Oh my god I think I hate football this week. 1. All of the teams I thought I could cheer for in the Superbowl lost between Saturday and Sunday. 2. The greatest Oregon coach of my lifetime pulled an about-face worthy of a Gemini and is leaving the Ducks for the Philly Eagles. I cannot become an Eagles fan, despite the charms of Marky Mark’s Invincible and
Bradley Cooper’s Jennifer Lawrence’s Silver Linings Playbook. 3. The star wide receiver for the Niners, last team that could possibly claim my interest (more on that in a minute), is being questioned in a sexual assault case. I will not leap to judgement, but still. Yet. Gross. And 4. Manti Te’o. Yes, I was on Twitter as the news of his dead fake girlfriend broke. Or was it fake dead girlfriend? Or was it public whirlwind of pain and humiliation? In any case, it left a sour damn taste in my mouth.
What to do? I’m like, in case you hadn’t noticed, a professional sports blogger these days, so instead of burying my head under a rock until August, I’m going to provide a thorough, objective preview of the two divisional championship games this Sunday. By deciding which of the four teams has a better Oregon alum on the roster.
AFC: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Haloti Ngata is the starting nose tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. And he is pretty good at his job–the Ravens slapped a franchise tag on him in 2011, with a five year deal worth 60 million bucks. Also playing for the Ravens is tight end Ed Dickson, who was productive in Oregon and has over 200 receiving yards this year alone. Over on the Patriots side of the field is safety Patrick Chung. Man once had fifteen tackles in a single game, and he’s had four interceptions this year. But he’s been injury-prone throughout his four years in the pros.
EDGE: BALTIMORE Final score: Ravens 28, Patriots 24
NFC: San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
The 49ers made a smart play taking LaMichael James in the 2012 draft. Kid is a future king, and even though he rode the bench for most of the season, he unleashed a key 62-yard kick return to help the Niners outlast the Patriots in December. He’s been making the most of his limited role in the playoffs. I cannot wait to see what he does in the next few years; his speed is spectacular, he’s got great vision, and good hands.
On the other side of the field, Atlanta’s got a wide receiver out of Oregon named DJ Davis. Never heard of him. And their star running back, Jacquizz Rogers, is from Oregon State–blech.
EDGE: NINERS Final score: 49ers 34, Atlanta 31
So there it is, folks. The most objective, informative playoff preview you’ll see today. Enjoy the games. I’ll be curled in the fetal position somewhere with the sound off. [JMS]