Stillers

I wasn’t too far off on my playoff predictions. I got six right, two wrong, and three of my four picks are in the championship round. The biggest shocker to me was that freakshow of a game between Carolina and Arizona. That was my one rock-solid pick. Going into that weekend, it was my sure thing of all the games. I figured two stellar runningbacks against a porous run defense was a no-brainer. That’s the way the playoffs work. Nope. Bizarre.

Last night, I watched the Sunday games on an 18-hour delay. Here in Korea, the early game begins at 3 am. There’s a bar in Busan called Sunset Lounge that has the NFL game pass, so they showed both games starting Monday at 8 pm. I spent the whole day away from the internet and I told friends and family not to say anything. The only fissure all day came from my friend Brian, a die-hard Ravens fan and a vampire (coincidence?) who goes to sleep when the sun rises. He sent me two text messages: “And the winner is…” at about 1 pm, and “Is it over yet?” at about 10 pm. After the second one I turned off my phone.

The mantra at the bar was “If you know, don’t say.” Everyone was a little nervous that someone was going to spill the beans about the outcome. But no one did for either game. Only one guy knew and he left the Steeler game at halftime.

What a game that was. I wasn’t too nervous about the first Charger touchdown. But it did get me thinking about how Tom Brady killed the Steelers in the playoffs a few years back. I’ve said this before, but the way to beat the Steelers is to forget about running the ball: just throw deep. That third quarter was nuts. I don’t think I’ve seen offensive domination like that by the Steelers ever.

Next week will be carnage. The line play will be personal and brutal on both sides. I’m still picking Pittsburgh of course, because I think they’re in better physical and mental shape. But it’s anybody’s game. The line, ridiculously, is Pittsburgh by six. That’s nuts. I put it at straight-up even odds. If the Ravens win, it will be close. But if the Steelers win it has as good a chance ending 9-7 as it does ending 42-3. The Chargers pass rush is nothing like the Ravens, so if things go badly its because Ben is brought to the grass six or seven times. What I want to see is a ton of Willie Parker, over and over and over and over again. I want to see him dig out three yards, then two, then one, then seven, then three. That’s what I want to see.

The Eagles-Cardinals game… Does anyone care outside of Arizona and Eastern Pennsylvania? I’m picking Philadelphia. Two reasons: I still think that Cardinal run defense is vulnerable. I figure Westbrook will finish with 150 all-purpose yards, maybe even more. On defense, I think the Eagles secondary will confuse the passing game and Warner will throw at least two picks. And overall, I just feel like the Eagles are a grittier team. So there you have it Pennsylvania — your own Superbowl.

I have to finish with a direct quote from my dad in an email I just read: “Arizona, playing in the NFC title game???  In Arizona???  In the middle of January???  What is up with that?  NFL championships are supposed to be decided up North, in the snow and ice and cold.  Not in some far-off, short-sleeve, overheated desert environment.”

Amen.

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4 Responses to “Stillers”

  1. Where is the Sunset Lounge? I’d like to make it over for a game.

  2. The area is Mipo in Haeundae. It’s across the street from club Neo on the second floor.

    Just tell the taxi driver to take you to Mipo and you should find it.

  3. Thanks!

  4. common sense Says:

    Jen Rothelisberger is in for a looong day!

    He still dreams of Bart Scott every night:
    http://kr.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHIXQzY-TEw

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