Chatter, Take 1: AFC Championship
Des: it's conference championship time! who's excited?
Matt: I'm actually saddened that there's only three games left until next September. So thanks for the reminder.
Des: well, there's also the Pro Bowl
Matt: Yes, everyone mark down the Friday before the Pro Bowl for a Very Special Edition of our picks.
Dave: Actually, our "injury replacements" will be handling that chat
Des: Will there actually be a line for the Pro Bowl? I suppose there has to be, right?
Matt: I think there usually is, yes.
Des: We may have to chat about that. But if we do, we have to photoshop our pictures to have us in Hawaiian print shirts
Dave: I guess it'll be another chance to pick up a game on you two. Which reminds me, I went 3-1 last week to be the only one of us to reach the magical 140-cover plateau for the season
Matt: Being Mr. .500, I went 2-2.
Des: I won't be making any Pro Bowls for postseason prognostication, going 1-3 last week and 3-5 overall
Matt: Hey, you did better than the Sports Guy, who went 0-4.
Dave: But he picked "Midnight Run"
Des: In my defense, I was on vacation and not completely focused when I emailed my picks to youse two. I suppose I could have been more Sports Guy-ish if I had gone 0-4, and made about 20 references to "Ten Wolf"
Matt: Or "Teen Wolf." But "Ten Wolf" was also a fine picture. I also liked "Ten Wolf 2: 11 Wolves"
Des: "Dances With Ten Wolf" was my favorite
Des: anyway, I was in the great Arizona outdoors and barely caught any of last week's games, although it sounds like it didn't miss much gripping action. But it does mean I wasn't able to scout the teams effectively for this week's picks
Des: just setting up my excuse for going 0-2 this week
Baltimore (+6) at Pittsburgh
Dave: It seems everyone remembered all of a sudden that the Ravens haven't had a bye since Week 2
Matt: They're kinda struggling to the finish line of this marathon, aren't they?
Dave: They are beat up.
Matt: And I say that after they beat the team with the best regular season record.
Des: well, there was that Week 13 trip to Cincinnati, that was kinda like a bye
Dave: Yeah, the Ravens got completely dominated in a lot of ways by the Titans, and a bunch of players got hurt, but they but won.
Matt: However, the Balto. Sun is openly wondering whether T. Suggs is playing possum with his shoulder injury. To wit: "It's uncertain whether Suggs is in tremendous pain or whether this is a ploy to throw off the Steelers."
Des: I just hope that, if the Steelers win again on a sketchy call by the refs, the Ravens don't complain, after that non-cal they got last week on the play clock
Dave: I also am 99 percent certain--and I didn't hear one mention of this--that Joe Flacco stepped out of the end zone for what would have been a safety in the same quarter, but it wasn't called.
Des: I would comment on that, but like I said, I barely watched any of last week's games. But it sounds like an outrage!
Dave: I will give the Ravens credit--they aren't whiners. None of the talk about playing 18 straight weeks has come from them, and they don't complain about injuries, which they've had a lot of
Matt: The rest of that same article goes on to say just how horrible Suggs's injury really is, and how he could do further damage to it by playing. I'm guessing he's out. There's the Ravens sack leader right there.
Dave: It seems rather implausible that Suggs would be playing possum.
Des: it's his karmic comeuppance for all the Steelers 'bounty' talk earlier in the season
Dave: The Steelers, meanwhile, are as healthy as they've been all season, and their offense looked as good as it has in some time vs. the Chargers
Matt: As seen in today's Post story by Mark Viera, Fast Willie has indeed gotten back to being "Fast." At least he was last week. That could be huge.
Des: and the mayor of Pittsburgh is adding crucial support by changing his last name from Ravenstahl to Steelerstahl. Especially since 'Stahl' already means 'steel' in German, so that's a lot of steel in the mayor's office
Des: altho he could have gone further and changed his last name to Steelerstahl McBeam
Matt: That's not as daring as the guy who got the 0-16 Lions tattoo, but still big.
Des: while we're on the subject, I'd like to congratulate the Lions on not hiring a coach with a last name beginning with M. that's a great start toward turning around their fortunes
Dave: The first two games between these two were so close, but I have a hunch this won't be. I think the Steelers might be peaking
Matt: Yes. Parker is back, and the Ravens couldn't stop Chris Johnson before he got hurt last week. Baltimore is getting sleepy.
Dave: I'm not expecting Parker to do what he did last week--the Ravens' D is still too good--but he'll give them something, certainly more than in the previous two games
Des: I agree with the sentiments being expressed here. History shows that when teams play for the 3rd time in one season, the 2-0 team usually wins
Matt: Plus, Flacco was pretty crummy the second time these two teams met: passer rating of 22.
Dave: I believe it's 11 out of 18 previous times, which isn't overwhelming, but the old saw "It's so hard to beat someone three times in a season" is sort of overrated
Matt: Might as well just go ahead and pick the Steelers, then.
Des: hey, that's a 61 percent success rate, which I think we all would take in this space
Dave: And Roethlisberger hasn't committed a turnover vs. the Ravens, which Baltimore simply has to have. I think the Steelers win by 7-10 points.
Des: I'm 61 percent sure Pittsburgh will cover, so I take the Steelers
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