Saturday, January 15, 2011

NFL Divisional Playoffs Preview

Baltimore at Pittsburgh--Sat. 4:30P

Back in the days of the Steeler dynasty, when they won 4 out of 6 Super Bowls, they were almost unstoppable. 1975 was the first year they won it and after many years of being lousy, we were happy for them. But after the second title, they ceased to be an underdog feel good story. Since those days, I have never really been a Steeler fan.

And....I don't much like Baltimore either. But there is one thing this game will definitely be, a hard hitting old-style physical football game. Both teams are mirror images of each other.

They both like to run & pound the ball at you offensively, with smart and well-selected passing off of the run. Defensively, they like to intimidate opponents and hit receivers very hard. Both, stop the run well and both, can make big plays on either side of the ball.

Pick: Can't

Green Bay at Atlanta--Sat. 8:00P

This will be the most interesting game of the day and is also a bit of a question mark.

Can Aaron Rodger back up his performance last weekend?

Can Atlanta stand the spotlight of the big stage?

When Green Bay plays well, they are tough to beat. Ask the Pats, they were having more trouble with the Packers than almost any other team, without actually losing. To shake the Philip Rivers syndrome (based on success, rather than attitude: in the latter case, Rivers wins it hands down), he must have another "game of his life". He must direct and engineer a win against a worthy opponent.

One of two truly consistent and balanced teams in the NFL, Atlanta has been able to slip in under the radar. The media hasn't covered them with any real enthusiasm. It's been all AFC, with much of it because of the Jets and their mouths.

If they play like they have played all year, they stand the better chance of winning this ball game. If they get nervous under the lights, in the big tent, they could find themselves exiting. I think this is Matt Ryan and Company's chance to assert themselves as the heir to the Patriots of this past decade. They have to mix the run with the pass evenly and stop the Packers offense from getting into the end zone.

They have to win this one. Anything less than a win this weekend would remind us of the Braves.

Pick: I am going out on a limb here, and picking Atlanta.

Seattle at Chicago--Sun. 1:00P

Everyone loves a Cinderella story. It makes people happy.

Seattle is this season's installment of the rag tag little lady, who has no business dancing with society's upper crust. People are happy, especially the sports media who are not assigned to cover the Jets and whatever asinine statements one of them may make, over the course of the week's hype.

But a team with a losing record going into Soldier Field in January, cannot really expect to have much success against the Bears. Can they?

Carroll is a great coach on paper, he knows his Xs and Os. If you think the Seahawk players can play with the same intensity and can execute like they did against the Saints, you are damned right they can win this game.

The question is, do they have the talent? Can they go on the road in a cold cold stadium and implement what promises to be the better game plan.... against a Chicago team that has some vulnerable spots?

If they studied the Patriots game on film, they will know what to do. If they do what Carroll and his staff have drawn up, I think they can win it.

Pick: Way out on a limb here--- Seattle.

New York Jets at New England--Sun. 4:30P

The Patriots are the most complete team in the AFC and will need to be knocked off in the friendly confines of Foxboro, in January. Not many teams can claim that distinction. And I doubt that the mouthy Jets can do it.

The media will hype this into this big showdown between two elite teams. But I think the overrated Jets are going to see more of what they got last time they played.

NY barely beat the banged up Colts' and their second and third stringers. How can anyone really think they can challenge a well oiled machine?

The only chance the Jesters have is if Tom Brady falls on ice before the game or aliens abduct him. In this case, they would have a small chance of eking out a close victory.....maybe. All categories favor the Pats and I expect them to be ready to send these blowhards packing, all the way back to the Big Apple with their pride hurt and their tails between their legs.

I am tired of hearing about swagger and confidence. Any team that has to mentally motivate themselves by making unprofessional statements to the media is not that good of a team. In this league, legends are not made in the minds of the coaches or the players. They are made on the field, where the media cannot spin it.

New England has been this past decade's dynasty and a worthy rivalry of the Colts, over the course of this time. This puts them in the category of the 49ers of the 80s, the Steelers of the 70s, and the Packers of the 60s. I expect to see at least one more good run for a title this year.

Pick: New England


A.C. McCloud said...

Tossed a coin and Pittsburgh won. Will take da Bears, New England and Atlanta. How's that for bravery?

LASunsett said...

Your coin was right.

LASunsett said...

Looks like Atlanta is not ready for the big time yet.

Rocket said...

Green Bay. Stayed up to 5:30 am it was such a pleasure watching this game

LASunsett said...

Rocket, I may have to retract my ambivalence towards Rodgers after watching him pick apart what is a pretty decent defense. But I think Atlanta may need another D-Coordinator. They didn;t look like they had any real adjustments and their preparation was extremely poor.

I have seen the Falcons play a couple of times this year and this was not the same team. But then again, it could just be Green Bay is now peaking at the right time.

Rocket said...

I am beginning to believe that ANY given team can decompose on any given Sunday or Sat.

Look at Baltimore yesterday

Rogers was throwing off balance all night, throwing against the grain and threading the needle. Will have to wait until next week to see if he confirms. Remember what they said about Brees who I still feel was lucky to win SB last year, like the Giants the year before.

LASunsett said...


AND.....any team can get into a rhythm on any given day. Who would have thought the Browns would beat the Pats?

One game. Matchups were good, and they played their heart out. I also remember in the days of the 70s Steelers, Cincinnati (usually a 2-3 win team at the time) would give them fits. One year, I even think they swept them.

A.C. McCloud said...

Well, 2 out of 3 so far ain't bad. But the Pats are looking shaky..

LASunsett said...

I haven't picked one right, this weekend.

Rocket said...

Like I said.

On any given Sunday

A.C. McCloud said...

This is why I don't gamble.

LASunsett said...

I only play the slots. And...I always set an acceptable loss level and quit when it is reached. I won a few bucks in Tunica 12-13 years ago when I was there. Grand that place.