Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Falcons’

Can the Packers Bring the Heat to Matty Ice?

Following the Raven/Steelers game on Saturday afternoon is the NFC Divisional Playoff featuring the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.  The 13-3 Falcons are seeded number one and had a bye last week, while the Packers played a tough game against the Eagles.  Their win against the Eagles was their first road playoff victory since 1997!  Let’s take a look at this matchup which takes place at 8 PM ET on Saturday.

The two teams played in the Georgia Dome in Week 12, with the Falcons emerging with a 20-17 victory.  Falcons QB Matt Ryan is 20-2 at home and, to their dismay, the Packers find themselves playing in the Georgia Dome.  Ryan is having a phenomenal season, throwing for over 3700 yards and 28 TDs.  In high school, Ryan earned the nickname “Matty Ice” for his ability to remain cool and calm under pressure.  He has continued to show poise in the NFL and has led Atlanta to 13 4th quarter or overtime drives that resulted in wins.

How can the Packers rattle the unflappable Ryan?  Packers linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Charles Woodson may just be the duo for the job.   Matthews was just named The Sporting News NFL Defensive Player of the Year.  That recognition was well deserved, as he is one of the leading pass rushers, recording 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception this season.  Last week against the Eagles, Matthews blitzed Eagles QB Michael Vick all game and was a key factor in disrupting the Eagles offense.  Matthews and Woodson will likely be a major part of the Packer’s strategy to contain Ryan and his offense. 

The Packers have relied almost exclusively on QB Aaron Rodgers and his passing game all season, as their running game has been virtually non-existent.  Last week they found success in RB James Starks, who rushed for 123 yards.  If Starks is able to build on last week’s success vs. the Eagles, this could greatly improve the Packer’s chances.  In their Week 12 loss against Atlanta, Packer’s RBs rushed for a mere 26 yards and Rodgers himself picked up 51 yards.   A new found rushing game helps balance the offense and control the time of possession and could be the big difference in the game.

Matty Ice may be unflappable, but he will likely feel some pressure from Matthews and Woodson.  While the Falcons have home field advantage and beat the Packers earlier this season, Rogers appears to be a man on a mission and seems unstoppable.  Coupled with a new, promising running game, they have an edge over their previous meetings with the Falcons.  Look for a tight game, with the Packers winning by 7.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! A Gridiron-Infused Holiday Song…

Yesterday brought cold, blustery weather to much of the country.  Instead of fighting the bitter wind and the (at times) bitter-like crowds at the mall, I decided to stay in and do a little online shopping.  I wrote out my Christmas cards and wrapped presents, perfectly positioned in front of the TV so I could watch a slew of great NFL games!  Spending the day like that truly put me in a festive mood and reminded me why this is one of my favorite times of the year.

 In the spirit of the holidays and with yesterday’s games in mind, I give you my gridiron-infused version of the classic holiday song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”!  Feel free to sing along to my version or, better yet, click the video to enjoy the traditional song by Johnny Mathis!  Hmm…maybe I have had a bit too much eggnog??!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With Favre’s shoulder still swelling

And Giants fans yelling

A win may be near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

With 2 Jets defeatings

In rival team meetings

The Pats will stand tall

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

 

There’ll be playoffs for hosting

Mike Vick will be toasting

The Vikings will clear out the snow

There’ll be more Dallas stories

And tales of the glories of

Romo from long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

There is Matt Ryan knowing

His record is glowing

And playoffs are near

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

There’ll be victories for boasting

Locker room toasting

Celebrating after the show

There’ll be ESPN stories

And tales of the glories

Of playoffs long, long ago

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Some teams will be going

The beer will be flowing

The fans can cheer!

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Fantastic Four – Which Four Teams Can Clinch a Playoff Spot Today??

As the season continues, teams throughout the NFL are desperately trying to win in order to receive a coveted playoff spot.  This week brings a number of games with playoff implications.  Four teams can actually clinch a playoff spot today.  Here is a look at the scenarios involved with each team that can propel them into the playoffs!

New England Patriots

Perhaps the best contest of Week 14 is between the New England Patriots and Chicago Bears.  After Monday night’s destruction of the Jets, the Patriots find themselves with the best record (10-2) in the AFC East.  Chicago comes into today’s game at 9-3 and holding only a one game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North.   Though they are in different conferences, both teams desperately want to win this one.

Green Bay plays the Detroit Lions today and should walk away with a win.  If Chicago wants to maintain its first place standing, they need a win vs. the Patriots so they are not tied with the Packers in their division. 

 New England can clinch a spot in the playoffs if they win or tie today.  They also earn a playoff spot if Miami loses or ties AND Jacksonville loses or ties.  Another way the Pats can secure a playoff spot today is with a Miami loss or tie AND an Indianapolis loss or tie.

