Friday, January 06, 2012

I bet you want to know how the playoffs will go

Wildcard Round:

Steelers beat Broncos in Denver. While they are aging, the Steelers still have a very good defense (#1 in the league, #1 rush defense and #1 points allowed - 8th in rushing). Meanwhile Tim Tebow can't play. It was interesting to watch him “succeed” and be embraced by Broncos’ fans and the hype machine, but he was never an NFL caliber starter. It wasn’t just that the stats were never there (never CLOSE to being there), when you watched him you never saw a guy who could cut it. The league caught up with him - you can’t rely on crazy last second comebacks forever. Too bad for Denver because with fans embracing him so much he has to be the starter next year, which makes 2012 a lost season. Conversely Big Ben decidedly is a quality National Football League quarterback.

Texans beat Bungles at home. Dalton and AJ Green, both rookies, and have been fading coming down the stretch (Green is hurt). The Bungles did not beat any quality opponents this season. Literally. The only team with a winning record they defeated was 9-7 Tennessee. TJ Yates has actually not been horrible (although teams are starting to figure him out - which would be why the Texans now have Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia on their roster. Too bad it is not 2003 anymore or Houston would be my favorite). The Texans have the quality two-headed rushing attack and defense (now that Wade Phillips is back - funny how good he is as a coordinator when he is such a flameout as the head man) to get out of the first round.

Saints beat Lions at home. Detroit can't run the ball and struggled to beat Minny and Oakland in December before finishing the season being torn up by Matt Flynn.

Atlanta beats Giants in New York. The Giants have been streaky (for a looong while now) and injury prone, although Manning has gotten better and earned some respect from this quarter (although I would not call him elite). And being streaky means they certainly have a shot. Atlanta certainly is not amongst the very great teams in the league, but they have more weapons than you think (they were 7th in scoring). Did you know that the Giants D was 25th in points allowed and 27th in yards allowed? A stable of big passrushers can cover for a lot, in the regular season. The Falcons have the 6th ranked rush D.

Divisional Round:

Green Bay beats Atlanta at home. Atlanta's D can't hang with that offensive attack.

Saints beat 49ers in San Fran. Man this tears me up. I’d like to believe and they have been proving me wrong for a while now, but I don’t see it. My boys are just too beat up (Brett Swaine?). Their play declined a bit late in the season as a result, and they simply don't have the offense (or QB) to hang with the Saints unless the defense can absolutely smother Brees Bothers & Company Circus. Akers set all though kicking records because they don’t score TDs in the redzone. Don’t get me wrong, the defense has been a revelation, but the truth that New Orleans has a plethora of weapons, that we are geared to stop the run (16th against the pass), and have not faced many great offenses this year is right there.

Patriots beat Steelers at home. The Steelers defense is getting old and their offense is beaten up. Pats are certainly vulnerable in the secondary, but Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are really the only way Pittsburgh can hurt you.

Ravens beat Texans at home. TJ Yates can't cut it against this defense. Thanks for playing.

Conference Championships:

Saints beat Packers in Green Bay. The Saints have the offense to expose the Packers D. They held their own in Week 1. People forget that they went to Lambeau on the opening primetime Thursday night game and lost on the last play of the game when rookie not-stud Mark Ingram got stoned on the 1. This was the last time that the Packers D stopped anyone. Brees threw for 400+ yards even though he lost his best receiver in Marques Colston mid-game. Plus the Green Bay secondary still had Nick Collins at safety (a pro-bowler the previous three years). They haven’t been able to replace him on any level. Can you name a safety on this roster? New Orleans’ defense can scheme well with Greg Williams designing the game plan and is better than you realize (13th in scoring).

Ravens beat Patriots in Boston. This is where the Patriots’ anemic defense fails them. Ravens have enough offense to team with one of the best defenses in the league to stop Brady. New England has been living dangerously too long. In the last two weeks of the season they fell behind 17-0 and 21-0 to the Dolphins and Bills. You do that against the Ravens you go home. This is a team that has been living off its reputation and ability to outscore bad teams for several years. Baltimore won't be afraid after '09.

Saints win Super Bowl. Trust the team with a great QB vs Joe Somebody. Baltimore has not faced an offense with even close to this many weapons all season. They will slow the Saints down some, but even with that the Flacco passing attack is not sufficient to tear up the Saints D or keep pace with Brees.


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