Well the Super Bowl has come and gone. As expected by most of the experts and myself the Giants won but it was definitely not in the dominant manner most predicted. The New York Giants won 21-17 over the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and the company put up quite a fight that went down to the last play. We will never know if the outcome would have been different if the Patriots had Rob Gronkowski at full strength and not the very limited role he played.
What we do know however is that Tom Brady needed some major help on the receiving end, and the answer was not Chad Ochocinco. Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez all dropped balls at crucial times that would of helped the Patriots maybe win the game. I am not sure if it was nerves or not but catches these players would normally make were all of a sudden being dropped all over the field.
It could have been the aftermath of the Tebow effect, as Tim Tebow was on the news more than the actual Super Bowl was during the weeks before the game. Especially the last week before the game I saw more airtime devoted to Tim Tebow than to what was going on with the Super Bowl. On the other hand, maybe it was the Peyton Manning Curse because they desecrated the stadium he built (figuratively speaking) by replacing his picture with that of the hated Tom Brady.
I am being facetious but I have heard all the stories and excuses as to why the Patriots loss. Tom Brady’s significant other put it plainly, “My husband cannot throw and catch the ball at the same time.” And so the finger pointing has begun from the fans, public and even some sports analysts, even though Tom Brady, Coach Belicheck, and owner Robert Kraft are all optimistic about next year and the direction the Patriots are moving.
And what is not to be excited about? The New England Patriots have two first round picks and two second round picks in this years upcoming NFL Draft. They have a largely young team with some up and coming stars. The Patriots also have one of the best quarterbacks in the league that took a team with the worst defense all the way to the Super Bowl in Tom Brady. The future is looking bright in Patriots Land.
On the other side of the field, we have the Super Bowl Champions, the New York Giants. No one at the beginning of the year picked the Giants to do anything significant at all. Matter of fact, most experts had claimed the Atlanta Falcons or the Philadelphia Eagles to be the team that had a chance to win the whole thing. Little did anyone know that Eli Manning would turn the corner from good quarterback to elite NFL quarterback during this NFL season. The running joke has become more true than ever that we cannot truly have Elite without Eli being included.
Eli Manning has had a dream season that was something like out of a movie. If we were in the theater watching this story with some popcorn, every person would have come out saying, “Wow that movie was great!” Even if a person is not a New York Giants fan, they have to recognize that the New York Giants did something very inspiring over this last NFL season.
I did not see one inspiring story from the New England Patriots side of the field other than that the players were playing for the owner’s wife who passed. That is a great cause for the players but it is hard for the public to really connect to. In addition, that story was a very small part of what was heard from the Patriots camp. Most of what I heard all week was jokes about Rob Gronkowski’s ankle.
That is wonderful to have a sense of humor but on the New York Giants side of the ball, I heard a story about Justin Tuck who wears a special wrist band from a child he befriended that dealt with cancer and eventually died from the disease. I, like every other fan, that saw the story looked to see if Justin Tuck had it on during the Super Bowl and true to his word it was on his wrist. That is the kind of story that touches the soul of people. Or I also saw a story about Jason Pierre-Paul’s dad who was blind and has never seen his son play, but listens and cheers for his son every game. The first game that Jason Pierre-Paul’s dad came to was the Super Bowl. They showed him at the game, enjoying the game and listening to the game.
If a person was not a Patriots fan, how could they not love what the New York Giants represented coming up to the game. The New York Giants had player stories that would connect with the hearts of many people who saw them and heard them. Even if someone did not really care if the Giants won or lost, people would connect with a certain player and want them to do well because of their story. I am sure some people as the game continued wanted the Giants to win not because they were fans but because of the connection that person had developed with a certain player, due to these different heart-touching stories.
I can safely say that this has been one of the most enjoyable NFL seasons in a long time. The ups and downs were frequent and it was a great to see some new teams rise up and challenge the veteran teams. The Detroit Lions, The San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, and the Cincinnati Bengals all look to have bright futures ahead of them. Off season is officially here, let the excitement for next season begin today as we dream of another great season next year. Do not look at this as the end but only the beginning of another great year.
