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The NFL Playoffs: Old School versus New School

This past weekend I made the mistake in my judgment of some NFL teams playing. I know that to make it to the NFL Super Bowl game and win the game, a team has to have heart. The team has to be able to overcome adversity and push through to make the clutch plays needed to win games. A team has to be able to overcome the odds and come out on top.

Due to my error in trying to find the teams with heart, I went 0-4 in all of my predictions this past weekend. I know that I cannot be perfect in my predictions but to get all of them wrong was very unusual. Then I realized I was putting too much confidence in teams that I thought would dig down deep inside to claim the victory in this past weekend’s playoff games.

The first game I will talk about is the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. I thought that the Denver Broncos would be able to run the ball on the Patriots last ranked NFL defense. I believed that the Denver Broncos could limit the amount of time Tom Brady was on the field. I even considered that the Denver Broncos might be able to slow down the New England Patriots passing game. Everything was in place for some Tebow Time revenge. Then it all fell apart as Tom Brady dismantled the Denver Broncos defense like a bad Lego imitation. The Denver Broncos who played inspired football most of the season, led by Tim Tebow, delivered a truly lackluster performance this weekend. Tom Brady passed for 363 yards and 6 touchdown passes, tying an NFL playoff record. Rob Gronkowski looked unstoppable as he caught 10 passes for 145 yard and three touchdowns. The game resembled what would take place if a top ten ranked college team took on a high school team. The Denver Broncos tried to put up a fight but were clearly outmatched. At one point the game was so out of hand Tom Brady even took over punting duties. The game ended with the New England Patriots winning 45-10 over the Denver Broncos.

The other game between two AFC teams was a closer a game as expected. The Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans took the field to battle it out. I considered that the Texans might be able to out play the Ravens. I figured Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and a great Texans Defense would be enough to take down Ray Lewis and company. However, I did not anticipate that the rookie T.J. Yates would not be able to muster even one touchdown against a Ravens defensive unit comprised of older veterans past their prime. I should have known that Ray Lewis would inspire the Ravens defensive unit to play some of their best ball of their careers.The Ravens gave up 132 yards on the ground to Arian Foster but the passing game of the Houston Texans was limited to 184 yards. Ed Reed and Ladarius Webb both grabbed interceptions in the 4th Quarter to dash all hope of a Texans comeback. On the other side of the field, Joe Flacco managed to throw two touchdowns and those two touchdowns plus two field goals sealed the fate of the Houston Texans with a score of 20-13 in favor of the Baltimore Ravens.

Switching to the NFC action, the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants met on Lambeau Field. The Green Bay Packers came into the game with a record of 15-1 during the regular season. Aaron Rodgers had one of the greatest seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. The Green Bay Packers had everything in place to make it to another Super Bowl. The only problem was that the New York Giants were in the way, looking to deny the Green Bay Packers a chance at a repeat. The Giants accomplished their goal through making all the plays on offense and playing great defense. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers looked completely out of sync. Aaron Rodgers who had been averaging over 350 yards a game was reduced to less than 300 yards. The Giants defense sacked Aaron Rodgers 4 times and intercepted him once. On the other hand, Eli Manning had one of the best games of his season throwing for 330 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The New York Giants outplayed the Green Bay Packers in every facet of the game. The final score ended up being 37-20 in favor of the New York Giants.

The last game and the most exciting game of the weekend was the New Orleans Saints versus the San Francisco 49ers. I figured that the San Francisco 49ers defense would come to play and be able to hold the Saints to a lower scoring affair than normal. I believed that the 49ers would be able to hold the Saints for a few quarters but New Orleans would eventually pull away from the San Francisco scoring wise. I had no idea that the San Francisco 49ers would unleash their secret weapon, Alex Smith. All season long we never saw the 49ers allow Alex Smith the open up the passing game like this past weekend. Smith proved that he can make all the throws this weekend throwing for 299 passing yards and three touchdowns. Alex Smith also ran for one touchdown on the day. We knew that Drew Brees would come out throwing the ball and he did not disappoint either throwing for 462 yards and 4 touchdowns for the New Orleans Saints. The difference in the game was the amount of turnovers. The Saints had a total of 5 turnovers, including 2 interceptions by Drew Brees. The San Francisco 49ers played virtually mistake free football with only one turnover and Alex Smith threw no interceptions. The New Orleans Saints were still almost able to win the game but a last second touchdown from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis sealed the victory with a final score of 36-32 in favor of the 49ers.

