Sports are the things that can bring us down to a level we haven't hit in awhile, or carry us through things we didn't know we could handle.

"Sports are the things that can bring us down to a level we haven't hit in awhile, or carry us through things we didn't know we could handle."
Ok, so now that the NFL season has been officially over for a few weeks, it's time to move on.  All I have to say about the Packer loss is that, even in ignominious defeat, I was right.  If you don't believe me, read my last post.  How many of these "keys" did the Packers win?  If you want to get technical, maybe 1, but pretty much none of them.  They deserved to lose, it's over, I've dealt with it, let's move on.  Don't bring this up to me ever again because I don't want to talk about it.  I feel like Vince Vaughn in what I think is the funniest Non-Will-Ferrell scene of Wedding Crashers. "I don't give a bakers fuck.  I just had my own sock ducktaped (Does anyone know how to spell that btw? i know duct tape is spelled that way, but does ducttaped look right? anyway..) into my mouth last night ... I'm not in a place to discuss what happened, okay?"  That sock is the Packers performance in that Giants game, and I'm not in a place to discuss what happened.

So it's time to focus on the future, and the sports seasons I can look forward to instead of back at.  That's what I'm hoping to do, anyway.

1. The Milwaukee Brewers - Pitchers and catchers report, which means Spring Training baby!  Oh wait, I can't get that excited because Prince Fielder just signed with the Tigers and Ryan Braun will most likely miss the first 50 games of the season.  No one has successfully appealed a suspension for PEDs, so forgive me if I'm not holding my breath.  Yeah, keep telling me that Mat Gamel might perform and Aramis Ramirez is a good signing.  And that the pitching staff can keep us in it until Braun comes back.  Whatever.  Fielder is gone, Braun is probably gone - our two best players, not to mention leaders, from the NLCS team won't be there, and the #3 starter in our rotation that made our pitching staff decent enough last year, Shawn Marcum, looked like Jeff Suppan in last year's playoffs.  I'm not nearly as ready for this year's Crew as I was for last year's, and anyone who is a Brewers fan is with me - don't lie to yourselves.

2. The North Carolina Tar Heels - I'm a Wisconsin sports fan, except in College Football and Basketball.  I love the Badgers (Glad Montee Ball is coming back, but the basketball team is hurting this year.  They get dominated athletically in every single game they play, so they're not going anywhere.  Imagine if they played Kentucky, and the Wildcats aren't even the best team in the country in my opinion).  The Tar Heels at least have a chance.  Although, as I say that, the Felton-McCants-May team isn't walking through the door anytime soon, nor is the Lawson-Ellington-Hansbrough squad.  Marshall (not an offensive threat yet) - Barnes (not aggressive and dominant enough yet) - Henson (still looks uncoordinated and thinks offensively for some reason yet) doesn't sound nearly as impressive.  Feels like another Elite 8 team to me.

3. The Milwaukee Bucks - What do I really need to say here?  If they were a 7 or 8 seed in the playoffs it wouldn't surprise me.  But Bogut can't stay healthy to save his life, he got banged up again last night, and this has been his most ineffective season so far as a pro.  Stephen Jackson is coming off the bench now, which may actually be a blessing, and Brandon Jennings can put up 20 points a game in his sleep which no one seems to have noticed.  Outside of that, though, this team can't score and everyone knows it.  If their defense keeps them in contention until the end then so be it, but realistically they're not making any noise right now.

4. The New York Knicks - I've always been on the Melo bandwagon, even since Syracuse.  I still like Syracuse to this day because of him, so of course I'm going to follow him to New York.  That said, D'Antoni needs to go, and so does Amare.  Bring in Larry Brown if Phil Jackson doesn't want to come back.  An Amare trade to the Sixers for Jrue Holiday and Iguodala sounds good to me.  Surround Melo with defensive minded/athletic/transition type players and let him go to work.  Brown had that with Iverson in Philly, what's the difference between he and Melo other than the fact that Melo will be able to carry a team longer?  Am I missing something completely obvious or am I just smarter than everyone else?

