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Home / Articles / NFL Championship Round Analysis/Review/Notes

NFL Championship Round Analysis/Review/Notes

By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Jan 25, 2021
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Mike Handzelek's NFL Playoffs 10* Strongest Play Of Year -Championship Round Analysis/Review/Game Notes Sunday, January 24, 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers (NFL) - 3:05 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Money Line: -170 Green Bay Packers Rating: 10* Mike's NFL Playoffs Strongest Game Of Year (Single 10*) (LOSS) For my 4th & final GOY, I'm heading to the "Frozen Tundra" for the rematch from Week 6 @ warm Tampa Bay where the Bucs routed GB 38-10. Weather should be close to 30 degrees with 5-10 MPH winds & a chance of snow. Just like it's usually tough to silence Tom Brady in a revenger, I feel the same way with "Mr. Discount Double-Check" Aaron Rodgers. While the mushes heavily stress this outcome can repeat the last one, tell that to NO (looked for a 3-game sweep of TB) who had a kickoff returned for a TD called back last week. If you conclude weather won't affect Brady (used to it from being with NE), remember only Tom & Gronkowski (since cold-weather vet WR Antonio Brown is out) are the only ones who should be used to these frigid temperatures. The Rams came into GB last week with the top scoring & passing defense but still struggled in the cold. Digging in much deeper finds since Aaron Rodgers has been signal-calling in Wisconsin, he's gone a lights-out 30-6 SU @ home in December/January! He now faces a Buccaneers' pass defense that were lit up for 306 yards by novice QB Tyler Heinicke of Washington 2 weeks ago. With weather conditions & Tampa Bay playing their FOURTH road game in 5 weeks, fatigue WILL play a factor. In addition, it's going to be tough for the Bucs to play ANOTHER "A" game with emotions high after executing in double-revenge @ New Orleans last week. A prime example of this was Ohio State's defense looking extra flat versus Alabama after executing revenge on Clemson the week before. I'll still give kudos to DC Todd Bowles whose pressures were key inside his 4-3 alignment versus NO. However, that pass interference no-call on CB Sean Murphy Bunting (on Michael Thomas) secured a 10-point swing that weighed heavily in their favor last week. My bottom line looks @ some superior analytics tilting the scales in OUR favor. Yes, 21-year vet & owner of 6 Super bowl rings Tom Brady has gone an excellent 5-1 SU in conference championships in games played @ New England. But on the road in this round, he's a miserable 1-3 SU with a low 58.6% completion percentage. I'm looking for Green Bay DC Mike Pettine to dial up some pressure (with a Top 10 pressure "D") since Brady hasn't fared well versus it this season going 2-3 SU with 38.6 % completion & a passer rating of 51.3%. Can Rodgers turn the tables in this rematch? I think he can since he's a horse of a different color @ home. This year, he's 8-1 SU (1st in NFC), 6-3 ATS (Tied for 1st NFC) & his team has put up 31.7 PPG (1st in NFC). His TD/INT ratio is off the charts throwing 28 TD's versus just 2 INT's). The Packers are a hot commodity that's gone a window-cashing 12-5-1 ATS in the playoffs since 2010. The Cheeseheads can win the war in the trenches. Their offensive line opened holes versus a difficult L.A. Rams front as they ran for 188 yards last week. Rodgers has a dominant WR in Davante Adams whose caught 26 passes in 28 targets the last 3 games. They can control the clock (#1 in time of possession), finish drives (#1 in red-zone offense), rank #1 in offense DVOA (see last week's play for meaning) AND won't give you much opportunities (11 TO's in 17 games). Historically, let's go over some pretty BIG advantages playing in this round. Teams that turn the ball over fewer times in this round are a take-me-to-the-window 28-3 ATS. Road teams who fail to reach 20 points have gone 2-22 SU & 5-19 versus the number the past 26 seasons. Besides home teams going 12-2 SU the last 14 this round, they're also 55-25 SU & 32-12 ATS as favorites of 8 or less in this round since 1980. Since 2004, home teams that made the playoffs the previous season have not only gone 19-5 SU, but a perfect 7-0 SU/6-1 ATS if now playing a team who missed the playoffs