We now have two NFL Division Championship games this weekend and the predictions and analysis will come later in the week. However, I am truly excited to see both games. The Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Giants should both provide us great football action. I only have one thing to say to all my readers, “Are you ready for some Division Championship football?”

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2012 NFL Playoffs Continue: Champions and Underdogs

The second week of the NFL playoffs are upon us and football mania continues. This means, yep you have guessed it, more projections for this weekend. I went three of four last week on projections for the playoffs. Let’s see how I do this weekend.

The first game of the weekend is the New Orleans Saints versus theSan Francisco49ers. I love this matchup actually because the 49ers defense has been one of the best all year long. On the flip side, the New Orleans Saints have one of the best, if not the best, offense in football. I am not expecting a blowout in this game, like I have, in the last few New Orleans Saints game. However, I do believe that the New Orleans Saints will win. Drew Brees is just playing on a completely different level than any other quarterback in the league right now. Brees is picking teams apart week in and week out and this week will be no different. Drew Brees will expose the holes in the 49ers defense and show why he holds the record for most passing yards in a season. The final score will be 38-24 in favor of the New Orleans Saints.

The second game on Saturday will feature none other than the Tebow Train. The Denver Broncos land in Foxboro Stadium to take on the New England Patriots. Common sense tells anyone to pick the Patriots over the Denver Broncos. What to expect from Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos each week just defies common sense altogether. Some weeks Tim Tebow does the impossible, other weeks the Broncos look like they are not even an NFL team. I am going to defy logic this week and pick the Broncos to win. I believe that the Tebow Time will happen and Tom Brady will not be able to explain it in the press conference after. Bill Belichick will be even at a greater loss for words. The final score will be 31-24 with the Denver Broncos advancing for another week.

The first game on Sunday will be the Baltimore Ravens versus the Houston Texans. This should be the closest game of the weekend. We have two great defenses that will clash on the football field, in Houston and Baltimore. The Ravens defense is made up of older veterans, while the Texans defense is much younger but still very tough. The battle of experience versus youth has always been one of the most exciting to watch.

In addition, we have two of the best running backs in football on both teams. The Baltimore Ravens feature Ray Rice who is a phenomenal talent running and catching the ball. The Houston Texans have Arian Foster who after being injured at the beginning of the season has returned to his former dominance in the running game. I do not expect a significant amount of passing yards in this game as the two ground games battle it out for supremacy. I believe the “X” factor will be the play of Joe Flacco though and if Flacco can play mistake free football. Flacco has had some good weeks but on other weeks he has some dismal performances at the quarterback position. Joe Flacco will not have a good game on Sunday due to the pass rush of the Texans defense. Demeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, and company will bring the pressure on Flacco and cause some turnovers. The Ravens will lose to the Texans in a defensive battle to the score of 27-14

The last game of the weekend will be New York Giants versus Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. I love that the New York Giants are playing some inspired football right now. The Giants are one of the hottest teams in the league and are overcoming all of the odds. However, the Green Bay Packers are the NFL elite this season. Aaron Rodgers may have not passed for as many yards as Drew Brees but Rodgers played mistake free football all season throwing 45 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. I am still not sure how the Green Bay Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs after watching them all season long. That being said, I believe the Green Bay Packers will play their best football this weekend and outscore the New York Giants. Victor Cruz will have a great game and make all the catches to make the Sportscenter highlights. Unfortunately, highlights do not always mean you win the game. The Green Bay Packers will end up with more points in the end as Aaron Rodgers throws to multiple receivers and runs one touchdown in himself. Rodgers will be doing his famous Championship Belt end zone celebration as the Packers beat the Giants 45-35.

This NFL season is drawing closer to the time when we will determine who is the best team in the World. The battles are becoming more intense in each week. It is time for teams to dig down deep and play their best football. This is the time that NFL teams have to leave everything on the field or be sent home packing. Let the elimination continue and the champions rise to the top.

