Let's go to work.
WHAT? New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons
WHY? As of literally 1 minute ago, I became aware that this is now the third matchup this season between the Giants and a team they defeated in the 2011 playoffs en route to the Super Blech. They defeated the 49ers and Packers in the playoffs by a combined score of 57-37, and defeated them in 2012 by a combined score of 64-13. They defeated the Falcons 24-2 in the playoffs last season. What will happen this time? Well, the Falcons haven't lost consecutive games since 2009, so something has to budge here.
WHO? As a semi-postmortem for my Frameshmania fantasy team, I will only refer to players who are on my now-eliminated squad in this space. In this case, it's Giants WR Hakeem Nicks, who has come back from injury to become much more involved in the Giants' offense than he was in the early going. After his ridiculous 199 yard game in Week 2, he totaled 13 receptions for 153 yards and zero touchdowns on 26 targets in the next four weeks. However, in his last four games, he's totaled 23 receptions for 262 yards and two touchdowns on 43 targets. Too bad he was useless for most of the season.
HOW? Anybody got a time machine? 'Cause I would really appreciate having the opportunity to watch this game 11 months ago, but with a different result.
WHAT? Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
WHY? The Broncos have won 8 in a row, although 7 of those games were against teams who currently have losing records. They have three losses, but they are against teams with combined records of 32-7. So how good are they really? The Ravens are a paltry 9-4 after losing their last two games, and they just fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron despite being in the top 10 in the NFL in scoring. So how good are they really?
WHO? During the Cam Cameron era, one of the major complaints of the Ravens' offensive gameplan was that Ray Rice didn't get the ball enough. Interestingly enough, in Cameron's last four games as coordinator, Rice had averaged 18.5 carries for 84 yards, after averaging 16 carries for 73 yards in the first 9 games. However, the critics do have a bit of a point. Rice averages 18 carries per game in Ravens wins but 14 carries per game in Ravens losses, and has his fewest amount of carries in the 4th quarter, which is distressing given the context that 10 of their 13 games have been settled by 10 points or less.
HOW? Find some way to get the mic feed from Ray Lewis (who will obviously be mic'ed up in this game given his return from injury this week. It's gon' get loud up in here.
WHAT? Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys
WHY? Old people may relish the idea of this matchup, considering these teams were two of the dominant franchises in the '70's. From 1970 to 1979, the Steelers won four Super Bowls and 69% of their regular season games, while the Cowboys won two Super Bowls and 73% of their regular season games. Humorously enough, right now NFL Network is showing a replay of just this matchup in Super Bowl XXX in the mid-90's, no doubt in preparation for this matchup, which, of course, contains none of the same players or coaches other than Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
WHO? I waited all season for DeMarco Murray to come back from injury and give my team the playoff boost it needed, and I get this? Yes, he's averaging 22 carries per game after only getting 15 per game prior to the injury, and he's scored two touchdowns in the last two games after having only three in his entire career prior. But he is averaging a sad 3.1 yards per carry in the two games since his return, after a much more reasonable 4.4 average through his first four games, and while hopefully that's just residual injury stuff, it might just be the terrible Cowboys offensive line. And it's not like it's going to get much better against the Steelers.
HOW? Assuming you have an in with FOX, you should get yourself on the pre-game show so you can compare Lombardis with Terry Bradshaw, and then somehow magically transport yourself to Dallas to join Troy Aikman to compare newer Lombardis.