This weekend to most sports fan is the biggest weekend of the year. It is Super Bowl Weekend and all of the NFL fans have been waiting all year to see which teams would be the ones to overcome all the odds to land in the big game. This year we have the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. It must be the Northern air that has given both of these teams the will to persevere.
No one could have guessed that these would be the two teams left out of all the 32 NFL teams at the beginning of the year. That being said, no NFL football fan can be disappointed by the matchup. This is a game that some might even call the Heroes versus the Villains. I only say this because New England has developed a reputation of having such a swagger that it truly rubs many fans the wrong way. I have heard so many people say to me lately, “I want anyone to win other than the New England Patriots.” This makes New England the villain that people want to see taken down. What better team to accomplish the goal of stopping New England than the last team that beat them in the Super Bowl?
Is this really how most people see the upcoming Super Bowl Game??
In 2007, New England had gone 18-0 and needed one more game for a perfect season. Everybody saw the writing on the wall, and it was a foregone conclusion New England would not lose the Super Bowl. However, New England happened to play the New York Giants who had got one similar hot streak to this year’s playoff run. The Giants ended up doing the impossible and taking down their own giant in the unbeatable Patriots. The not so distant past.
Fast forward five years and we have a rematch, except this time no one is saying the Patriots is unbeatable. The majority of people are favoring the New York Giants in the game as no one has any faith in the New England Patriots very suspect defense. Fans and some experts are claiming that the Patriots will notch another loss this time around, and it will solidify Eli Manning’s legacy as an elite quarterback.
The game itself has everything a football fan could want; two potent offenses, an NFL elite defense, some rising stars and two of the best quarterbacks in the game– Tom Brady and Eli Manning. With two quarterbacks that surpassed the 5000 yard passing mark, we should see some amazing passes and catches. In addition, we can count on some great defensive plays, and of course as always some Belichick trickery. Bill Belichick definitely gets the Les Miles title of the Mad Hatter in the NFL.
The New England Patriots definitely have a high scoring offense that can put up points on any NFL team. However, the job of scoring will not be such an easy task against a New York Giants defense that is ranked #2 in the post season in total defense. Tom Brady will be under pressure all day from the New York Giants dominant front four which include Osi Umeniyora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Chris Canty or Dave Tollefson. Tom Brady will not have time to sit in the pocket all day and pick apart the defense has he has been able to in previous games. Brady will have to get the ball out of his hands quick or suffer the consequences.
Another significant point to take notice of is that Rob Gronkowski, aka “The Gronk” aka Tom Brady’s favorite target is dealing with a high ankle sprain. No matter how much rehab Rob Gronkowski does, he will not be 100 percent when he enters the game on Sunday. I am not saying that Tom Brady cannot adjust to Rob Gronkowski being injured. However, when you are used to having a very reliable option every week and then that option is suddenly very limited or not there at all, Tom Brady’s day will be much harder. It will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots deal with the New York Giants front four rush.
Can “The Gronk” recover in time for the big game on Sunday??
On the other side of the field, we have Eli Manning and the New York Giants. The Patriots do not have the same luxury as the New York Giants with having a dominant front four. The Patriots will have to employ a more conventional blitzing scheme which employs linebackers. Eli Manning was able to pick apart the San Francisco 49ers defense which has superior linebackers and a superior defensive line. I have no doubt that Eli Manning can do quite a bit of damage through the air to the Patriots defense. The only issue that the Giants face is trying to keep up with the Patriots scoring attack. If the game starts to get into a high scoring affair, the New York Giants may be in trouble. I am not sure if the Giants can keep up with the Patriots where defense is an afterthought.
As my readers know I would not leave without giving some sort of prediction. I am going to predict that the New York Giants defense will indeed be able to pressure Tom Brady enough to get him off his normal rhythm. The Giants will win to the score of 31-24 over the Patriots.
