Warming myself by the flat-screen
I am not a fan of cold weather, but I am a fan of professional football. That meant last weekend was a glorious time to spend an hour, or 12, in my recliner with a cup of coffee in my hand and a warm blanket on my feet, watching football until my eyes glazed over.
I don’t have a favorite NFL team, which means I can watch the playoffs without getting all worked up about which teams win and which ones lose. That makes it an entirely different experience than the baseball playoffs — when the Cubs are involved, the MLB playoffs are too nerve-wracking to be enjoyable.
I was surprised by the outcome in just one game last weekend — the Kansas City Chiefs’ dominating victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Although Kansas City had home-field advantage, that historically has not boded well for the Chiefs. And the Colts came in as hot as any team in the league, fresh off an impressive victory over the Houston Texans in the wild-card round. But Kansas City has been one of the best teams in the NFL all season, and the Chiefs looked the part on Saturday. If anybody is still wondering whether Patrick Mahomes is the real deal, they shouldn’t be. But the thing that impressed me most was the Kansas City defense. The Chiefs have been vulnerable on that side of the ball this season, but not on Saturday.
Of course, Kansas City’s defense will get another test in this week’s AFC Championship Game. Tom Brady and the Patriots looked as good as ever on Sunday, picking the Los Angeles Chargers apart. Brady is the player a lot of NFL fans love to hate, but the fact is that he is the most accomplished quarterback in the history of the game. Will that experience be enough to overcome the Chiefs’ talent and home-field advantage this week, with a Super Bowl trip on the line?
On the NFC side, I wasn’t at all surprised by the Los Angeles Rams’ victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have some dynamic players, but they don’t have the kind of talent that the Rams have assembled.
I wasn’t surprised by the New Orleans Saints’ victory over Philadelphia, either, although I was surprised by the way that game unfolded. The Eagles dominated the first quarter and seemed to be in a good position to win. Saints coach Sean Payton deserves a lot of credit for making a gutsy call on a fake punt that swung the momentum to his team.
The conference championship games feature four very good football teams. I’m especially intrigued by the AFC matchup. My guess is that the Patriots will find a way to beat the Chiefs. I think the Saints will handle the Rams fairly easily in the NFC game, setting up a Super Bowl battle between Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
The forecast calls for this weekend to be even colder than last. I know where I’ll be.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.