2012 College Football NCAA Championship and Other News

Well I was going to write on the College National Championship Football game today, that was played between LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide last night. Unfortunately, the game was extremely boring as LSU decided they were still on a holiday and never got out of bed. Alabama made LSU look like a NCAA Division II team had actually taken the field as the Tigers never scored. With a final score of 21-0, not much more to say about the game other than if Les Miles is the “Mad Hatter”, Nick Saban is the “Mad Genius.” Saban is the only coach since the inception of the BCS to win three National Championship titles. All indications point to Nick Saban being far from done with his winning ways. We know Saban will win again, we just do not know how long until he is hoisting the Championship trophy up again.

In NFL Football Playoff news, an update to my predictions from last week, I did pretty well. I correctly predictied the winners of three out of four games on the NFL Playoff Wild Card Weekend. In addition, two of my predicted scores were almost the exact scores of the game. The game between the Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints ended up being a final score of 45-28 in favor of the Saints. I had predicted that the score would be 42-28 in favor of the Saints. The score between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals was 31-10 in favor of the Texans. I had predicted that score to be 31-14 in favor of the Texans. In addition, I predicted that the New York Giants would win over the Atlanta Falcons but thought the score would be much closer than the 24-2 final score in favor of the Giants. I truly had no idea the Falcons would not show up to play at all. The Falcons could not even convert a 4th and inches at all the whole game and they had multiple chances.

The only game that I completely missed on was the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was not the only one that was completely wrong about this game. The majority of experts and analysts also picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to win. After three bad weeks to end the season, my faith in “Tebow Time” had definitely diminished. I did not believe that Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos could pull of a victory to continue their dream season.

However, I was very wrong and the Denver Broncos accomplished what seemed to be the impossible. The Denver Broncos played their best game of the season, led by spectacular play of Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow threw for 316 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Tim Tebow rushed for another touchdown on the ground. The pass of the night was in overtime when after running on first down all game, the Denver Broncos trusted in Tim Tebow’s arm and threw on first down. Tim Tebow completed an 80 yard pass to Demaryius Thomas for the game-winning score. Thomas was Tim Tebow’s favorite target during the game, totaling 204 receiving yards for the game. The final score of the game ended up being 29-23 in favor of the Denver Broncos. The Tim Tebow Train survives but arrives in Foxboro Stadium this week. The playoff rematch should be interesting as we see if Tebow Time can finally overcome the Brady Factor.

Like every other NFL fan I have enjoyed this NFL season and the NFL playoffs have not disappointed me either. I would have not wanted to miss all the drama, big plays, and great games of this NFL. I am glad that we still have some football action coming up this weekend. I have to say my thank you again to the NFL owners and NFL players for reaching an agreement. Thank you for allowing us to have a football season this year because it has been one of the best.

NFL Playoffs Are Here!


The Playoffs are upon us and the games are all set. We will be missing some of the normal playoff contenders this year, such as the Indianapolis Colts, who failed dismally without Peyton Manning (See the Jim Mora Video above to understand how the Colts really feel.) This weekend NFL playoff football starts on Saturday and we are looking at some exciting football action both days. We might even see some dark horses rise up and claim a victory. The records are reset for the playoffs. It is either Win or go Home.

The first game that we will see this weekend will be between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans. I am impressed by Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and the Bengals defense. However, I am more impressed by the Houston Texans number one ranked defense, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Andre Johnson. I do not believe the Bengals have enough firepower to overcome the Texans defense and keep up scoring wise with the Texans. I will predict that the Houston Texans win this game 31-14.

