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BlindSite 01-06-2009 03:23 AM

Wildcard Week Breakdown
 
Wild Card Breakdown

Atlanta Falcons vs Arizona Cardinals
It was a little sad to see the Falcons story book season come to a close in Arizona but one has to respect the style in which they went down. Turner, White and Ryan weren’t prefect but they fought hard, and for a young team with so many real weaknesses to push Arizona as far as they did is truly an achievement.

The Cardinals played well using their run game to good effect with the old War Horse Edgerrin James leading the charge. Fitzgerald was again dominant but one has to wonder how much the injury to Anquan Boldin will affect the team’s chances next week against the Carolina Panthers.

The Cardinals realistically didn’t show themselves to be that different of a team as they were in the regular season, now that the postseason has arrived. Their offense still runs through Warner and Fitzgerald and despite a great performance by James, the running game isn’t that huge of a factor in their game plan. Realistically speaking the Cardinals are a very beatable lineup that is far to dependant on one man’s right arm for my liking. I could be wrong, its happened before that primarily passing teams have made some noise in the playoffs, and it’s hard to count out such a well groomed and experienced quarterback, but I just can’t see the Cardinals as being good enough to reach the big one.

On the other hand, in the NFL and in the playoffs travelling to the coast where they’re currently 0-6 and facing a team that has never lost to an opponent who registered 250+ yards passing in their second meeting, who also leads the current series with 6 consecutive wins is a recipe for breaking tradition. The match up seems pretty stacked in Carolina’s favor and the Cardinals should be stinking of just enough desperation to pull it out.

Indianapolis Colts vs San Diego Chargers
At the beginning of the post season this game looked like an almost sure win for the Colts. NFL MVP Peyton Manning shouldn’t have much trouble backed by his 11th ranked defense taking on a lowly 8-8 team who played in one of the NFL’s easiest divisions. I guess that’s why the games are played. The Colts killed themselves with Penalties in the second half and failed to provide an answer for San Diego’s Darren Sproles.

Sproles has made himself a lot of money in the coming offseason by coming out from Tomlinson’s shadow to show he really can be an effective runner in the NFL. San Diego will head to Pittsburgh for the Divisional round of the playoffs, in what looks to be yet another game that will come down to discipline and the running game as the Chargers host an opportunistic defense, top flight quarterback and solid special teams units and the Steelers one of the NFL’s best defenses.

Baltimore Ravens vs Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins were simply outclassed in this battle and Harbaugh deserves much of the credit for having his team fired up and ready to play. The Ravens defense is extremely impressive and while it doesn’t exactly have a standout amazing one position that gets the job done like Tennessee’s defensive line or the Steelers’ linebackers, the whole unit just seems to work. Furthermore, they found ways to stop the wild cat offense and shut down some very explosive playmakers in Brown, Cobbs and Ginn.

LeRon McClain has been a revelation at tailback and Willis McGahee is a perfect complement to his thunderous style. Between the two backs it doesn’t seem like Flacco is going to have to do much to win games. The Titans defense he’ll face next week however is very different to the Miami Dolphins, young unit. The Titans will be much more adept rushing the passer and their secondary is far superior.

I like the Ravens as a complete unit and although there are some areas that need improvement I think they’ll be a competitive, if a little lacking foe for the Titans. With Flacco’s inexperience and a lack of exterior weaponry I think Tennessee will just be too tough for the Ravens to defeat.

That being said, it won’t be easy for either team and I expect a defensive battle to turn on a popped play or blown assignment.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Minnesota Vikings
Neither team was really impressive, both teams made stupid mistakes at times and committed ill-advised penalties and it was really the special team’s units that made the difference. Adrian Peterson turned in a solid performance and Tavaris Jackson wasn’t detrimental to the Vikings chances, but the special teams units allowed far too much yardage when punting and it put pressure on their weakened defense time and time again.

The Vikings D turned in a solid show holding the Philly offense to a lot of three and outs and field goals when playing on a short field, but they eventually died a death of a thousand cuts.

Facing the NFC leaders, New York next week won’t be an easy task for the Eagles, the pass rushing abilities of the Giants far outstrip the Vikings. The Giants running game, which with all do respect to Adrian Peterson is the best in the NFL features at least two backs capable of putting up big yardage. After Taylor chipped in with 84 yards and Peterson was damaging with his carries, it hard to see the Eagles slowing down the Giants offense too much even without Plaxico.

Realistically this one comes down to Buckhalter and Westbrook, the two running backs have to set a foundation from which McNabb can explore the Giants secondary. I like the Eagles if Buckhalter gets clicking and Westbrook gets effective touches early. In any event I like this match up to be the most competitive of the divisional round.

