Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thursday Night Showdown.

I can’t recall an NFL season when we’ve had likely previews of both conference championship games.

In week nine, the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts in what many believe will be the matchup in the AFC title game.

Then you have this Thursday’s tilt with the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Green Bay Packers. Not surprisingly, many consider this contest a preview of the game in which the winner earns the right to be thumped by the Patriots in the Super Bowl NFC championship game. And why not? In looking at the other 14 teams in the conference, I see no club in the same elite class as the Cowboys and Packers.

It seems as though Dallas is on a mission to overcome the heart-wrenching loss to the Seattle Seahawks in last years’ wild card playoffs. QB Tony Romo, who was the holder on field goal attempts, dropped the snap on what would have been a chip shot kick to win the game. Instead, Dallas was dispatched early and Romo went in to hiding. Also, you have a focused wide receiver in Terrell Owens. With T.O. on a pace to score 20 touchdowns, all his press clippings have had to do with his work on the field. For the first time in about three years there’s been no off-field trashing of coaches and teammates, no alleged suicide attempts and, best of all, no extemporaneous press conferences from his deplorable agent Drew Rosenhaus.

On the Green Bay side of the ledger you have QB Brett Favre having his best season this millennia. In this his 17th NFL campaign, Favre has continued to eschew the retirement prospects for one reason only: To win another Super Bowl. It has been ten seasons since the Pack’s last appearance in the big game. While he still has fun playing the game, Favre is all about winning. Seeing the fervor with which he played last Thursday (where at one point he set a club record with 20 consecutive completions) tells me he won’t be satisfied unless he leads his team all the way to the championship.

All things being equal, I believe the Packers are the better team. However, they may be hampered defensively due to injuries to CB Charles Woodson (toe) and DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (ankle).

The latest line has Dallas as a 6 ½ point favorite at home. Given that, Dallas will win but not cover.

Cowboys 31 Packers 27


1 comment:

Uncle Ben said...

I wouldn't necessarily disagree with your analysis. The teams are pretty equal. I don't think that whoever wins on Thursday gains a huge advantage. Sure there's the whole homefield thing, but it will also put some added pressure to repeat the performance against revenge-seekers. It should be pretty exciting (or just horribly nerve-wracking).

Of course, I shouldn't even make the assumption that they'll both reach the title game since two other teams will have a say in that!