Posts Tagged ‘Wild Card’

Eagles vs. Packers/Vick vs. Rodgers…Who Will Win the Final Wild Card Game of the Weekend?

As Wild Card Weekend winds down, we are gearing up for what should be a great contest between two high powered offenses!  The Ravens defense held strong in this afternoon’s game, in part due to the many mistakes by the Chiefs.  The Ravens join the Seahawks and Jets as winners of this weekend’s playoff games. Will it be the Packers or Eagles that joins them?

Get ready for the next game – Go Eagles!

NFC Wild Card Game – Packers vs. Eagles

It is no secret that we are BIG admirers of Michael Vick.  With that in mind, here is our view of today’s game.  It should be a wild wrap up to this Wild Card weekend!

The Packers and Eagles met in Week 1.  The Packers won that game 27-20 and starting Eagles QB Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion, allowing back up Michael Vick to take over.  Vick brought the Eagles back from a 17 point deficit that fateful day, throwing for 175 yards and rushing for over a hundred yards.  While he may not have been able to ultimately win that game, he did put himself in the position to win the starting QB position for the Eagles.  The rest is history.

Michael Vick is the key to an Eagles victory today.  The past few weeks, Vick has struggled against the blitz.  When the Eagles played the Vikings earlier this season, he was sacked 6 times.  Green Bay will likely use a similar strategy and throw some innovative blitz packages at the elusive QB.  It will be up to Vick to read them and adjust. 

In their first meeting, the Packers sacked Vick 3 times in only 19 attempted passes.  Look for Packers cornerback Charles Woodson and linebacker Clay Matthews to play big roles in disrupting Vick today.  The Philly offensive line will have to play better than they have in the last few weeks in order to protect him and give the Eagles a chance. 

Aaron Rodgers’ passing ability defines the Packers offense.  Rodgers has the third highest QB rating in the league and the Packers are ranked 5th overall in passing in the NFL.  Despite injuries to both his starting RB and TE, Rodgers has propelled the Packers into the post-season.  Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are Rodgers’ leading receivers on this pass-first team.  If the secondary cannot contain them, Rodgers could put up some serious points. 

With two high powered offenses facing each other in a “do or die” situation, this game is hard to predict.  But given our love for Michael Vick, we find ourselves inclined to pick the Eagles to win.  While the Eagles lost their last two games, we don’t see it as the beginning of a losing streak.  A healthy Michael Vick, with his dual threat ability, is hard to contain.  If the Packers blitz all day, LeSean McCoy’s blazing speed should be enough to win this one for the Eagles, even facing the NFC’s top ranked defense.

Ravens vs. Chiefs – The Wild Card Weekend Continues

Yesterday’s Wild Card games lived up to their names.  What a wild and wacky day of NFL football!   After the shocking upset of the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints by the Seattle Seahawks, the Jets went on to beat the Colts in a game that was a real nail biter.

Yesterday we predicted an easy Saints victory and a Colts win.  Well, at 0-2 our predictions for this weekend could not have been worse, so we hope that we are more accurate in today’s analysis!  At 1 pm ET today the Baltimore Ravens face the Kansas City Chiefs.  Here is our take on that game.

At 4:30, the Green Bay Packers take on the Philadelphia Eagles.  We will post our analysis and prediction of that match up in a few hours.  In the meantime, enjoy this playoff Sunday!!!

AFC Wild Card Game – Ravens vs. Chiefs

This is the first time the two teams meet in post-season play.  The Chiefs have an abysmal playoff record.  Their last playoff victory was in 1994.  Since then, they have gone 0-6 in the post-season.  The Ravens have a more impressive showing in the playoffs and have made post-season appearances in each of the last three years.  Today’s game takes place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  But the Ravens’ playoff record on the road is 6-3, so a Chief’s home field advantage will not likely be a factor.

The Chiefs have the most prolific rushing offense in the NFL.  For the Chiefs to win, running backs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles will have to overcome one of the best rushing defenses in the league.  Last week, the Chiefs suffered an embarrassing 31-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders.  Is this an indication of some offensive weakness that the Ravens can exploit?  It could be.   But it is likely that their performance last week was a result of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’ distractions.  Weis has reportedly agreed to become the offensive coordinator for the University of Florida and may have looked past the Raiders last week.   But this is the playoffs and Weis is a master at big games.  As offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, he helped lead the team to three Super Bowl championships.

Linebacker Ray Lewis is Baltimore’s leader, both on and off the field.  Look for him to provide the inspiration and motivation for his defensive unit.  The Ravens ranked third in the NFL for fewest points allowed.  The Ravens defense boasts 4 Pro Bowlers – Lewis, linebacker Terrell Suggs, safety Ed Reed and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.   

As the season began, the buzz was about how the Ravens offense was upgraded with the addition of Anquan Boldin.  Joe Flacco was predicted to have a breakout season, but the offense never reached pre-season expectations.   The Ravens have historically been known as a defensive team and today it will be up to that defense to win this game.

Baltimore has momentum, having won the last 6 of their seven games.  At 35, Ray Lewis knows his chances at winning a Super Bowl championship are limited.  Look for him to dominate on the field and be the spiritual and inspirational leader to help seal the victory.

