NFL Divisional Round Preview – Saturday Games

15 01 2011

Well, one weekend in, and another exciting one up ahead, as we’re down to 8 teams competing for the Lombardi Trophy!

Let’s take a look at two of the four upcoming games this weekend:

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh – Saturday, January 15, 4:30 PM EST – Heinz Field

The most brutal matchup of the weekend features on of the best rivalries in the NFL, it’s a known fact that the Steelers and Ravens absolutely despise each other.  This is going to be (obviously) a brutal, hard fought physical game, as usual, one that I think the Steelers are better equipped to handle.

That said, Joe Flacco has to earn his keep sometime soon, and I think that after seeing the Seahawks do what they did to New Orleans, that anything is possible, and that Flacco will get his next postseason win, against the team that has shut him down.

Ravens win 12-7

Packers @ Falcons, Saturday, January 15th, 8:30 PM

The Primetime match of the day features a non-divisional rematch of a Week 13 thriller.  The Packers came into the Georgia Dome and gave the Falcons all that they could handle in a thrilling 20-17 game, this without a running game and relying all on Aaron Rodgers.  People seem to believe that the Packers have found their running back in James Starks, and have added another dimension to this offense, the only thing that makes me think twice about the Packers being “unstoppable” is the fact that Aaron Rodgers’ yardage was kept to a minimum (he still threw 3 touchdown passes).  The Falcons have one of the more multi-dimensional offenses in the league, with Turner and Snelling carrying the load, and after Roddy White had a career and franchise record-breaking season, the Falcons seemed primed to finally make a run at the Super Bowl.  I think Brent Grimes will cause the Pack more problems then they had hoped.

Falcons win a thriller in OT 33-27.

 

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Wes Welker Kicking Some Dirt At the Jets

13 01 2011

Shouts out to Black Sports Online for the Video (Follow at @BlkSportsOnline)

11 Foot References, yeah, he knew what he was doing





And then there were 8…

9 01 2011

One weekend down, 3 more to go until we get to the Super Bowl (I’m counting the Pro Bowl…..judge me later).

So we’ve seen three games come down to the final minute, one shocker, and one old school beatdown, the only thing that would’ve been better would be for the Chiefs to have made their game closer.  We can’t have everything we want, but one thing is for sure: we got our treat Wildcard Weekend, and it truly was wild.

Ultimately, in 3 of the 4 matches, the better TEAM (yes, the Packers are a better TEAM than the Eagles) won, and in the 4th matchup, we learned just how important Home Field Advantage is.  Want to know what’s the best part? If the Seahawks pull off the road upset, and the Packers go to the GA Dome and win, the SEAHAWKS, at 9-9 will host the NFC Championship!

"LOL, why you mad though?"

The four eliminated teams have some questions they need to answer during this offseason (we’re assuming there’s a 2011 season) in order to have another shot at the playoffs next year.

The Saints need to take a look at their secondary, what Matt Hasselbeck did to Roman Harper is just beyond words, I’ve never seen someone so mercilessly embarrassed at their job.  I know they’re missing a few pieces, but to not have someone ready to go that won’t blow SIMPLE coverages, that’s a big missing piece.  They also need to see which of their 1000 running backs can carry the full load next year, don’t be surprised if Reggie is given his pink slip since he has contributed anything consistent to the team.  Drew Brees is a great QB, but he can’t do EVERYTHING for the team.  Get him help.

The Chiefs are going to need to scramble to find an Offensive Coordinator to replace Charlie Weis who will be heading to UF, Matt Cassel looked as sloppy as he did pre-Weis on Sunday.  This happened to be a mix of bad-playcalling and inefficiency, but nonetheless, Cassel was ineffective, and they need to make sure whoever is calling plays next year knows how to use the talents of the offense….namely Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones.

The Colts…..they just need to stretch and get some calcium in their bones.  As long as they have Peyton Manning, they have a chance.

The Eagles need a lot: most notably an offensive line, because Vick has gotten beat up ALL SEASON.  His playing style already jeopardizes his body, so do what you can to protect him: get blockers.  Signing some DBs in the offseason could help as well, most notably that one guy coming out of Oakland….

Domino effect of Davis cutting the Cable

Previews of the Divisional Round soon





Marshawn Lynch is a Grown Man!

8 01 2011

GROWN!





Give Joe Webb the Keys

7 01 2011

First and foremost, let me start this piece with a warning:

As a student and future alum of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, I am going to attempt to write this piece as neutral as possible.  This may not work as intended, but I feel this needs to be said.

Minnesota Vikings, Zygi Wylf, Leslie Frazier, whoever will eventually make this decision:  let Joe Webb be your QB of the future.

