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

Man Of Steel *** out of ****

Jun 23, 2013 -- 10:42pm






Can a film be too serious to be fun? Not for me. Superman is back and better than ever,{ which isn’t saying very much cinematically when you consider its predecessors}. Under the direction of Zack Snyder {300 and Watchmen}, Man Of Steel is a thoughtful, earnest and ambitious re-imagining of the legendary super hero. Be warned, this is not your daddy’s Superman. Unlike Richard Donner’s “ Superman  in 1978”, this man of steel is deadly serious. Chris Nolan produces and you can definitely sense the “ Batman-ization” of Superman. From the outset of the film the colors are subdued and grim, and there is very little humor, which matches the tone which is somber.

While the film does lack the frivolity and charm of the original, I find the gritty realism refreshing. Part of the difficulty in putting Superman on the big screen is the characters lack of dimension. He’s too perfect, there is no ambiguity. He’s about truth, selflessness and a  figure of the light, thus the Christ comparisons. Superman is not a tortured soul like Batman. I applaud Snyder for trying to take Superman in a different direction. I liked him being conflicted by his powers, wondering whether to use them to save lives. It serves to humanize a character that is otherwise flawless. His daddy issues with his adoptive parents again give the character some frailty. Some feel because of this, the film is too cold and dour, and that Superman is too brooding, which makes the experience joyless. I disagree. By giving Clark inner conflict we relate to him more. If I have one criticism, it’s that Snyder really doesn’t examine Superman’s uniqueness as a super hero. Where is his compassion? He never seems worried that thousands are dying during his clashes with General Zod and company.

Snyder’s film is visually stunning, and is complimented by Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score. This is the first time cinematically we experience Superman’s awe inspiring power. The fight sequences alone are worth the price of admission. Many film critics are secular and dislike the spirituality of the film. But when you consider the source material, Christ comparisons have always been embedded in the character. A savior comes, shows humanity the shining example of what they can aspire to, and leads them to the light. How is there something wrong with this?

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