would be worse that Jim Harbaugh in the Super Bowl? That would be two Harbaughs in the Super Bowl. While I’d prefer that the Ravens advance because, well, I can’t stand Tommy Bundtcake and his bloated sense of self-importance and I hate his cheaterpants coach. But it’s the end of the road for the Ravens even though I picked them to head to the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season.
Kelly’s Picks: 49ers & Patriots. Meanwhile the first weekend in February sounds like a good of time as any to paint my living room, because nothing is apparently on television that is worth watching that weekend.
49ers @ Falcons – First, let me say that last week’s game SUCKED. Like the Bears. Like a Hoover. That’s how bad it was. *deep breath* Okay, that being over, this on paper should be a great game. The #1 and #3 seed, Falcons at home, coming off a wild win over Petey the Poodle and the Shechickens. But. The Falcons should have been able to crush the Seahawks, instead giving up a huge lead and, if Pete Carroll wasn’t a total idiot, probably losing. Every Packer fan (even me, who apparently can’t be a ‘real Packer fan’ who ‘bleeds green and gold’ if I like a player on another team…sarcasm font…) was angry at the 49ers and their systematic dismantling of the Packers, but it is what it is, we’ll be back next year better than ever, and I would be thrilled to see Colin Kaepernick, who has been underestimated, much like Aaron Rodgers, throughout college and into the pros go to the Super Bowl. By the way, he kisses his biceps after he scores because of the dick who wrote, stupidly, about his tattoos. Yes, I know you don’t care. But now you know.
Ravens @ Patriots – I had thought preseason that the Ravens would be in the Super Bowl. After a lot of struggle, I had pretty much written them off. Well, you can’t do that with those guys. They have played scrappy and been tough down the stretch. The Patriots are…well…the Patriots. The only saving grace if the Patriots get in would be watching them lose again at the last minute (although them losing to the Giants was painful too). While I look forward to Tommy Bieber and his
nasty feisty, Uggs wearing spouse being sullen after a loss, it’s not going to be this week.
Colleen’s Picks: 49ers & Patriots
Get off my lawn.
Rich’s picks: 49ers & Patriots