Bokolis rolls into the conference championships 6-2-1. Since I figure to be shoveling snow until like Wednesday and the lines don't figure to be going anywhere, I'll enlighten the world while I still have my faculties. In both of these match-ups, one side has a decided advantage at QB over the other. I will play it that way.
Patriots (-3) over BRONCOS - To take New England here is to disregard that, allegedly, Tom Brady is 2-6 in all competitions in Denver. Is it altitude- there has to be a deflated ball joke in there somewhere. Both of Denver's QBs have taken him out. What's worse, not only have his two victories have come against sides QB'ed by Tim Tebow and Danny Kanell, but I remember a team led by Jake Plummer defeating him- though, to be fair, I think that one had more to do with Champ Bailey.
Even so, Bokolis was stuck trying to remember whether it was Kanell who kept throwing the TaINTs for the Giants (it was Dave Brown). Quite frankly, ever since Jimmy Johnson left the Cowboys, it's all been a blur. I'm also stuck trying to figure out whether the current version of P.Manning is any better than Tebow and Kanell.
Hey, the guy is still the grandmaster at calling a game from the line. But, he is essentially a statue and, without an arm or the ability to make things happen outside the pocket, the Patriots figure to crowd the box and the middle of the field to dare him to throw outside. Since he probably won't have that pop-up slide throw in the game plan this week, Peyton is going to need some serious help from his line and running backs to weave some magic.
More likely, the Patriots will be warm to his plan. Last week's game was just a warmup for this week. Just like last week, the Patriots will do what the have to do to win this game.
PANTHERS (-3) over Cardinals - With the later starts for the conference championship games, the Cardinals won't fall out of bed like the Seahawks did. That said, Newton and the Panthers have shown all year that they will score when they need to, and Carson Palmer will not get away with trying to throw the ball to the opponent this week. Either pick would imply disrespect for the other's record. But, from what Bokolis has seen from the Panthers this season, the only thing that sinks them in this game is a letdown.