Sunday, January 18, 2015

Championship Sunday 2015

Green Bay +8 at Seattle: I understand that the Packers have had their struggles in Seattle recently and that Aaron Rodgers is essentially playing on one leg, but this is still too many points to be laying against the likely MVP. His lack of current mobility and the crowd noise will make like difficult for him against the Seahawks pass rushers, but if they can establish the running game early with Eddie Lacy, they are so good at heavy play action. None of that might matter if they can't tackle Marshawn Lynch, so it is imperative that they play with a lead early and establish a ball-control type offense to limit his rushing attempts. Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Casey Heyward are good enough in man coverage that they can play with a safety in the box to stop the run, especially with Seattle's best deep threat, the raw yet speedy second rounder Paul Richardson, suffering a torn ACL last week.

Indianapolis +7 at New England: I'm sticking to my guns and not opposing Andrew Luck with this high of a spread, but I do expect the Patriots to win. There's no one that can cover Rob Gronkowski, and New England has dominated Indy with a power run game in the past. Maybe Jonas Gray will see the light of day after landing in Bill Belichick's doghouse for sleeping through his alarm after his 200 yard primetime performance against these Colts, or maybe LeGarratte Blount will tie the franchise playoff record of 166 yards like these teams' playoff meeting last year. Either way, the Colts' biggest strength on defense is their corners' man coverage, and Tom Brady doesn't need to consistently use his outside receivers to be effective. Besides catching a dime of a TD from Brady, Brandon LaFell's biggest impact was blocking for Amendola's first score, and Julian Edelman's big play was the double pass we've all been waiting for since he came into the league as a college QB. Especially with Indy's offensive line's surprising performance last week, I wouldn't put anything past Luck's heroics and T.Y. Hilton's speed, but this secondary is a tough matchup for them.

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