The “M” word, momentum, has been thrown around as much as the football off the hand of Aaron Rodgers this season – but the word as of late has been associated with the New York Giants because they have won a few games in a row – having beaten the despicably bad Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets over the past month.
Ok, so the Giants have played pretty well lately. They have a defensive line that’s healthy, they have a quarterback who has a Super Bowl ring and has been impressive as of late, and their pounding running game is enough to knock any good defense on its heels.
However, do they have the “momentum” they will need to blow into Lambeau Field and down a Green Bay Packers team that has known nothing but winning the past 20-plus games.
The Giants finished with what 10 wins this year? They won an NFC East Division that was nothing short of pathetic, and you call that momentum? Well, the New York media, playing off the backs of the national media, will call that momentum.
Frankly, I have to agree with Aaron Nagler over at CheeseheadTV, who said momentum in the NFL is nothing more than a fallacy, a fantasy or something that shoots pixie dust out of a wand the size of a Christmas tree pine needle.
“… anyone who thinks in a similar fashion, [about] the idea that teams can carry over any kind of ‘momentum’ from game to game or through a stretch of games is a complete myth. A fabrication. A story told to children for them to believe in the ‘playoff momentum’ fairy.”
Nagler goes on to quote the post of Mike Tanier, who says, “There is no magical ‘momentum’ at work. If you like the Saints this weekend, join the club, and the road dogs all have their selling points. Just make sure you pick a team because you like a matchup or are impressed with their strengths, not because they are ‘on a roll.’
He goes on to back his statement with statistics: “Since 2001, teams with a first-round bye are 25-15 (.625) in the second round of the playoffs. In gambling terms, 62.5 percent is as close as you will get to a ‘lock’ in the NFL. The home team doesn’t always win, but it doesn’t spend the bye getting rusty and forgetting all the things that led to home-field advantage, either.”
The Packers didn’t win the Super Bowl last season because of some mystical, magical notion that they had momentum. They won because they had a coaching staff that knows how to bring the best out of even marginal players by using a system that, if executed correctly, will produce on the field. They also won because they had Aaron Rodgers leading the team.
And if you really want to be stubborn and believe that all that information doesn’t matter … that momentum is clearly a factor in the outcomes of NFL games, then don’t look at the Giants who got on a roll by beating the Cowboys, Jets and hapless Falcons.
Look at the Packers. I would say that 21 of 22 wins in the past year would qualify as momentum. Consider that this is a team whose backup quarterback posted franchise records with six touchdown passes and 480 yards passing in the final game of the season – against a playoff-bound team that had incentive AND “momentum” on their side leading into that game.
Now THAT’S momentum.
So, the next time I hear a Giants fan or Michael Strahan shouting about how the Packers are in trouble because the Giants have the momentum factor in their favor as they head into the Divisional Playoff Game Sunday, I think I will puke.
It’s simply nonsense.
So, with all that in mind, I’m going on the record early here in predicting that the Giants momentum will last all of one half in Sunday’s game. They will score some points (but hey, who hasn’t scored points on the Packers this year), but don’t get too excited because if there’s a team that knows how to score points, especially at home, it’s the Packers.
Green Bay will take over in the second half as they have all season and come away with a 35-24 win … and then take their “momentum” into the championship game.
Tags: Aaron Nagler Aaron Rodgers CheeseheadTV Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field Michael Strahan Mike Tanier New Orleans Saints New York Giants New York Jets NFC East Division NFL Super Bowl