Sultan of Sides says Pats-Hawks is meant to be

  • By Nolan Rose
  • Thursday, January 15, 2015 6:58pm
  • Sports

The Prince of Pigskin Prognostication’s postseason prowess has been nothing short of empowering for loyal Clarion faithful during the first two rounds of playoff games. A 3-1 Wild Card Weekend mark was followed by an equally impressive 3-1 record in the Divisional Round. You’re welcome!

The Sultan of Sides is fancying himself a modern day Robin Hood, slinging football knowledge to the masses with an intellectual bow and arrow. Before we suffer a bout of overconfidence let’s recap the week that was.

Poor Cowboys fans. A week after benefiting from a controversial noncall against the Detroit Lions the Fighting Jerrys fell victim to a questionable ruling in Green Bay. A catch, or not a catch, that is the question. To me, if you take three steps, whether you’re stumbling to the ground or making a “football move,” and clearly have possession of the ball, that’s a catch. At that point, when Dez Bryant reached out with the football in an effort to score, the ground can’t cause a fumble.

Bryant should have been marked down inside the 1-yard line, if the rule was written the way I would write it, but by the letter of the law Bryant bobbled the ball when he hit the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. No catch.

The hardest part of the play is defining what a “football move” is. Even though Bryant took three stumbling steps, he never made a decisive move with his legs. Dez, was in the act of falling, but shouldn’t reaching out with the football, in an attempt to score, be a definitive indication that the player has control of the ball and is committing a “football move”? Isn’t trying to score a football move?

It’s a confusing rule that needs to be changed completely or at least rewritten this off-season. On the bright side, as a Seahawks fan, I’d rather face a hobbled Aaron Rodgers and the Green bay Packers in the NFC Championship, than a rising Dallas Cowboys team. Great call!

The other side of the football world bore witness to a funeral. Peyton Manning is no more. May his wobbling duck passes rest in peace. Manning may not retire, but surely No. 18 will never be the same. Remember, Father Time is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, still unbeaten after thousands of years.

The Denver Broncos have already politely fired John Fox by “mutually” parting ways. Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas are free agents, and offensive coordinator, Adam Gase, is being courted by a host of suitors for head-coaching positions. Broncos boss, John Elway, may decide it’s time to start a complete roster makeover. At minimum it appears like Manning just wasted his last great chance at capturing a second Super Bowl ring when his Broncos were bested by the Indianapolis Colts.

In New England, the Patriots survived a scare from the Baltimore Ravens to potentially set up the ultimate opportunity for the Seattle Seahawks and the Legion of Boom defense. The Seahawks gloriously dispatched Peyton Manning and the Broncos in last year’s Super Bowl. Now, Seattle gets Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship before possibly facing Tom Brady in Glendale, Arizona.

If the Seahawks conquer the three greatest quarterbacks of the last decade (possibly all time) in two, successive championship runs, the significance would be historical. To borrow a phrase from the little quarterback that could, Russell Wilson, “Go Hawks!”

Green Bay Packers

Before we break down the game I want to whine for second. What the hell is wrong with Dish Network? How can you not carry a national network for multiple weeks during the NFL Playoffs. Cool, that I can’t watch the game at home this weekend, because CEO’s are squabbling over who gets more millions. Ridiculous. Thank goodness for Direct TV.

It’s impossible to fathom laying a touchdown against Aaron Rodgers, but that’s how hot this Seahawks team is, and the respect you must pay to Seattle’s infamous home-field advantage. The Seahawks rolled the Carolina Panthers a week ago to reach the championship game behind yet another stifling defensive effort.

Sure, the Panthers managed to gain some yards and post 17 points on the board, but a lot of Carolina’s yardage came on a late, meaningless scoring drive after the outcome of the game had been decided.

Green Bay is a scary team. Anytime you have Aaron Rodgers under center you have a chance, but a hobbled Rodgers, one incapable of escaping a pass rush, will be reduced to a mere mortal on Sunday. Remember, Seattle defeated Green Bay at home 36-16 in the season opener.

The Packers visited Seattle in 2013 as well and famously fell in the “Fail Mary” game. The wild finish clouds the fact the Seahawks pass rushers sacked Rodgers seven times in the first half alone! Needless to say, Century Link Field has been a house of horrors for Packers franchise.

The final nail in Green Bay’s coffin will be hammered home by own of their own, former Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson’s playoff performances are quickly becoming feats of legend. Take a look at the numbers. In the postseason Wilson has a 5-1 career mark behind a sterling 63.8 completion percentage, nine touchdowns and only one interception. His career 109.6 passer rating in playoff games is tops in NFL history (Aaron Rodgers is second).

In 152 postseason pass attempts Wilson has averaged 9.0 yards per throw and a stunning 14.1 yards per completion. All that doesn’t even account for the havoc his legs cause for opposing defenders. The Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch’s heroics get most of the attention and deservedly so, but Wilson is the straw that stirs the Seahawks drink.

There is absolutely no way Green Bay waltzes into the “Clink” with a one-legged Aaron Rodgers and defeats a team intent on establishing itself as one the best in NFL history. Seahawks win 30-20

Indianapolis Colts @ NEW

Since Andrew Luck entered the NFL the Indianapolis Colts have played Tom Brady and the New England Patriots three times. The Colts have been outscored 66-144 in those contests.

You did the math correctly, the Patriots are averaging 48 points per game against the new-era Colts. That’s a lot of points for those of you that don’t follow professional football closely. That includes a 20-plus point woodshed job in last year’s playoffs and a 42-20 Patriots victory in Indy earlier this season.

Maybe this is a different Colts team, maybe the defense has become suddenly not awful in the closing weeks of the season, maybe Andrew Luck is good enough to best Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back-to-back weeks. Maybe only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Traveling into Foxboro and conquering Darth Belichick’s minion is too much to ask for a not-quite-ready-for-prime-time Colts team.

Andrew Luck will win a Super Bowl eventually, that feels inevitable, but the football gods are on Seattle’s side. It would be criminal not to give that Seahawks defense a crack at all three of a fading generation’s greatest passers en route to becoming one of the all-time legendary defensive units. There is nothing Indianapolis can do to change destiny. A Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl is meant to be. Patriots win 36-21

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