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How Outsports saw the conference championships

Patriots and Giants to play it again

How Cyd saw the conference championships
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18 down, 1 to go

One of the things I have been loving about this season is hearing all these people pick the Patriots to lose. To the Colts, to the Cowboys, to the Giants, to the Jaguars, to the Chargers. Yep, some knuckleheads (including hater-coaches Bill Cowher and Mike Ditka) actually picked the Chargers to beat the Patriots. It’s why I have said from Week 1, and am still saying, that the Patriots are the most underrated team in the league. They are the greatest team of all time, cannot be beaten this season, and there are still so many people who don’t understand that (and the “whatif they were playing the Colts” is just hysterical).

How Jim saw the conference championships
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Super Bowl 42: New England Patriots vs. New York Giants. Ugh. Obnoxious Boston fans against obnoxious New York fans. Double ugh. ESPN, based in Connecticut, has a two-week hard-on. Triple ugh.

The last time I had as little interest in the Super Bowl was in 2000, when we had Giants-Ravens, and that one turned out to be a dud. I suspect Giants-Patriots will be similar. Their first meeting Dec. 29 was won by New England, 38-35, but sequels are seldom as good. My early read: Patriots 34, Giants 14.

Grievance against the Chargers

The Patriots, it seems to me, have reason to file a grievance against the Chargers. LaDainian Tomlinson was not listed on the injury report, and he only played part-time in their first offensive series. Quarterback Philip Rivers was listed as doubtful yet played the whole game. Antonio Gates was also listed as doubtful and played much of the game. That stuff is not supposed to happen, and I hope the Patriots file a grievance after the Super Bowl to teach cheating teams like the Chargers that they can’t get away with that stuff.

The Hatriots

I just heard this term on ESPN. Love it. The haters are The Hatriots.

Thank heavens I don't have to hear Mercury Morris

I'm headed to the Maldives tomorrow until the Friday before the Super Bowl. While I can't wait to snorkel and dive with the fish and rays and sharks, maybe the best part about the trip is I'll be on an island with no television or internet, and I won't have to hear a peep out of Mercury Morris.

Poetry in Glendale

This Super Bowl matchup is poetic. The Patriots get to beat a Manning for the third time in one season, and this one is in the Super Bowl. The only thing better would have been to have gotten to beat Peyton again in the AFC Championship game.

The Pats got to beat the New York Giants to go 16-0, and now they’ll beat the Giants to go 19-0. Boston and New York fans have an idea of how very sweet that will be.

No running game? Ha ha ha ha.

I kept hearing in December and early January that the Patriots would be undone by their lack of running game. The Pats ran for 149 yards on Sunday after running for 145 yards against the Jaguars. Laurence Maroney, who was supposed to have been a bust, ran for 122 yards in both games. Yeah, that running game is just KILLING the Patriots.

Coaching

This was the biggest factor in the Patriots’ victory over the Chargers. The ability for the Patriots coaching staff to adjust during the game, even before or long after halftime, is incredible and makes them the best team ever. Plus, it’s so amazing to hear Bill Belichick constantly praising his players, deflecting praise and placing it on the guys on the field. And he is always congratulating the other team, making them feel good about themselves. Contrary to what the haters out there want to think, he’s truly a classy guy.

Again, Favre didn't deserve any MVP votes

Brett Favre was Brett Favre on Sunday against the Giants, sitting back 10 yards off the line of scrimmage and slinging the ball around into the ground and into the hands of Giants players. It's a real shame that Tom Brady was kept from a unanimous MVP award because a hater decided to vote for this over-the-hill, selfish player who just cost his team a chance to lose to the Greatest Team Ever.

The game ahead

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots. The last time they played, in Week 17 in New York, the Giants had homefield advantage and the Patriots were missing two of their starting offensive linemen. Against the NFL’s best sacking team, that was a big problem. Another problem for the Giants is that Tom Brady didn’t have a great game this past Sunday. That won’t happen two weeks in a row.

I'm curious to see how the Giants decide to defend the Patriots. The Jaguars and Chargers have both decided to key on Randy Moss, leaving the running game and flats wide open. You can decide that the Patriots won't beat you with Randy Moss, but they'll still beat you, so it just doesn't matter.

Finally, of course, is the fact that the Patriots cannot lose this season. I keep saying that, and I continue to hear, “but what if Brady gets injured? What if what if what if?” It doesn’t matter. As I’ve said since September, the Patriots have been 19-0 all season; it’s just taken time for us to catch up to them.