Tidbits

Not enough is being said about the efforts of new Head Coaches making the playoffs. Mike Smith, Harbaugh, and Sparano have done impressive jobs turning teams around this ought to be recognised.

The cardinals essentially won on two plays over 40 yards and a FF recovery.

McNabb is still reportedly unhappy with his coaching staff and has unresolved contractual issues.

The Cardinals are 05 on the road against teams not in the NFC West, of those teams only two made it to the postseason (Jets, Carolina, New England, Philly, Redskins)

Questions were raised during the coverage of the Falcons / Cardinals over the arizona defense consistently being offside on defense.

In the second half of the game Adrian Peterson had 17 yards rushing.

The last wildcard NFC East team to play another NFC East team in the playoffs won the superbowl.

The Ravens forced 5 turnovers from a team that had 13 all season.

The Dolphins had 52 yards rushing

The Colts defense took 3 penalties on the Chargers final drive. Racka Disaprine

All six of Sciefres punts pinned the Colts in their own 20.







Gay Ork Wang 01-06-2009 04:22 AM

Minnesota Rushing vs. Philadelphia on Sunday
Adrian Peterson:
2 yards or less : 12
3-6 yards : 7
7 or more yards : 1*
*40-yard touchdown

BlindSite 01-06-2009 04:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by *** Ork Wang (Post 1410534)
Minnesota Rushing vs. Philadelphia on Sunday
Adrian Peterson:
2 yards or less : 12
3-6 yards : 7
7 or more yards : 1*
*40-yard touchdown

I didn't think his breakdown was either that bad, or the eagles defense was that good.

I'll say this though their (Philly) linebackers are the most disciplined I've seen in a very, very long time.

Woody56 01-06-2009 06:28 AM

ravens are playing tennessee, not pittsburgh

hockey619 01-06-2009 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlindSite (Post 1410517)
Wild Card Breakdown

Questions were raised during the coverage of the Falcons / Cardinals over the arizona defense consistently being offside on defense.

[/i]


This was bothering me the entire time I watched the game. They were consistently offsides or close to it on every single play. Either they had the snap count figured out or something but it was rediculous to watch. I feel like there should have been more penalties against them for it but there werent and it definitely had a big impact on the game.

bigbluedefense 01-06-2009 08:47 AM

I think the winner of the SD/Pitt game goes to the SB out of the AFC.

Jughead10 01-06-2009 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlindSite (Post 1410517)
Facing the NFC leaders, New York next week won’t be an easy task for the Eagles, the pass rushing abilities of the Giants far outstrip the Vikings. The Giants running game, which with all do respect to Adrian Peterson is the best in the NFL features at least two backs capable of putting up big yardage. After Taylor chipped in with 84 yards and Peterson was damaging with his carries, it hard to see the Eagles slowing down the Giants offense too much even without Plaxico.

Expect to see more Ahmad Bradshaw than Ward. They have been saving him for the playoffs. At least that is my guess.

A big thing to me is also special teams. Our special teams are not putrid like that Vikings. Our kick off coverage is below average, but Jackson killed the Vikings on punt returns. That won't happen against us. If Feagles let's Jackson get one returnable ball, that's a lot.

Number 10 01-06-2009 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jughead10 (Post 1410677)
Expect to see more Ahmad Bradshaw than Ward. They have been saving him for the playoffs. At least that is my guess.

A big thing to me is also special teams. Our special teams are not putrid like that Vikings. Our kick off coverage is below average, but Jackson killed the Vikings on punt returns. That won't happen against us. If Feagles let's Jackson get one returnable ball, that's a lot.

Nooo No No. It is going to be a steady dose of Jacobs and Ward. If Bradshaw gets involved, he'll get 4-5 carries.

iBoldin 01-06-2009 10:21 AM

We didn't "essentially" win on those plays. You seem to have some sort of a hate on for the Cardinals because they won there division. For some reason, all of your paragraphs in your "breakdown" of the game had at least one jab of the team, or one starring how the Panthers are going to beat the Cardinals.

I'll comment more on the game when I have time later today, but I thought I'd point that out.

nrk 01-06-2009 01:55 PM

Chargers plays Pitt not Tennessee, Baltimore plays Tennessee.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Woody56 (Post 1410565)
ravens are playing tennessee, not pittsburgh

Beat me to it.

BlindSite 01-06-2009 02:44 PM

Your team simply isn't that good. As I pointed out Arizona hasn't eyet shown they can travel and win, they only just managed to beat Atlanta, after the Falcons turned in one of their worst performances I've seen from them all year and Fitzgerald made a circus catch between double coverage, Boldin broke 3 tackles and Turner / Ryan had a break down that lead to a fumble

The passage about Carolina being the favored team is true, and realistically, in fairness. I also mentioned that they shouldn't be counted out and that history means about as much as this post will come kick off time.