Well that is it boys and girls. The final game of the football season is on the horizon and soon we will have a Super Bowl Champion. We have had a great NFL season and even when it is all over we will be immediately thinking about the NFL Draft and next season. Enjoy the Big Game, have a great Super Bowl party or attend one, and I will see everyone on the other side.
By Michelle Zehr
Zehr is a contributing writer for Gold Star Games, a tailgating games company.
The year 2007 was a story of David and Goliath when it came to the Superbowl. The New England Patriots dominated the NFL with an 18-0 record. The Patriots appeared to be unstoppable and were looking to make history. On the other hand, the New York Giants were given very little credit. Vegas and the general public had written the Giants off. The Giants took the long, hard road to the Superbowl, which included a stop at Lambeau Field to take on Brett Favre and the Packers.
Then there was the Superbowl, the Giants put an end to the Patriots’ perfect season. With an amazing defense, an explosive offense and a receiving miracle that occurred when David Tyree caught the ball with the help of his helmet to set up a Plaxico touchdown pass.
Now, back to the present. The Patriots finished the season on top of the AFC. On the other hand, the New York Giants finished fourth in the NFC and had to win a tough road game versus San Francisco to make it to the Superbowl.
This has long been the opportunity Bill Bellcheck and the New England Patriots have been waiting for over the past five years. Bellcheck now has the chance to redeem himself from what was quite possibly the most devastating loss in Superbowl history and earn a fourth Superbowl ring for the New England Patriots’ franchise.
On the other hand, you have Eli Manning, who is looking to legitimize his career by receiving his second Superbowl ring, which would be one more than his big brother, Peyton, has. Manning has the chance to prove himself as an elite quarterback.
We have one team looking for redemption and other team looking to write their place in NFL history as one of the best teams in the past decade. This is bound to be a Superbowl for the ages, one that everyone (whether you like the Giants and/or Patriots or not) will be looking forward to.
Well the weekend was quite eventful. First and foremost the most important event that took place over the weekend was the death of an icon. Joe Paterno passed away this past weekend at the age of 85. Paterno was the head coach and the face ofPennStateUniversityfor many years. When people thought of PennState, they immediately thought of Joe Paterno.
The Penn State scandal that took place late last year and cost Joe Paterno his job was the beginning of the end. Before the scandal hit the news Joe Paterno had said he would still coach through the end of the season and beyond. Due to the Penn State scandal though, Joe Paterno lost the only job he had known for 45 years. I believe that even though Joe Paterno said he was dealing with it fine, that in truth, the whole situation crushed him.
After losing his head coaching position at Penn State, the reports started rolling in that Paterno was sick, dealing with lung cancer and other ailments. Before the Penn State scandal was public knowledge, we had no idea Joe Paterno was even sick at all. While no one can take away anything from what Joe Paterno accomplished in his time at PennState, I believe the loss of one of the things he loved most was too much for Paterno to handle. Ultimately, once the decision was final and Joe Paterno no longer had any Saturday games to prepare for, no kids to share his wisdom with, and no more college football victories to celebrate, Paterno lost the will to carry on any further. Truly this weekend was a sad end to the legacy of a great man.
College football was not the only football world shaken up this weekend though. We still had NFL Football Conference Championship games this weekend. The two games featured the Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers versus the New York Giants. Both games lived up to the hype. Neither game was a blowout and both came down to the last few plays.
The first game of the weekend was AFC Championship game featuring Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens played a great game. Joe Flacco actually out played Tom Brady and showed why he is the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback. Joe Flacco threw for 306 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Tom Brady only threw for 239 yards and zero touchdowns. Joe Flacco made all the right throws other than a couple of throws here and there. One crucial throw that Joe Flacco missed was to Torrey Smith, where Smith was wide open downfield and Flacco just overthrew him. If Joe Flacco had hit Torrey Smith on that throw, Smith would have out run the New England Patriots defender for a touchdown.
