Friday, January 30, 2009

My Super Bowl Pick

I hope you enjoyed my time away from the blog. I figured I would come back and give my final thoughts on the big game.

Why did I take the break, you might be asking...? I feel like there are people out there who can analyze, and to an extent overanalyze, the game on Sunday better than I can. So why hear what I have to say?

Is Kurt Warner a hall of famer? No, he is not a hall of famer. I'm not saying he's a bad player, but to get into Canton is to be among a Parthenon of Gods. I don't think Warner is at that level. It doesn't seem like that long ago, he fell off the face of the earth. He was replaced by a back-up in St. Louis and held down the fort until Eli Manning took the position in New York. Soon enough, the Cardinals will have to choose between Warner and former first round pick, Matt Leinart. I can't imagine Warner has much left in the gas tank.

I think Ben Roethlisberger is a good quarterback. He's not quite a hall of famer, though. Don't you try to play this bias on me. He's a tough guy, even if he is an awkward of a runner and gets hit too much.

This won't be a high scoring game. Don't fool yourself into thinking that is the case.

My pick: Steelers 17 - Cardinals 13

Enjoy the Super Bowl!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mondays: Is this the apocalypse?

The Super Bowl match-up is finally set. Those of you who established your official Super Bowl predictions in the preseason, I laugh at you. I laugh at you a lot. This is why I never make my Super Bowl picks before the regular season starts! So take that. Enough of my soap box crap!

Arizona Cardinals 32 - Philadelphia 25- It looked like the Cardinals had this game wrapped up. However, the Eagles struck back, only to lose in the end. Eagles coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb are now 1-5 in conference championship games. Is it safe to assume that this tandem is similar to Marty Schottenheimer and Bernie Kosar in Cleveland in the 80s or Marv Levy and Jim Kelly in Buffalo in the early 90s? Just a thought!

As for the Cardinals, it's great to see a team that has stunk up the league for so many years make the Super Bowl. It shows me that parity does exist and will continue to do so as long as the league is in existence. Congrats Cardinals!

Pittsburgh Steelers 23 - Baltimore Ravens 14- First off, best wishes to Ravens running back Willis McGahee. He suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of the AFC championship game. According to PFT, he is okay.

This was a hard-nosed battle. It was also a good game. The Ravens just couldn't get it going. Quarterback Joe Flacco had three interceptions and had a QB rating of 18.2. Not a good day rushing for the Steelers. They had only one rushing first down. Willie Parker had only 47 yards rushing.

So there ya have it, we have the Steelers and the Cardinals battling it out in Tampa...In the Super Bowl.

Seriously, is this the apocalypse?

Friday, January 16, 2009

AFC Title Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Who would have thought that two division teams would battle it out for the right to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl?

These two teams know each other very well and have beaten each other up as well.

This season, the Steelers and Ravens first faced each other on Monday night in week four. The game was a battle of the defenses. However, the running game was also a factor when Le'Ron McClain ran in a 2-yard touchdown with about four minutes left in the fourth quarter to tie the game.

The game would go to overtime and the Steelers won it on a 46-yard field goal by kicker Jeff Reed. The final score was 23-20.

Game two of this season series took place in week 15. Once again, defense was a factor, except there weren't as many points scored in this game.

The only touchdown in the game came with 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a 4-yard pass to wide receiver Santonio Holmes to give the Steelers the lead and the game.

I don't know if it was a touchdown or not. It's in the past and both teams are in the playoffs. The Ravens have a shot but who knows.

I'm going bold here and picking the Ravens to win, even with the injuries. This game will be another close one.

Quick review: Philly and Baltimore win this weekend.

Here's the video evidence. Feel free to look over it again and again all weekend long. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NFC Title Preview: Philly vs. Arizona

So here we are, at another conference championship showdown. Today, it is a look at the NFC Championship Game.

Who would have thought that the Cardinals would be hosting the conference title game. This is the Cards first championship game in 60 years. Not since 1948 have they been to a title game. The previous year, the Cardinals won the NFL title at home. Both of those games were against the Eagles.

The Cardinals do have a chance to get to their first Super Bowl in team history. Is it possible? I certainly think so. They'll have the home crowd out in full force. It's weird how a couple weeks ago, the Cards were having trouble selling out the wild card game. Now is definitely different.

Instead of previewing the game and breaking it down. I think it's only reasonable that we offer a history lesson of these two teams in championship games. These two teams first faced each other in the playoffs in the 1947 NFL Championship Game.

The Cardinals won that game 28-21 in Chicago at Comiskey Park after Elmer Angsman ran for two touchdowns and 159 yards. Angsman had two 70-yard runs in that game. Meanwhile, Charlie Trippi also added two touchdowns for the Cards, including a 75-yard punt return.