Tom Brady (it pains me to say) is in “the zone” and is leading the NFL with TD passes (27).  He is in complete command of his team and should win this one, thereby securing a playoff spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The 9-3 Steelers host the struggling Bengals today, who limp in with a 2-10 record.   The Steelers, in first place in the AFC North after defeating the Ravens last week, should dominate this matchup.   The Steelers can secure a playoff spot today if they win and any of the below scenarios takes place:

A Colts loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Miami loss/tie

A Colts loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss/tie

A Colts loss/tie AND a Miami loss/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie

A Miami loss/tie AND a Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss/tie AND a Colts loss

A Jacksonville loss/tie AND a Patriots win/tie AND a Miami loss/tie

New York Jets

After the build up to last week’s Monday Night Football game vs. the Patriots, the Jets were humiliated in the national spotlight.  No one anticipated the 45-3 beating the Jets endured at the hands of Brady and company.   The 9-3 Jets face the struggling Miami Dolphins who are 6-6 and the perfect remedy for the Jets after their MNF embarrassment.  Mark Sanchez will look to redeem himself and Gang Green and unlike last week, should emerge with their heads held high.  The Jets can clinch a playoff spot if they win and any of the following scenarios occurs:

A Chargers loss/tie AND a Jacksonville loss/tie

A Chargers loss/tie AND a Colts loss/tie 

A Raiders loss/tie AND a Chargers loss AND a Colts loss

If the Jets tie today’s game, they can still secure a playoff spot. But, the Raiders would have to lose or tie AND  the Chargers would need to lose AND, finally, the Colts would have to lose.  Yes, the various scenarios involved in teams securing playoff spots can be quite complicated, but it is one of the exciting aspects of this time of year!

Atlanta Falcons

The 10-2 Atlanta Falcons sit atop the NFC South and face the Carolina Panthers who have the worst record in the NFL.  Atlanta should easily win this one and can clinch a playoff spot if they win and any of the following scenarios takes place:

A Giants loss AND an Eagles loss

A Giants loss AND a Packers loss

An Eagles loss AND a Packers loss

If the unthinkable occurs and Atlanta ties the Panthers, they could still secure a playoff spot if the Giants lose AND the Eagles lose AND Green Bay loses AND Tampa Bay loses or ties!

There are lots of other games today and tomorrow that offer excitement in their own right.  Here are a few non-playoff scenarios of interest…

Will Brett Favre keep his NFL streak for consecutive starts, despite the sprain to his throwing shoulder and his inability to throw a pass in practice?  More importantly, how will the blizzard that shut down the Twin Cities and pushed the game from Sunday afternoon to Monday night impact the game?  Will another day of rest allow Favre to start?  Will the layover the Giants were forced to endure in Kansas City affect their play?  We think the Giants win this one, but it may be a bit harder due to the chaos the team has lived through for the past few days.  Being stranded in an airport and forced to eat airport food cannot be the best preparation for an NFL game!  

Will the Dallas Cowboys be a spoiler and defeat the high-flying Eagles and QB phenom Michael Vick?  It’s a Sunday night prime time game, but we think the Eagles will prevail and remain tied for first place with the Giants.  Next Sunday, the tie will be broken when the Eagles and Giants face each other for a critical game.  That is a matchup that cannot be missed!

It’s Week 14 in the NFL!   Make some hot chocolate, wrap up in your favorite comfy blanket and watch the drama unfold!

It’s Week 9 and Oh What a Season it has Been!

Here we are, in week 9 of the NFL schedule, which means we are half way through the regular season!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  As we reflect on what has unfolded in the NFL thus far, we were inspired to say it with poetry.  (Don’t ask why, frankly, we really don’t know)

 

The NFL season is already half completed

Some of our teams have won, others were defeated

Players have been benched, a few were even traded

Coaches have been praised, a few are truly hated

So at this point in the season, we look at where things stand

One thing we know for certain, this season has not been bland!

 

The great and mighty Saints were expected to be dominant

But here in 2010, they’re not so prominent!

The trendy “who dat” slogan was such a catchy phrase

 But the way the Saints are playing, was it only just a phase?

So as New Orleans struggles to find a way to win

Will another team replace them as America’s new darlin’?

 

All throughout the league, quarterbacks are making news

With so many controversies, it’s easy to feel confused

In Philly, Vick was out…then in..then out again

The Steelers had their own QB troubles – the behavior of Big Ben

McNabb was benched for Grossman, a decision that boggles the mind

Grossman fumbled his first play, and the Redskins fell behind!

 

The Vikings made a trade to pick up Randy Moss

Four short weeks later, they gave him quite the toss

Randy’s open praise of his former coach and team

Caused coach Childress fury and to fire him it seems

Randy’s now a Titan, playing in Tennessee

Will he find a home there?  Or will he have to flee?

 

Jerry Jones’ Cowboys now stand at one and six

How does this happen to a pre-season Superbowl pick?

The Bills are once again at the bottom of the pile

Will frosty Buffalo fans ever find reason to smile?

The Panthers and 49ers are also down this year

Their fans are not celebrating, but drowning in cold beer

 

The Patriots are once again winning, doing it with flair

Even with Tom Brady and his Justin Bieber-like long hair

The Giants and the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC

Who will win their division?  We will have to wait and see

The Ravens, Chiefs and Colts seem to be true contenders

While the Jets, Packers and Steelers may just end up pretenders

 

The season’s only half way through, there’s lots more games to play

Some teams will continue to win, some may go astray

Football is a game of inches, so the saying goes

It’s a game that can’t be predicted, as any true fan knows

So enjoy the “second half”, it will be an adventurous ride

It’s what makes football the greatest game – that cannot be denied!

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