The conference championship games are set, but before we turn the page to next week's big showdown, I had to sound off on some final takes from the divisional rounds...
*The Ravens continued to live up to the hype I've been giving them, but the Titans really shot themselves in the foot. They can blame the refs all they want about the blown call on a blatant delay of game, yet they still can not deny the fact that despite 391 total yards of offense costly turnovers and penalaties sealed their fate. It's amazing that the Titans kept it as close as they did even though they turned the ball over three times to the Ravens' zero.
*Joe Flacco once again did enough to help his team won the game. Another game without a pick or a sack. Consider that the Ravens managed just 50 yards rushing and the rookie's 161 passing yards seem pretty impressive.
*The game could have been a different story had Chris Johnson not suffered an ankle injury midway through the second quarter. He left the game with 72 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. The Ravens were struggling to find an answer for the rookie.
*I still can't get over the thumping Arizona handed Carolina. The Panthers had two weeks to prepare, were 8-0 at home, and a double-digit favorite. Take nothing away from Arizona, but that is the biggest egg laid by a higher-seeded team in this round in recent memory.
*Larry Fitzgerald continues to show me that he is the best receiver in football and right now the Cardinals look smart for giving him the money they deserved. He accounted for 75% of the team's 220 receiving yards, finishing with 8 receptions for 166 yards and a TD.
*The Eagles beat the Giants for the second time this season in their house. New York did not look like Super Bowl champs today and really have not looked as good since troubled wideout Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg and shot the Giants' chances for a repeat.
*Andy Reid outcoached Tom Coughlin on Sunday and it started with the coin flip. Coughlin opted not play the wind game and took the ball right off the bat. It didn't seem bad when Ahmad Bradshaw ran his longest return of the season back. However, Eli Manning couldn't get on track throwing into the fierce breezes early in the game and it was even worse in the fourth quarter when the team was forced to come from two scores down.
*Brian Westbrook was not a factor in this game. He had 20 touches, yet he only mustered 46 total yards and did not score. The Giants owned him, but they couldn't translate that into a victory.
*It figures Willie Parker finally gets healthy after my fantasy season is over. Two touchdowns and 146 yards on the ground shows that Fast Willie is finally nearing 100%.
*Pittsburgh officially has the best homefield advantage in football.
*Phillip Rivers' season may be over, but it wasn't because of his play. He finished with 308 yards and three scoring strikes against a very good secondary and while under intense pressure. Rivers has arrived as one of the league's elite passers.
*As a Bengals' fan I hate the Steelers and Ravens. Stil, I was rooting for both this weekend. Sure, money had something to do with (bet on both). I would rather have our division do good than have it look like chumps. Clearly, these our the two best defenses in the league and now they meet next Sunday for a third time this year.