• Quarter-Back Face Off for the Ages! Pigskin Pundit’s Picks: Conference Championships

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    Surge Summary: This weekend’s NFL contests feature, among other things, a game pitting two of the league’s all-time great quarterbacks. Both match-ups should be well-fought – but, of course, only two teams can emerge victorious. Presented here: Pigskin Pundit’s choices for that pair of winners.

    by Pigskin Pundit

    Like the last four Roman gladiators who have slain all comers, gotten nicked up, dodged plague and misfortune alike, these teams face each other in the arena this weekend…wary, wily, war-hardened and willful.  Unlike the ancient coliseum filled with screaming, roaring spectators, these combatants will face each other in empty or near-empty stadiums, their daring deeds conveyed to silent millions elsewhere by radio waves.  Rising young challengers and aging, proven champions will come together to determine dominance.  We win.  Let’s get it on.                   (went 2-2 last week, 50% for playoffs)

    NFC Championship – Buccaneers at Packers

    I keep hearing blather about Aaron Rodgers being the ‘best’ quarterback of all time.  Spare me your folly.  Please.  If ‘Punt, Pass & Kick’ is how you determine the best quarterback, a stat sheet of numbers that says your guy is slightly better than the next guy, then you are an accountant, not a sports fan.  I love Aaron Rodgers, think he has one of the best sets of QB skills (maybe the best) I have ever seen in 51 years of watching football; he is a gamer, driven, smart and gutsy.  He is in my opinion the top QB in the league right now.  But let’s stop with the idiocy of him being a better quarterback than Tom Brady has been.

    The eye test is important, because it is the 50,000-foot view of a career, not the myopic view 4 inches above the stat sheet.  Brady, with totally different personnel, painfully few offensive hall of famers AND over the course of 20 years, essentially went to the Superbowl every other season, and won 2/3 of those.  Besides Rob Gronkowski, (who will be a first-ballot shoo-in), name me one other hall of fame player on any of Brady’s offenses (Vinatieri’s not there yet).  I’ll wait.

    Now tell me how many times Brady engineered a come-from-behind victory inside the final 2 minutes of a game to make his team victorious.  Let’s pit Aaron Rodgers’ home victory totals against Brady’s.  Let’s pick wins after a loss.  Name your stat that isn’t gross yardage or pinpoint accuracy or throws on the run.  Give me stats that decided wins and losses, and we won’t be talking about Mr. Rodgers anymore.  Ever.  He has one ring in 16 years.  Green Bay is a perennial contender.  One ring.  We’re done here.

    These two get to face off for the first time in a playoff game.  That alone is cause for celebration, but we’re football fans, not historians.  The NFC matchup represents the two aging veterans of many campaigns facing each other, maybe one last time on this hallowed turf…or maybe not.  For QB ability and sheer athleticism, Rodgers holds the edge.  He is what he is; magnificently talented, perhaps the most accurate passer ever, highly mobile and innovative on the fly.  For critical execution and proven leadership in countless uphill situations, nobody will ever surpass Brady.  He hasn’t lost much off his skills or his judgment, and he wills a team forward with a field general’s drive and vision.

    Green Bay has a ridiculous offense, with Adams, Jones, Valdes-Scantling and Tonyan.  Tampa will have to play their best, flawless game on D, because Rodgers won’t be handing out INT’s like the Saints did.  This is really the factor likely to determine the game.  Can the Tampa defense hold against this all-out assault on their end zone?  Not if we see the Tampa team that played against WFT two weeks ago.  21st in pass defense isn’t going to get it done.

    Tampa’s offense will create problems for the Packers, too.  Mike Evans owns the Red Zone.  The Bucs can pound the ball with Fournette and Jones, and the Pack hasn’t been tight clamping down on the clompers this season.  Even without Antonio Brown, the Bucs are dripping with offensive talent.  Brady can dink and dunk, or whip it 50 yards downfield still.  The Packers pass rush with Za’Darius Smith isn’t likely to see much of Brady, as his line has been like the Berlin Wall much of the year.  So Green n’ Gold will also have to play flawless, tight defense.

