This week’s questions and discussion…
1) What the hell happened to the Minnesota Vikings’ highly touted defense that the Philadelphia Eagles (and journeyman QB Nick Foles who played as if he were in his 2013 Pro Bowl year) appeared as if they could score at will in their winning the NFC Championship title 38-7 and earning a trip to the SBLII?
The ones just in my lifetime that come to mind (1998 NFC Championship; Gary Anderson misses a kick for the 1st time in 2 years ; Falcons rally and go on to Super Bowl. 2000- Lose 41-0 to Giants in NFC Championship 2003 – Lose playoff berth on 4th and 24 touchdown against 3-12 Cardinals. 2009- Favre doesn’t just fall down to setup FG; lose in OT.
David: Solid Question!
It’s not like the line was rock-solid or there was some Randy Moss blowing the lid off the top, the Iggles just did whatever the heck they wanted. Could be the game plan was better, could be the Vikings believed their own hype. True the running game was better than the Saints, but not THAT much better. I just have no idea.
Joe: Part of it was Case Keenum went back to being Case Keenum. Part of it was maybe the game plan for the Eagles was just better. Part of it was Foles (like the question indicated) suddenly found his inner Pro Bowl QB and played like one.
But in the end? Who the hell knows.
Vikes picked the worst time of the year to have one of their worst games of the year just might be the real answer. Just dumb… and very bad… damn luck.
Chad: Brady is an all-time great QB who did what other all time QB’s do step up in big games.
David: It’s Brady, what did you expect?
They simply wore the Jags down, who stopped running the ball to grind the clock. Look at the game stats – the Jags had TOP, Yards, Average per Play etc. It’s just you cannot leave the Pats any wiggle room and again, Fournette got forgotten about.
Joe: The Jags had that game won in my mind but then went into “Let’s stop doing what got us here mode” and played a stupid version of what I call a “prevent offense.”
Simply… give Brady even the slightest chance and he will find a way to win the game.
This is not to take anything away from Brady because when it came down to crunch time … without Gronk! … he made the big passes count when they had to.
Brady is maybe even better than John Elway when it comes to winning games late.
3) Four of the top five PTS/G (points allowed per game) leaders were in this year’s NFL conference title games… at 1, 2, 3 were Minnesota, Jacksonville, Philadelphia respectively and at #5 was New England.
For all the talk about how teams need a top notch QB in todays’ game to win, is maybe having a strong defense (even one like New England’s that bends but doesn’t break… they were near the bottom in yards allowed this year) that keeps the opposition out of the end zone the more important way to build an NFL Super Bowl winner?
Chad: The old adage is Defense wins Championships.
Recent champions like Seattle, and Denver in Peyton’s last year, did it with defense and smart offenses.
It is the way it is going. Jacksonville almost pulled off a SB with Blake Bortles and a great Defense.
David: It comes down to game plan.
The Saints didn’t need Brees to throw for 300 yards – and they won 11 games, the Panthers didn’t need Cam to throw for 250 and run for 150, and won 11 games. Either can, but don’t have too. You can win with the right parts, and a plan in place to outscore the other guy- either 41-38 or 10-7.
Joe: I recently said a version of this in the MLBRT that appears on this site on Thursdays… Defense wins.
Build a strong young defense and then work on your offensive line (which defends the QB) then worry about where the points will come from later. Because if a team can stop the other team from scoring bunches of points, all the QB needs to do is play mistake free and the team will win a lot more than they lose.
What is your opinion on the Monday morning (1/22) early Super Bowl line… Patriots -7 Eagles and the Over/Under being 47?
Bill Belichick has two weeks to game plan against you; you’re not winning, sorry Philly
David: I think the line is fair, and considering how the Pats rarely blow a team out, I think I’d jump on the Iggles if it moves to 7.5.
Joe: As I write this, the last line I saw was at 5.
People were taking the points and the bookies moved it down to try and lay off some of that Eagle money back over to the Pats.
Wanna know a secret? I am seriously thinking of taking the Eagles to win the game outright. I like their defense that much.
5) If the New England Patriots win this year’s Super Bowl do they then become the best NFL dynasty ever? Why or why not?
And, where would that place Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady, in your estimation of the two in the NFL all-time rankings as a HC and player/QB respectively?
Chad: When the Patriots win (I’m not rooting; just predicting the inevitable), Yes, Belichick is the greatest coach ever and Brady probably is best QB because to win 6 and get to 8 will never be done again.
So, yes… best dynasty ever. God that pained me to give the Patriots credit.
David: Only real challenger is the AAFC Browns.
In the Super Bowl Era, since I’m not THAT old, I think I would place the Hoodie above Walsh, and Brady below Montana, but I have the combo ahead of the Niners duo already, and that doesn’t change win or lose.
Joe: Yes. In my mind Belichick is already the best HC I ever seen. Brady is one of the top two or three QBs I have ever seen.
From the Hartford Courant…
“Brady has played in the big game more times than all but five teams in the league. Brady also has 27 career playoff wins. Only Pittsburgh (36), Dallas (34), Green Bay (32) and San Francisco (31) have more than Brady does by himself.
He has already started two more Super Bowls (seven) than any other quarterback in history. John Elway had five. The rest of the best: Joe Montana (4), Brett Favre (2), Terry Bradshaw (4), Ben Roethlisberger (3), Bart Starr (2), Peyton Manning (4) and Troy Aikman (3). Brady’s five Super Bowl wins are one more than Bradshaw and Montana.”
“(Belichick) has already won five Super Bowl rings as Patriots coach and two as an assistant coach with the Giants. Belichick set an NFL record with his fifth Super Bowl ring in last year’s overtime win in Super Bowl LI, passing Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll. As the head coach of the Steelers, Noll won Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV. Vince Lombardi won the first two Super Bowls and also won six NFL championships before the Super Bowl era as coach of Packers.”
Belichick and Brady have been in seven Super Bowls since 2000… this year now makes eight. They have five rings and a chance to win number 6 this year.
What else do you need to know?
For the Grabbag of life
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