What a great week of sports
The Patriots completed their perfect 16-0 regular season. Although the team would rather go 15-1 and win the Super Bowl than go 16-0 and fall short of the championship, the perfect regular season record speaks to their consistency during the season. The Pats had a tough schedule, playing 3 of the other AFC playoff teams (as well as Cleveland, who just missed), plus 3 of the NFC playoff teams. Their division was weak, but the schedule overall provided plenty of challenge. And, they beat the Colts, Cowboys, and Giants on the road. I think that the pressure of going 16-0 provided some playoff-like pressure on the team. The core veterans on the team have been through this before, so I think it just shows that this team is ready to go all the way. Honestly, anything less would be disappointing.
I really respect how the Giants played hard in this game against the Patriots. They had nothing to gain, other than being the ones who stopped the Patriots. They risked injury for their players, and will have to go through their first playoff game less healthy and less rested than they could have. But, I think that the competitive juices took over, and no one wanted the Patriots to get off easily. This is in contrast to the Colts-Titans game yesterday. The Titans needed to win to get into the playoffs. Otherwise, the Browns would get the last AFC slot. The Colts didn't play their regulars much and looked pretty bad without them. This made it easy for the Titans, who won a close game.
I feel bad for the Browns. They turned around a season that started off horribly. How many teams dump their starting quarterback after week 1 (not benched -- traded!)? Romeo Crennel did a good job making them respectable. They'll have to keep improving, but I hope they get into the playoffs next year.
Although I am thrilled for the Pats, I had even more fun staying up late and watching the Celtics go 4-0 on their West Coast road trip. The last game was vs. the Lakers last night. I think that it was the best game that the Celtics have played all year. They were on the road against a good team, playing without Rajon Rondo, and at the end of 4 games in 5 nights after Christmas. Tony Allen started in place of Rondo, and had a game that reminded me of how he played before he got hurt last year. Kudos to Doc Rivers for starting Allen rather than guys who have been ahead of him the rotation like Eddie House or James Posey. Tony Allen seems to get down on himself quickly by the body language I see. Hopefully, this game gives him some confidence. He helped the Celtics get up early on the Lakers with a big first quarter.
The Celtics strong defense has been their key. They can clearly score points with their 3 superstars. But, the defense is something that can be there every night and is contagious to the rest of the team. When you see KG go all out to block a shot with less than two minutes left and the Celtics up by 20, you know that the other players have to work hard to mathc his effort.
The NFL playoffs should be great, as will be the rest of the Celtics season. Not only are the teams doing well, but they are great to watch.