There was simply no way that after Brady’s performance against the Broncos I was going to let the flu keep me from researching for this rant, though it did delay it by a week. For the record, if you ever want to start your own blog or become a radio show host or something, here’s my advice: if you got against hype…you will win everytime! “Michael Vick MVP” go against it! “Tebow! Unbelievable!” go against it as well. “Green Bay! The best team of all time” what?? Remember when Bill Cowher said that a couple of weeks ago, I said to some buddies that as much as I love Bill Cowher, who works over at CBS…like he’s great and all but it was probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Let me ask you: What does Green Bay do well if you take Aaron Rodgers off the team? Their secondary got all this love last year but last year they had a pass rush, which made their secondary look much better than it was. In the end, they don’t tackle well, their special teams are average, they don’t run the ball, they don’t defend the run, they’re overly aggressive, they can’t stop anybody on third down….it’s amazing!
The two teams in the NFL that don’t get caught up in hype and simply do the little things well – the 49’ers, who I picked to beat the Saints and New England. They don’t do all the big things spectacularly well…pay attention to details in life! Green Bay is flashy, there is a Kardashian quality but they don’t do the little things well at all. Take out Aaron Rodgers…what do they do well? San Francisco may not be flashy, but they run the ball, they stop the run, they never turn it over, have a great pass rush, protect the quarterback, have great special teams. The only thing they’re not great at is TD’s in the redzone. But I mean, six weeks ago Packer fans were sending me hate mail by the truck loads because I kept insisting that this “best team ever” tag was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. Best team ever?? It’s the salary cap era!! You allow 400 yards a game, the 75’ Steelers wouldn’t even allow that in a month!!
ESPN NFL Analyst Trent Dilfur predicted this would happen with Green Bay…that they would get worse over time. Mike McCarthy deserves blame for one thing not the other…get over the on-side kick! Fans love them when you recover them, hate them when you don’t. What Mike McCarthy deserves criticism for is that Aaron Rodgers had not played since Christmas!! Think about that for a moment…how long ago was Christmas? I took my tree down 2 weeks ago and Aaron Rodgers had not really played since Christmas. That’s the opposite of Bill Belicheck who had Brady in the game leading 45-10. Belicheck refuses to take anybody out no matter what the score. Now Green Bay – and yes they deserved the number #1 ranking all year, it was a year in which I said in my rants that I didn’t really know if there was a number #2 team in the league. Now, it’s not that Green Bay didn’t deserve the credit, but don’t ever forget this. That they were lucky to be in the playoffs last year DeSean Jackson’s punt is the only reason why they get in.
Last year, the NFC was watered down because Atlanta was the number #1 seed, Seattle got in, Chicago hosted the NFC championship and Michael Vick could’ve won a playoff game. The NFC wasn’t very good, Packers sneak in and get hot and deserve all the credit. But one ring and they’re the 75’ Steelers? Or the 80’s 49’ers or the 90’s Cowboys? I mean they got hot like the Giants are this year and suddenly we anointed Green Bay – a team as mentioned earlier, does not pay attention to details, that I don’t believe has an elite head coach. They’ve drafted well and have got a great quarterback, but they don’t do a lot of things well. Too many Packer fans had unrealistic views of this team.
I took the Giants at +7 to cover, I thought it would be 27-23, I thought it was going to be a very good football game. Was I surprised at the 6, 7 and 8 drops? No question I was! But as I said a couple of Fridays ago, if you went and looked at the schedule, this Green Bay team was in shootouts all year. 42-34, 30-23, 33-27, 45-38, 35-26, 38-35, 45-41…these are all shootouts! Let’s not make them into LSU where they rolled everyone except Alabama. This team was in shootouts! For the record, the Packers are 2-4 at home in the playoffs…so is Lambeau over-rated? Or do we just love Green Bay so much that every time they are good, we go nuts and overboard?
Aaron Rodgers looked rusty; I didn’t see that coming…I thought rust would play a part. I do also believe that his wide receivers let him down – in fact, Aaron Rodgers got very testy with reporters on Sunday when asked about it, saying “I don’t appreciate you asking me that question, like I don’t even know how to answer that question to be honest with you. We all didn’t play our best game; personally I didn’t feel like I played as well as I could have.” It is amazing with Aaron Rodgers that he had not played since Christmas…it is just absolutely incredible!
The other thing though is that you have got to watch out for the hype! Aaron had a terrific year and you’ve got to give him credit. I still love Aaron Rodgers the guy and the quarterback. But can we slow down a little bit? Aaron Rodgers, in two of the last three years – before we consider Tom Brady a backseat driver to him and before we anoint Aaron Rodgers as the league’s best quarterback…Aaron Rodgers in two of the last three years couldn’t win a playoff game! Has been outdueled by Kurt Warner and Eli Manning and Last Sunday, Eli Manning – not Aaron, was the best player on that football field.
I texted a buddy during the Giants/Packers game and told him this about Eli Manning “ the gap between Peyton and Eli is not as great as fans or fantasy football players want you to think” Eli is now 5-1 on the road and much like Derek Jeter, Eli’s playoff numbers are slightly better than his regular season numbers. Peyton who is a greater natural talent much like A-rod, his playoff numbers often playing at home are less than his regular season numbers. A-rod is the better natural talent than Jeter but Jeter ticks up in crisis and Peyton’s ticks down. Never forget this – where Peyton plays in 72 degree weather every home game. He has in-division home games: @ warm Houston, @ warm Jacksonville, @ usually warm Tennessee. Eli plays in New York, often windy New York. Road games in Philly, D.C. in November, December and January.
I’m not saying that Eli is better than Peyton, but in a big playoff game, I’ll take Eli over Peyton. Statistically? Peyton, Natural talent? Peyton. A-rod is better than Jeter as a talent, but two on and two out in the 9th inning, who do you want at bat? I’ll take Jeter…and I’ll take Eli!