The NFL got the matchups it wanted in both the AFC and NFC Championship games.
Carolina will host Arizona in a matchup of a high-scoring offense and stifling. But if the NFL didn’t want another game between New England and Denver, more importantly, a tug-o-war between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, then someone out there is lying through their teeth.
This is the fourth time the two greatest quarterbacks of my generation will compete with a Super Bowl berth on the line. It will also be the fifth time in as many years that New England is in the AFC title game. Manning missed the last matchup between these two teams, but you can be assured that he is as excited about this game as he has ever been.
And you can forget the comments he made about this being a game between two teams with one common goal. The media is going to do everything it can to spin this as a game for the ages and one that might lead to Manning’s swan song, should he win and get back to Super Bowl 50, or it could retire him if he goes out and lays an egg against his greatest opponent. Tom Brady has been one of the best passers in the NFL this season while Manning has fought off injuries and had arguably his worst season as an NFL quarterback.
Don’t discount the importance of the game in the NFC. The matchup of Cam Newton and the Arizona defense is as intriguing as any potential thriller this season. The Cardinals shocked everyone with a dramatic overtime win over Green Bay and the Panthers held on to beat Seattle. Something has to give in a matchup of unlikely opponents in the NFC finale.
Both should provide enough excitement for NFL fans, no matter who they might root for.
COUSINS WANTS TO GET PAID
It looks like no matter what happens, Kirk Cousins is going to be just fine before or once free agency starts. The Washington Redskins starting quarterback is in the final year of his rookie contract and has more than proven he can be a franchise quarterback.
Now, Cousins wants to not only stay in Washington, he wants to be paid like the leader of the franchise.
The team could “franchise” Cousins, making him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league while a new contract could be negotiated. The bottom line is, Cousin wants to be wanted.
“We’ll see where it takes us, but the franchise window will be the first step and then from there to free agency, and again, I guess the ball is kind of in the Redskins’ court with that, because they can place that tag on me and there’s no input or decision that I would have along those lines,” he said.
What is for sure, is that Robert Griffin, III will not be part of the team’s plans in 2016. The former first round draft pick will be playing for another team next year.
WAYNE CALLS IT A CAREER
Reggie Wayne showed everyone how to play wide receiver. The former Indianapolis Colts pass catcher and current Houston Texans player announced his retirement last week.
“When I look at it, what else did I have to prove?” Wayne said via NFL.com. “In my mind, I never got as much pub as a lot of other guys, and that’s fine. I don’t care. You know what? Numbers don’t lie. People do, but numbers don’t lie.”
Wayne’s 14,345 receiving yards are the eighth-most in NFL history, just 235 behind former teammate Marvin Harrison. As a six-time Pro Bowl selection with impressive career numbers, he has strong Hall of Fame credentials.