Ready to Rumble


Let’s start off with full disclosure- I hate the Green Bay Packers franchise. I hate the Lambeau Leap, the cheeseheads, the Cheeseheads and (in my opinion) the ugly uniforms. However, what I hate most of all is how much I wish the Bears were more like them. That infuriating Lambeau Leap? As annoying as it is, it’s the ultimate in player and fan interaction. The cheeseheads worn by those Cheeseheads? Pretty cool also. I won’t bend on the uniforms, but it’s pretty obvious that while most of my hatred is based on an ages-old rivalry, there’s a healthy chunk that’s based on jealousy.

While the Leap, the Cheese and the frozen tundra are all pretty cool, the thing I’m most jealous of is the experience of getting to have Aaron Rodgers as the face of your franchise. Luckily, he only gives me nightmares for 2 weeks every season. The other 50 of the year, I have no problem with Rodgers. I can sit back and enjoy the fact that all evidence points to him being some sort of evil sorceror. The level of improvisation and skill that he demonstrates on a weekly basis is just insane. There are QB’s with better mobility, some with stronger arms and a couple with a touch more accuracy. However, there is no one in the game that puts it all together in such a terrifying and infuriating way

Wait, I'm supposed to hate this guy?

Wait, I’m supposed to hate this guy?

Everything that Aaron Rodgers is to the QB position, the Seahawks defense is to that side of the ball. It’s truly unfair the amount of size and speed they throw out onto the field. Being able to have Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner and Earl Thomas patrol the back half (and occasionally the backfield) of the defense borders on insanity. As much attention as Richard Sherman rightfully got the last couple of years, the real backbone of this defense is right up the middle with those 3. Throw in a 7 man rotation on the defensive line, and it’s easy to see why this team has only lost 2 and a half games at home over the last three seasons. When you add in the mano-a-mano match up between the leagues best O-Line (Green Bay) and the aforementioned defense, this game has NFL nerds absolutely drooling. Oh yeah, we also have a wizard in training in Russell Wilson and Beast Mode on the other side going against a dynamic front 7 for Green Bay. There is nothing more a fan could reasonably ask for. Part of me doesn’t want to do this game a disservice by picking a winner, but there’s a bigger part of me that just can’t help it. Seahawks 38- Packers 31.

While we can almost guarantee a high quality game in the NFC side of things, this year’s AFC matchup has a much higher variance rate. At first glance, this comes down to Andrew Luck vs. the Patriots. It’s definitely an easy narrative to push. The last couple of seasons have been a seemingly endless stream of highlights and stories showing Andrew Luck carrying a seriously mediocre team. While this Colts’ roster certainly has it’s share of flaws, there’s a vast departure from the Luck Show we’ve seen previously. I don’t know what woke the Colts’ staff up, but they finally started utilizing the strengths they had rather then hammering a square peg into a round hole. No more giving the ball to Trent Richardson 20 times a game while he does nothing with it, no more forcing the ball to Reggie Wayne and no more double teaming on Anthony Castonzo’s side. It’s been equal parts Dan Herron, T.Y. Hilton and the tight ends to move the ball, and since they switched the protection arrangements (putting Castonzo on an island and utilizing their resources elsewhere), they’ve turned into much more than a one man gang. Granted, they still occasionally rely on Luck’s genius, but they’re definitely getting more from the complementary parts than they have previously.
On the other sideline, this Patriots team has been advertised as “the most complete” or “best defensively” in the last 10 years of the BradyChik era. While that may be true, last week proved that when all else fails, Mr. Brady still has the ability to sling it around the lot when he needs to. Watching that game live, it seemed like the Pats had gotten away from the run a little bit. It wasn’t until I looked at the stats that it hit me: They didn’t run a single handoff play the entire 2nd half. I don’t care how you feel about the Golden Boy, winning a game against a quality opponent when they know what’s coming is absolutely insane. His throw to Brandon LaFell for the go ahead score is on par with what the other guys in this semi-final round can do.
Getting past the on field performers, we have a match-up of Chuckstrong vs. The Hoodie. As a WWE fan, I always strive to put things in terms of Heels vs. Babyfaces, and there’s no better example than these coaches. Watching how the Colts’ players react to Chuck Pagano briefly restores my faith in humanity, and reminds me why I love sports. On the other side, it’s almost impossible not to laugh at the dry sarcasm and sheer jerkishness Belichek shows in his press conferences.

One word: FIERCE.

With all that being said; even with the injuries, I like the Pats’ roster depth and game-planning advantage.
Patriots 31- Colts 20. 

This weekend leaves very little to be  desired from a match-up and story line standpoint. Let’s all say a little prayer to the sports gods that we get the classics that we’re expecting and not the turd in the punch bowl that was the National Championship game.


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One Response to “Ready to Rumble”

  1. Knowledge is power! | Rivalry Renewed Says:

    […] The Musings of the North-Side/South-Side Rivalry Members « Ready to Rumble […]

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