For the past couple of seasons, you’ve been working with stopgap type QBs: Gus Frerrote, Brad Johnson, Brett Favre, I’m sure for all of you, this is starting to get a little old.  It’s because of the Childress-era that I believe that the Vikings are unlikely to make the move on Donovan McNabb or, as I once suggested, make the move for David Garrard once Del Rio goes shoves him out the door.  As many expect, it’s time for you to hand the reigns to a new QB, one that will (hopefully, barring injury) be around for years to come, and can maybe become the face of your franchise.

What? Del Rio has to blame his lack of consistency on SOMETHING

It may be in your best interest to make that guy Joe Webb.

Sure, Webb hasn’t shown a whole lot in his two chances as a starter (and extended time on Monday Night Football), but he’s shown enough promise.  With the staff that’s supposedly being assembled in Minnesota, with Singletary coaching linebackers and McDaniels running the offense, you have the chance to create something special.  The Vikings are already young talent wise, Peterson is probably the oldest skill player, and there are plenty of playmakers to make things happen as Joe gets acclimated to playing at the pro level.

Now, I know, the Vikings could just as easily draft a “proven commodity” at the QB position, taking a chance on Ryan Mallet or Cam Newton should they fall down to their position.  But honestly, what would be the benefit?  We know Mallet has a great chance of playing in the NFL, and the perfect skillset, but what about what we’ve seen of him under pressure?  Hasn’t worked out.  Instead of using that high draft pick on a QB that may not work out, why not draft to build your defense?  Usually first round talent comes in ready to play, shoring up your LB corps or back four could go a long way as far as building your team goes.

Joe’s still raw as a passer, but that can be molded, and if McD is as great of a coach as he says he is, he can mold Joe into one of the better QBs in the league.  Look at his skillset, is it not what you want in an NFL QB?  Tall, so vision in the pocket isn’t a problem, strong arm and big hands, and is mobile, and best of all, he doesn’t just run away from the start, he waits for things to break down then takes off.  We’ve even seen his pressing want to be a pocket passer mess him up once or twice (Detroit game).  This is something that more playing time could adjust, he can become a better player, we’ve seen enough out of him to know that he has a tremendous upside, while being good enough to win a few games for you.

What can he give you that Joe can't?

 

I apologize if I come across as maybe too mesmerized by the fact that someone I once went to school with is now in the NFL, but in all seriousness, I don’t understand how Tebow can get a fairshot, and Webb gets left out.

Other than the fact that Tebow went to a big-name program and won the National Championship, they both broke record after record in college.  Not to mention several SEC Coaches had once stated that Joe Webb could’ve went to ANY SEC school AND STARTED.

Cam Newton’s likely going to get a chance in the NFL as a QB, and his footwork is about as raw as it gets.

I don’t know, maybe I’ve got a bit of bias on my side, but after watching the guy play QB for the Blazers for two years, and seeing him make play after play with next to nothing….it just makes me wonder what could’ve been here if we actually had a decent defense.  He was good enough to carry not just the 10 other guys around him, but the entire roster.

Give him the chance and he can be an NFL starter

I understand Mr. Frazier and Mr. Wilf that you will do what you feel gives your organization the best chance to be successful.  I just hope that you can see what’s clearly in front of you, and that you won’t go out and waste a pick and millions on a new guy, when you have a franchise player already signed.





Week 17 Pick Em Results and Final Standings

4 01 2011

Week 17:

Ryan 11-5

Curry: 12-4

Brad: 9-7

Seahorn: 12-4

Salyers: 9-7

McQueen: 10-6

Dominique: 11-5

Chris: 10-6

Ransom: 10-6

Sutter: 0-16 (Didn’t submit picks)

FINAL Rankings

1. Ryan/Curry (161-95)

3. Ransom (159-97)

4. Chris (157-99)

5. Jones: (155-101)

6. Seahorn: (153-103)

7. Salyers/Dominique: (151-105)

9. McQueen/Sutter 149-107

 





The Schedule Is Set: NFL Playoffs Ready To Go

2 01 2011

So with one game to go, all 12 spots have been decided, and now it’s time to look at the matchups for Wildcard Weekend.

