It's a scenario that no one should have to endure in their lives, but alas many have encountered. This upcoming weekend marks a special moment in every NFL season, the conference finals.... aka the final four... aka the conference finals. The winner of these matchups gets a chance every football player dreams of... a chance to see Bruno Mars live in concert at the Super Bowl!!!!
First, a quick rundown of the game info for you:
Broncos vs. Patriots
Game time: 12 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Odds: Broncos are 6-point favorites
Location: Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
Online streaming: CBS Sports
SB Nation blogs: Pats Pulpit and Mile High Report
49ers vs. Seahawks
Game time: 3:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: Fox
Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver, Erin Andrews
Odds: Seahawks are 3.5-point favorites
Location: Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington
Online streaming: Fox Sports
SB Nation blogs: Niners Nation and Field Gulls
Just for the heck of it, by dumb luck, you can only watch one of this weekend's matchups. Yes, weeks ago when you told your wife that you'd take her futon shopping, on the 19th, what a poor choice that was. Hey, I don't blame you, you're a stay at home dad, and futon shopping is your livelihood-- you do what you got to do, and the past is the past. So I'm here to tell you whether you should go futon shopping in the afternoon, or at night this Sunday, because if you can only watch one game this weekend, make sure you know which one to choose.
I'm an NFC guy tried and true, so please excuse my bias during this discussion. Let us begin with an old adage my Grandpa Claroni always told me every Thanksgiving regarding the AFC, I can't remember the exact wording, but I think it went something like this... "The AFC sucks." Okay, I should have prefaced this by saying Pop Pop got a little cranky towards the end (when you shrink two inches every month, I would too). The AFC doesn't suck. In fact, the contest this weekend showcases one of NFL's greatest tales, Brady vs. Manning. The best of the best... good versus evil... Papa John's vs. Uggs. You name the story line, and the AFC conference final has it all. But is this game the one you really want to watch, if you could only pick one game this weekend?
49ers-Panthers Rewind: Passing game adjustments
San Francisco's offense got off to another rough start against a stingy Carolina defense, but some key adjustments in the passing game made all the difference.
The answer to that question depends on how much you like the movie Rambo. Without trying to be too abstract, the Broncos vs. Patriots is the same old movie. Sure watching John Rambo carve up a group of evil Vietnamese soldiers was fun the first couple of times, but after a while, you know what to expect. In that, we know Brady and the Patriots will fall behind early, Stevan Ridley will fumble (probably because he spells his first name with an "a", Bill Belichick will get that "who farted in the car look" on his face, and everyone will say how great Peyton Manning is. Yet, come fourth quarter, the Pats will be up by seven, and Peyton's forehead will be rosier than Eli's cheeks after he kissed his first girl (last Tuesday).
And in the end, Peyton will be on a flight to Louisiana to help his brother Cooper sell life insurance at his family owned firm (appropriately titled Manning and Manning and Manning Life Insurance). All while Brady is en route to the "Big Apple" (where he'll miss several practices in order to attend various fashion shows with his wife). Then there is the commentating factor.
Jim Nantz and Phil Sims are calling the for the AFC broadcast. I like the dynamic between the two, but let's face it, when Phil Simms talks, don't you just want him to admit how crappy his son was as QB? It's very distracting to us viewers, just admit it already!
All kidding aside, Rambo is still a proven formula and entertaining to watch, so if you choose the Broncos vs. Patriots, you certainly won't be disappointed. Just don't expect anything new in this same old story.
Now on to the wild west... where ex-Cowboy Troy Aikman and Joe Buck are calling game (I realize that fact alone may be reason enough to watch the AFC game).
While Brady vs. Manning is the greatest individual rivalry of the weekend, the 49ers vs. Seahawks is the best team rivalry you'll get Sunday. Seeing how football is a team sport and all, I think this little tidbit gives the NFC a leg up on the competition.
Need more reasons for your tough decision? Kaepernick vs. Wilson may just end up being the new Brady vs. Manning. Why would you want to miss your chance to see the first playoff battle between these two future greats? Why watch Rambo... again... when you have the chance to see Pacific Rim? And if you like old school- smash mouth football, then the NFC is the right pick for you. Plus, if you take a shot every time Joe Buck mentions the "12th man" you'll be lit up like a Christmas tree by player introductions.
Side note, I can't look at Russell Wilson without thinking, "Tiger Woods' illegitimate son?" Someone do the math and the research, and see if that theory rings true. The earnings I make from my bet will most likely be used to defend myself in court against Tiger's armada of attorneys, but the notoriety I gain will be worth its weight in gold... 49er gold.
In the end, if you can only watch one of these games, you still win... because both games will be memorable to say the least. Although if you can only watch one, well, you know where I stand...
- 49ers vs. Seahawks NFC Championship Game preview: The most important iteration in the NFL's best rivalry
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