The second game that will be played on Saturday will be between Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints. If the Detroit Lions were playing some other NFC team, excluding the Green Bay Packers, I would say they have a chance to win the game. Unfortunately, the Lions have drawn the short straw and have to play the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees and company will comfortably and easily outscore the Detroit Lions. The Lions are a good team with a nice high-flying act featuring none other than Calvin Johnson. The problem is the Lions high-flying act pales in comparison to the Drew Brees air show. The Saints silence the Lions roar with a final score of 42-28

On to Sunday’s games and the first game that we will see on Sunday will be the Atlanta Falcons versus the New York Giants. This will be the closest game of the whole weekend. We have two teams that play like an elite NFL team on some days and look dismal on others. This means that which ever team between the Falcons and the Giants brings their “A” game on Sunday, will win the game. The New York Giants have been playing better as of late and so the edge in the game goes to them. That does not mean that we immediately count Atlanta out of the running. The Falcons have an “X” factor in a running back named Michael Turner. If Michael Turner gets going and the Atlanta Falcons can control the tempo of the game, we could see the Falcons advancing to the next week instead of the Giants. In the end, I believe that intangibles of Eli Manning and his ability to play at times like his big brother Peyton Manning, will be the difference. The Giants will win the battle in the 4th quarter with a final score of 28-24

The last game will be one of the most interesting. Interesting because we have no idea what will really happen. The Denver Broncos take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the last game of the weekend. I am not sure which Broncos we will see though. I want to see the 4th quarter come-back, winning Broncos come out and play their hearts out, giving them chance to win the game. I fear we may see the not so productive Broncos and the team will get blown out. No matter which Denver Broncos team shows up, the result should be the same. The Pittsburgh Steelers will come out with the win. The Steelers defense is too good to allow Tim Tebow and company to work any “Tebow Time” magic in the 4th quarter. Even with Big Ben not playing at full strength and Rashard MendenHall out for the playoffs, The Pittsburgh Steelers will score enough points to win. The final score of this game will be 21-7 in the favor of Pittsburgh.

There you have it, a complete preview of the first weekend of NFL playoff football. The regular season may be over but now the real battle starts as NFL teams try to win each week. No mistakes are allowed, any team that loses is done. To the victor goes the spoils and a chance to play another day. Time for each NFL playoff team to prove they belong in the playoffs and the pretenders to be eliminated. Now is the time for teams to go after it all or be sent home to watch television. The stakes are high and the winner will be greatly rewarded.

NFL Week 8: Costumes and Uniforms

Yesterday was Halloween and that means that Week 8 is in the books. Halloween is the time of year where things become rather strange and this week was definitely on the strange side. Teams that were predicted to lose, instead ended up winning. Teams that should have claimed victory rolled over and played dead. Some teams are even seeing a resurrection and have gained new life and focus.

Today I am going to play costume or uniform with my readers. Costume or uniform deals with how certain teams are playing so far this season. Does a team have a uniform on and playing up to their potential or is a team simply wearing a costume and fooling everyone.

Let’s get started with the teams who are wearing costumes:

1: Dallas Cowboys

2: Tennessee Titans

3: Washington Redskins

4: Philadelphia Eagles

5: San Diego Chargers

6: Kansas City Chiefs

7:New England Patriots

8: New York Giants

9: New York Jets

10: Atlanta Falcons

11: Chicago Bears

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13. Oakland Raiders

This is a pretty good amount of teams that are not really who we think they are. Dallas tops the list and  is what I call a yo-yo team. Every week we never know if Dallas is going to wow us or just fail all together. The Cowboys continue to make some great plays and then make some horrible decisions. Some people still believe that Dallas can make the playoffs. This scenario is not likely this year. I can hear Jim Mora saying, ” Playoffs? Playoffs???……”, we all know the rest of the famous rant. Cowboys are going to need a great deal of luck to turn this season around.

The Washington Redskins have been playing better this year. The Redskins have a decent running game, led by whoever is Shannahan’s favorite back of the week. Similarly, Washington does not have an identity at quarterback. Neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is an exceptional NFL quarterback. The Washington Redskins started out on fire at 3-0 and now the team is 3-4 after four straight losses. Washington had us fooled at the beginning of the season but now we see their true colors shining through. On the bright side next year’s NFL draft is fast approaching.

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed here because they have been showing us signs of greatness and signs of a bad team all season. The Eagles won their first game of the season and then proceeded to lose the next four games. Now Philadelphia has won two straight games and things are once again looking up. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like the fabled, “Dream Team”, in their win over the Dallas Cowboys. A part of me wonders if this team is similar to the NBA basketball team the Miami Heat, that they will have major ups and downs all season and then find some way to make it to the playoffs. If the Eagles can obtain a spot in the playoffs they will definitely be one of the favorites to make a Super Bowl run.

