Aren't the NFL playoffs supposed to be exciting, don't-walk-away-from-the-TV drama?
Where has it been?
Only one of the 10 postseason games had late-game drama, which is disappointing.
That means we will certainly have a great Super Bowl, right?
I am making an early prediction: It will be a drama-filled, hell of a game.
Can either be stopped?
They rolled up big numbers Sunday. Ryan threw for 396 and four touchdowns as the Falcons blew out the Green Bay Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship Game. Brady followed by throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots beat the Steelers 36-17.
This shapes up as a shootout in the Super Bowl with both teams scoring plenty in their two postseason games. Two weeks is too long to wait -- especially for a guy like me who loves great quarterbacks in systems where they are allowed to be free.
Now here's a quick first look at the game:
The Patriots won the AFC as the top seed, while the Falcons won the NFC as a No 2 seed. The Falcons averaged 40 points in two playoff games, while the Patriots averaged 35. The Patriots have the better defense, coming in with a unit that led the league in scoring defense. Atlanta's defense has made big strides in the second half of the season and has played well in two playoff games. The speed on that side of the ball will be a factor against Brady. In his career, Brady is 4-0 against the Falcons and 2-0 against Ryan.
Key individual matchup
Will the Patriots put corner Malcolm Butler on Falcons receiver Julio Jones, even though Jones has a huge height advantage? That would be risky with a player as big and physical as Jones. But Butler did a nice job on Antonio Brown on Sunday, even though he did have help over the top. I would imagine Butler would get the same help against Jones, who had 180 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers.
Key unit matchup
Patriots offensive line against Falcons front. When the Patriots lost to the Broncos in the AFC Championship last season, the line was a disaster as Brady took a beating. But the line has improved with the return of coach Dante Scarnecchia. They will have to do a good job against Atlanta's pressure, led by Vic Beasley. He had 15Â½ sacks during the regular season but none in the playoffs. He has to get pressure on Brady.
Players on the spot
Patriots: Free safety Devin McCourty. As the rangy player in the middle of their defense, he has to be good against the Falcons high-flying passing game. I would imagine he will play a big part in trying to take away Jones.
Falcons: Ryan. He still has a lot of critics who won't believe in him fully as a star passer until he wins a Super Bowl. The pressure is on him after his impressive season and an amazing two-game postseason to this point.
Assistant coaches on the spot
Patriots: Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is one of the league's best young coordinators. But he will have his hands full coming up with something to slow down the Falcons. He will have to get creative.
Falcons: Secondary coach Marquand Manuel has a young group who will be challenged by Brady. Manuel has to make sure they play well in their zones and not let Brady influence them with his eyes.
With Ryan Grigson out as general manager, and coach Chuck Pagano coming back for 2017, it's clear who won the power struggle in the building.
That has been a problem for some time, even after they played the supposed buddy game last year when both got contract extensions. Egos in coaching and front offices are as big as they are in the locker room, so this should not come as a shock.
Why guys can't get along is a mystery. Is power or credit or blame that big an obstacle to winning as a team? This is a perfect example of power messing with an organization. Why not just get along?
As far as what's next for the Colts, Jimmy Raye takes over as the guy leading the personnel now and he has a chance to be the general manager. He is a longtime coach and personnel man who isn't afraid to voice his opinion.
The Colts roster needs upgrading in a big way in a lot of spots.
They made a good hire last week, bringing back former former Jags receiver Keenan McCardell to coach his old position. McCardell previously was the receivers coach with the Washington Redskins. He is also credited with helping Stefon Diggs become an NFL player while coaching him at Maryland.
McCardell was one of the best route runners I've ever seen in the league. He will bring that to a receiver group steeped in talent. I once asked Allen Robinson if he ever watched any McCardell tape. He hadn't, but I bet he does now.
This, by the way, is another Tom Coughlin hire. Say what you want, but Doug Marrone's staff has a lot of input from Coughlin.
Is that the right thing?
I still think Coughlin's meddling ways -- he can't help himself -- will be felt in that building more than many want to let on.
There were 103 early-entries for the 2017 draft, another high number. Doubters always suggest it's bad for the game, but who are we to question a kid's desire to go to the NFL?
It's his decision, right or wrong.
So all the college football hypocrites out there -- guys who make their living off the college game -- quit moaning when a player leaves and quit applauding when a player stays.
You are guilty of doing exactly what the player who is leaving is doing: Looking out for yourself.
I am a big believer in players should always look out for themselves -- and I applaud players who feel they are ready for the NFL.
It won't work for some, but so be it. They can always go back and get that degree.