Packers flameout: Here are the final three drives for Green Bay in their 23-20 overtime loss to New York – three plays, punt. Three plays, punt. Two plays, interception.

What a day for the Packers not to show up. They get a home title game in Lambeau and it’s below zero, perfect Packer weather. Yet it was Brett Favre and not Eli Manning who most looked affected by the cold. Favre threw two interceptions in his last four drives and got bailed out on the first when the Giant defender fumbled after the interception and the ball was recovered by Green Bay.

The Packers gained 264 total yards, a third of them on a 90-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Donald Driver. Ryan Grant, who rushed for 201 yards a week earlier against Seattle, gained only 29 on 13 carries and the Giants had the ball 18 more minutes. The better team won the game as the Giants took over the line of scrimmage.

Favre has indicated he’ll likely be back but one has to wonder if he’ll ever have such a great chance again to make the Super Bowl. Playing at home against a team the Packers beat by 22 earlier this season, Favre did very little to help his team win and a lot to cause them to lose.

Redemption: Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes set up to be a huge goat. He missed two fourth-quarter field goals, the second from 36 yards out on the last play of regulation that would have won the game. He got a third chance after Favre’s overtime interception and nailed a 47-yarder to send the Giants to the Super Bowl. "I screwed it up twice," Tynes said. "Thank God we got another opportunity."

Patriots game: New England won a 21-12 yawner over a San Diego team that I suspect couldn’t score a touchdown even if they began a drive on the New England 1. The Chargers got inside the Patriots 10 three times and had to settle for field goals each time. In contrast, New England scored three touchdowns after penetrating the San Diego 15 and that was the difference.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was shaky, throwing three interceptions, but was bailed out by his defense, the running of Laurence Maroney (122 yards) and the receiving of super sub Kevin Faulk (eight catches). Randy Moss had one catch and has only two in the playoffs.

The Chargers were hurt by the lingering injury to LaDainian Tomlinson, who touched the ball three times before sitting the rest of the game. His talent could have been enough to get the Chargers at least one touchdown on the three drives inside the 10.

Idiocy: Coach Norv Turner made a stupid call with 9:21 to go and the Chargers trailing 21-12. His team faced fourth-and-10 from the Patriots’ 36 and he punted! What was he thinking? His team needed two scores to win and needed to score quickly. The only option was to try to get the first down. But Turner capitulated. His rationale?

"They had a pressure package, they came off the edge, they got us on third and 10, and so we made the decision," Turner said. "We had the ball against Tennessee (in the regular season) down 14 points with 10 minutes and scored twice."

Gee, comparing the Titans to the Patriots and a regular season game to a playoff game? A pretty lame rationale. The irony was that New England took over from the punt with 9:13 left and the Chargers’ offense never saw the field again. Serves Turner right; you have to play to win.

What do you really think? Chargers center Nick Hardwick does not like Patriots lineman Richard Seymour.

"There are 10 [bleeping] good players on that team," Hardwick said, according to the Boston Herald."But Richard Seymour is adirty, cheap, little pompous [expletive].He's cheap and dirty and the head man just let him get away with it the whole time.They've got 10 great players on that team and when Jarvis Green comes on the field, they've got 11 great players who compete how you’re supposed to play.But Richard Seymour is the biggest [expletive] I've ever played."

So what did he do?

"Head slapping, foot stomping in the pile, running by and throwing punches in your back," Hardwick said."He's a [expletive]. . . .There were a lot of things he did.There's a field goal where he was stomping feet.Who stomps feet?And the officials weren't doing anything about it.He plays like a punk."

But this is what Hardwick said earlier this season after the Titans game, according to the Nashville Tennessean: “Their mindset was to try to intimidate us and see if we’ll back down,” Hardwick said. “Everyone seems to think we’re soft — that we’re Southern Cal boys and we’re not going to play hard and we’re soft and we’re quitters. We’re just as dirty, if not dirtier than anyone else in the league, so we like that. That’s the way Kansas City was. That’s the way Tennessee was. They think they’re going to swell up on us and be bigger than us, tougher.”

I guess dirty knows dirty.

What if: Wow – if the Colts hadn’t screwed it up against the Chargers a week ago, we could have had Manning vs. Manning in the Super Bowl. Cyd would have had to be sedated since the anticipation would have nearly killed him.