Ray Rice did not have a particularly impressive game only rushing for 67 yards. The Patriots did a good job of keeping Ray Rice in check all day. Benjarvus Green-Ellis of the New England Patriots actually ran for more yards than Ray Rice by one yard and was able to score a touchdown as well. Even though Tom Brady did not throw for a touchdown, Brady did run for a touchdown by diving over a pile of defenders. Tom Brady showed that he had the heart and will to win with that dive.
The game ultimately came down to the last 30 seconds with the Patriots up 23-20. Joe Flacco threw what should have been the game winning pass to Lee Evans. As Lee Evans caught the pass and tried to secure the ball, the ball was knocked out by Sterling Moore. If we looked at the catch that Lee Evans had, we could debate whether he had the ball long enough to be declared a touchdown. However, since there was no call for it being a touchdown, the play was never reviewed. Then the Baltimore Ravens had one more chance to tie the game up and go to over time with a Billy Cundiff 32 yard field goal. Cundiff ran out on the field, lined up for the kick, and missed the field goal wide left. Any NFL kicker should be able to convert a 32 yard field goal and Cundiff missed it completely. If I was the Ravens I would be looking for a new kicker for next season.
The final game on Sunday was the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. The fans got exactly what they expected out of this game. This game was a down to the wire game where both defenses of the 49ers and Giants played their hearts out. Everyone was able to see how dominating the Giants defensive front can truly be. In addition, the 49ers linebacker corps showed why they are one of the best in the league. Patrick Willis and company caused Eli Manning havoc all day.
Alex Smith after having a great game last week had a pretty terrible game this past weekend. Smith threw for 196 yard and 2 touchdowns but watching smith play was not poetry in motion like it was against the New Orleans Saints. Vernon Davis made Alex Smith’s bad day be a passable quarterback performance as Davis made up for the majority of Alex Smith’s passing yards on just 3 catches for 112 yards. We were able to witness the difference between an elite quarterback and a good quarterback as Eli Manning played a great game. Eli Manning threw for 316 passing yards and 2 touchdowns in less than favorable weather conditions as the rain came down upon the field. Despite the play of Alex Smith, the 49ers were still able to keep up with the New York Giants. The two plays that gave the New York Giants the victory were two plays made by the same player.
Kyle Williams, the replacement for Ted Ginn Jr. because of an injury, was given the job of returning kicks. Two times during the game Williams made huge errors on kick returns. The first time happened during the second half where the ball was kicked to Williams on a punt and Williams was going to field the punt but then decided not to. However, when Williams decided not to field the punt the ball bounced off the leg of Kyle Williams and The New York Giants recovered the ball in great field position. The second incident was in overtime. Kyle Williams was returning a punt again and this time he had the ball stripped from his grasp on the return. These are two very crucial errors that probably do not happen if Tedd Ginn Jr. was on the field. The second fumble allowed the New York Giants to setup and kick the game winning field goal. My heart goes out to Kyle Williams because he was trying to do the right thing both times and just happened to make the two most costly mistakes of the game. Hopefully, Kyle Williams will be able to put this behind him and move on to do some wonderful things for the 49ers down the road. The final score ended up being 20-17 in favor of the New York Giants.
The Super Bowl is no set and looks like we will have a rematch of the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. We should see a great game as we see one of the top offenses in the league try to out smart one of the best defenses in the league and vice versa. I am ready to see if Eli can get that second ring or will Brady get his fourth ring. The battle should be one to remember. The final game of the season is looming closer. I am ready to see who will be the Super Bowl Champion but I am also sad the season will be over.
Well the weekend is almost here again and that means some great NFL conference Championship action is on the way. This weekend will determine who plays in the NFL Super Bowl. The Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots will meet for the AFC Championship game. TheSan Francisco49ers and New York Giants will meet for the NFC Championship game. The clash of four best teams in the NFL will begin on Saturday.