    So, who wins?  Either team can.  Home field at Lambeau doesn’t matter to a visiting QB who played 20 seasons in winter weather, including the Snow Bowl game.  No fans to yell and scream.  The Lambeau Leap has become the Lambeau Loneliness this year.  It still comes back to one of the most accurate passers ever and his superb stable of receivers, against a 21st-ranked pass defense.  I don’t think Tampa will dump their aerial acrobatics for a predominantly running strategy to keep Rodgers off the field, because Arians hasn’t ever shown that kind of willing adaptability.  In the Battle of the Bays…..cheddar is better.

    AFC Championship – Bills at Chiefs

    Okay, beef time: the Chiefs are lucky to be here, after last week.  The NFL continues to disgrace itself with stupid rules like the fumble through the endzone rule and horrific non-calls by the refs on game-changing illegal hits.  Sorensen may have been ‘doing his job’ with that helmet-to-helmet full body launch, but it was a fifteen-yard penalty all day long.  It’s up there with Robey-Coleman’s early hit that cost the Saints a rightful trip to the Superbowl two years ago.  Crap like this makes true football fans furious. Roger Goodell might be good at securing lengthy, fat tv contracts, but he sucks at everything else.  Okay, done.

    This is the battle of the young guns.  Josh Allen made HUGE strides this year in his play, decision making, defensive reads, and passing accuracy.  He isn’t that little kid blinded by the bright lights anymore, and his athleticism when he runs this season is much more part of the offensive design than an escape pod for broken plays as in past seasons.  His rifle arm has been sighted in, and it is paying off for the Bills.

    Mahomes has continued his excellence and innovation, although he has been hampered by a toe injury lately that limits his mobility.  Last week’s ‘concussion’ is a non-event, since it appears he suffered what is known as a brachial stun, when the Vagus nerve in the neck is compressed momentarily.  The effects are dramatic, but short-lived.  So, it wasn’t a concussion.  He’s been cleared to play this week, although I suspect that even had he been decapitated last week, the noble and compassionate NFL would have still cleared him to play this week.  Eyes are the prize, after all.

    Kansas City’s defense is about the equal of Buffalo for most of the season, but both of the Chiefs’ starting corners are on the injury report.  When Stefon Diggs is lined up opposite, that’s a problem.  Cole Beasley is another problem, if he is healthy.  He gets great separation, plays great slot, and keeps drives going.  Tyrann Mathieu is a great player, but he can’t be everywhere at once.

    Buffalo’s ground game probably doesn’t scare Andy Reid, but he is a fool if he ignores it.  Singletary can break loose, and Yeldon will get some touches as well, with Moss out.  Gabriel Davis has made impact as a rookie wideout with some big catches, and of course containing Allen when he legs it outside and downfield has been trouble for every opponent this year.

    KC’s offense is built to create mismatches.  If a team can somehow cover the blinding speed of Hill, they can’t simultaneously cover Kelce.  Most teams can’t cover Kelce under ANY circumstances, not all game.  Edwards-Helaire is back, as is Sammy ‘Big Game’ Watkins.  Darrel Williams is starting to heat up lugging the pig.  The Bills struggled against the run much of the season, although they got better toward the end.  Tre’Davious White’s play has fallen off in recent weeks, especially his long-ball coverage.  The Bills’ secondary is solid elsewhere.  Again, I see the defenses to be a wash.

    I’m only going to touch on coaching because Andy Reid makes me.  He is a great strategist, clever but not cute, and he adapts as he goes, for the most part.  My knock on Reid is the lack of discipline on his teams, and the propensity to take stupid penalties.  In close playoff games against similar opponents, that can be the difference.  McDermott’s team doesn’t take many bonehead penalties, because he won’t stand for it.

    Who wins?  Everybody says KC wins.  Too many weapons, Mahomes as the point guard, defending champs, all that.  Yes, they are formidable.  Yet the Cinderella Browns almost knocked them off last week in their first trip to the post-season since leather helmets, for crying out loud.  I don’t think the Chiefs are invincible…. but I do think they are a little better than the Bills.  Surprise me, Buffalo, please.  KC barbeques fresh Buffalo.

    Enjoy the games!

    -Pigskin Pundit (Nate Clark)

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Image of 3D Animation Production Company on Pixabay . 

    Nathan Clark is a conservative commentator who resides with his wife in New Hampshire. He is passionate about preserving the vision of our nation’s Founders and advancing those tried and true principles deep into America’s future. His interests range broadly from flyfishing, cooking and shooting to pro sports, gardening, live music and fine-scale modeling.

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