The New England Patriots are on this list because of their defense. The Patriots can score with anybody in the league but their defense is lacking in a big way. The Patriots are ranked 32 out of 32 teams in the NFL in defense. The Patriots are similar to many college teams which run the spread offense and depend on outscoring opponents to win games. This theory is great but it hardly ever works against the elite teams in the NFL. The New England Patriots will make the playoffs but unless the defensive issues of the team are fixed, they will be knocked out early.

The last team I will talk about out of this list is going to be the New York Jets. The Jets for the last two years have found a way to make it to the AFC championship game. This year looks like a year that we will see a new team in the AFC championship team besides the Jets. The running game from last years is not as dominant. The defense is giving up more yards each game than the last two years. Mark Sanchez or “The Sanchize” is only improving his acting and modeling skills off the field. Sanchez’s quarterbacking skills have not made the leap they should have made coming into this year. The Jets are talking big talk but I do not believe they can walk the walk.

Flipping to the other side of the NFL football spectrum we see the teams who are playing up to their potential. These teams are wearing the uniform of an NFL team and deserve to have the record they have accumalated over the first few weeks.

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New Orleans Saints

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Buffalo Bills

6. Detroit Lions

7. Houston Texans

8. Cincinnati Bengals

9. San Francisco 49ers

10 Carolina Panthers

I know some of my readers are thinking, why are the Carolina Panthers on this list? The reason the Carolina Panthers make the list is because they have been playing competitive all season long. From the first week until now, the Panthers have been surprising everyone, due to the play of Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers have established an identity for themselves and each week the team is becoming better. The Panthers have not won many games but they are very close to winning just about every game. Last year each Carolina Panthers game was a blowout, this year there have been no blowouts. Give it a couple of years and the Panthers will make a return to the playoffs.

I have written about the Detroit Lions before. I claimed that the Detroit Lions are a good team and they have not dissapointed me yet. I knew they would lose at some point during the year but good NFL teams rebound after losses well and the Detroit Lions finally proved they could do that this past week. The Detroit Lions have turned things around for the team this year. The Lions used to be the team that every team knew they could beat. Now the Detroit Lions, Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on offense and Ndamukong Suh on defense, are a team contending for a playoff spot. The Lions will continue to be turnaround story of the year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a shaky start this year going 2-2 in the first four games. The Steelers defense was playing horrible during that four game stretch. Experts and fans were calling the Pittsburgh Steelers old and washed up. Then the Pittsburgh Steelers we all know and love returned. The Steelers offense started being productive, their defense unit stepped up and started playing well. The Pittsburgh Steelers have not lost another game since. At this rate the Steelers will reclaim their normal playoff spot.

The Cincinnati Bengals have been good and bad over the last few years. The Bengals came into the year with a rookie quarterback, a rookie wide receiver, and an almost completely revamped defense. No one expected the Bengals to do much with all the changes the team was going through. The Bengals obviously believed they could be a good team and have proven it through the first part of the season. The Bengals are now 5-2 and looking like a team that is poised to make the playoffs this year. The Bengals are looking like a team that can potentially be a playoff team for quite a few years going forward. Maybe we might even see them bring out the Ickey Shuffle dance.

The last team that I will talk about in uniform is the San Francisco 49ers.  I have said it before and will say it again the 49ers are for real. San Francisco has always had a running game with Frank Gore as the primary back. Now Alex Smith has finally come around and started playing like a starting quarterback should. Smith is finally living up to his number one draft position after all of these years. The San Francisco 49ers defense has become an elite defensive unit. Jim Harbaugh should get coach of the year for molding the 49ers into a winning organization again. The SanFrancisco 49ers should easily win the division this year and make their first playoff appearance in years. The 49ers can be a playoff Dark Horse and play spoiler to some teams playoff hopes.

Well that is all for today. We will see as the season progresses which teams really are wearing a football player uniform and which teams are just wearing the costume. Some teams may even shed their costume for a uniform as the football season continues and vice versa. The playoffs are fast approaching it is time for time to put up or lie down and let the real teams play.

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