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NFL Divisional Playoff Preview

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It’s the 2nd round of the playoffs and now is the time things start to get interesting.  All of the teams, who had 1st round byes, should be well rested.  Just ask Tony Romo.  It must be nice to take a trip to Cabo San Lucas the week before your 1st playoff game of this post season.  Why focus on the game when you’ve got Jessica Simpson by your side on a weekend vacation?  Never mind the fact that this is your 2nd playoff appearance and your 1st appearance didn’t end so well.

 

Then again, what do I know?  I just write about sports.  I’m not on the field.  I don’t know how these guys prepare for their big games.  I’m sure some nice margaritas, in the sun, were the perfect way for Romo to prepare for this Sunday’s game.  While you’re at it, why don’t you build me a sand castle?  That should ease your mind.

 

I was just kidding.  It’s your time.  Use it however you want.  Whatever it takes to get you ready for the game, use it to the max.  I will say this Mr. Romo; you have to win this weekend.  There has been so much talk about your personal life that it has now become a distraction. And distractions are not the things you need right now as you and your team travels that road to the Super Bowl. 

 

If you make one mistake this weekend that will cost the Cowboys the win Mr. Romo, the media will bury you.  Terry Bradshaw has already thrown in his 2 cents.  And honestly, that’s not right.  What you do, on your time, is your business.    Also, tell people to stop calling this girl “Yoko Romo”.  That’s messed up, she did nothing to nobody.  Even hot, blonde hair, ditzy chicks need love too.  Now that I’ve got that off of my chest, let’s pick’em.

 

 

Saturday, 01/13/08

 

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

4:30 pm, FOX

Seattle Seahawks (10-6) vs. Green Bay Packers (13-3)

Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

 

The Seahawks were quite impressive with their last week against the Redskins.  This week, they head to the hollow grounds of Lambeau Field to face Brett Farve and the Green Bay Packers.  And make no mistake about it, QB Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks wants the ball, and they want to score. 

 

This game is a homecoming of sorts.  As previously mentioned, 4 years ago, Hasselbeck made the famous ”we want the ball, and we’re gonna score” quote in the playoffs against the Packer after winning the coin toss in overtime, just to throw an interception CB Al Harris for the game winning TD for the Packers.  Also, Hasselbeck was once Farve’s backup in Green Bay and of course it’s a homecoming for Seahawks head coach, Mike Holmgren, who was the head coach of the Packers when they won the Super Bowl XXXI with Farve leading the charge for the offense in his second of three straight MVP seasons. Best believe Mike McCarthy and his Packers will not make this a warm homecoming this Saturday.

 

The Sehawks’ defense has to to attack Farve.  He’s the focal point of the offense.  Although the Packers rush offense has come alive in the past 2 months, the whole offense revolves and evolves around Brett Farve.  The Seahawks have to force Farve to make mistakes.  Take away his WRs and attack the rush game at the start of the snap.  The Packers defense has to do same with Matt Hasselbeck.  With Holgren going to a more pass friendly offense, the Packers’ Secondary have to take away Hasselbecks’ options in the passing game and force him to make mistakes.  

 

Don’t look for either team to run to much in this game.  Although both teams have a “middle of the road” rush defnese, it’s enough to shut down the other team’s run offense.  The Packers have the better team by the numbers across the board, but the Seahawks have something to prove.  They still remember the last time they lost to the Packers in the playoffs and they plan on bringing that memory with them.  If you had to pick one upset for this weekend, this is it.

 

My Pick: Seahawks

 

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

8pm, CBS

Jacksonville Jaguars (11-5) vs. New England Patriots (16-0)

Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

 

Due to having heart and hustle,  Jags just beat the Steelers last weekend.  Not they have the task of playing “David” to the Patriots “Goliath”.  Good Luck.  The Pats have been chilling for the past week preparing for whoever they were going to face this weekend.

 

If you think Bill Belichick was not preparing for either the Jags or the Steelers last weekend, you are smoking some serious stuff.  This is one of the most prepared coaches in the league.  Nothing gets by this man.  His squad has been ready to rock for whoever, whenever, however, since the last game of the season.

 

The Jags have to do two things.  Pound the ball on the ground with RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew on offense.  That way they can control the clock and keep the ball out of the hands of the Pats offense.  On defense, they have to get after Tom Brady and shake up the passing game.  The Pats can run the ball, but it’s through the air more than the ground.  If they Jags make the pats run the ball, more than they can throw the ball, then they have a solid chance of upsetting the Pats this weekend. 

 

The Pats have to protect Brady on offense and on defense, they have to go after Jasgs QB David Garrard. They know the Jags can run the ball, so they have to force Garrard to throw the ball.  They have to make him the focal point of the offense and make Garrard “beat” them.   He had a crappy game against the Steeleres last week, so the Pats have to force Garrard to make those same mistakes this week and capitalize from them. 