For the Eagles, quarterback Tommy Thompson threw for 297 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in the game.

The 1947 championship game is in fact the only title for the Cardinals.

The 1948 title game has some historical significance. A lot of snow fell in Philly for that game. In the end, it was a 5-yard touchdown run by Steve Van Buren that made the difference as the Eagles defeated the Cardinals 7-0.

Who will win in this game? I'm picking the Eagles, even though the Cardinals are on a hot streak. Yeah the Cardinals have Kurt Warner, but I like that Jim Johnson defense over the Cardinals offense any day of the week.

I'll preview the AFC Title Game for Friday.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Mondays: And then there were only four...

I will have a championship Sunday preview for you guys later this week. For now, here's a divisional recap.

Saturday Games:

Baltimore Ravens 13 - Tennessee Titans 10- This game was just flat out sloppy. The Ravens weren't doing much on offense and the Titans kept turning over the ball. If the Titans get just one turnover, this game ends differently. Joe Flacco played smart football on Saturday. He has a chance to get this team to the Super Bowl.

Arizona Cardinals 33 - Carolina Panthers 13- The Cardinals just mauled the Panthers, which seems like a contradiction. The Panthers kept turning over the ball. No doubt, the Cardinals came ready to play.

Sunday Games:

Philadelphia Eagles 23 - New York Giants 11- This was a tough NFC East battle. The Eagles really brought it to the Giants on Sunday. The Eagles are soaring right now. They always seem to have this ability to play hard late in the season. Now, it's carrying over for the Eagles.

Pittsburgh Steelers 35 - San Diego Chargers 24- The Steelers decided to stop the San Diego train in Heinz Field. Philip Rivers still had a three touchdown day for the Chargers, but Darren Sproles was held to 15 yards rushing.

Here are the match-ups:

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals

I'll have a preview this week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Division Showdown: San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers

San Diego Chargers at Pittsburgh Steelers- 4:45 PM ET on CBS

So it's on, the Chargers go back to Pittsburgh to face those Steelers. This is a rematch from week 11 of the season, when the Steelers won a close 11-10 game. Personally, I can't see this game finishing with that score.

The Chargers appeared to be out of the playoff hunt. They were 4-8 and had nothing to look forward to. However, the Chargers won four straight games, while the Broncos collapsed, thus leading to the Chargers getting into the playoffs at 8-8. Last week, the Chargers defeated the Colts in the Wild Card round to advance on and face the Steelers.

The key in this game for the Chargers is Philip Rivers. He has really shown a lot of promise as the Chargers quarterback. Rivers had a career year in 2008, throwing for 4009 yards and 34 touchdowns. Rivers had a quiet game against the Colts, but his task will be tougher against this Steelers defense.

This of course leads me to discuss the Steelers defense as the key for Pittsburgh. The Steelers D, led by James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, were the top dogs in the NFL this season. They are ranked first in points and yards. To say that they are just very good is an insult to Steelers fans everywhere. The Steelers D is the class of the NFL. All arguments about best defense stops in Pittsburgh.

Pick: I'm picking the Steelers and here's why...As of right now, LaDainian Tomlinson is doubtful for Sunday's game. Darren Sproles is a good player, but I can't see him doing very well against that Steelers D. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger should be feeling better and connecting with Hines Ward and Heath Miller. Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore will be vital in the running game for the Steelers. The Steelers will be firing on all cylinders Sunday.

Let's recap the picks now:


Enjoy Divisional Playoff weekend.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Division Showdown: Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans- Saturday 4:30 PM ET on CBS

We now reached the AFC portion of our preview. The Ravens, the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs head on the road to face the Titans. These two faced each other in week five of the 2008 season. The Titans won a close 13-10 game. An Alge Crumpler 11-yard touchdown catch with less than two minutes left in the game made the difference for the Titans.

We could talk about the Titans defense and the Chris Johnson-LenDale White duo, but Kerry Collins brings something to this team that neither have. I of course am talking about playoff experience. Collins is money in the postseason. He led the Carolina Panthers to an NFC Title game during the '96 season. He also led the Giants to the Super Bowl during the 2000 season, losing to the Ravens. Vince Young might still be the future of this franchise, but for now Collins is calling the shots in the playoffs.

For the Ravens, we have many different avenues we can go, but we can't emphasize their defense enough. The Ravens D has finished in the top 10 for yards given up in nine out of the last 10 seasons. Also, they've finished in the top 10 for points given up in eight of the last 10 seasons.

This is a tough defense that has been raised by the likes of Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan and now Rex Ryan. All three have an impressive defensive record and are the biggest reason why the Ravens are one of the best defenses in the NFL since the late 90s.

