Posts Tagged ‘Jay Cutler’

Who Will Make it to the Super Bowl? Here are Our Predictions!

Today will determine who will be going to the Super Bowl on February 5th.  Will the Chicago Bears win today in the longest rivalry in the history of the NFL?  Or will the Green Bay Packers represent the NFC and make a run for the ultimate title?  In the AFC, will the Steel Curtain be lowered on the Jets or will New York find a way to soar above Pittsburgh’s tough, stingy defense?  Whatever the outcome, this is shaping up to be an electrifying day for gridiron fans!  Here’s our take on who emerges victorious today.

Chicago has home field advantage, but we think the Packers’ overcome the crowd, weather conditions and the Bears’ defense and win in a close game.  Aaron Rodgers is playing phenomenal football and we think he will do whatever it takes to win the game. The keys to a Green Bay victory are…

  1.  Keeping the game from being one dimensional.  Most of the season, the Packers relied almost exclusively on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.  When they found a running game, they became a much more balanced offense that is simply harder to defend.  The Bears have the #2 rushing defense in the NFL, which will make it a real challenge for Packers RB James Starks.
  2. The Packer’s defense needs to pressure Bears QB Jay Cutler.  Last week against the Seahawks, Cutler had 274 yards passing and 2 TDs, but that was against a Seahawks defense that did little to pressure him.  The Bears have the #5 pass defense in the league, which means Cutler will be facing a much different situation than he did last week.
  3. The Packers need to stop Matt Forte.  Forte poses a threat as a running back and a wide receiver and is peaking at just the right time.  If the Packers don’t have an answer for Forte, he may just win the game for the Bears – especially given the frigid, wintry conditions expected at Soldier Field today.  Since the Packers are better at pass defense than run defense, Forte could be a real game changer.

 

The Jets/Steelers game is a tough one to call.  Big Ben has the experience to take the Steelers into the Super Bowl and is hard to pick against.  But the Jets are coming off a huge upset win against the Patriots and sometimes sheer momentum is enough to beat even the toughest opponents. We pick the Jets in what should be another close one!  For our prediction to come true here is what has to happen.

  1.  Real pressure on Big Ben.  Last week the Jets defense pressured Tom Brady, causing him to lose his rhythm.  Big Ben has the physical size, strength and mobility to escape that pressure.  For the Jets to win, they MUST find a way to disrupt the two-time Super Bowl winning QB.
  2. Contain strong safety Troy Polamalu and head hunter linebacker James Harrison.  If the Jets cannot control these two defensive dynamos, Sanchez is in for a very long day – much of it on the ground looking up at the sky!
  3. Make Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson key components in the offensive game plan today.  For the Jets to win, they must run a balanced offense, using their two RBs and using a game plan that allows Sanchez to make quick, short throws downfield.  This will be an enormous challenge, given the relentless rush defense of the Steelers.

Given all these seemingly impossible tasks, why have we picked the Jets over the Steelers?  Jets coach Rex Ryan has lost two AFC Championships in a row and simply won’t tolerate a third.  Combined with the momentum the Jets are on after last week’s defeat of the Patriots, we think he and his team will back up their season long tough talk with a victory over the favored Steelers.

Risk Taker or Play Maker? Which Jay Cutler Will Show Up?

As the Chicago Bears head into Sunday’s NFC Conference Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, the question on many fan’s minds is which Jay Cutler will show up.  Cutler is a complex character both on and off the field.  On the field, he has moments of sheer genius, coupled with moments of utter idiocy.  Off the field, he is seen by some as aloof, while others view him as something of a wise-guy jerk.  One thing is for certain, Jay Cutler will be key to the Chicago Bears’ destiny this weekend.  Love him or hate him, he is the Bears’ quarterback who will try to propel his team into the Super Bowl.   Here’s our view of the complicated Cutler.

Last week against the Seahawks, Cutler played in his first post-season game and had an outstanding day.  In that 35-24 victory he threw two TDs, ran for two TDs, had no interceptions and earned a respectable 111.3 QB rating.  But the Seahawks defense failed to effectively pressure Cutler for most of that game.  Their coverage seemed to break down, leaving wide receivers wide open.  Cutler made the throws he needed to and the Seahawks paid for their miscues.  But can Cutler expect the Packers’ defense to play that poorly?  He shouldn’t count on it.  The Packers’ defense has a blitzing, aggressive style that could expose Cutler’s tendency for making poor decisions that lead to turnovers.

Packers’ defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, has had to devise schemes in the past to deal with Cutler.  Capers had to defend against the Chicago QB 4 times and was quite successful, with the Packers winning 3 of the matchups.  The Packers’ defense held Cutler to a 56% completion rate and only 4 TDs.  In those 4 games, Cutler threw 9 interceptions and his QB rating was a pitiful 57.49.