Quote:

Originally Posted by iBoldin (Post 1410698)
We didn't "essentially" win on those plays. You seem to have some sort of a hate on for the Cardinals because they won there division. For some reason, all of your paragraphs in your "breakdown" of the game had at least one jab of the team, or one starring how the Panthers are going to beat the Cardinals.

I'll comment more on the game when I have time later today, but I thought I'd point that out.


iBoldin 01-06-2009 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlindSite (Post 1411144)
Your team simply isn't that good. As I pointed out Arizona hasn't eyet shown they can travel and win, they only just managed to beat Atlanta, after the Falcons turned in one of their worst performances I've seen from them all year and Fitzgerald made a circus catch between double coverage, Boldin broke 3 tackles and Turner / Ryan had a break down that lead to a fumble

The passage about Carolina being the favored team is true, and realistically, in fairness. I also mentioned that they shouldn't be counted out and that history means about as much as this post will come kick off time.

Basically all of America thought that the Cardinals weren't good when about 80% of them chose Atlanta. Obviously we proved them wrong.

You can say that if you take so and so plays away from this team, or such and such run from this running back, but in reality, it still happened, whether you like it or not. We came out with plays that would play into the weakness of Atlanta, which was the pass defense. How is it our fault if we can run a flea flicker, have Kurt Warner beautifully protected, and Larry Fitzgerald make an amazing catch in double coverage?

Don't be so quick to rule Arizona out of this game, either. We did give up a lead last time in Carolina, but we showed we are capable of beating you. Besides the New York and New England road games, we either won or were in all of our games.

Your knocking of Arizona for beating a team in the playoffs is unfounded.

CC.SD 01-06-2009 04:41 PM

I usually like your thoughts Blindsite, but I'm going to have to constructively disagree with your brushing off of the Cardinals as well. Their biggest weaknesses were running game and horrible D, and both of them showed up big time last week against a Falcons team that had everything going for it.

I'm not saying the Panthers will lose, they're too solid. But you can't underestimate the Cardinals, everyone has to be taken seriously in the playoffs. You especially can't underestimate Kurt Warner.

BlindSite 01-07-2009 03:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iBoldin (Post 1411413)
Basically all of America thought that the Cardinals weren't good when about 80% of them chose Atlanta. Obviously we proved them wrong.

You can say that if you take so and so plays away from this team, or such and such run from this running back, but in reality, it still happened, whether you like it or not. We came out with plays that would play into the weakness of Atlanta, which was the pass defense. How is it our fault if we can run a flea flicker, have Kurt Warner beautifully protected, and Larry Fitzgerald make an amazing catch in double coverage?

Don't be so quick to rule Arizona out of this game, either. We did give up a lead last time in Carolina, but we showed we are capable of beating you. Besides the New York and New England road games, we either won or were in all of our games.

Your knocking of Arizona for beating a team in the playoffs is unfounded.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CC.SD (Post 1411434)
I usually like your thoughts Blindsite, but I'm going to have to constructively disagree with your brushing off of the Cardinals as well. Their biggest weaknesses were running game and horrible D, and both of them showed up big time last week against a Falcons team that had everything going for it.

I'm not saying the Panthers will lose, they're too solid. But you can't underestimate the Cardinals, everyone has to be taken seriously in the playoffs. You especially can't underestimate Kurt Warner.

I haven't written off the cardinals and I actually overtly stated that.

I also didn't say that you should discuss things by saying "take away this play and that play" in fact, I never do that. However, its not a sign of dominance when it takes some big plays and some freakish luck to turn a game.

As for the defense, yes the Cardinals defense came up big, and I'm not going to mention the big issues with the defensive offside non-calls, but I'm just pointing out the Cardinals don't travel well, and I think they're a team, similar to the Colts that needs to play at home to be successful in the playoffs.

I like Warner a lot and his pedigree and connection with fitz cannot be ignored, but based on history, statistics and what I've seen this year the odds are stacked against them, and that's the point I was trying to make.

ironman4579 01-07-2009 04:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hockey619 (Post 1410587)
This was bothering me the entire time I watched the game. They were consistently offsides or close to it on every single play. Either they had the snap count figured out or something but it was rediculous to watch. I feel like there should have been more penalties against them for it but there werent and it definitely had a big impact on the game.

Berry was on Moving the Chains on Sirius NFL radio the other day, and he was saying that Ryan went on one basically every snap.

BlindSite 01-08-2009 03:11 AM

Carolina had that problem when Henning ran the offense and in a few games it was definitely noticeable. Apparently its not that uncommon with young QBs. If that's the case, it definitely explains it.


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