Now, it gets down to the nitty gritty.
Sunday is conference championship day in the NFL, where the winners have two weeks to prepare for Super Bowl 47, and players from the winning teams get a get out of jail free card, also known as withdrawing from the Pro Bowl.
NFC: San Francisco vs. Atlanta. The 49ers have asserted themselves at the right time, and dismissed Green Bay, while Atlanta ended Seattle's Super Bowl aspirations. Now, it's San Francisco that has to go cross-country, since Atlanta is the #1 seed. The one remaining storyline that would make the Super Bowl watchable is a meeting between the Harbaugh brothers. Jim, the former Michigan QB, coaches San Francisco, while brother John has taken Baltimore to the title game for the 2nd straight year in the AFC. Don't you think San Francisco is overdue to return to the big dance? Of course. 2nd year QB Colin Kaepernick is the last of the young gun QB's still in (Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Baltimore's Joe Flacco both are finishing their 5th seasons, and can't be considered "young guns" anymore). He's also on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. Uh-oh. Don't even think about a cover jinx with this kid. Niners, 38-35.
AFC: Baltimore vs. New England. Last year, the Patriots stole one when DB Sterling Moore wasn't called for either defensive holding or pass interference, take your pick. Had he gotten flagged, maybe the game changes, and the Giants would've collected a Super Bowl receipt from the Ravens instead of giving the Patriots another well deserved defeat. Baltimore collected their own receipt at home earlier this season, which ended with Patriot coach Bill Belichick confronting one of the replacement refs, actually making physical contact, and only getting a slap on the wrist from the NFL suits. I'm sorry, but the Pats are not favored nation in the league anymore, and Baltimore already has ruined one dream matchup in this post-season by eliminating Denver last week. They've beaten New England in Foxborough once before in a playoff, so why not again? It's time to teach the power brokers a very important lesson. The best storylines in the post-season play out just fine by themselves, instead of force feeding the same, tired old routine, which does get stale. Ravens, 28-27.
Come to think of it, with everything that has gone down the last few days, the Patriots would be the perfect team to draft Notre Dame's Manti T'eo, in light of the internet hoax about a fictional gal pal who supposedly died back in September. Belichick conducts business as if he works for the CIA........