Weekend Watch – Conference Championships

It’s Championship weekend in the NFL, with the NFC and AFC title games slated for Sunday afternoon and evening.

We’ve got you covered on the BSMW Patriots Game Day page, where Sunday will be a busy day with your thoughts on the game being posted. Here’s the plan as posted by Scott during our Roundtable today:

I’d like to try something a little different this Sunday. I’d like to turn a corner of BSMW Patriots Game Day over to you, our reader (or readers, if there’s more than one), so that you can share your thoughts before another memorable Colts-Patriots battle. It’s simple. Just send your pre-game ruminations to me at [email protected] any time before 10 a.m. Sunday, and I’ll gather them together and post them to the site. Give me analysis, a prediction, your longitude and latitude, whatever. Everybody from full-on zombied kool-aid drinkers to loyal Mike Felger listeners are welcome. Do try to keep it as concise as possible (look who’s talking), and give me an identifier (maybe a first name and hometown, say?) so we can immortalize you for posterity. Come on….this will be fun. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, especially you message board lunatics.

So get your thoughts and predictions into Scott ASAP….

You can also check coverage this weekend on the Patriots News Mashup.

View from the Opposition:

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On The Air

This week, a special live edition of Patriots All Access airs Saturday night (1/20) on WCVB-TV at 7PM from Indianapolis. Among the highlights…

  • One-on-One with Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who talks about his game-winning kick, trying to replace Adam Vinatieri, and facing off against Vinatieri’s Colts.
  • Linebacker Don Davis goes into the film room to find out what makes Peyton Manning so effective.
  • 2-time Super Bowl MVP Terry Bradshaw on the similarities, and differences between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
  • Bill Belichick shows on the Belestrator why the Colts defense has improved so much this post-season.

A majority of the local coverage will be on WBZ-TV, here’s the schedule for the station’s Patriots related programming this weekend:

Friday, January 19

7-8PM on WBZ-TV
New England Ford Countdown to GameDay with WBZ-TV Sports Director Bob Lobel in studio with Scott Zolak, Steve DeOssie, and Michael Felger. WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton & David Robichaud will be live from Indy.

9-9:30PM on TV38
A TV38 special right before the “TV38 News at 9:30″…It’s “Pats in the Playoffs” with WBZ-TV’s Lobel in studio and Burton live from Indy.

Sunday, January 21

11:30AM-1PM on WBZ-TV
A special 90-minute edition of NE Ford Patriots GameDay with Lobel in Studio with Zolak and Deossie. Burton, Alice Cook, and Felger will be live in Indy.

6:30 on WBZ-TV
Patriots at Colts

Then on TV38 (right after the game)
New England Ford Patriots 5th Quarter

On Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN, Wendi Nix will have a segment on former Florida Gators Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney, who are reunited in New England and making a difference in Tom Brady’s offense. Nix examines the relationship between the two receivers.

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Weekend Highlights

Friday January 19
7:30pm, FSN – Kings @ Celtics (HD)
7:30pm, NESN – UMass @ UNH (hockey)
8:00pm, ESPN – Pistons @ Timberwolves (HD)
10:30pm, ESPN – Cavs @ Nuggets (HD)

Saturday January 20
Noon, TV38 – Boston College @ Clemson
3:45pm, CBS – Indiana @ UConn
7:00pm, NESN – Senators @ Bruins (HD)
8:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Wizards

Sunday January 21
1:00pm, ABC – Mavs @ Heat (HD)
3:00pm, FOX – Saints @ Bears (HD)
6:30pm, CBS – Patriots @ Colts (HD)

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Listen to The Big Show’s take on the Ron Borges MSNBC article. (Starts at about 2:20 into the clip)

Bill Simmons comes to the conclusion that he is rooting for the football version of the New York Yankees.

Football Outsiders has their AFC Championship Preview.

WBZ Radio 1030‘s web page has unedited interviews and features on the game as well.

The anti-Borges, Mike Reiss had a Friday chat at Boston.com.

Eric Wilbur has a look at the Colts struggles the second time around and a nice wrapup of views from around the country.

Cold Hard Football Facts has their predictions, and their Chief Troll interviews himself.

ESPN’s Patriots/Colts AFC Championship page.

Do you remember what happened five years ago today? Some in the Bay Area can’t let it go.

