Patriots 23, Ravens 20: deep thoughts with CHFF

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 22, 2012



By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts Potentate of Pigskin


The Patriots beat the Ravens, 23-20, and head to Super Bowl XLVI with so much history in front of them. Tom Brady, most notably, has a chance to become the winningest QB in NFL postseason history. He matched Joe Montana’s NFL record 16 playoff wins Sunday afternoon and New England’s 16-5 postseason record with Brady at the helm is truly historic.
 
But we’ll have two weeks two break down all the history and data as if we're pulling pork at our Super Bowl pig roast. And no matter who emerges from the NFC, the Giants or 49ers, it's clear the Patriots, and Brady in particular, must play better to capture the franchise's fourth Super Bowl victory.
 
In the meantime, here are some initial reactions from here on our perch high above the totem pole of pigskin analysis.
 
1. As they say in Germany, “Cold, Hard Football Facts Uber Alles” – Let’s start with the self serving interest of the Mighty CHFF and our aptly named real and spectacular picks.
 
The Patriots were ridiculous 7.5-point favorites against Baltimore. We warned CHFF Insiders all week that it was crazy to chase that number. And it proved crazy in Foxboro on Sunday to chase that number.
 
More importantly, we predicted a 26-23 Patriots victory. We witnessed a 23-20 Patriots victory. So we didn’t exactly nail the score like our slutty senior prom date. But CHFF Insiders certainly got a very happy ending, as they did all season long here in our Asian massage parlor of pigskin analysis.
 
Our aptly named real and spectacular picks went 33 games over .500 against the spread in 2009, picking every game, every week. We went 26 games over .500 in 2010, picking every game, ever week. We went 26 games over .500 against the spread again in 2011, picking every game, every week.
 
That’s consistently, folks. And, as usual, we caught fire late: an incredible 22-9 (.710) ATS in the final two weeks of the NFL regular season and now 6-3 (.667) ATS heading into the NFC title game. No matter what happens in that game and in the Super Bowl, we’re guaranteed another winning slate in the postseason.
 
Our numbers work, folks. So as we head into the off-season, think about becoming a CHFF Insider in 2012. Hell, think about becoming a CHFF Insider for the Super Bowl: just $19.95! That includes our point-spread analysis, history, guidance and, of course, our real and spectacular pick. If you’re serious about trying to figure out who’s going to win or lose the game, it’s money very well spent.
 
OK … CHFF commercial is over … and no apologies from us. We gotta business to run. It ain’t easy dominating the seedy underworld of online gridiron analysis.
 
2. When does Ray Lewis rip the head off his Billy Cundiff kicker doll? – Lewis strikes us as a great teammate – until, you know, you a blow a game in which he and his defensive mates did everything they could to carry the day. Then he seems like a guy you might wish you had never met.
 
As you certainly know, Ravens kicker Cundiff shanked a 32-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the game. The colossal flub, one that will certainly cost Cundiff his job, comes at the end of a season in which the Ravens kicker failed badly to connect on field goals by modern-day standards: he hit just 28 of 37 (75.7%) kicks all year, one of the lowest rates in football.
 
He’s struggled his entire hit to hit over 80 percent, about the low end of expectations in this day and age.
 
This is how we put it in game-show terminology on Facebook and on Twitter in the aftermath of the game:
 
“Billy C*ndiff, Yo* S*ck!” 
 
Pat, I’d like to a buy a vowel.
 
3. Tom Brady night need a kidney transplant – One of the great scenes of the day was Lewis sticking his helmet in Brady’s back on the QB’s touchdown dive in the fourth quarter, for what proved to be the winning points.
 
Brady’s spine snapped so far backwards that his feet stuck back out over his head and his kidneys begged for mercy. We’re sure that one will hurt for a few years.
 
Brady scored on that play. But otherwise, it was a great day for Lewis and his mates, who found a way to stifle one of the great offenses in football – only to lose when their offense and a certain kicker let themselves down at the end.
 
4. Brady escaped the statistical widow maker yet again – You don’t win 16 playoff games against just 5 losses without a handful of things going your way – and Brady has had a few things go his way over the years.
 
Hell, he’s won not one but two playoff games in his career when he tossed three 3 INTs – both against the Chargers, once in the 2006 playoffs and again in the 2007 AFC title game. Three INTs almost always spell defeat in the playoffs. But Brady escaped the statistical widow maker in both those games.
 
The win over the Ravens was not quite as statistically deadly. But it was pretty close.
 
He threw two INTs – both of them very bad throws into coverage, and generally did not have a great game.
 
In fact, it may have been his worst game of the year (22 of 36, 239 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT) and he was largely outplayed by Joe Flacco (22 of 36, 306 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT).
 
But in the end, he and the Patriots beat the statistical widow maker: they won a game when they committed three turnovers against a very good team.
 
5. See all you mo-fos in Indianapolis! – The Cold, Hard Football Facts crew is heading to the Super Bowl again – our third straight year at the big game. If you missed CHFF bon vivant Frankie C's Super Bowl blog from Dallas, you really missed a tour de football force. That's Frankie C. in Dallas last year with Elvis and one of the lovely ladies at the Gene Simmons Wounded Warrior Project lingerie party.
 
Well, this year we’re making a road trip of it, driving all the way from Boston to Indianapolis. We’re going to turn it into a world-class tour of American football culture, with great food, great bars, great beer, great history and great landmarks in the evolution of the game.
 
We begin at the site of the very first football game, which happens to be near the CHFF cardboard-box world headquarters in Boston. We stop at places like Maroons Sports Bar & Grill in Pottvsille, Penn., a bar dedicated to the 1925 Pottsville Maroons, the team that had the NFL championship stolen from them amid nefarious circumstances, and then the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and so much more along the way.
 
Stay tuned, ladies and gentletrolls! It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

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