Fading me continues to be a profitable strategy this playoffs. Not only did I do poorly again (1-1 sides, 0-2 o/u), I was also wrong on what I thought was the value pick of the week. In my opinion, this Green Bay love is way overboard at this point, with the line pretty much at Packers -2.5 against the Steelers, having opened at -3 at some books. As much as I'll probably be rooting for the Packers, I just don't see how the Steelers can be almost a FG underdog in this one. But more on that as the Superbowl approaches. Let's recap this past weekend's games first.
GB 21 CHI 14
MVP of the game probably goes to Sam Shields, with two picks and a sack, or to B.J. Raji for his pick six, 2 QB hits, and being the blocking fullback on Rodgers' TD rush. But I want to give kudos here to Tim Masthay, who has my vote for MVP of that game. We all didn't expect much out of the Bears' offense. But their punt return game was supposed to put them in good field position and that never materialized. Masthay put them inside the 20 five times, and kicked a booming 65 yarder as well. Hester only averaged 5 yards per punt return when he did manage to catch and run with it.
Todd Collins was absolutely dreadful. But my vote for LVP of the game still goes to Mike Martz. When the Packers didn't blitz that much and give him shots at the big play downfield, he just didn't know how to call the game. Caleb Hanie actually played pretty well, but I thought the only reason he was able to have success was that with him, they were forced into a much more traditional offense, and ran the ball more. To me, the horrible play calling was summed up by that dreadful 3rd and 3 play on the last drive.
NYJ 19 PIT 24
I have to admit, Sanchez looked really good in the second half of this game. With the running attack shut down (Greene and LdT combined for 68 yards on 18 carries), he led them back into contention in this one. But it just wasn't enough on this day. Honestly, I think the Jets did an amazing job to make it so close at the end. This was just a matchup nightmare for them. The strength of the Jets this postseason has been getting to the QB on defense, and controlling the game through the running game on offense. They did in fact get to Roethlisberger, who had a horrible 35.5 QB rating, but that played right into Pittsburgh's strength, which was the running game and relying on their defense. Like I mentioned when I wrote my preview, running into that Pittsburgh defense is just not a winning tactic, and that proved to be the case here.
As opposed to last week, which was Ryan vs. Belichick, there was very little mention of a coach's battle, but I think Mike Timlin really deserves to be in that discussion of top coaches in the league. He's not as flashy, but most of what he does is well thought out and he's not just plain and conventional by any means. Besides, when you work for Dr. House in the off-season, you have to be a genius.