Yesterday’s Championship Sunday in the NFL may go down as one of the most memorable Championship Sunday’s off all time. From the way it began all the way to how it ended.
Starting the day off the world was awoken to the news that Joe Paterno died of cancer. After being reported falsely by CBSSports.com late Saturday night that he died family members came out saying that the reports weren’t true and that Paterno was still fighting. However, come Sunday January 22nd Joseph Vincent Paterno had passed away.
Moving on from Paterno’s death the Baltimore Ravens would take the field at Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots. It was a back and fourth game from the start but the scoring would be put on hold after the Patriots took the lead off of a Tom Brady touchdown early in the fourth quarter giving the Patriots the lead 23-20.
However despite not being able to score sooner, the Ravens with 29 seconds remaining had a chance to win the game; until it happened. It was a 2nd and 1, ball on the 14 yard line when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco stepped back, fake, then threw into double coverage to wide receiver Lee Evans, touchdown! The announcer exclaimed. However Patriots safety, Sterling Moore would knock the ball lose forcing Evans to drop the ball, ending in an incomplete pass and no touchdown.
Though it wasn’t over yet as it was 3rd down with 22 seconds left and the Ravens still had one more timeout. Flacco would try to complete a pass to tight end Dennis Pitta however it would end up incomplete as well. Though, it still wasn’t over as the Ravens were in field goal range and they were down by two.
It was a 32 yard field goal, an easy one, a gimmie, right? All Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff had to do was just step back and kick it as he was faced with a kickers dream. Instead it happened again. Cundiff’s kick was up and wide left. The home crowd was lifted by a sea of cheers as the New England Patriots were going to the Super Bowl.
Next up was a showdown between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. It was another back and fourth game that the 49ers were leading heading into the fourth quarter when they made another stop on defense forcing the Giants to punt. It appeared that with the 49ers getting the ball back again, that the Giants Super Bowl hopes were dwindling as with 11:17 left on the clock and trailing by four things just didn’t look good. But then, it happened again.
It was a punt that was almost blocked by the 49ers that ended up traveling close to 50 yards until being waved off as a fair catch by returned Kyle Williams. However, Giants wide receiver Mario Mannigham who came running down the field picked the ball up and continued running until he reached the end zone where he signaled that the ball hit Williams’ knee. After looking at a replay, it did appear that the ball did hit Willimams’ knee which meant Giants ball at the 20 yard line.
Then seven plays later after the Williams turnover, touchdown Giants, 17-14 Giants lead. However unlike Evans and Cundiff, Williams was luckily bailed out by the 49ers great defensive play and kicker David Akers as he would kick the game tying field goal to send the game to overtime.
Then in overtime after stopping the Giants offense yet again, the 49ers would force them to punt. However it happened again. Instead of calling a fair catch like he did last time, Williams, caught the ball and began running until falling to his feet. But that wasn’t it as when he was falling, he lost the ball and after reviewing the play, it was a fumble, Giants ball.
Despite being in field goal range the Giants ran the ball a couple times to assure the win as they too heard about the Cundiff miss and didn’t want it to happen to them. However, it would happen again. Though not another crazy screw up or a miss, but Patriots, Giants, Super Bowl rematch…the improbable prediction, would happen again.
Green Bay Packers (10-0) at Detroit Lions (7-3) 12:30: The undefeated Green Bay Packers travel into Detroit’s Ford Field to take on the Lions. It’s going to be a loud atmosphere for the Packers as for once the Lions are actually good and for once the Lions are good on Thanksgiving.
Coming into this Thursday’s game the Detroit Lions have lost seven consecutive holiday games and they have lost them by an average of 22.9 points. As for their overall record on the holiday of Thanksgiving games, is 4-27.
Now despite always losing on Thanksgiving Day the Lions aren’t worried as the past is the past, “From what it’s been in the past to now, it’s different,” said Detroit defensive lineman Corey Williams to ESPN. “For us to be doing as good as we’re doing right now, it’s real exciting. Then we’ve got Green Bay coming in — the big, 10-0 Green Bay. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be like a mini-Super Bowl, I think, atmosphere-wise.”
So with that being said now it’s time to pick a winner; Detroit. The reason why I believe the Lions are going to win is because of the crowd; it plays a big factor in games and this Ford Field crowd especially on prime time games gets really loud. So loud that it does effect play. Remember the Monday Night game against the Chicago Bears in week five? The Bears had nine false start penalties and lost 35-13. Though fast forward too week 10, the Bears played the Lions again except at home and they beat Detroit 24-13.
So that just goes to show you that crowds can play a role and that the crowd of Ford Field plays an even bigger one. Also when you add in that the Packers defense not playing well plays a factor too with this Lions team who averages 30.1 points per game.
Prediction: Detroit wins.
Miami Dolphins (3-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-4) 4:15: Do I even have to say it? Like come on seriously, you’re really asking who’s going to win between the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys? I mean just three weeks ago this team was DE-feated and in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. But because they beat the Kansas City Chiefs (4-6), the Washington Redskins (3-7) who the Cowboys already beat twice this season, and the Buffalo Bills (5-5) that there all of sudden good is just plain out ridiculous.
The Dolphins are 1-4 on the road and as for the Cowboys their 4-1 at home so that right there pretty much sums it up. However if that’s not good enough for you then we’ll continue; Matt Moore he’s your starting quarterback. Jason Taylor; he’s still on your team? Shouldn’t he be vacationing with Brett Favre or something?
Now yes Reggie Bush has been doing a lot better since he started seeing Kim Kardashian again, but that doesn’t mean that his team is going to be good too. Kim only helps him, not the team…at least as we know it’s only Reggie.
I have two words for the Miami Dolphins…game over.
Prediction: Dallas wins.
San Francisco 49ers (9-1) at Baltimore Ravens (7-3) 8:20: Its brother versus brother, and mother and father versus 49ers apparel or Ravens apparel. But all jokes aside it really is and for the first time in NFL history there will be a game where two brothers as head coaches will face each other. That right there makes this game alone a great one to watch but because the 49ers at 9-1 are having such a great season for the first time in years, makes it a great one as well.
With Ray Lewis’s status still up in the air for Thursday’s game really plays a factor in determining who will win because he’s the general of that unstoppable Ravens defense. Now saying Lewis does play, that give the Ravens a great edge. Now saying Lewis doesn’t play could mean a lot of trouble for the Baltimore Ravens.
It could mean trouble in the fact that Frank Gore is the 49ers main ingredient to success on the 49ers offense and without Lewis; the Ravens did awful against the run. Last week without Lewis, the Ravens allowed Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson to score two touchdowns. Which means that Gore would most likely do the same if not better as let’s face it Gore is a lot better than Benson.
Though don’t underrate this 49ers team as Gore isn’t the only good thing on their team as they wouldn’t be in this position if he was the only option. Their defense has been the other ingredient for them this season as well. Allowing not one opposing running back to score a touchdown is a great stat and very hard stat to have and with Ray Rice being such a key factor for the Ravens, this too could also play a role in determining a winner.
So with that being said if Ray Lewis can’t go and if Ray Rice is held scoreless and shutdown then expect the 49ers to win this football game. However if Lewis plays which he’s listed as a game time decision then the Ravens have a big edge in this game as stopping Gore will be a lot easier. This will make the 49ers have to pass the ball putting the pressure on quarterback Alex Smith which is something the 49ers don’t want to do as last time that happened was in Dallas which as you all know resulted in a loss.
Prediction: 49ers win.