Previewing the AFC and NFC Championships with “Big Willie Style”
I found myself reading SpreeGoogs while listening toWill Smith’s “Big Willie Style” the other day (I highly recommend it). And perhaps it was the musical connection between the two, or the fact that I like to write posts about the entertainment industry, but I was hit with a wave of nostalgia that drove me to examine 1997’s Big Willie Style in the hopes that The Fresh Prince could shed some light on the conference championship match-ups in this year’s NFL playoffs.
If you carefully listen to “Men In Black”, it’s pretty clear that if the Ravens wear their black jerseys going into Foxborough, they should come away champions. For starters, the Patriots defense has been ranked near the bottom of the league all year and thus far into the post-season we have seen teams that prioritize offense over defense—like the Saints and the Packers—fall to more well-rounded teams. And while the patriots may have the edge on offense, it’s not that much of an edge, especially considering just how much better the Ravens are on D. Additionally, the Ravens bring Ray Rice to the table—a legitimate game-changing threat every time he touches the ball. Admittedly, a lot of the weight is going to fall on Joe Flacco, but the fact that Flacco has realized that facial hair belongs in the beard/moustache region and not the uni-brow region speaks volumes about his maturity this year.
Plus if you look at how the Ravens have performed against playoff teams during the regular season (7-0), compared to the Patriots’ record against any team finishing above .500 (0-2), then going with the Ravens sounds like a safe bet. To tie it back in to Big Willie Style, remember that Baltimore is located conspicuously close to the Federal government just down the road in DC, so it’s pretty clear that the Ravens are going to play the role of the Men In Black here and neuralize all the Patriots inhabiting Foxborough. If it all plays out like Will Smith thinks it should, Patriots fans probably aren’t going to want to remember this game anyway.
I’m sensing some sibling rivalry on this one. What bigger love triangle is there than the one between Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning, with Archie’s fatherly love at stake? Admit it, Eli proved himself this year to anyone who didn’t consider his Super Bowl MVP award proof that Eli is an elite QB. Clearly Eli is out to show his father that he is worthy of the years of paternal love and support hogged by Peyton. After listening to the musical stylings of Will Smith, I’m convinced that “Just the Two of Us” is the song Eli has been using to get pumped up before every playoff game this year:
Take the above clip—that’s Eli hogging the ball and running all over the place while Archie and Peyton watch from the sidelines. You see, Eli has always known that the only way he’s going to get the fatherly attention he wants is to outshine his big brother—and win a 2nd Super Bowl. Then and only then will Eli get all the father-son time he so desperately wants—that’s what I call motivation.
Breaking this one down, it really looks like the 49ers should win on paper. With such a lock-down D, especially against the run, and the Giants relying on Bradshaw/Jacobs to set up Manning for points, it looks like the 49ers should have their way with this one. But if you paid attention to last week’s post-game interviews, it’s clear that the 49ers are content with winning a thrilling divisional-round game and making it to the NFC championship.
There’s no way Coughlin and the Giants are satisfied yet. These Giants are fired up and playing the “nobody believes in us” card. Eli Manning is QB’ing with a chip on his shoulder, while Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have been unstoppable lately, and the Giants’ pass rush has been making some great O-lines look porous. Add that to the fact that Vernon Davis came out and said he’d rather play the Giants (for home field advantage) than the Packers, and the Giants have all the bulletin board material they could want. All this makes for one highly emotional NFC Championship to look forward to. And if one team has the edge in terms of peaking at the right time and knowing how to motivate for big games, it’s Eli’s Giants. Just ask Mr. Smith, look for Archie in the stands and never bet against a son playing for his father’s approval.
So, who does The Fresh Prince think will be “Gettin’ Jiggy wit it” in Indianapolis? Check it out here. As the biggest game of the year approaches, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of commentary leading up to the big game here at SpreeGoogs.