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Monday ManCave Championship/Divisional round week edition

Welcome  back  to  another  great installment, of the Monday  ManCave. Wildcard weekend was great. Now, the  cream of the crop, sets to do battle this weekend. Before we get to that, we have to crown a  national champion tonight. Alabama looks to bring back the National Championship , back to the SEC. Clemson , is looking for it’s  first championship since 1981.We also have a possible , NBA Finals preview on tap, Wednesday  night. Sit back , relax and let’s discuss the must see events of the week.

Monday Night – National Championship Game #2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #1 Clemson Tigers: 8pm ESPN: The Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide will play for the college football national championship. Both teams dominated their semifinal matchups but each will face a different type of opponent in the title game. The Crimson Tide struggle against more dynamic offenses. Teams that have a quarterback that is able to move around in the pocket and make plays have the best chance to beat the Crimson Tide. Clemson’s offense is so dynamic.DeShaun Watson has the ability to cause Alabama problems. He can move around in the pocket to find his receivers but can also run it when there is an opportunity. Alabama will try to ground and pound  their way to a championship. Expect a lot of  carries  from Henry , as they try to slow the pace of the game. Going with the Clemson Tigers  to finish the season undefeated and nation champs.

Wednesday – New York Knicks vs  Brooklyn  Nets -7:30pm: Kristaps Porzingis returns to  the scene of  draft night. Many New Yorkers booed him that night. Look for the upstart rookie , to  have a  showing out party, at the expense of the dysfunctional , Brooklyn Nets.

Thursday – Cleveland Cavaliers vs  San Antonio Spurs- 8pm TNT: In what could be an NBA Finals preview,the Cavs will  travel into  San Antonio, to battle the Spurs. The Spurs haven’t lost at home all season and the Cavs are finally a healthy complete team. Should make for a must watch game.

Saturday– AFC Divisional Playoff Game- Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots-4:35pm CBS:Sure, not every playoff game measures up to the hype. But don’t be surprised if this matchup turns out to be one of the best the NFL delivers all postseason.The Patriots come into this divisional game as the walking wounded. Tom Brady wouldn’t have it any other way. The Chiefs are rolling . After a 1-5 start , they haven’t  looked back. The Patriots finished the season 2-4 after beginning 10-0. Injuries to key players such as wide receiver Julian Edelman, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and left tackle Sebastian Vollmer made the end of the season a grind for the Patriots, but they should head into the playoffs rejuvenated and well-rested after a first-round bye. Alex Smith will have to be on his A-game , if the Chiefs want to advance. Should be an interesting chess match of a game.

Saturday  NFC Divisional Playoff Game – Green Bay vs Arizona Cardinals- 8:15pm NBC: As the Seahawks found out against the Vikings, though, a blowout win earlier in the season can bring a well-prepared, pride-filled opponent. The Packers, had a  great all around game yesterday. The NFC West champs won more games than they ever had in their mostly dreary 96-year history. The Cards also led the league in offense for the first time in the Super Bowl era and posted 489 points, most in team history. A fifth-ranked defense rounds out a well-balanced squad, though the late-season loss of DB Tyrann Mathieu (knee) remains a blow, particularly against a quarterback as good as Rodgers.  Don’t expect another  blowout , but i do expect this to be a highly  contested, entertaining game. I also expect Carson Palmer to have a big game.

Sunday  NFC Divisional Playoff Game- Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers- 1:05pm FOX:  This matchup , had to  happen in the playoffs.While the Panthers were rolling through the regular season on their way to the seventh 15-1 season in NFL history, the Seahawks were heating up on the opposite coast, stringing together wins down the stretch.It took a flukish series of events in the wildcard game in frigid Minneapolis – an Adrian Peterson fumble, a Blair Walsh hooked, chip-shot field goal – to set the matchup.The Panthers, who earned a playoff-bye this weekend, represent a familiar foe for the Seahawks. The two teams met at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field earlier this season, a contest that Carolina won, 27-23. But Seattle has held the advantage over the Panthers in recent seasons. The Seahawks knocked Carolina out of the 2014 playoffs with a 31-17 victory in the divisional round last January in Seattle, and prior to that, the Seahawks topped the Panthers three regular-seasons in a row, earning a 16-12 win in 2012, a 12-7 win in 2013, and a 13-9 victory in 2014, each of which came on the road. The Legion Of Boom , looked  great in Minnesota, however Carolina will present a lot of challenges.The Panthers have created the kind of home-field advantage that Seattle had in reaching the Super Bowl the past two seasons. They have a league-best 11-game home winning streak, including a playoff victory against Arizona last season. They were 8-0 at Bank of America Stadium this season. Both teams,starting running backs  ” Lynch and Stewart” should be ready to go. Cam Newton vs The Legion Of Boom , is must see  TV. I expect this to be an outstanding game. Winner of this game , could be your Super Bowl Champions.

Sunday  AFC Divisional Playoff Game –  Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos- 4:30pmCBS: when you look at the meltdown the Cincinnati Bengals had against the Steelers in the wild card round, you begin to understand the level of composure that a team needs in critical situations. The Steelers did that and they now advance to take on the Broncos.The two teams played in Week 15 this season. Pittsburgh came away with the 34-27 victory. On paper this could be a tremendous matchup. Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas. Martavis Bryant and Emmanuel Sanders. Von Miller and James Harrison. The list could go on and on, but injuries could change a lot of aspects of this matchup. The status of Ben Roethlisberger’s injured throwing shoulder, Antonio Brown’s concussion and DeAngelo Williams’ foot will have a major impact on the Steelers’ chances. It might come down to their defense, which played very well Saturday night until the fourth quarter. QB Peyton Manning, who is 11-13 in postseason games, will be making his first start in two months.Denver is 2-2 during their last four games and 6-4 in their last ten matchups. Pittsburgh is 7-3 in their last ten games. Look for the Broncos’s defense to press the Steelers wideouts , all game long. This game could come down to the running attacks , from both teams.

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