Four teams remain harboring dreams of the 32nd pick in the draft, the last pick in the first round. The team picking 32nd is the last team standing, the champions of the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
With three weeks until Super Bowl XLIX, we are less than a week away from crowning our first hardware of the 2015 NFL postseason. It's time for conference championship weekend, the awarding of the George S. Halas and Lamar Hunt Trophies. The winners will convene on February 1st, on Super Bowl Sunday, in Glendale, Arizona.
But if you're not a fan of the Colts, Patriots, Seahawks, or Packers, we'll determine who you'll need to root for from a Boston College perspective. It's actually a lot harder than it appears at first glance, so let's get on with it:
2) Green Bay Packers at 1) Seattle Seahawks
NFC Championship, 3:05 PM EST (12:05 PM PST), FOX
The Packers won a hard-fought game with Dallas, 26-21, on Sunday despite Cowboys fans crying foul because of the reversal of a Dez Bryant catch late in the fourth quarter. Green Bay will leave the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field for the decibel-setting, ear-splitting noise factory of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle ran away from Carolina, 31-17, thanks to 17 fourth-quarter points.
From a BC perspective, this one's split down the middle by Eagles on Injured Reserve. Kevin Pierre-Louis appeared in seven games, registering 10 tackles, before a shoulder injury ended his Seahawks year. BJ Raji's been out since the preseason with a torn bicep. So let's look beyond that.
You know, it would be a lot of fun to see the 12th Man head to the Super Bowl again, but I'm really interested to see how Aaron Rodgers performs at CenturyLink Field. With his calf injury, he's been forced to remain more of a pocket passer, which in turn has made his receivers perform over and above. Davonte Adams was outstanding against the Cowboys, and Randall Cobb is a true #1 threat. Factor in Andrew Quarless and Jordy Nelson, and they should be giving the Legion of Boom all they can handle. Regardless of what some people think of Rodgers, even without his scrambling ability, he should be able to Discount Doublecheck 24 points onto the board.
Russell Wilson started his career at NC State under Tom O'Brien before leaving for Wisconsin. When he gets introduced on NBC, he refers to himself as being from "a whole pack of Badgers." Dude, you played more games at NC State for TOB. I can't root for you (or Richard Sherman, who's been mysteriously quiet most of this year).
SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT RAJI! Rooting Interest: Packers
4) Indianapolis Colts at 1) New England Patriots
AFC Championship, 6:40 PM, CBS
The Indianapolis Colts vanquished the ghosts of Peytons past by beating Manning and the Broncos, 24-13, in a game that felt like it was about 73-3. Manning never really found his comfort level against the Colt defense, and Andrew Luck did everything he was supposed to in order to win the game. That means we're robbed of an opportunity to see Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning for the 17th time (Brady leads, 11-5, for what it's worth).
New England advanced by beating Baltimore, 35-31. The game featured a Bill Belichick gameplan that caused John Harbaugh to snap. It saw Joe Flacco play out of his mind but throw picks down the stretch. And it was probably the best game of the weekend, despite my obvious bias as a Pats fan, since New England came back from two 14-point deficits at different points during the game. Tom Brady threw 51 passes while only handing off about 10 times, which I'm pretty sure set a record for lowest amount of rushing attempts in a playoff game. I could be wrong.
In terms of rooting interest, if you're not already a Pats or Colts fan, sit back and enjoy this one. This is a renewal of a rivalry from the last decade, only it receives a new chapter with Luck. It's a huge game for Luck's third-year legacy, Manning's decade-plus legacy (since he only made it to two Super Bowls in over a decade and only won one with Indy), and for Brady's legacy. The Patriots dominated the Colts in their only other meeting this year, back in November, 42-20.
Though if you really need a rooting interest, from a BC standpoint, we once again recap the amount of Colts with Eagles ties. Matt Hasselbeck backs up Luck, and Anthony Castonzo protects the blind side. Gosder Cherilus started at right tackle for 15 weeks before being placed on Injured Reserve on New Year's Eve. The Patriots can't really touch that, though apparently that means I'm going into this weekend anti-BC.
Rooting interest: Colts
Best of luck to all of the Eagles this weekend as they vie for conference championship supremacy!