Friday, January 18, 2008

Clement's Weekly Picks and Prognostications...Conference Championships

Just when you thought regular season glory was good enough, playoff spreads bite you in the butt. Anyone can go 3-1 picking games straight up, but 1-3 via the spread results in wasting the almighty dollar. Fortunately, less teams equals higher stakes. Not to mention, with the Pats still around, there are higher and higher spreads to tackle.

Let’s roll!

AFC Championship Game:
San Diego @ New England [-14]

Don’t even get me started on how many injuries the NFL’s
dirtiest player, "accidental cheater" Rodney Harrison, might
cause on pile-ups against several of the banged-up Bolts.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Combined, they’re enjoying winning streaks of 25 games (17 for the Pats, 8 for the Bolts). Though, sadly, I’ve come to the all-too-true conclusion that this New England team is completely unbeatable. Yep, even as a die-hard Jet fan and SpyGate preacher, I finally have lost all hope and given in to the supremacy that emanates from Foxboro. In fact, the 2007 edition of the Patriots may end up being the greatest NFL and sports team ever. So, do you think I’m honestly gonna take Phillip Rivers/Billy Volek over Tom Brady? Norv Turner over Bill Belichick? Not a chance, folks. I just can’t bank on this team, even with talent so rich from the likes of Chambers, Merriman, Gates, Cromartie and a guy named LT. Call me a pessimist, depressed, or simply pragmatic, but the point remains: The Chargers don’t stand a chance. They won’t get to Brady nearly enough and won’t make the key plays (i.e. stopping Faulk on the screen, Welker in the flat, Moss deep, Donte on the screen) on defense to allow their own injury-infested offense to keep up. Sorry haters, the Pats do it to us again in blowout fashion as they continue their march to immortality.

NFC Championship Game:
New York @ Green Bay [-7]

Some weather reports have the negatives winning out for the game-time temperatures.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Straight up, you know I’m granting the request of every Giant fan and taking the Packers. As for the spread, perhaps it’s a bit too large despite homefield advantage and the extra week of rest for the Pack. Personally, I am already sick over the media hype of Favre vs. Brady. The Swansong vs. Perfection. A far more fascinating story has taken place the last three weeks concerning the team many “experts” (who me?) pegged for 4th place in the NFC East, the road-warrior Giants. The same team who, after their now wise Week 17 throwdown against those aforementioned unbeatable Pats, just might get another shot at Brady and company in Super Bowl XLII. Clearly, it seems that Eli/Coughlin are a far stronger tandem WITHOUT Tiki "Remember Me?" Barber. Despite all the good mojo coming out of NYC, I’m backing the all-too-feel-good story of Favre, the phenom Ryan Grant’s continuous surge, Greg Jennings’ affinity for the big play and a immensely talented duo of cornerbacks for the outright W. The Pack win and cover, in a less than exciting NFC Championship Game tilt. You’re welcome Giants fans.

We’ll return in a little under two weeks with staff picks on Super Bowl XLII. After a rather strong staff showing for the BCS Title game (not to mention nearly perfect predictions with Colts/Bears in Super Bowl XLI), we look forward to yet another challenge!

Until next time…

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