It's Patriots-Giants in the Super Bowl in two Sundays, New England rolling in routinely and as expected over San Diego for the AFC title, and New York stunning host Green Bay in overtime.
The Pats will be a huge favorite, probably by around two touchdowns or slightly more, as they try to complet their Perfect Season.
Comments welcome here and today's two championship games and on the Super Bowl matchup that results. What kind of a chance do you give the Giants?
GIANTS 23, PACKERS 20 (Final OT; NFC Championship Game)
Erstwhile goat Lawrence Tynes redeemed himself with a 47-yard field goial in overtime to lift the Giants past Green Bay 23-20 and into the Super bowl vs. New England. What a game!
Green Bay wins coin toss to begin NFL's first championship-game overtime since the 1998 season. First team to score wins.
Pack catch ANOTHER huge, season-saving break when Lawrence Tynes skulls a potential winning 36-yard FG wide left on the final play of regulation. Wow again. What a weird, wild game.
Pack catch an enormous break when a 48-yard Giants TD run by Ahmad Bradshaw just before the 2-minute warning is negated by a holding penalty. Wow.
Giants hook a field goal try wide left and the knot at 20 remains, with 6:49 to play in regulation.
Green Bay field goal ties it, 20-20, early fourth. Pack caught a huge break when R.W. McQuarters intercepted Brett Favre but was stripped, allowing GB to maintain possession deep in NYG territory. (By the way, how much are these frozen players and fans looking forward to overtime, huh!?)
NYG short TD run puts the visitors back up, 20-17, late third quarter. There is a tension in this game, of not knowing who'll win, that did not exist as much in the AFC game.
Green Bay back ahead, 17-13 -- thanks to two ex-Dolphins. Former Miami tight end Donald Lee had the 12-0yard TD catch, one play after ex-Dolph Sam Madison gave GB a first down with a roughness penalty on what had been a fourth-down incompletion. Man, if the Giants lose, New York will never let Madison live that down.
NYG punches it in from the 1and retakes the lead, 13-10, mid-third quarter. Two penalties badly hurt the Pack. Illegal contact negated an interception and meant a Giants first down. Later, roughing the passer against GB safety Nick Collins -- on a third down incompletion -- gave the Giants new life, and they capitalized.
Cheeseheads defense better enlist a man to stop Plaxico Burress. He has eight catches for 114 yards and 2H just began. (The good news for GB? Take away Burress and New York in the first half had 81 yards on 29 plays).
Pack adds 36-yard FG to grow lead to 10-6 just before halftime.
The Pack is back! Brett Favre to Donald Driver, 90-yard catch and run, longest pass play in Green Bay playoff history. GB, 7-6. Just like that. This crowd -- this city -- went from quiet and anxious to celebratory in about 10 seconds.
Biggies settle for 37-yard FG and lead, 6-0. Big stop for Pack D.
Three straight Packer punts now. Free Brett Favre!
Packers punt for second straight time. Early mo' with the Giants. Lambeau about as quiet as Lambeau gets.
Impressive, near-8-minute drive fizzles into a short field goal, and NYG is up 3-0. Looks like Giants think Eli can pass on the Gee Bees' secondary. We'll see.
They're now saying it's 23 degrees below zero with the wind c hill. Game on!
On Fox-TV's outdoor pregame set here, Jimmy Johnson's hair is showing signs of frostbite.
Fans were given hand-warmers as they entered the stadium here. When it is really, really cold even by the standards of the place that inspired the phrase "frozen tundra," cold has been redefined. Officially it is now 1 below zero and minus-17 with the wind chill, making this the third-coldest game in NFL history. Have you I told you lately, South Florida, that I love you?
PATRIOTS 21, CHARGERS 12 (Final; AFC Championship Game)
The Patriots are so good that when they win by "only" nine points, it seems like they almost lost. Inviting thoughts here on New England's win.
Wes Welker TD pass from Tom Brady puts Pats up 21-12, suddenly a comfortable-feeling margin for first time in the game. New England now poised to move within one victory of matching Miami's 1972 perfection ... thanks in large part to a former Dolphin.
Patriots hanging onto 14-12 lead as fourth quarter begins. In Green Bay, they just announced it is 17-below-zero with the wind chill. I love you, South Florida.
NE about to go up 21-12 but NO! Brady suffers second interception. Big.
What I meant to say is, you don't beat the Pats with field goals unless you kick, like, 12 of them.
Patriots lead, 14-9, at halftime. Aside to San Diego: You don't beat the Pats with field goals. Meantime, an important update from Green Bay: Still freezing.
Brady to Gaffney, short TDP. Pats, 14-6, late in first half. The San Diego-winning-in-a-stunner bandwagon is getting less populated by the minute.
Another chip-shot Bolts FG. SD hanging in, for what it's worth. Still liking my pick: Pats win but don't cover 14.
Short TD run, early second Q, and the favored Pats lead for first time, 7-3, over Chargers. Don Shula just kicked his ottoman. I don't know that, of course. Do people even still have ottomans.
Game one-quarter done and still no points from the mighty Patriots. Somewhere, Don Shula is cautiously optimistic, but likely not ready to say it aloud yet.
Chargers strike first in AFC game, cashing a field goal off a Tom Brady interception. Still way too early for a Southern Cali or a '72 Dolphin to derive hope.
Here's a post on today's two conference championship games: Chargers at Patriots (now underway and scoreless) for the AFC title, then Giants at Packers tonight for the NFC crown. Welcoming comments here on each game, and on the Super Bowl matchup that results.
Will be freshening this post with score updates and other miscellaneous chatter as I stare at empty Lambeau Field waiting for a game to break out. It is below zero here in Green Bay, the kind of cold that makes your nose and ears burn and feel numb within seconds. I am moved nearly to tears with admiration and love for whomever invented the heated press box.