Having mentioned all that, I'm completely resigned to the fact that this year in sports won't even come close to touching last year.  The Packers won the Super Bowl, UNC went from sucking to almost making the Final Four, the Brewers almost made it to the World Series, Michigan won their first BCS game in I don't even know how long.  Sometimes as sports fans, you just have what I like to call Your Year.  Last year, for me, was Your Year.  That kind of thing won't happen on a regular basis, so you have to soak it up while you can.  So for any of you reading this who have let yourselves ride on the back of one of these teams, or any team at all for that matter, recognize what happened and be proud of it.  Don't expect it to happen all the time, but revel in it.

"Sports are the things that can bring us down to a level we haven't hit in awhile, or carry us through things we didn't know we could handle."

Keys to a Packer Victory over the Giants

Here are my keys to a Packer victory today against the Giants.  If the Pack win the majority of these battles, we'll be heading to the NFC Championship game to face the San Francisco 49ers.

Protect Aaron Rodgers
The Giants have a legitimately scary pass rush, and they don't have to blitz.  They have the luxury of keeping people back in coverage while rushing 4 and still getting to quarterbacks.  If Rodgers doesn't have time to throw, we'll be in big trouble.  McCarthy needs to mix in some running plays (I'm still fairly sure he knows that it's legal to run in the NFL) with some screens as well as quick passes.  None of that 5 or 7 step drop crap; 3 steps, get the ball out to one of your playmakers and let them make people miss.

Andrew's NFL Divisional Round Playoff Picks, Packers-Giants Rant

Here we go with my Divisional Round picks for this weekend.

Saints at 49ers - I honestly have no idea which way to go in this game.  I'm not sure if the Saints can score 40 points or if San Francisco can hold them to 20.  I'm also not sure even if the 49ers do hold them to 20, they can score 21.  Jim Harbaugh seems like he can preach the "No one thinks we have a chance" thing to his team better than anyone, so I see the 49ers coming out pissed off, especially on defense.  My line of thinking always seems to go back to the team with the better QB though, and that one's obvious here.  Saints 23-17

Broncos at Patriots - I've decided this: if the Broncos win this game and Tebow does it again at the end, this would be factual evidence that God really does exist.  There's no other way to explain how this keeps happening.  And if it happens against this team, at this time, on the road I give in.  It's like God is saying, "No one believes I exist?  Fine.  Watch this.  Divine Intervention bitches."  Tebow's like a prophet or something, I dunno anymore.  Having said that, I compare Tom Brady to Kobe in this way - everytime the media keeps asking him about someone else, he says the right things and reacts the right way.  But you can see that he gets sick of hearing about it and wants to say, "The next person who asks me about this guy is getting punched in the face.  For real."  Only then they both come out and put up 50 points or 400 yards and 5 TDs instead.  I can't see Brady doing anything other than that, and the Denver Tebows can't keep up.  New England 38-24

Texans at Ravens - I didn't think the Texans would beat the Bengals last week.  For some reason I forgot how good their defense and running game are.  Therefore, this is my upset pick of the week.  Can anyone honestly tell me Joe Flacco is that much better than T.J. Yates?  Or that the Ravens running game is any better than the Texans?  Or that the Ravens D is much better than the Texans?  No, no, and no.  And the Ravens NEVER seem to make it through a playoff run without blowing a game somehow.  All signs point the the Houston upset, and instead of talking about how a third-string rookie QB made it to an AFC Championship game, we'll probably be hearing about what happened to Tebow in the othre AFC matchup.  Thanks, ESPN.  Houston 17-14

