The Dr of the NFL’s Fearless Forecast

AFC Championship Game-New England @ Denver
Is there some sort of immutable law that states that if, in the pre-season, you pick a team to go to the Super Bowl, that you are not allowed to pick against them in the championship game? If so, I’m in a difficult spot. Before the year began, my prognostication was a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl, more on Seattle shortly, but I’m leaning against Brady and company today. Here’s why. Too much is being made about last week when New England ran over Indianapolis. As we pointed out, Indy couldn’t stop the run all year, so let’s make LeGarrett Blount out to be Jim Brown just yet. The Broncos run defense has been stout all year [ranked 7th in NFL] and they will provide much more resistance than the Colts did. Look for Brady to come out throwing in this game vs. a porous Broncos secondary that just lost its’ best corner in Chris Harris and is without their best pass rusher in Von Miller. I fully expect the Pats to consistently move the ball and Brady to amass at least 350 yards passing.
Bill Bellichick has a conundrum in this match up vs. Peyton, if he stacks his chips to stop Denver’s running game, Manning will devour his secondary, and if he stays in a cover 2 to prevent the big play, Peyton will audible into a run and Knowshon Moreno and company will run up and down the field on a terrible Patriot run defense [ranked 30th in NFL]. People forget that because the Colts couldn’t take advantage of it because they were a poor running team, Denver will.
In what promises to be a high scoring shootout, TD’s over FG’s will be the difference. Which team will convert in the Red Zone? Peyton completed 72% of his Red Zone passes and threw 37 red zone TD’s with zero INT’s during the regular season, look for that trend to continue. In addition, New England will be playing a road playoff game for the first time in 7 years. The Patriots are 1-5 vs. the spread in their last 6 road contests, and are 0-5 vs the number in their last 5 games played on glass. Broncos advance to the Super Bowl.
Denver 37 New England 30.

NFC Championship Game-San Francisco @ Seattle
I’ve been going back and forth on this one all week. Seattle’s been the best team all year but the 49ers are red hot and playing better right now. Home field is huge in this one but the 49ers front 7 vs. Seattle’s erratic O-line can quiet things down. Russell Wilson concerns me, he’s not played well the last 4 or 5 games and he’ll be without Percy Harvin. But Colin Kaepernick has been awful in both games he’s played in this building.
As good as Seattle’s defense is, you can run it occasionally on them. The 49ers ran for 163 yards in week 14 win against Seattle, can Gore and company repeat this on the road? This is the key to the game, if Gore is producing, the 49ers can sneak out with a win, if not, Seattle will pressure Kaepernick, contain his rushing lanes, and force him into mistakes. Much has been made of the 49ers resurgence on offense since the return of Michael Crabtree, but Richard Sherman will effectively eliminate him and Vernon Davis will have his hands full with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas who are the best Safety tandem in the league.
I think San Francisco must get off to a healthy start to take the crowd out of it, otherwise things could snowball. Kaepernick completes just 54% of his passes when he’s trailing. Their offense is built for long drives, not short ones. This is why Gore is the key to the game, by establishing the run and sending a physical message, it could set the 49ers up for the upset. We all know that Seattle is near invincible at home but San Francisco is better equipped than any other team to pull this off.
So who wins? In a game that promises to be a tight, low scoring affair, I think it’s Seattle’s year. I trust Russell Wilson more in this spot not to make a critical error than I do Kaepernick. If both teams struggle to run it, which I expect, it gets to which QB will avoid the big mistake. No defense is better than Seattle’s at stopping the opposing QB, with the combination of pass rush and coverage ability. Look for Seattle’s secondary to get the best of Kaepernick and with the homefield to back them, Seattle returns to the Super Bowl.
Seattle 19 San Francisco 13

Ironman 3 *** out of ****

May 08, 2013 -- 9:06am


Ironman movies are like pizza, even when the pizza is fair, it’s still good. Part 3 is better than its predecessor Ironman 2.  However it fails to recapture the magic of the initial installment. Part of the problem is the script, which has plot holes that you could sail an aircraft carrier thru.

First the good: Robert Downey Jr. is once again terrific! He elevates everything around him like a great player does in basketball. His Tony Stark is the best “true identity” portrayal of all these comic book adaptations. Thanks to Downey, there are some genuinely funny moments. The Iron Man series is essentially a screwball comedy trapped inside a super hero film. In addition the action sequences are top notch, although I don’t believe the 3-D was necessary.

Now, the issues:  SPOILER ALERT  As I have always written, the villain is critically important in all comic book films. It is in this area where my primary issue with Iron Man 3 resides. To reduce The Mandarin, who is the primary villain in the Iron Man universe, to a caricature is artistic heresy. The “Wizard Of Oz” reveal comes across so poorly that I found myself thinking, you’ve got to be kidding me ? You’re really going in this direction? I’m surprised that Marvel was okay with this. I also detest the “bait  and switch “ tactics of the promotion of this film. I’m all psyched to see Ben Kingsley’s take on The Mandarin, and what do I get? Guy Pearce breathing fire? Please.  And a question for the writer. If a guy can breathe  fire, why does he use that power only once in the entire film? Also, the power of the character {Aldrich Killian} creates is never explained. What are the parameters of his abilities? What is the real objective of Killian and The Mandarin? All these questions are never addressed. They are both very poorly defined villains, and the film suffers because of it.

The characters are not well thought out. Tony Stark is a super genius, yet he gives out his home address to a national television audience? Then he’s surprised by a helicopter attack with all his state of the art security? Another question, If Stark can automatically control the Iron Man suites, then why does he ever get inside one and risk bodily harm? Not smart. Very little makes sense, one minute Tony thinks Pepper is dead, the next he’s wisecracking?

Despite all of the above, I still enjoyed Iron Man 3, it packs a solid punch, with witty dialogue and Downey Jr’s rapid fire delivery. But due to the unmemorable villain and a narrative that prioritizes effects over story, you’re still left a bit unsatisfied. The old saying in Hollywood goes, give the people what they want. I didn’t want a villain out of an Austin Powers movie.

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