Open Thread: Championship Sunday
Bent , TheJetsBlog.com
Championship Sunday! It seems like a long time ago, but the Jets were actually involved in two of the last three of these! Alas, not this time though…
49ers at Falcons — An outstanding performance by Colin Kaepernick last week has the 49ers currently favored by 4.5 points on the road, after the Falcons were barely able to stave off a Seahawks rally last week. Is Kaepernick the real deal or will Matt Ryan finally realize his full potential now that he has that first playoff win monkey off his back? Watch out for the 49ers fearsome pass rush, led by Aldon and Justin Smith. On the Falcons side, it looks like Falcons DE John Abraham will start despite being injured. Well, it is the playoffs, why wouldn’t he?
Ravens at Patriots — The Patriots are favored by more than a touchdown in this one, despite having lost 31-30 to the Ravens (who did their best to throw the game away) in September. New England is on a bit of a roll despite losing Rob Gronkowski last week. I don’t think the Patriots will miss him in the passing game – if anything, Tom Brady is more efficient when he has fewer options and can lead a more focused attack – but they might struggle to establish the run without Gronkowski’s blocking. Look for them to go no-huddle and try to catch the Ravens with pass defense personnel in the game. Baltimore will need to try and keep pace by completing passes downfield against the Patriots secondary which is weak between the 20’s. Could this be the swansong for Ray Lewis (and maybe Ed Reed too)?