I saw a toned down version of one of the awful ESPN morning shows today, so I thought I'd give all my minions the H.D. version (there's didn't even include individual defensive players, just overall defense). This is the all-star team from the four remaining teams in the NFL playoffs. Here goes....
QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh- This was tough. BenBerger gets the nod over Aaron Rodgers because he has stared the moment in the face before, and hasn't blinked. I feel like Rodgers is a better QB at this point, but until I see him on that stage, I'm sticking with Ben's Big R-Berger. How many of you out there are ready to put R-Berger ahead of Brady in the all-time ranks if he equals his 3 Super Bowls this year?
RB: Shonn Greene, NY Jets- Talk about a crapshoot. It should be noted that none of these four teams are proud owners of one of the league's top running backs. The nod goes to Greene, who must only get paid in the postseason, because that's the only team I hear his name. This might actually develop into a future strategy in the NFL, saving a running back purely for the postseason so he has fresh legs.
FB: Tony Richardson, NY Jets- Didn't even look up the other team's fullbacks. Does anybody else notice that wherever team T-Rich plays for has an awesome running attack? Chiefs used to be #1 in the league, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings got a lot worse without him, and now the Jets have one of the top attacks in the league. T-Rich is my favorite player left in the playoffs.
WR: Greg Jennings, Green Bay- One of the most underrated players in the NFL specializes in YAC. Similar to my specialty on New Year's Eve parties.
WR: Santonio Holmes, NY Jets- Two of the best postseason catches of all time. 'Nuff said.
TE: Greg Olsen, Chicago- Never looked quite right with his flowing blonde locks.
LT: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, NY Jets- I'm partially biased because my cousin shares the same name.
LG: Chris Kemoeatu, Pittsburgh- Love how mismatched his first and last names are.
C: Nick Mangold, NY Jets- Maybe the best interior lineman in the NFL.
RG: Roberto Garza, Chicago- Going with him because I can remember him from my Madden days.
RT: Wayne Hunter, NY Jets- Gets it by default because I know the other 3 teams' representatives are all below average.
DEFENSE (Base 3-4 due to 3 of the 4 teams running it)
DE: Julius Peppers, Chicago- Big enough stud that I don't care how out of position he is in this 3-4 defense. Would make more sense at OLB, but I am a nonsensical man. Could be the Bears biggest hope come Sunday.
NT: Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh- Nobody has run on the Steelers defense for years. This man is the reason why. He's unblockable, immovable, and fat.
DE: Shaun Ellis, NY Jets- Was so dominant against the Patriots last week that he gets the nod over one of the few men on earth, Brett Keisel (pictured), who's beard could kick my beard's ass in a fight.
OLB: Clay Matthews, Green Bay- He's so unbelievably good that I was fooled into thinking his younger brother (LB at Oregon) was good, until I sat and watched him in the BCS National Championship Game. I would trade any Chief for this guy.
MLB: Lance Briggs, Chicago- I believe he to be superior to his overly-hyped but properly-rated teammate, Burrlacher. If Briggs is in the area, the ballcarrier is going down.
MLB: David Harris, NY Jets- Another one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He is the leader of the vaunted Jets defense, and doesn't get near the publicity that he should. Like him enough to earn a spot over Brian Urlacher (who I'm leaving off this list to personally motivate ala Uncle Tom Jackson).
OLB: James Harrison, Pittsburgh- I felt like a doubter the year he won his NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, even after his nifty Super Bowl INT return that year. Well, I no longer feel that way. I'm not even sure what changed. Isn't Harrison #1 on the list of potential steroid users though?
CB: Darrelle Revis, NY Jets- The only thing that has slowed Revis down was his holdout. I love watching great cornerbacks go to work, and Revis is maybe the finest I've ever seen. The Jets best chance on Sunday is to put the other 10 defenders on the other half of the field. Seriously.
CB: Tramon Williams, Green Bay- Going with the hotter of the tremendous tandem in Green Bay (he's so hot right now). Williams has made game-deciding plays in each of the Packers first two playoff games.
FS: Nick Collins, Green Bay- Collins is solid, but not spectacular. This could be a hole in my theory that good defense always have great safeties.
SS: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh- Last week was not the best proof in point (and perhaps, evidence that he's not nearly 100%) for the player that I continually tout as the best player in the NFL.
K: Robbie Gould, Chicago- Excellent bad weather kicker who has nailed clutch kicks in the past. Plus, he's secure enough in himself to go by the name Robbie.
P: Brad Maynard, Chicago- Going with what you've done for me lately, and Maynard has the best net average and Inside the 20/Touchback ratio of all the punters left in the playoffs.
KR: Antonio Cromartie, NY Jets- Was a huge key to the game in both the Jets first two victories. Has anyone tackled him shy of the 40 yard line yet?
PR: Devin Hester, Chicago- Broke the mold of returners' prime lasting for only a few years with something of a renaissance year this season. Da Bears appear to have the edge in special teams across the board.
BREAKDOWN (# of players for each team):
New York Jets- 10Chicago Bears- 7
Pittsburgh Steelers- 5Green Bay Packers- 4
Packers over Bears 24-14: Everyone is going after Aaron Rodgers' special spot after his performance last week. Lets not forget that it came against the overrated Atlanta Falcons. This will be the toughest game Rodgers has ever had to play in. It's very difficult to perform after getting the national slobjob all week prior to the game (Dick Vitale gushing over him as we speak). On top of that, it comes against a very good Bears defense that held the Packers to only 10 points just 3 weeks ago. So after that warning, why am I still going with the Packers to win this game convincingly? Because the Bears aren't that good. They are by far the worst of the four teams, and would have virtually no shot if the game weren't at home. Teams that get the breaks during the regular season oftentimes see their fortunes reversed in the postseason. Well, they got a virtual bye week with the Seattle Seahawks last week (they can perform at home, but are downright awful on the road), and now stare their fate right in the face. It will take a monster game out of Cutler or 5 gigantic breaks for the Bears to win this game. It is possible, but I ain't about to pick it. Does the fact that these two teams haven't met in the playoffs since 1941 take away from this rivalry? I say......yes.
Steelers over NY Jets 17-6: I've been on the Steelers bandwagon since they beat the Atlanta Falcons in week 1 when Big Ben was being punished by Lil' Ben. A light clicked, and I suddenly remembered that the reason they fell apart last year was because Troy Polamalu got hurt. People's logic behind picking the Jets in this one is because they have already beat future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, and they figure R-Berger is a notch below them in the totem pole (don't so much agree). But what haven't they faced yet in these playoffs? A good defense. The Jets aren't gonna be able to move the ball on Sunday. If the Steelers get any sort of early lead in this game, it ain't even gonna be close. The Steelers will shut their running game down to 2 yards a pop, and force Sanchez to beat them on 3rd downs, which he just isn't ready to do yet. Meanwhile, the Steelers will go after whoever Antonio Cromartie is guarding all day long, while Revis locks down the other option, because the Steelers have two equally dangerous threats at WR (I'd put Revis on Mike Wallace and make the Steelers grind away with short completions to Hiney's Ward). As long as the Steelers don't turn the ball over in this one, their defense will be enough.