FIRST, IMPORTANT BUSINESS: we received this important comment:
Rumpole: There have been several inquiries on where to give to assist the children of the slain officers. Here is one way, through the Dade County PBA, you can donate to their "Love Fund" by making your check payable to: The Dade County PBA Love Fund, with `Officers Castillo and Haworth' in the memo section. The mailing address is 10680 NW 25 Street, Miami, Fl 33172. The Dade County PBA Love Fund is a federally recognized charitable organization established in 1984 to aid law enforcement officers and their families in their time of need, including assisting the families of officers killed in the line of duty. RF
Rumpole says: Right now, before you do anything else, close the computer, go get your chequebook and go write a cheque and put it with your work for Monday so you don't forget it when you leave the house tomorrow. Nothing is more important than this. Sending even twenty dollars sends a message to the children of these officers far beyond the money...."we care and honor your father and mother far beyond what this money buys."
Please do it now.
We wait all year for this. A great day of important football.
Mr. Markus takes the over 38 in the Steeler game. We will explain afterwards why he is mistaken (we don't want him to change his mind). But make no mistake about this: all is on the line- he wraps it up and a free dinner at Joes for him and his lovely wife if he wins today. Pressure is on.
Packers v. Da Bears: Hard to imagine this is the second meeting in the playoffs between these two storied franchises who have the longest rivalry in the NFL. They meet for only the second time in the playoffs in 70 years. To put it in prospective, the Steelers have played their division rivals in the playoffs many times (twice against the Ravens in the last three years, once against the Bengals in the last four years.).
Da Bears are getting 3.5 at home. A home dog in the NFC Championship Game??!!! How can you overlook that? Meet Jay Cutler. Bumbler. Stumbler. Can be great. Can be awful. Now compare him to the QB with the highest ever QB rating in the playoffs. The gambler in us says pick the Bears, forgo the points and take the money line. A hundred Ditkas on Da Bears gets you between 165-170 back. We may just do that when we speak to 52nd Street Irwin today, but for our purposes we take the Pack -3.5 for 500.
J...E...T..S...JETS JETS JETS!!!! Gang Green invades The Steel City for a great AFC Championship game.
But just like we told you last week in the Steeler game, it won't be close. Sorry big fella (Rex) but the train stops here. Great run. Amazing victory over the Cheaters for which that alone you deserve your own parade for getting in their heads and out coaching the biggest cheater of them all. BUT....
#1 defense. #1 fewest points given up. #1 Third down efficiency; #1 against the run (something crazy like 62 yds per game). The Steeler Defense is just superb. Add to that an explosive offensive; perhaps the best big game QB playing right now; speed burners in second year WR Mike Wallace and rookies Emanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown; experience in Hines Ward and Heath Miller. And don't forget a two time super bowl winning QB who engineered a last minute "school-boys-dream-of-this" 80 yard drive to win the Super Bowl two years ago. This is a championship team in its prime. All that adds up to a win in a big game.
Steelers -3 for 500 Polomalus in our contest against DOM for all the marbles!!!
What we considered:
Packers-Bears: The Packers could barely beat the Bears a few weeks ago when the Bears played a basic defense while the Packers needed a win. But Cutler is something like 1-4 against the Pack, plus he is most likely to implode while the Pack has the hottest QB in the game. The Bears started mediocre and are peaking at the right time, while the Pack has a minimal running game and is riding the arm of Rodgers. The Bears need to run and stop the pass and they can easily win this game. In the coaching matchup remember this- Bears coach Lovie Smith might well have been fired if he didn't get his team to this game. We like the Bears, but until Cutler shows us more in a big game.....
Jets-Steelers: Pretty Boy Sanchez hasn't thrown a ball in the air over 9 yards in the playoffs. That is bad news for the Jets except that the short passing game gives the Steelers fits in their pressure defense. Santonio Holmes can be a game changer as he was for years for the Steelers. The Jets were the last team to run against the Steelers for over 100 yards, but don't look for that to happen again. The Steelers will shut the run down, (they have always been able to stop LT-including the last time he was in Pittsburgh in the playoffs two years ago for the Chargers) take away the deep ball and challenge Sanchez not to make a mistake in the dink/dunk passing game. Special teams- they were the difference last time for the Jets (opening KO return for TD), don't look for the Steelers to make the same mistake today. Steeler TE Heath Miller- while the Jets won the last game, Steeler TE Matt Spath dropped 2 (count em-two) game winning TDS in the end zone in the last minute of the last game. The Jets will be motivated, but so will the Steelers. Coach Mike Tomlin has done a fantastic job getting his team to this point. Bringing them to 3-1 with their 3rd string QB and then getting his team on a 7-1 run after the blowout by the cheaters shows that Tomlin may well be the best coach in the game today. The Jets are the fun pick, the Steelers will get it done by 10-20 points as Sanchez makes a mistake in the 4th Q and the Steeler D blows the game open.