Conference Title Games with Brian Phillips

What a week eh. I almost forgot there was football today. I don't know about you, but I think we could use a couple of good games today. Coupla cold ones too.

It's funny how life works. Had Donald Trump been able to sue his way into the NFL he may never have run for president. Then again maybe he would have run a lot sooner. Perhaps in a parallel universe Jerry Jones would have run instead and Chris Christie could have been his dream date VP.


.At any rate, this is one of the better ESPN 30 for 30s and the 45th President is very much a star player. 

Jeff Pearlman is working on a USFL book. I've been following on social media his progress. He's done hundreds of interviews, but I doubt he got Trump to talk about the league again. That was a one shot deal. 

Green Bay at Atlanta

NFC Championship Game



Falcons -5 1/2

The line has been on the move all week as the Packers' health woes come into sharper relief. Among wide receivers Jordy Nelson (broken ribs) Devante Adams (sprained ankle) Geronimo Allison (hamstring) only Nelson has practiced this week and he's been limited at that. 

Friday we learned Aaron Rodgers has been fighting a flu bug all this week. Funny... We're coming up on the 20th anniversary of this:

Or... was it the flu? Ah no time for that now.

If anyone can overcome the creeping crud and play well it's Rodgers. Of far more concern are his wide receivers.  Even if Nelson and Adams can go, they are for from 100 percent. Tight end Jared Reed and running back Ty Montgomery are going to be be hugely important today. If Rodgers can get them involved I'll give them a chance.

Wow the Falcons look scary on offense. That two-headed running back monster of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman make this vaunted Falcons offense go. Julio Jones has been battling a bad toe for weeks now, but the man is a gamer. He'll be out there making plays. 

The Falcons defense meanwhile has been making improvements. They'll be looking to create some pressure as they did last week against Seattle. The Packers will have to dial up some as well from the likes of Micah Hyde as they did in Dallas last week. He was a real factor.

I'll join the rest of the world in expecting a high scoring, entertaining game, but I think those injuries are going to be too much for the Packers on the road. I'll lay the points with Atlanta 41-35.

Pittsburgh at New England

AFC Championship Game



Patriots -6

Brock Osweiler, Matt Moore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trevor Semien, Joe Flacco, Jared Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Colin Kaepernick. That's the list of quarterbacks the Patriots have faced during their current 8 game winning streak. The last time they lost? To Russell Wilson and the Seahawks over two months ago. The Patriots beat the Steelers back in October, but Ben Roethlisberger was out with a bum knee. If you look at the Patriots schedule in total the best quarterback they faced after Tom Brady returned from suspension was Wilson.... That was Brady's only loss of the year. 

The Steelers got 149 yards of total offense out of La'Veon Bell that day, and they look to get more than that tonight. This game can be pretty simple when the stakes are this high. Pittsburgh will look to keep Tom Brady on the bench. The Patriots know they can't give up big plays to Antonio Brown. There should be room for Bell to do this thing. 

New England got a big game from Legarrette Blount back in October against the Steelers as well. They'll also seek to shorten the game tonight with lots of possession, and Blount is the key.

In a lot of ways these two are looking into the mirror. Offensively capable, middling defense. It'll be fascinating to watch and all the better as weather will be no factor.

I've stated before that you go broke picking against the Patriots. I'll split the difference here and take those points, but the Pats for the win 23-20.