Pick: This will most likely be another close game. However, there is no denying the Ravens are on fire right now. The Titans started the season 10-0, but went 3-3 in the final six games. The Ravens have a better defense and that will be the difference. I'm picking the Ravens.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Divisional Showdown: Eagles at Giants

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants- Sunday at 1 PM ET on FOX

So we have a divisional showdown to determine who goes on to the NFC Title game. These are two very good teams. This season, it is all about the Giants. The defending Super Bowl champions have had an excellent 2008 season. They're a terrific defense, even without Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Brandom Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw had a good year, with Jacobs and Ward both running for over 1,000 yards.

Earth, Wind and Fire (the backs not the band) are the key for the Giants. The three backs combined for 2469 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing. The key is Jacobs. He's the star of the trio. The Eagles will do everything in their power to stop them.

The Eagles were considered goners by a lot of people. Both Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid were politely asked by the Philly fans to get the hell out of town. The Eagles played excellent football down the stretch, even with a heartbreaking one-yard short loss to the Redskins, to pick up the sixth playoff spot in the NFC.

The Eagles found themselves in the playoffs after thrashing the Cowboys 44-6. Over the weekend, the Eagles knocked off the Vikings in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Now the ultimate showdown is on.

The key for the Eagles is their offense. Once again, the Eagles are a top 10 offense for this season. McNabb in fact threw for 3916 yards, a career high. He also completed 345 passes this season, also a career high. McNabb is going to Brian Westbrook early and often. Westbrook is by far the Eagles biggest threat.

One factor that also needs to be considered is the battle of teacher and pupil. I of course mean the battle between Jim Johnson (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) and Steve Spagnuolo (Giants Defensive Coordinator). These two will be ready to go at each other on Sunday.

PREDICTION: The match-up between the two is at 1-1 for this season. The Eagles won the last time these two faced each other in the playoffs. I like and have respect for both teams. This has the chance to be a great game. However, I'm picking the Giants to beat the Eagles.

Tomorrow, I start with a preview of the AFC games.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Division Showdowns: Arizona at Carolina

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers- Saturday 8:15 PM ET on FOX

These two teams squared off in week 8 of the 2008 season. In that game, the Cardinals jumped out to a 17-3 lead. However, the Panthers would put up 21 points in the third quarter, as well as a field goal in the fourth quarter, to defeat the Cardinals 27-23.

Kurt Warner and his trio of receivers (Boldin, Fitzgerald and Breaston) dominated the passing attack for the Cardinals. Warner threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns. The Panthers never gave up more passing yards then in the game against the Cardinals.

It seems unlikely that the Cards will have the same kind of success. It seems harder knowing that the Panthers will focus much of their defense on the passing attack. However, the Falcons couldn't stop the Cardinals, so anything is possible.

The key for the Panthers is the running game. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are a true 1-2 combo punch. Williams and Stewart represent 2351 of the 2437 rushing yards for the Panthers this season. The Panthers ran for 30 touchdowns this season, best in the NFL.

The Cardinals are in the middle of the pack when it comes to giving up rushing yards. However, the Cardinals managed to shut down the Michael Turner attack, holding him to only 42 yards.

My Pick: The Cardinals have had their great deal of road woes this season. They're 3-5 on the road. So I don't think they could pull it off. I'm picking the Panthers.

Tomorrow, I'll profile the NFC match-up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Mondays: Chargers, Cardinals, Ravens and Eagles advance to the divisional round

Arizona Cardinals 30 - Atlanta Falcons 24- The Cardinals made light work of the Falcons. The Cards were able to shut down both Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Turner was held to only 42 yards rushing. The Cardinals will now head to Carolina to play the Panthers.

San Diego Chargers 23 - Indianapolis Colts 17- The Chargers seem to have the Colts number in the playoffs. Darren Sproles and Philip Rivers had fantastic games. The Chargers now head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.

Baltimore Ravens 27 - Miami Dolphins 9- The Ravens are a good team. The Titans should really watch out. The Ravens defense torched the Dolphins, giving up only 276 net yards, 52 of them rushing. It will be a tough task, but the Ravens do have a shot against the Titans. I'll have a preview of all games this week.

Philadelphia Eagles 26 - Minnesota Vikings 14- Experience beats out new hotness in this battle. The Jim Johnson defense held Adrian Peterson to 83 yards, but gave up two touchdowns in the process. However, if you take away the 40-yard touchdown run, Peterson has only 43 yards on 19 carries. The Eagles didn't play their best on Sunday, but they did enough to stop the Vikings. They will now face the Giants in what should be an epic showdown.

As I mentioned above, I will preview all four divisional games.

Enjoy your Monday!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Briefs: Wild Card Picks

Atlanta over Arizona

Indy over San Diego

Miami over Baltimore

Philly over Minnesota

See ya Monday with a full recap of the wild card weekend.