 

The bottom line is this, as much as some of us would like to see the Pats lose this weekend, it ain’t gonna happen.  If they were to get bumped out of the playoffs, next weekend would be the better bet for it to happen.  The Pats are too focused right now to cement their place among the immortals and the Jags seemed to be a stepping stone along that road.  Until the Pats lose, you gotta go with them to win.  Then again, it’s the playoffs and as mentioned in previous post,” stranger things have happened”.

 

My Pick: Patriots

 

Sunday, 01/14/08

 

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

1pm, CBS

San Diego Chargers (11-5) vs. Indianapolis Colts (13-3)

Location: RCA Dome, Indianapolis, IN

 

Week 10, remember that.  It was the Sunday Night game on NBC.  Chargers vs. Colts.  The Colts were just coming off of their loss to Pats.  The Chargers lost the Vikes the weekend before hand and many people had them left for dead and out of the playoffs.  Then the unthinkable happened.

 

Colts QB Peyton Manning played one of the worst games in his life.  Manning finished the day 34 for 56 with 328 yards and 2 TDS.  Here’s the punch line, he threw 6 INTs. Ouch!!!  The Chargers won that game 23-21 despite the 2nd half comeback by the Colts.  Tomorrow, is a new day and with that comes a new game plan.

 

In the Week 10 match-up, Manning didn’t have his top WR Marvin Harrison in the game due to a knee injury.  Guess what, he’s back and well rested.  Manning is probably as happy as a little girl with the return of Harrison.  That’s where the Chargers strike.

 

Not so much the passing game, but Manning.  The Chargers were able to read Manning very well in the last match-up, so they have to do the same in this game.  The Chargers gave up 129 passing yards in last weeks game against the Titans, they have to do the same this week against Manning.  Prevent him from spreading the ball on offense, he Chargers have a shot.

 

The Colts have to hand the ball to RB Joseph Addai.  Now is the time their rush offense has to step up and wear down the Chargers D-line.  If they can take some of the pressure off of the their passing game and grind it out on the ground, the Chargers defense will get tired.  And just when they’re thinking run, you throw it on them.  The Colts offense has to keep them guessing.  On defense, the Colts have to take it to QB Philip Rivers and RB LaDainian Tomlinson.  If the Colts can take their offensive presence out of the equation, Norv Turner will be mentally lost and will coach a terrible game.  The offense makes plays based on the  playmaking ability of those two players.  Take them out and the offense looks terrible.

 

The Colts are coming into this game knowing that they can beat the Colts.  They already did it.  The Colts remember that loss, and they have a title to defend.  Right now, the Colts are revved up.  They have to come out tomorrow and prove to the world that last year’s title win wouldn’t be the last and that they are still the champs until otherwise.

 

My Pick: Colts

 

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS

4:30pm, FOX

NY Giants (10-6) vs. Dallas Cowboys (13-3)

Location: Texas Stadium, Irving, TX

 

I already broke down my feelings about Tony Romo, so I won’t go there right now.  I wanna get on T.O.  Did you see the clips from the interview with Deion Sanders from the NFL Network?  What was up with that crazed look and deep monotone voice T.O.  threw out there at the end of the interview?  Looking like a man possessed?  What’s wrong with him?  Don’t be trying to scare people.  Nobody scared of you.  All I know, he better backup the “crazy man” act on the field.   

 

The Giants looked very good in their win last week against the Buccaneers.  QB Eli Manning managed a smart game and they he was able to get the rest of the Giants’ offense to rally around him.  This team is poised.  They have their eyes locked on making to the Super Bowl and shutting their critics.  In my eyes, next to the Pats and the Colts, the G-men are next in line to make some serious noise in the playoffs. 

 

The G-men have to continue to play smart football like they did last week against the Bucs.  For the Giants to win, it’s going to have to be a team effort.  Everyone on offense has to rally around Eli this weekend as well and help give him the confidence he needs to make it happen on offense.  Plus, a little help from the Giants’ running game will help.  Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have to grind it out on the ground and keep the ball away from the Cowboys’ offense.  Control the clock and keep the Cowboys’ offense off of the field.

 

The Cowboys have to force Eli’s hand.  The Cowboys’ defense has to go after Eli and force him to make big mistakes.  This is Eli’s offense, and as I mentioned before about the previous QBs in this weekend games, the offense will perform according to the QBs.  If the Cowboys can get to Eli, they will get the win.

 

The Cowboys offense has to run the ball.  If the Cowboys run the ball, it will take a lot of pressure off of the passing game.  With WR Terry Glenn just returning from his knee injury and T.O. not playing at 100% (I don’t care what he says, he’s not fully healed), the Cowboys have to let RBs Marion Barber and Julius Jones grind it out on the ground.  If the wear down the defense, then the Cowboys can go to the air and put 6 points on the board. 

 

Right now, the Giants are too focused.  There are too many distractions going on in Texas.  Between T.O. trying to scare people with the “psycho” tone and Romo chilling with “Yoko Romo” (Sorry, my bad), it doesn’t look like this team is ready for the next level.  They say it’s hard to beat a team 3 times in the same season in football. This Sunday, that adage will remain true.

 

My Pick: Giants

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