NFL Roundup

from Volume 1, Issue 2 of Ramblin’ On

Out with a wimper
— Of the two playoff games last Sunday the Patriots-Ravens was by far the more entertaining. People talk about the defense in the Giants-49ers game; I’ll get to that in a moment, but as far as the comparisons to the Patriots-Ravens game the latter was a better defensive battle. The Patriots defense looked damn good surprisingly (or not-so-surprisingly when considering the Ravens offense) and the Ravens kept Brady and the Patriots as contained as they were supposed to with how good their defense is. In the end the better team won, blown field goal or not.
— While I’m afraid that admitting this will take my credibility down a notch (and there’s not much further down that it can go), I found the Giants-49ers game to be quite boring. I consider myself something of a purist, and from the purist’s perspective the supposed “defensive” battle was a great game. While I’m not a fan of the defenseless, arena football, Fantasy Football friendly offense dominance of contemporary football, some offense is essential for an entertaining game.
— Sure, there was some offense in the game. But Eli Manning was awful and Alex Smith was worse. Bad passes, dropped passes, bad reads, invisible offensive lines, and three-and-outs were the order of the day, especially in the second half and overtime. In other words it was a snoozer all around.
— So we finally have our Super Bowl: Patriots-Giants 2.0. Are people excited about this? I suppose there are some story lines with either Eli passing Peyton or Brady getting his 4th Super Bowl victory. The Patriots, due to their continued success and vitality, are the natural villains. While I’ve always maintained that Eli Manning is better than his reputation – and the Giants are much less outmatched than they were the first time they played the Patriots – I still don’t see the Patriots losing. But will Brady play like he did against Denver or the Ravens? Will Eli play like he did against the Packers or the 49ers? Will the Giants defense step up to the challenge of the Patriots offense? Will the Patriots defense step up as they did against the Ravens? These questions will decide who wins the Commercial Bowl…uh, I mean, the Super Bowl.

Erik Ritland is a journalist and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His writings on culture, music (including his own projects), sports, religion, and many other topics are cataloged regularly at Ramblin’ On. You can reach him via email here.



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