The first game this Sunday is between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best defenses in the NFL and the New England Patriots have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Baltimore Ravens ended the season ranked the number three defense in the NFL only allowing 288 yards per game to their opponents. In addition, the Ravens have limited opponents to score an average of 16.6 points in a game. The Ravens do not make it an easy task for opponents to put the ball in the end zone.
However, on the other side of the field, the New England Patriots are one of the highest scoring offenses in the NFL. The Patriots seem to have the ability to score at will and literally run up the score on whoever they play. The New England Patriots ended the regular season ranked the number two ranked offense in the NFL averaging 32.1 points a game. While I do not think that the Patriots can put up 32 points on the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots will definitely score a few times.
Tom Brady is a master at dissecting defenses and once he finds a team weakness, the game is over. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are nightmare matchups for anyone who tries to cover the prolific tight end duo. Gronkowski will find the end zone at least one time during the game and if “The Gronk” can find the end zone multiple times, we are sure to see the Patriots running out of the Super Bowl tunnel in February. The Baltimore Ravens cannot afford to let the New England tight ends dominate the game. Hopefully, the Baltimore Ravens can disguise their defensive coverage enough to prevent Tom Brady from taking advantage.
Ray Lewis and company have their work cut out for them. The one factor that the Baltimore Ravens have working in their favor, besides their defense, is they have a great running game. Ray Rice is arguably the best running back in the league running the ball and receiving out of the backfield. Rice is capable of taking over a game on his own and allowing the Ravens to run a ball control type of game. Ray Rice ran for 1,346 during the regular season, second most in the NFL. In addition, Ray Rice had an impressive 704 receiving yards. If the Baltimore Ravens can get Ray Rice going, they have a chance of limiting how much Tom Brady sees the field. The Ravens will have to control the clock and have a significantly greater time of possession than the Patriots to come out with the win. Unfortunately, I do not believe the Baltimore Ravens can accomplish this goal. The final score to the game between the Patriots-Ravens game will be 24-17 in favor of the Patriots.
The second game on Sunday is between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. Joe Montana and Phil Simms will take the field… oh wait…we are 2012, not some throwback game. I had to reminisce for a second because it has been so long since we have seen these two teams play in a NFC Championship game. The San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants are almost mirror images of each other in the type of game that they would like to run each week. Both teams can run the ball and control the time of possession of the game. Both teams have great defenses that can strike fear into opponents and cause turnovers. Before last week, I would have said that the New York Giants have an advantage in the passing game.
However, after seeing Alex Smith play last week I am not sure who is the better quarterback. Eli Manning has proven it more times this season but Smith has played mistake-free football all season long. Alex Smith may not have put up the gaudy passing numbers but Smith gets the job done most weeks. Last week though Alex Smith threw for 299 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Alex Smith even showed that he had an additional dimension to his game by running for a touchdown as well. No one can knock Alex Smith anymore for just being a game manager, Smith can make the throws.
This game will come down to two very important factors. The team the runs the ball better and has less turnovers will win the game. On the running side of the ball, the New York Giants feature Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. The San Francisco 49ers feature Frank Gore, who every year proves, that he is over his injury plagued seasons. Gore is a fierce downhill runner that has the speed to break for a long score at any time. Gore was the number six running back in the league this year with 1,211 rushing yards. I like the New York Giants running game in the post season but hard to bet against Frank Gore in any game that he plays. The San Francisco 49ers have the edge in the running game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the front four of the New York Giants is one of the best in the league with Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre Paul, Justin Tuck, and Chris Canty. With these four players rushing the offensive line in different formations, most teams will have a tough time having a productive day. The Giants can definitely bring the pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stop the run. The San Francisco 49ers on the other side of the field have Justin Smith along with linebackers Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis. I love what the 49ers are doing on their defensive front but San Francisco still has a good way to go before their defense is on the same level as the New York Giants. That being said, the New York Giants have the edge on defense. In the end, the San Francisco 49ers will win the game due to the play of Frank Gore running the ball well and Alex Smith continuing to prove he deserved his number one draft status in 2005. The San Francisco 49ers will claim victory with a score of 34-31.
