While numbers are primarily for the purpose of keeping order in various units, they are also used to capture symbolic moments. For instance, a child becomes a teenager at age 13, age 21 represents adulthood, a golden anniversary is considered golden at its 50th, and a car should have its oil changed every 3,000 miles, or every three months, whichever comes first.

Going into the National Football League’s Championship weekend, one number will prove to be dominant. It will make its presence felt times two. I’m not talking about a projected number as it relates to a players stats. I’m thinking more so of two of the final four teams’ current ranking. For the first time in NFL history, two sixth seeded teams will face off in a Super Bowl.

The first of this pairing is led by a quarterback who is playing the best football at his position right now. I won’t go so far as to say he’s making Packer Nation forget about the last QB to lead Green Bay this deep into the postseason, but in no way is he a reminder of #4. Aaron Rodgers defines what a gunslinger should be, in that he can launch it, but chooses his spots well. His pocket presence…impressive.  On the flip side, there’s a defense that is able to create turnovers and score on the same play. While Jay Cutler had a solid outing against Seattle last week, the NFC Championship game presents a greater obstacle. Not to mention, you’d be hard pressed to find a game-in, game-out, consistent receiver for Cutler to rely on. I’m looking for Green Bay to go two-out-of-three in this season series and make their way to Dallas.

The second half of this projected matchup has the makings of being a postseason pillar for years to come. In successive weeks, New York’s defense gave two of the league’s best quarterbacks (Tom Brady and Peyton Manning) fits. Life for those two was anything but comfortable in their respective pockets. I’m expecting the same results in Heinz Field, with the vulnerability that Pittsburgh’s offensive line has shown up to this point. Darrelle Revis is truly a shutdown cornerback. He left Reggie Wayne and Deion Branch with combined production of 6 catches for 60 yards and one touchdown. The kicker is with the TD that Branch did snag, it was late in the fourth quarter, also known as garbage with, as Revis was not checking Branch during that play. Offensively, Mark Sanchez has yet to crack the 200 yard passing mark. He’s also combined for four touchdowns in those games, and aside from one interception, he’s protecting the ball. Rex Ryan has Gang Green riding a Magic Carpet and its next stop, like Green Bay’s, is Jerry Jones’ playpen.

Last week, I went 1-3 in the divisional round. I’m looking for a clean sweep on January 23rd, which will be history in motion. Speaking of the date, if you add 1 (January being the first month of the year), plus two and three (breaking up the 23rd into individual numbers), you get what? And look back at the stats that the number one receivers generated.There’s that number SIX again.

By Antoine Hoffman


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