By Joel Nethery
Husky Herald Sportswriter
It’s day five of “Snowmaggedon 2012.” Or is it day four? I can’t remember anymore. And did we decide on “Snowmaggedon” or “Snowpocalypse?” I’ve been stuck inside for far too long. It has been an entertaining week, though. A sad Packers fan cried over the Packers loss and blamed it on wearing sparkles and her Clay Matthews jersey. On Twitter, Clay Matthews agreed with her. Then we heard that Peyton Manning was going to retire; From Rob Lowe. Maybe ESPN should just start hiring actors who are friends with NFL owners. So, hopefully you were able to stay entertained and survived the snow and being stuck inside. It would sure be a shame if you didn’t, because we have a great day of football coming up. Although, I suppose you probably did survive. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. As always, lines are from ESPN and my picks are in caps.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (+6.5) at New England Patriots
If only Mark Walhberg had been at the Patriots vs. Broncos game. Tebow would have never lost. Marky Mark wouldn’t have let it happen. But he wasn’t and the Patriots won. Easily. Thanks to the unstoppable Aarob Gronknandez. The combo is even more deadly now that the Aaron Hernandez also lines up at running back. Apparently, there is nothing that the New England tight ends can’t do, and that makes them so difficult to defend. The Patriots only real weakness is on defense. Against the Broncos, the Patriots lack of defense didn’t hurt them. Against Ray Rice and Joe Flacco, it will. Seriously, the Patriots have the 31st ranked pass defense. It doesn’t matter what the Ravens players have been saying about Joe Flacco. Even if the Texans did “rattle” him, the Patriots won’t be able to do the same. If Flacco can take the field, he will be able to put up points. The Ravens defense just has to hold the Patriots to under 30 points to win. And they will. Sadly, Vince Wilfork won’t have anything to dance about after this game.
Baltimore 27, New England 24
NEW YORK GIANTS (+2.0) at San Francisco 49ers
Am I really picking both away teams to win their respective conference championship games? You bet I am! I have a lot riding on both the Ravens and Giants making it to the Super Bowl. Way back in September, I predicted the Ravens to meet the Giants on that special day in February, with the Giants winning it all. I even reminded you of my pick back in week 15. Now that I have talked it up so much, I’m sure I have successfully jinxed both the Ravens and the Giants. The Giants are peaking, though. They’re playing better than they have all season. This isn’t anything like the Giants team that won the Super Bowl in 2007. After dominating the Buccaneers in the first round of the 2007 playoffs, the Giants had close wins over both the Cowboys and Packers. This year, the Giants are running over teams (see Falcons, Atlanta and Packers, Green Bay). But they haven’t played a team like San Francisco yet. By that, I mean they haven’t played a team with a defense yet. And Alex Smith may not be as incompetent as we thought. Which means the Giants won’t have another easy win. However, if the Giants win, be prepared for lots of comparisons to the 2007 Giants. The big difference between the two teams is who catches Manning’s passes. In 2007, the Giants had David Tyree, Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress. The 2011 Giants have Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. I know which group I’d rather have.
Prediction: New York 20, San Francisco 17