This is the final weekend before we reach the big game. It has been quite a long season but a great one. I cannot believe that we almost missed it because of a financial dispute between players and owners. Have to thank the players and owners one more time for getting it all worked out. Playoff action is in full effect and soon we will have our Super Bowl teams. All teams not only need to bring their “A” game but their “A+” game. Let the division champion be crowned.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
We are fully into the bye weeks at this point in the NFL season. Now is the time where all the fantasy football players of the world start panicking. A fantasy football owner’s star player has to sit a week and they have no clue which player to start in place of their star. Fantasy owners are frantically looking over the waiver wire to try to find that player that will break out this season. Sometimes the player that lands in a fantasy owner’s weekly lineup is just some player they are hoping will score them some points. Today we will take a look at some waiver wire wonders that can help fantasy owners fill in a week or even better yet reach the playoffs.
I will start with Christian Ponder, the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder was a hot waiver wire pickup last week. However, Christian Ponder may still be available in quite a few leagues. A great deal of the time fantasy owners like to wait and see on rookie quarterbacks or backups. Ponder did a decent job running the offense and made some good throws. Christian Ponder was 13-32, 219 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ponder will not wow anyone with those statistics but for his first start, that’s a serviceable bye week filler at the quarterback position for sure. Christian Ponder will only become a better quarterback as he becomes more comfortable in the offensive scheme. This means that in the future we should see some much bigger games from Ponder and fewer mistakes.
The next player I would like to talk about is Demarco Murray, the running back for the Dallas Cowboys. No one could have predicted that Murray would play to the level he did on Sunday. I have said before that the Dallas Cowboys need to bench Felix Jones and let someone else carry the load. Murray definitely answered the call on Sunday. Demarco Murray rushed 25 times for 253 yards and one touchdown.Only Adrian Peterson had a better rookie debut at the running back position. After Sunday, if Murray is still available I would grab him now. I do not foresee Felix Jones re-claiming the starting job if Demarco Murray continues to perform at a high level. I know that the Dallas Cowboys played the St. Louis Rams who are far from an NFL elite team. However, If Murray can perform at half the level of his perfromance on Sunday on a weekly basis, I am sure the Dallas Cowboys will be elated in drafting the rookie. In addition, fantasy owners will be able to ride theMurray train into the playoffs.
Another player that fantasy owners need to take a look at is Jake Ballard. Jake Ballard is the starting tight end for the New York Giants. Ballard may not be Jimmy Graham or even Tony Gonzalez, but he is a decent option for the tight end spot. Jake Ballard scored a touchdown in weeks 4 and 5. Moreover, Ballard had season highs in week 6 with five receptions and 81 receiving yards. Jake Ballard has become one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets. Fantasy owners should take note and find a place for Ballard on their team. Jake Ballard could be a valuable number 1 tight end option or great bye week fill-in. Ballard is the real deal for the 2011 fantasy year.
The last addition to add to a budding fantasy team is the San Francisco 49ers defense. Every good fantasy owner knows the Baltimore Ravens Defense or the Pittsburgh Steelers defense as the best two defenses in the league usually. This year the Pittsburgh Steelers had a rough start to the year but seem to have righted the ship. Very few fantasy owners know or have thought about the 49ers defense as an elite defensive squad. If you are using standard scoring the 49ers have been consistent and the last two weeks the 49ers have really brought the pain. The 49ers defense only allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers to put up three points against them and then the very next week held the high-flying Detroit Lions offense to only 19 points. The 49ers defense is a great defense to lean on the rest of the year. If the 49ers can keep up the defensive intensity, fantasy owners may have found another elite defense to help them win the playoffs and maybe even win the championship.
These are some of the waiver wire additions that will help fantasy owners win some much needed games and rise to the top of the rankings. If these players are still on the waiver wire grab them because each one is just starting to blossom into real fantasy contributor. When these players reach their full potential, they could truly turn around a fantasy season. I would rather be on the receiving of the dividends end than the end that missed out.