It’s the final stage before the big stage. One of the most exciting rounds in sports playoffs. Championship weekend in the NFL. It all kicks off later today at 3pm when the Baltimore Ravens head to New England to play the Patriots. Then we get another dose of Championship action when we kick it “old school” in the NFC with a matchup between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers. They kickoff at 6:30pm
So who is going to still be standing when the smoke clears? I have been faring pretty well in predicting the outcomes of this year’s playoff games posting a 5-3 record. Let’s see how this shapes up. I am a bit sad my original Super Bowl pick Houston Texans aren’t playing this weekend, but hey it’s my 30th birthday and nothing can top Championship Day for a birthday gift. God, I love this game.
New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers
This is perhaps the toughest game to pick out of the two Championship games today. Simply because in my estimation whomever comes out of this game eventually wins the Super Bowl. It’s tough not to like either team. Both, in reality, weren’t picked to make it this far, not even close.
The New York Giants were decimated by injuries in the beginning of the season, mainly to their secondary. But somehow, Tom Coughlin constructed another late season push that brought the Giants to one game away from the Super Bowl. If they do make it, they will be the worst team (record wise) to make it to the big dance.
The San Francisco 49ers are proving why coaching is so vital in the NFL. Their turnaround is equally impressive considering they have almost the same exact roster as they did last season, the only change is at the head coaching helm.
Regardless of who comes out of this game alive, both of these teams look the most Super Bowl ready to me.
The Giants’ Eli Manning is proving to be one of the more elite playoff quarterbacks in recent years. You can’t even argue how good this man is. The Giants have played very well on both sides of the ball and if they can dictate the clock by dominating time of possession, the Niners may be in for a long day.
But, the Giants have the 7th best running game in the playoffs so far while the 49ers have the 5th. Not a huge separation but enough to tell me that the Niners run game has the chance to be more potent than the G-Men’s. The Giants’ offense is 3rd while the 49ers have the 5th best. Again, not much separation. Tough game to pick ehh?
While many have picked the Giants, I just cant conceive it in my mind. The 49ers just seem more balanced and with their defense (although ranked lower in the playoffs than the Giants) it’s hard for me to believe that Giants will have success passing and running the ball. More importantly when it comes to controlling the clock, I just have more faith in the 49ers chances. Controlling the clock controls the pace of the game and in this matchup it should make the difference.
San Francisco 24, New York Giants 20
Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
This game will be a bit easier for me to pick. The Baltimore Ravens head up to cold and snowy New England to play the Patriots. The weird thing about this game is I’m not convinced that either of these teams are better than either the Giants or the 49ers. I don’t mean to take anything away from the Ravens or the Pats, but frankly neither team isn’t very impressive.
The Ravens survived the Houston Texans, plain and simple. For a team that boasts a stout defense they got manhandled by Arian Foster and the Texans’ offensive line. Especially when you consider how the Texans gameplan had little to do with leaving the outcome up to rookie quarterback Tj Yates.
Despite multiple turnovers the Ravens still only barely squeaked out a win against the Texans.
On the other side the Pats manhandled the Denver Broncos who were riding an improbable wave of potency that is rarely seen. But for Pats fans that want to look at the final score of the drubbing laid down upon poor Tebow and the Steeds as some sort of proclamation of things to come, take off the blinders.
I can say the same thing to Ravens fans who think barely beating a Texans team without it’s best defensive player and a solid starting quarterback is a display of their dominance.
Therefore, ladies and gentleman I have dubbed this game the “Circumstance Bowl”. Both teams are here as a matter of circumstance. The Ravens are just lucky they didn’t have anyone other than Tj Yates to have to get through and could barely manage doing that. The Pats are just lucky Tim Tebow got to New England instead of a team that didn’t have to rely on a gimmick offense to find success.
So it all comes down to this. Tom Brady.
A motivated, angry and determined Brady playing at home doesn’t bode well for anyone. A banged up and hobbling Ed Reed doesn’t either.
New England 17, Baltimore 10
Raiders’ Antonio Brown Threatens ESPN’s Ryan Clark
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown doesn’t appreciate the constant comments made by former Steelers teammate and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, and is threatening to handle it physically should he sees him.
Brown made his threat public, directed towards Clark on Twitter.
Bro stop mentioning my name I know it get u clout keep that same analysis energy next time we meet it’s on site ain’t gone spare u https://t.co/ks4YVRFLTx— Antonio Brown (@AB84) April 25, 2019
Brown is no stranger to making threats, and stirring up drama, especially on social media, and FOX Sports host Skip Bayless added his own hot take to the fire.
Uh, Antonio Brown, trust me, you want NO PART of Ryan Clark. You'd get hit harder than you've ever been hit on a football field. Better keep taking your shots from your keyboard.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 25, 2019
Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill Not Facing Child Abuse Charges
Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, or his fiancee will not face charges, as the Johnson County (Kansas) District Attorney’s office has declined charges against the pair, according to ESPN.
However, there is a wrinkle as District Attorney Stephen M. Howe said that although he believes that a crime occurred, the evidence in the case doesn’t clearly establish who committed the crime.
Back on March 14th, Overland Park, Kansas officers were called to Hill’s home to investigate an alleged battery in which a juvenile was a victim, police reports indicated.
While Hill was not listed in the report, his fiancee Crystal Espinal was listed under “others involved.”
The Kansas Department of Children and Families has been investigating the alleged battery.
“This office has reviewed all the evidence compiled by these agencies and has declined to file charges against Tyreek Hill and Crystal Espinal,” Howe said on Wednesday during a news conference.
“We are deeply troubled by this situation and are concerned about the health and welfare of the child in question. We believe a crime has occurred. However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime.”
This wasn’t the first incident involving the Hill residence as officers were called to the home on March 5th to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect.
In that situation, Hill was named on the police report, but the Overland Park police closed the case three days later when prosecution was declined.
Hill could still face discipline from the NFL, such as a fine and/or suspension.
Broncos’ Von Miller Avoids Charges for Bloody Shark Photo on Instagram
Denver Broncos superstar linebacker Von Miller will not face charges for catching and posing with a bloody hammerhead shark back in 2018, according to documents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (h/t Deadspin).
Miller came under fire for a controversial photo posted on his Instagram story last year showing him with the bloody shark.
According to Florida Law, catching and releasing in this particular scenario would be fine, as long as the shark was “immediately returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed.”
Per TMZ Sports, Miller and the group pushed the shark back overboard after catching it, and the compilation of Miller’s Instagram story shows that process as well as the shark swimming away.
Despite that, and as Deadspin’s story points out, the picture doesn’t exactly 100% convince that the shark was “unharmed”.
According to USA Today, the boat Miller was on was called ‘Spellbound’ and the owner and operator of the boat were not as fortunate as Miller in regards to the investigation.
“Owner and operator were charged under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for fishing for sharks without the proper permit and for failure to release a shark in the manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival. A $2,000 NOVA was issued.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies hammerhead sharks as a Group 3 shark, and harvesting them in state waters can be met with a second degree misdemeanor.
In the state of Florida, second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail, as determined by a judge.
Miller defended himself following the post, claiming that the shark didn’t die; “Everybody knows that I hunt and fish. It’s what I do” Miller said (h/t ESPN).
“But I also believe in conservation. I’m not just out there going crazy. We followed the rules. I did everything I was supposed to do.”
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