It’s the NFL conference championship games, and ESPN Chalk’s Vegas experts have you covered with our comprehensive betting previews for both games from our panel of handicappers. Here is their take on the NFC Championship Game.
Crosby was left with a 56-yard field goal, having gone just 28-of-54 from 50-plus yards during his career. Was the kick in Crosby’s range? Yes, in the way that a 30-footer might still be considered to be in Klay Thompson’s range, even if he’s far less likely to make that shot than he would a 23-footer. Coaches often treat “field goal range” like a binary proposition, feeling safe once they get to a certain yard line, even though all kickers improve dramatically as you get closer to the end zone.
As much as McCarthy makes mistakes, it’s more the way he runs through those decisions that is troubling. It’s one thing for McCarthy to throw out the challenge flag at the wrong time, as he did in 2012. It’s another to say after the game that he wanted to hit a particular number of carries from his running game in the second half, which is a logical fallacy.
McCarthy surely has his merits as an offensive mind and has done a great job of developing Rodgers, but his in-game decision-making already has cost the Packers dearly in the playoffs in the past and nearly came back to haunt them last weekend.
Quinn is still a relative unknown in terms of how he handles in-game decision-making, if only because the former Seahawks defensive coordinator hasn’t really faced many critical game-management situations during his two years as coach. His game against the Seahawks last week was out of hand by the middle of the third quarter, in part because opposite number Carroll made mistakes of his own.
Quinn’s mostly empty slate is preferable to the obvious, glaring mistakes McCarthy has made during his run in charge of the Packers.