Our ranks are diminished, but our spirits are high. (If yours aren’t, go buy something fun, or have a good meal, or both. Preferably in connection with watching some NFL football games.)
Bonus question to ponder: who’s more irritating to watch in a press conference, Mohammed Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister (now giggling his way charmingly through the IAEA presser on the massive global sell-out to Iran), or Bill Belichick?
Think before you answer.
…and this just in: Ted Marchibroda has passed away at 84. It probably takes an older NFL fan to remember his glory days coaching the Colts (and then, of course, the Ravens); you may have to have been there for the pre-expansion NFL, I guess, to remember Marchibroda as a household word on Sundays. R.I.P. to one of the greats.
We’re awfully proud to still have two teams from our Pro Inner Circle in the playoffs. Even if they are playing each other, on Sunday afternoon.
Denver gets to host tomorrow, with the Steelers on the prowl, far from home and playing a mile high instead of down at river-bed level, where decent folks sling pigskin.
That said, Manning is noticeably aging, and Roethlisberger ain’t no spring chicken himself anymore. Both iconic QBs are expected to start in spite of lurking fragilities. The Broncs have to hope Manning can stay in it, as Osweiler’s knee injury is still a mobility factor, even though he’s expected to be the back-up tomorrow.
The Steelers still won’t have receiver Antonio Brown for this one – and Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are reportedly ready to roll (i.e., rush) tomorrow for Denver. The Broncos will probably be more effective against the Steeler pass than they were last month.
There are certainly two offensive lines that won’t get a lot of sleep tonight.
Weather a mile high: upper 30s and overcast at kickoff. Denver gives 7.5 in the line.
I assume everyone is tuned in to Chiefs at Patriots as we speak. (I know y’all aren’t watching Kerry bloviate at the IAEA presser on the news channels.) Gronkowski just did his usual Bradley-fighting-vehicle-catching-the-football thing for a 32-yard gain. No one gives KC much of a shot in this one. (Oops, and Gronk then caught the ball for a TD.)
Tonight brings us Packers at Cardinals, which ought to be a pretty good game. The old Aaron Rodgers seemed to be back last week, and Carson Palmer is coming into his own behind center for Arizona. The game key probably won’t be that they’re closing the roof of the stadium in Phoenix, but hey, who wouldn’t want to play this game in conditions of mild, reverberating stillness? Cards give 7. I wouldn’t bet against Green Bay unless I’d just won Powerball and didn’t mind blowing a little.
Sunday’s early game sees another squad of scrappers – the Seahawks – at Panthers. When the Seahawks are good, they’re very, very good, but when they’re bad, they’re horrid. That neon kiwi green may be a jinx for them. I’m just saying.
The current Panthers can hardly find a way to look non-competent – Cam Newton is just firing on all cylinders – but they did give off a slightly lackluster vibe in their end-of-season games. The narrow wins at Saints and Giants were unnecessary. That said, they’re a better team than their 2.5-point give to Seattle. If the Seahawks are on, it’ll be a great match.