 Green Bay likes to employ nickel and dime defensive sets – meaning using either 5 or 6 defensive backs.  Cutler has struggled against this scheme in the past and Capers will likely use this strategy to rattle Cutler into making some of his infamous bad throws into tight coverage. 

So which Cutler will show up for Sunday’s pivotal game?  Will it be the risk taking Jay Cutler who has never led his team to a winning season since his high school days?   Or will it be the effective playmaker we saw last week against Seattle?   No one denies his arm strength and his ability to make big plays as a gunslinger-style QB.  But given his record INTs last season (26) and his tendency to take risks when pressed, he is an unpredictable factor in this week’s game.  An impulsive, risk-taking QB with a brooding personality in an NFC Championship game?  Sounds pretty irresistible to me!

Next Up: NFL Conference Championship Games!

With less than 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on Saturday, the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves tied with the Baltimore Ravens.  With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in charge, was the outcome ever in doubt?  The calm, veteran QB gathered the team in the huddle and simply stated, “I’m going down to score.  Who is coming down with me?”  With that, he and the Steelers put together an 11 play drive that resulted in the game winning TD by Rashard Mendenhall. 

The Steelers 31-24 victory earned them a spot in the AFC Conference Championship game next week.  This is Pittsburgh’s 4th AFC title game in seven years.  They will face the New York Jets at home.  The Jets defeated the top seeded New England Patriots yesterday 28-21.  After a week of trash talking from Jets head coach Rex Ryan and some of his players, Gang Green backed up their words with their on field play.  The key to the game was stopping Tom Brady and the Jet’s defensive strategy did just that – sacking the likely MVP 5 times and intercepting him once.   Prior to yesterday, Brady had not thrown an INT in 335 pass attempts.  

The Steelers versus the Jets!  Game time is 6:30 pm ET Sunday.  Make sure to check back this week for the latest news and analysis of what promises to be an exciting AFC Conference Championship!

Meanwhile in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers manhandled the NFC’s top seeded Atlanta Falcons Saturday, defeating them 48-21.  We stated before that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers seems to be a man on a mission and he certainly played like one.  Rodgers completed 31 of 36 passes for 366 yards and three passing TDs, plus a rushing TD.

Green Bay will travel to Chicago to take on the Bears in the NFC Conference Championship game.  The Bears defeated the Seahawks yesterday 35-24.  The Bear’s offense overwhelmed the Seahawks and Bears QB Jay Cutler, in his first post-season appearance, threw 2 TD and rushed for 2 as well. Despite a valiant effort by Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck, the Seattle offense simply could not get things going.  The question remains – were the Bears that good, or were the Seahawks really that bad?

The Packers and Bears have a long-standing rivalry, dating back to 1921.  They have met 181 times, but this is the first time they have are playing for an NFC title.  Sunday’s game will air at3 pm ET.  We look forward to breaking down this traditional, storied rivalry in the days to come!

Seahawks vs. Bears – Two Teams Seeking Respect

Today’s NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Chicago Bears and the Seattle Seahawks reminds us of a Quick Pick lottery ticket.  It is a thrilling game and is difficult to predict!  The improbability of the Seahawks mere presence at this point in the season, combined with the inconsistency of Chicago QB Jay Cutler and the Bears sets up an intriguing scenario.  Today’s winner will face the Green Bay Packers next week for the NFC title.

The Seahawks and Bears met back in October, with Seattle winning 23-20.  Much has changed since that first meeting.  After struggling early in the season, the Bears changed their offensive philosophy.  Their rushing game improved and they are now a much more balanced offense.  Given Jay Cutler’s tendency to throw into tight, dangerous coverage and cause turnovers, a dual threat offense is vital.  Chicago RB Matt Forte could be the key to the Bear’s success today.

The Seahawks are the first team with a losing record (7-9 regular season) to win a playoff game.  But they have been tweaking their roster all season long and seem to have found their ideal starters at the perfect time.  Their unlikely journey to this point has given the team a loose, confident aura that may just allow them to silence all their critics.  Rather than focusing on their losing season, the Seahawks like to look at the fact that they are 2-0 in 2011. 

Marshawn Lynch’s amazing 67 yard TD run last week against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints was one of the most phenomenal efforts we have seen all year and worthy of all the highlights and replays on TV.  But given the Bear’s defense, it is not likely to happen today.  Hasselbeck will have to find WR Mike William if the Seahawks have a chance.

Matt Hasselbeck has 11 playoff starts in his career.  In the last 8 years, Hasselbeck has made the playoffs an impressive 6 times.  Meanwhile Jay Cutler is making his first playoff start.  Like the Seahawks, he too is looking for respect.

A Seattle win would be a more captivating story, given their dubious path to the playoffs.  With Hasselbeck’s experience and the “nothing to lose” attitude the Seahawks bring to the game, like a “quick pick” lottery ticket we are choosing them in an upset!   Look for a close game, with Cutler turning over the ball to give the Seahawks the slight edge needed to win.

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