5th and 10: Thoughts from my Couch – Championship Weekend


If we are truly going to talk about the Cardinals vs. Packers game for years to come, we need a great nickname for the game. I haven’t heard one yet. The best is the Double Hail Mary Game. We can do better people. And by we, I mean you, because trust me, I’ve tried.

We had the Immaculate Reception. There was the Drive. We even had the Tuck Rule game. And now we have the Jeff Janis Game! Sorry, I’ll keep trying. But the game was great. It had a great ending with twists and turns and even a non-flip coin toss. We can only hope that either of the two games this weekend can come close to the entertainment value we had Saturday night.


As always, here is what I’m looking for Championship Weekend!


  • Cardinals @ Panthers, Sunday 6:30pm. This might as well be the Super Bowl. Two of the best teams all year. It’s the matchup we have been hoping for the past two months. Either one of these teams will be favored against the AFC representative. This should be a great game.


  • Arizona Cardinals – If any team has the weapons to go up against the incredible defense of the Panthers, it’s this team from the desert. Carson Palmer got the monkey off his back by getting his first playoff win last week. While Palmer looked tight and a little nervous, he made plays when he had to and got the W. Josh Norman can’t cover all the Arizona Wide Receivers. And if Carolina brings in extra defensive backs to stop the pass, that’s when it’s David Johnson time! The rookie RB has become a star the last few weeks of the season and gives the Cardinals the balance they need.


  • Arizona has multiple stars on its defense, while they are missing their heart and soul (Tyrann Mathieu); this defense has everything you want. They can cover, they can rush the passer, but they aren’t even the best defense in the game. We have said all year that Carolina doesn’t have any weapons to help out the ultimate weapon, Mr. Cam Newton. Yet Carolina scored the most points in the NFL this year! My advice for Arizona, double team Greg Olsen, put two spies on Cam, and just hope that Ted Ginn Jr. drops every ball.


  • Carolina Panthers – doesn’t this just seem like it’s Carolina’s year? Cam Newton has become unstoppable, the defense is as good as ever, and they have great football karma from all the footballs they give away to little kids after they score. What could go wrong? Well, something might of happened last week that could have a huge impact this week. Greg Olsen hurt his shoulder and looked very limited at the end of the game as the Panther’s held on against the Seahawks. If Olsen isn’t the same, all the pressure is on Cam for the Panther’s O.


  • While I spoke earlier about all of Arizona’s weapons on offense, Carolina has a group of monsters ready to stop those weapons. Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman are the best at their positions. Kawann Short and Thomas Davis are complete unstoppable studs. If Arizona falls behind and this defense can attack, look for a lot of Carolina fans to be booking their flights to San Francisco soon.


  • Prediction: Arizona 24 Carolina 23. I’ve been going with my gut so far in the playoffs (so far 8 for 8) and my big round gut says the Cards will find a way this Sunday. I think it will come down to a big stop by the Arizona D and the game will be so amazing that we will forget about last week. We won’t even remember that we named it…I got nothing.


  • New England @ Denver. Sunday 3pm. We get to find out if the Patriots strategy of losing late in the season to lose home field advantage will pay off. And we get to see if the Broncos strategy of starting a 39-year-old QB that can’t really throw the ball anymore will pay off. What a battle!


  • New England Patriots – The Patriots were smart and didn’t rush back their injured stars. Even if it meant losing the top seed. They are getting healthy at just the right time. With Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski in the middle of the field, Tom Brady can slowly wear down the Broncos defense. Eventually the pass rush will get tired of Brady getting the ball out so quickly, and the linebackers won’t be able to contain Gronk. The Patriots don’t even try to run the ball anymore so we don’t even need to mention their RB’s.


  • If Chandler Jones will just stick to smoking real pot and not mess with that synthetic stuff that got him in trouble last week he should be a beast on Sunday. But he will be in Colorado so I hope he eats too many edibles and forgets what time the game is. The Patriots can clearly load up the box as Peyton Manning demonstrated that he will not throw deep anymore. I’m very interested to see whom Malcolm Butler covers and if the Broncos can take advantage on the other side of the field.


  • Denver Broncos – What a weird year for the Broncos. They have had so many games where they could have easily lost. Yet here they are, one good game from the Super Bowl. Everyone is saying that Peyton’s biggest asset right now is his pre snap reads and his ability to audible. I would prefer if my QB’s biggest asset were a laser rocket arm that could fire the ball into tight windows. But those days are over. The Broncos will need their o-line to control the game and run the ball like crazy.


  • If the Broncos can run the ball and control the clock, keeping Tom Brady off the field will be their best defense. Which is weird to say for a unit that is ranked #1 in the league. But I’m worried that an injured Chris Harris won’t be able to stop Edelman. I’m worried that Gronk will be Gronk. And I’m worried that Aqib Talib might snap and murder someone on the field. The Broncos defense needs a little bit of help from the offense, just a little.


  • Prediction: New England 17 Denver 19. I had every intention of picking New England to win this game when I sat down today. But this just seems like the game where everyone is picking the Pats to win and Denver shocks the world. I saw a stat that 91% of the money bet in Vegas so far on this game was for the Patriots! That makes me feel great! When people think it’s so easy to pick games, they are usually wrong. I want the storybook ending for Manning. Can they beat the Cards in the Super Bowl?… it doesn’t matter. Just let me have one more win over Brady and Belichick.

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