the previous season. It gets better! Playoff teams who LOST in this round last year (GB) are an off-the-charts 44-7 SU. Tighten this one further when this NFC Championship loser faces a team coming off a double-digit win. The past 25 games this has happened, the double-digit winner (TB) has gone a no-show 3-22 ATS. Wild Card teams (seeded 5th or sixth) like Tampa Bay have gone just 1-6 SU & ATS this round spanning the last 10 seasons. If you have a team (GB) with same-season revenge whose favored by 8 or less in this round, that team's come back to go a near-perfect 7-1 against the number. Finally, let's look @ my X-Factor that focuses on road teams in this round. If this road team is coming off a road win, their SU record falls to 12-28. But if they're off back-to-back travelers, that SU record dips to 4-14 SU. This game also represents Rodgers FIRST time in 16 seasons he's getting to play @ HOME for the NFC Championship. I don't see him wasting this opportunity! We'll go to the Frozen Tundra of legendary Lambeau Field to play the GREEN BAY PACKERS as my NFL Playoffs Strongest Game Of Year 10* Single Play! GAME NOTES: After consistently bagging the bigger GOY's throughout the season, I just missed the sweep on the Pack who came up short 31-26. I honestly felt Green Bay put up better numbers than Tampa Bay to get the "W". So why didn't they? There were a few key plays (blunders) that factored into the Pack's downfall @ Lambeau. First, they played too conservatively. Second, what the hell kind of defense was GB DC Mike Pettine playing (with a few seconds left in the half) when CB Kevin King got caught playing up on deep threat WR Scotty Miller? Miller easily blew past him for an un-contested 39-yard TD pass that gave the Bucs a game-changing 21-10 halftime lead. Does that call remind you of now EX-Jets' DC Gregg Williams blown call @ the end of the Raiders @ Jets game? Tom Brady is a QB of habit & his variations & double TE/5 Wide are well documented in defensive preps. When you look @ the stats, Green Bay had good edges in total yards, first downs, turnovers & passing yards. They also had a big advantage in time of possession holding the ball for a + 9:14 more than Tampa Bay. Some of the key breaks that GB needed to get in the second half fell by the waist side. As they tried to pull within 3 on a 2-point conversion, Notre Dame product & WR Equanimeous St. Brown dropped a Rodgers' pass that hit him right in the numbers. It looked like the Packers stole the momentum with CB Jaire Alexander's 2nd interception of Tom Brady. With the score 28-23 & the Pack now driving, Rodgers looked to hit WR Allen Lazard for a big gainer. However, replay showed yet ANOTHER non-call for pass-interference on CB Sean Murphy-Bunting that resulted in a Green Bay punt with 8:21 to go in the 4th. TB was called for 2 penalties totaling 8 yards for the game! After the punt, TB drove down & converted a FG for an 8-point lead. With the Cheeseheads down & not out, they moved the ball down to the TB 6 & faced a 3rd & goal. As Rodgers stepped up & escaped containment, he chose to throw into a tight window (resulted in an incompletion) instead of breaking for a wide-open right corner of the end zone. Here's where the BIGGEST blunder of the post-season came. HC Matt LeFleur decides to kick a FG on 4th down with just over 2 minutes to go. I'm sorry, no HC in their right mind gives the ball back to Tom Brady trailing by 5 with 2 minutes to go in hopes of seeing the ball again! I don't blame Aaron Rodgers if he finally packs it in & gets traded since that game decision clearly says LeFleur has more confidence in his "D" than Rodgers. In the ensuing possession, it looked like GB held on 3rd down. However, an official threw a flag (3 seconds after the contact after the WR threw his hands in the air) for pass interference giving TB a first down. They ran out the clock & packed their bags for home as they became the FIRST team to ever host a Super Bowl. My final beef is this. If you don't throw a flag on the Murphy-Bunting PI to Allen Lazard, how you do throw one on Kevin King to Tyler Johnson? At any rate, look for ANOTHER dominating year of Super Bowl plays where I went 6-1 last year including a perfect 5-0 on props! Mike Handzelek's 2020-21 NFL Overall Record: 33-14 70% -- Now 9-3 the L12 plays 75%

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