Sleepless in Seattle! Seahawks Shock Saints

The 7-9 Seattle Seahawks pulled off an upset of seismic proportions today, beating the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints 41-36.

Next up:  Colts vs. Jets!

Wild Card Weekend!!!

Today marks the beginning of a weekend of Wild Card matchups.  At 4:30 pm ET, the New Orleans Saints visit the Seattle Seahawks.  Later, the New York Jets meet the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC Wild Card night game (8 pm ET).  Tomorrow, the Baltimore Ravens take on the Kansas City Chiefs at 1.  But in our opinion, the most exciting matchup of the weekend takes place tomorrow at 4:30 when the Green Bay Packers travel to Philly to face the Eagles.  We will look at Sunday’s matchups later, but for now here’s our take on today’s games. 

NFC Wild Card Game- Saints vs. Seahawks

The 5th seeded, 11-5 Saints enter the game as defending Super Bowl champions.  The Seahawks have a losing record (7-9), but having won the weak and pitiful NFC West, are the fourth seed and earned home field advantage.  It is the first time that an NFL team with a losing record enters the post-season. The two teams played each other in Week 11, with the Saints winning 34-19. 

Much attention has been focused on how the Saints’ two leading rushers will be missing due to injury. It will be up to Reggie Bush and Julius Jones to step up (literally) and get a running game established.  While the running game may be diminished, there are plenty of other offensive weapons for Drew Brees to work with.  This season, the Super Bowl MVP has thrown for even more yards than last year.  Although Brees has more than twice the interceptions he had a year ago, we think wide receiver Marques Colston will make some big plays and help the Saints earn a victory. 

The Saints have a 0-3 record in playoff games when the game is played on their opponent’s home field, while the Seahawks hold a 4-0 record in the post-season for games played at home.  While these are interesting facts, it is unlikely to impact the game.  The Saints should easily dominate this game.

AFC Wild Card Game – Jets vs. Colts

Last year the two teams played each other in the AFC Championship game, with the Colts winning 30-17.  Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan made it clear this week that today’s game against the Colts is personal, especially with Peyton Manning.  The outspoken coach seemed bothered that so much was written this week about how Manning has dominated him over the years.  Ryan said,

I’m not the only coordinator or person that Peyton has ever destroyed.  I think it’s written that I’m his punching bag. Mine at least has some arms on it. Some of these other guys he plays, don’t have any arms on them. I plan on swinging back. We’ll see how that works out this week.

Today’s meeting features two very different teams than last year’s AFC Championship game.  The Colts roster is missing some of its most talented names who were key to last year’s victory.  TE Dallas Clark and WR Miles Austin, two of Manning’s “go to” guys, are on injured reserve.   

Meanwhile, the Jets have added new players and appear to have more offensive talent than last year’s team. WR Santonio Holmes was not on the Jets last year and will be a critical factor in a Jets victory.   Holmes caught the game winning TD in Super Bowl XLIII and was named Super Bowl MVP.  Clearly, he is capable of making a clutch play when it is most needed.  If Mark Sanchez does not have any issues with his sore throwing shoulder, look for some big plays between the QB and Holmes.

The Jets defense appears to be less strong than last year’s team.  Jets starting safety Jim Leonhard is injured, leaving corner backs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to handle the Colts’ remaining receiving corps – Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Jacob Tamme.  Revis and Cromartie will pose a threat to Manning’s outside passing game, but throwing down the middle of the field could prove to be a real problem for the Jets defense with Leonhard missing.  Jacob Tamme may be Manning’s main target today and may be one of the keys to a Colts’ win.

The bad news this season has been the Colts weak run defense, ranked 25th in the NFL.  The last four weeks, however, the Colts have shown an ability to contain some big name running backs.  It will be interesting to see if they can continue that momentum.  Jets RB Shonn Greene will likely get most of the carries today.  As Greene pounds away for yardage, the Jets will be able to control the time of possession, thereby keeping Manning off the field. 

Controlling the clock may be the only true way to stop Manning.  This week, however, when asked how Manning can be stopped, Jets Coach Rex Ryan said, “Maybe hit him in the head real hard. That could be one way. We haven’t tried that yet.”  One thing is for certain – Rex Ryan sure likes to talk.  He has talked about winning the Super Bowl this year, long before the season even started.  This week, he talked at length about Manning and the Colts.  Today will determine if he and his Jets are able to back up their off the field “tough talk” with their on field play.

 With a multitude of Indy injuries in the receiving corps and a struggling running game, Manning undoubtedly has carried the fate of the Colts on his shoulders all season.  Today, he again holds the key to their destiny.  If Jets Coach Rex Ryan believes his brash personal comments targeting Manning will intimidate him, he is foolish. 

The Jets may actually have more talent than the Colts in this year’s contest.  But Peyton Manning is simply a master of the game.  Even with his depleted roster, Manning once again found a way to make it into the playoffs.  He passed for 4700 yards this season – a career high.  In the end, Manning’s unparalleled determination and ability to tear apart opposing defenses will prove to be too much for Ryan and the Jets, no matter how much tough talk they engage in.

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