Giants at Packers - Alright, here comes my rant about the Giants.  It's been brewing.  How do the so called "experts" keep picking the Giants?  Have they forgotten that the Packers came within one crap game of going 16-0?  (in a Herm Edwards voice)  THEY ONLY LOST 1 GAME ALL YEAR.  HELLOOOOOO!  Then we hear about the Giants pass rush and how great Eli Manning is playing.  Is anyone better equipped to get off quick passes against an average secondary all game long than Aaron Rodgers?  Remind me, which of the Giants linebackers can cover Jermichael Finley?  And the Packers lead the league in interceptions for a reason.  What's Eli's only major issue that keeps him from being an elite QB?  Interceptions, at crucial times.  And this big "run" the Giants have been on?  Week 14, Dallas pisses away a win, Tony Romo misses a deep throw to ice the game when it counts.  Aaron Rodgers doesn't miss that throw.  Week 15, Giants lose to the hapless Redskins.  Week 16, they beat a Jets team that was clearly falling apart at home.  Week 17, Dallas doesn't show up in a must-win game.  Then last week, everything goes right for them and everything goes wrong for Atlanta, but somehow they get all the credit for a "great defensive performance."  Total domination of a team that couldn't do anything, woo hoo congratulations. 

I had to get that out.  Having said all that, I think the game will be extremely close and it kind of worries me to be honest.  But the Packers are a 15-1 team with 21 of 22 starters back and healthy from opening day, and all they're hearing about is how the Giants have what it takes to beat them.  Rodgers lives off hearing that kind of stuff, and McCarthy would love to use it as motivation.  Packers 41-34  I guarantee it, JPP.

The Packers Playoff Chances Broken Down Poetry Style

The Pack once again in the dance
On a quest for back-to-back
"Go Pack Go!" the Lambeau crowd chants
An advantage the other teams lack

The Giants first up in the divisional round
Umenyiora, J.P.P, and Tuck
They'll try to get Rodgers on the ground
But we really don't give a f---

The Saints and the Niners from the west coast
Brees' O against Harbaugh's D
While San Fran's coach likes to boast
The Saints look like the pick to me

So the Pack and the Saints for the NFC
The two top candidates for MVP
Two quarterbacks who've thrown for 40 TDs
What an offensive matchup this could be

Expect a lot of points and not a lot of D
The combined score for both teams may approach 115
But in the end I think Rodgers will outplay Brees
And in the Super Bowl crowd, we'll again see some cheese

Andrew's NFL Wild Card Playoff Picks

Just a quick post on who I'm going with this weekend in the NFL Wild Card round...

Cincinnati over Houston - I don't think Houston has enough to get it done this weekend against Andy Dalton and A.J. Green and the Bengals D.. if they were completely healthy, it'd be a much different story.  24-14 Cincy.

New Orleans over Detroit - Drew Brees and Co. are on a roll, and they'll continue that against Detroit.. A high scoring affair, I say something like 45-35 New Orleans.

NY Giants over Atlanta - The Giants looked dominant against Dallas last week, especially their pass rush.. As a Packer fan, this worries me a lot.  28-24 Giants.

Pittsburgh over Denver - As everyone seems to say, Dick LeBeau's zone blitz D will prove too much for Tim Tebow, although I think the game will be much closer than everyone believes.  24-21 Pittsburgh.

Possible Destinations for Packers QB Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn has started 2 games in the NFL.  In his first, a game with playoff implications last year on the road at New England, Flynn was 24 of 37 for 251 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.  In his second this past Sunday against the Lions, he completed 31 of 44 attempts for 480 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception.  His 6 TDs and 480 yards were both Green Bay Packer franchise records for a single game.  In both starts, he had a QB Rating of over 100 and a completion percentage over 65 percent.  After the Detriot game, Packer's head coach Mike McCarth said about Flynn, "Well, it’s clearly one of the best performances I’ve been a part of, no doubt about it. I can’t say enough about Matt Flynn. The whole world got to see what we see every day. He’s a talented young man, he has full control of the offense and just the way he plays, he’s very even-keeled." 

Coming from someone who molds quarterbacks, I'd say that's pretty high praise, praise McCarthy has been singing about Flynn for the last few seasons, it's just that people outside of Green Bay don't hear about it.  I think it's safe to say that Flynn will be getting the payday this offseason that accompanies an opportunity to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.  The only question is, "Where?"  That's a question I'm about to answer.