AFC

1. Patriots (14-2)

2. Steelers (12-4)

3. Colts (10-6)

4. Chiefs (10-6)

5. Ravens (11-5)

6. Jets (11-5)

AFC Matchups:

(6) Jets @ (3) Colts – Saturday, January 8th, 8:20 PM

It's too funny NOT to post

This is just the matchup that Rex Ryan did NOT want to see, you know during that whole game he was just WAITING to look at the Jumbotron and see that the Ravens had taken the L.  Regardless, his team has a challenge ahead of them, they’ve been here before, as the 6-seed, and last year, they were able to take things all the way to the AFC Championship……funny enough, this is who they faced.  The Colts haven’t looked all too impressive, but they have 3 things: Peyton Manning, and 2 of the best defensive ends in the league in Freeney and Mathis.  The Jets need to keep themselves in the game, keep it close and the Colts can’t unleash that defense on you.  But if you let Peyton Manning get a quick score or 2, and jump out to a 7-0….10-0…..14-3 lead, you’re in trouble.  Sanchez has struggled, and if the Jets are smart, they’ll make this playoff run go through LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene.  The Colts have shown trouble on defense against the run,  but the Jets haven’t been stellar on offense period, they’ve been up and down, and will need to get it together if they want to have a chance at winning.  In this matchup, I take Peyton Manning in the clutch over Mark Sanchez, who still has a lot of questions to answer and needs to be the reason they win games, not the reason that it’s hard for them to do so.  Watch out though, because once again, the Colts have found their running game at the right time.

Colts over Jets, 23-14

(5) Ravens @ (4) Chiefs – Sunday, January 9th, 1 PM

As long as he's on the field, no QB is safe

First things first, let’s give the Chiefs their credit, Todd Haley somehow turned things around for this team.  Charlie Weis has been huge for this offense, and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens once he leaves (one begins to wonder why he took the OC job at Florida if he has a legit chance to win a ring with KC).  Kansas City has their hands full this first game, the Ravens are coming off a rough game against the Bengals and want to show the world that their 11-5 record is no fluke.  The Chiefs are a young team that have a lot of growing up to do, and their offense revolves around what is probably the best running back DUO in the league in Charles and Jones.  In the playoffs it’s about running the football, and that’s what both these teams can do, so from there, it’s going to be a matter of the defense vs the respective QBs.  The Ravens defense isn’t what it was in 2000, and some may argue it lives off its name, however, there’s no denying the impact that future Hall of Fame veterans can have on a defense in playoff time.  Ray Lewis and Ed Reed by themselves will give Matt Cassel problems, and as good as the Chiefs’ defense has been, I don’t know if they’re ready for the big time and an experienced playoff QB like Joe Flacco.  This game is going to be close, but when it comes down to it, I’m going to take Flacco over Cassel (who did have a great year).

Ravens win 20-10

That would set up the following divisional round matchups:

Colts @ Steelers, Ravens @ Patriots

NFC

1. Falcons (13-3)

2. Bears (11-5)

3. Eagles (10-6)

4. Seahawks (7-9) *LOL

5. Saints (11-5)

6. Packers (10-6)

(6) Packers @ (3) Eagles – Sunday, January 9th, 4:30 PM

Even with all the hype around Vick, you can't forget about this guy

Probably the best matchup of the weekend, a re-match from the opening Sunday where we first found out exactly what Michael Vick can do.  Since then, both teams have been on wild rides to the postseason, the Packers have been chasing the Bears all year long and the Eagles have just been trying to stay ahead of the Giants.  Now here we are, with two of the best QBs in the NFL, and two of the most opportunistic defenses in the NFL.  While the Eagles have the more explosive players, the Packers can pile on points as well, the trick will be in the running game, where the Packers rank 25th, and the Eagles rank 5th. Expect LeSean McCoy and Jerome Harrison to get a lot of touches with Michael Vick being a little banged up, they can break plays open and keep the Packers defense off-balance.  As long as the Eagles keep Vick protected they will be fine not only in this game, but for the rest of the post-season, but despite what he did for them in the regular season, they cannot let Vick dropback 35 times and get absolutely destroyed all 35 times.  Run the ball, keep the defense on their toes, and go over the top with the vertical game, but do whatever you can to keep Vick off his rear, or else Green Bay wins this game.

Eagles win 34-30

(5) New Orleans Saints @ (4) Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, January 8th, 4:30 PM

He's LOLing all the way to an NFC West Title

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to announce that I called someone winning the NFC West at 7-9……though I called the Niners, can I still be half-right?  Regardless, this matchup looks to be the most one-sided game Wildcard Weekend.  While we know the playoffs are essentially a “new season” and “anything can happen”, let’s look at this realistically: the Seahawks defense would need to throw things at the Saints that they’ve never seen before and force Brees into a few turnovers.  Not only that, Matt Hasselbeck has to somehow guide this team to AT LEAST 24 points, while that’s possible, he doesn’t have the weapons around him to get it done.  Marshawn Lynch looked like a disappointment, Forsett looked explosive, but seems to be a risk-reward type back (either you got -2 yards, or 25), this offense has no balance and will run through an aging Matt Hasselbeck.  Can he get it done? Yes, will he? Probably not.

Saints win 38-14

That sets up the following matchups in the divisional round:

(5) Saints @ (1) Falcons, (3) Eagles @ (2) Bears

Let’s get started!