Necessary Roughness



Unnecessary Roughness with Lazarus A.D.'s Jeff Paulick

You hear that whistle in the intro? Yeah, that means business. And business was not as usual this week in the NFL. I predicted a few weeks back that if the Pack was gonna lose, the Colts were gonna win the same day, otherwise there is no balance, dammit! But seriously, NOBODY saw the Pack’s loss directly to the Colts coming. There are only two weeks left, and we are starting to see the identity, or lack thereof, of our playoff teams.

Lets start with the Packers. The Chiefs outplayed them, no question. But there were two key things that usually occur in our wins this season that didn’t this week. First, the defense didn’t cause a single turnover, and we thrive on that momentum shift as we usually turn them into points. And second, we dropped as many balls yesterday as all season. Rodgers was off target, the receivers dropped a lot of easy catches, and the focus just wasn’t there. And this just proves how much of the game is mental. Let’s take a team that has nothing to lose, who just fired their head coach because they can’t win, bring in the best team in the league, and let’s make a statement. And they did. I’m not fretting, and nobody else should either. The last two games may be rocky for the Pack, but once they lock up home field advantage its going to be hella tough to win in Green Bay, especially as some key players come back from injury.

The Patriots dismantled the Broncos, as predicted by most. Everyone said if the Broncos could keep it close the Tebow magic would prevail, but after the 1st quarter “close” wasn’t in the conversation. The Broncos started out really hot and outplayed the Pats on both sides of the ball for the first three possessions. Then it just took a nosedive, Ultimate Warrior style, and the game just became too much for the Broncos to handle. I felt like I was watching that movie The Zodiac where everything badass happened in the first 20 minutes, then I fell asleep and wanted my money back. With the Chargers surging and the Raiders faltering, I see the Chargers picking up the division and doing what they usually do: get everyone in Cali excited only to let them down.

I cannot figure out the Ravens. Last week I would have said it was gonna be Packers vs. Ravens in the Superbowl, nobody is stopping either team. But good god, they just rolled over for Phillip Rivers and gave up a million yards and points. Maybe Ray Lewis should just coach? I love the way he plays, but what the hell happened with him on field rather than off? Possible overconfidence? Who knows; I see them picking it up next week, it’s what good teams do. I still see them in the AFC Championship and possibly the Superbowl.

The Lions, for the millionth time this year, fell behind big, and came ROARING back. Roaring like a lion, unlike that of a guy who crashes his car during suspension and refuses to answer any questions about that incident or the incident(s) which he was suspended for. Man up dude, you’re a great player. But anyhow, that game was back and forth, and probably one of the best games this weekend. Matthew Stafford leads a 98 yard drive to take the lead with 40 seconds left after being pinned by punter Shane Lechler. In my mind, that guy is on the sidelines slamming PBRs all game. Coach comes up and is like “Shane, come on man, we need you out there”. Dude stumbles to gain his balance, gets out on the field and is like “holy shit, there’s a lot of people out here”, and just BLASTS this ball the length of the field. He just can’t wait to get back to the sidelines to finish off that tall boy. Dude is a badass. Lechler and Raiders’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski are like the Pippen and Jordan of projectile motion. So Carson Palmer gets the ball back, leads ’em down, and they attempt a 65 yard field goal, which would be the longest in NFL history. And for the second week in a row, a game winning/tying field goal is blocked! And by none other than Ndamukong Suh; well played sir.

Nothing is certain for the playoffs. Houston lost, giving the Patriots the edge right now for the No. 1 seed. Teams like Seattle, San Diego, and Philadelphia all have an outside shot at slipping into the postseason. Right now is when you want to be hot, and these teams could not only upset but make a serious playoff run. Just look at the Pack last year, exact same formula, just scraped in and didn’t look back. And this is why the NFL is the biggest sport in America, why it makes the NBA’s competitive system look laughable and baseball’s setup seem way too long. The competition in the NFL is the best. Any team can win or lose on any given Sunday, and when that team wins or loses, it means so much more. The playoffs kick so much more ass when it’s one and done. Just look at March Madness, its chaos, and I love it! This year is no different.

Tonight’s Monday Night Football match up of the Steelers vs. the 49s should rule. Two teams who already are in the playoffs but are playing for seeding, which makes all the difference. If Big Ben plays, then I pick the Steelers. If not, backup Charlie Batch will be limited in the amount of throws, leaving the workload to RB Reshard Mendenhall. The 49s haven’t given up a single rushing TD all year, and that trend will continue tonight.

Most Valuable Idiot award this week goes to none other than Sam Hurd! Read all about it here. It was even better to hear teammate Marion Barber say he was like a brother to him… prolly shoulda kept that to yourself dude, doesn’t help your credibility after last week’s collapse.

– Jeff Paulick / Lazarus A.D.

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