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Predictions

Here are the “experts” predictions for Sunday’s Colts/Patriots game:

Sports Illustrated

Don Banks, Colts
Jeffri Chadiha, Colts
Nunyo Demasio, Colts
Peter King, Colts
Michael Silver, Patriots
Dr. Z, Patriots
Tim Layden, Colts

ESPN

Joe Theismann, Patriots
Sean Salisbury, Colts
Merril Hoge, Colts
Ron Jaworski, Colts
Mark Schlereth, Colts
Eric Allen, Patriots
Chris Mortensen, Colts
Mike Golic, Colts

CBS Sportsline

Pete Prisco, Colts
Clark Judge, Colts
Greg Bromberg, Colts
Ron Davis, Colts
Dave Richard, Colts

USA Today

Jarrett Bell, Colts
Nate Davis, Patriots
Tom Pedulla, Patriots
Larry Weisman, Colts
Skip Wood, Patriots
Jeff Zillgitt, Colts

So that’s 26 national experts and the breakdown is that 19 of 26 are in the favor of the Colts.

Is there really any wonder why the Patriots feel they are disrespected? The Colts could well win the game on Sunday. They’re entirely capable of doing it. They’ve beaten the Patriots the last two times these clubs have met. The Colts are three point favorites are home, which basically means Vegas thinks the game is a push. Given how the teams have played as of late, and the playoff history of the two teams, is there any logical reason why 19 of 26 national experts should pick the Colts?

If there is a recurring theme among the predictions, it is this: “It’s Peyton’s time.” That’s expert, reasoned analysis for you.

If the Colts win on Sunday, it will be because they were the better team that day, not because it was “Peyton’s time.”

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National Sports Media Columns

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt has Boomer Esiason talking about Peyton Manning’s legacy, and a few other media notes. John Howell has more from Esiason on Manning and has a look at the ’86 Giants coming in at #13 on NFLN’s countdown of the top Super Bowl teams. John Molori talked to SIRIUS NFL Radio’s Adam Schein about his job and his thoughts on the playoffs. David Scott notes that the Patriots and their fans seem to have jumped the shark when it comes to the national media this week. Bill Doyle talked to Steve DeOssie, who analyzes the Patriots for WEEI and WBZ-TV for his thoughts on this weekend and why he’s turned down national job offers.

New York

Neil Best reports on the up and down moments in the lives of sideline reporters. Phil Mushnick says that new Giants GM Jerry Reese’s first course of action should be to restore some class to the organization. Richard Sandomir and Bob Raissman report on Barclay’s shelling out $400 million for the naming rights to the Nets new arena in Brooklyn. Andrew Marchand has more from Esiason on Manning’s legacy.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand notes that the matchup isn’t that important for Super Bowl ratings, as the event pretty much stands on its own. He also grades the CBS and FOX broadcast teams. Laura Nachman notes that while the Eagles came up short on the field last week, they were huge winners in the ratings this season. Chris Zelkovich has Rogers Sportsnet trying to deliver a true “arena experience” to viewers in their own living rooms. Aaron Bracy talks to Flyers announcer Jim Jackson about the team’s struggles. He also posts his full one-on-one interview with Jackson on his blog. Jim Williams reports on Hall of Famer Don Sutton joining the Nationals broadcast team. He also remembers TNT racing analyst Benny Parsons, who died of lung cancer this week. Williams remembers Parsons as one of the really good guys in sports.

South

Barry Jackson says that Sunday’s national sports lineup is a winner. Jim Sarni says CBS wins no matter who advances to the Super Bowl on Sunday. David Barron reports that former Boston Globe writer and current Houston Chronicle writer Jerome Solomon will be co-host of a new afternoon drive sports talk show on the ESPN radio affiliate in Houston. Dave Darling has tiny Rollins College gearing up for the spotlight of national TV cameras for the first time ever. He also looks at highlights for the weekend.

Midwest

Ed Sherman has Joe Buck reflecting on his first season of double duty on FOX’s NFL broadcasts. Bob Wolfley has Jim Paschke remembering his call of Juan Nieves’ no-hitter in 1987, and how the “rules” of broadcasting have changed since then. Judd Zulgad has FSN North getting ready for their first ‘Hockey Day Minnesota’ tomorrow. He also reports on Jack Morris joining the Twins radio crew for 40 games next season.

West Coast

Joe Davidson has a look at Mark Kreidler leaving the Sacramento Bee after 15 years “to take on just about every other form of communication there is.” Larry Stewart has Jimmy Johnson feeling good about the Saints this weekend. Jim Carlisle says that the NFL’s ‘flex schedule’ worked out well for everyone. Stewart’s notebook looks at the one year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81 point night. Jay Posner has San Diego sports radio getting ready to move right into Padres talk with the Chargers now out of the playoffs. Tom Hoffarth has Golf Channel getting right into the swing of things with the new year. John Maffei looks at a local TV station taking a gamble on prep football.


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