It’s expensive to go to playoff football games. It’s not expensive to simulate the games on Whatifsports.com, read the box scores, and pretend that’s what actually happened. And if you’re a Jets fan, that might actually be better than watching Antonio Cromartie try to cover New England receivers.
For my 2010 NFL playoff preview, I’ll be doing something a little different.* I’m not going to give you some half-hearted X’s and O’s analysis from someone who learned everything he knows from Madden video games. I won’t be comparing each playoff team to a Rocky movie and using horribly sexist analogies. I’m going to predict the NFL playoff results using only results from WhatIfSports.com.
*By different I mean shamelessy borrowed from Carson Cistulli of fangraphs.com.
This week’s common opponent are the very first Super Bowl champions, the 1966 Green Bay Packers. The Pack were led by superstar coach Vince Lombardi and quarterback Bart Starr. Lombardi is most famous for his quote, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing, other than smoking four packs of cigarettes a day and complaining about rock n’ roll music.” Starr was under center for five championships with the Packers, but he was most famous for sending dong photos to young Green Bay interns. It was a totally different process then; you had to get the film developed, go to the post office, etc. The whole thing took weeks; Starr was a real dong-pic pioneer.
The Packers were a juggernaut that season, with a 12-2 regular season record. They scored the fourth-most points in the league and allowed the fewest. The secondary was incredible, allowing only 7 passing touchdowns and picking off 28 passes. After knocking off Dallas in the NFC championship they blew out the Kansas City Chiefs in the first ever Super Bowl by a final of 35-10. The loss was so devasting to Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt that he went home and beat his daughter for inventing the Super Bowl, which she had named after her “Super Ball” toy.
Bart Starr, just having fun out there.
Baltimore Ravens 20, Green Bay Packers 34 (-14)
Pittsburgh Steelers 12, Green Bay Packers 0 (+12)
Green Bay’s defense kept the Steelers out of the end zone, only allowing 4 Shaun Suisham field goals to Roethlisberger & co. But they got NOTHING going offensively, and were shut out. They played like actual champions against the Ravens, as Jim Taylor ripped off 156 yards on the ground. Joe Flacco really struggled, as he was picked off 3 times by guys who probably owned Benny Goodman records.
Green Bay Packers 14, New York Jets 9 (-5)
New England Patriots 22, Green Bay Packers 20 (+2)
Not a good sign for Jets fans when the franchise quarterback is outplayed by a 6’1”, 197-lb guy who was drafted in the 17th round. (17th! Seriously! Look it up. They actually had thirty rounds in the 1956 draft — this thing must have taken months. Cleveland made Wake Forest lineman Bob Bartholomew Mr. Irrelevant; he was offered a rookie contract of $12 and one Slinky.) Anyway, New England won on a last-second play that is so unbelievable, you have to
see it see the fake box score to believe it. The fun begins as the Patriots trail by 3, with the ball, and thirty seconds remaining.
Holy crap! Whoever committed that penalty was definitely stoned to death with cheese curds, right? The good people of Green Bay do NOT mess around when it comes to professional football.
2010 Green Bay Packers 14, 1966 Green Bay Packers 0 (+14)
Green Bay Packers 27, Atlanta Falcons 17 (-10)
Well that settles it! Aaron Rodgers is the greatest quarterback in Green Bay history. The 1966 Packers allowed their 2010 counterparts to advance by playing ball-control offense against the Falcons, keeping Matt Ryan off the field by establishing the running game, pounding the rock, and abusing the cliches.
Green Bay Packers 24, Seattle Seahawks 10 (-14)
Green Bay Packers 14, Chicago Bears 10 (-4)
Jay Cutler had a terrible game for Chicago, managing only 142 yards in the air and getting sacked four times. The Seahawks were embarrassed by the Pack; Bart Starr threw for 230 yards (that’s like, 500 in 2010 yards) and 2 scores. Much like in real life, the Bears advance because their opponent is somehow even shittier than they are.
So the Presumptive Reviews championship week is set: Green Bay at Chicago and Pittsburgh at New England. Stay tuned for next week, when we determine the Super Bowl by seeing who can hang more points on the 1976 winless creamsicle Tampa Bay Bucs!