Friday, January 20, 2012

Conference Championship Weekend

So last week I went 3-1 and should have gone with my gut feeling that NY was going to take down GB. I was really happy with how things turned out last week.

Looking at the Ravens game I know a lot of attention has been turned on how bad our offense looked. In addition to that Flacco has taken a TON of criticism this past week. Heck he has taken flak all season. Look Flacco is a good QB, has he been inconsistent this season? Yes. All QB's have had a down season. With that said he has still quarterbacked this team into the playoffs 4 straight years and for 2 of those years we were 1 game away from the superbowl. I'll definitely take that over what we had before. We were never getting that from Boller or the should have been retired McNair. Look at the film from this past game in Houston and if anyone should get the criticism our O line and receivers should get some of that heat. Houstons front 4 pushed through our line like it was nothing. To the point we had linemen knees bent hands up to block and the guys they went to block already had Flacco on the ground. They need to step up this week. Again looking back at the film our receivers had NO separation from Houstons defenders so Flacco had to throw in other places to try and make a play. I for one am not putting everything on Flacco's shoulder's for the lack of production last week or for the season in whole. The receivers have had their share of drops this season. I also want to add that the Ravens struggles last week are also contributed to the fact that they played a very good Texans team and nothing should be taken away from their performance. In fact if they had Schaub we probably wouldn't be talking about the Ravens/Patriots game.

Now looking forward to this weeks games:

Ravens @ NE

  • Comparing the 2 teams.
    • QB: NE gets the advantage with Brady being the more polished and talented QB
    • RB: Baltimore with both Rice and Williams have the better backfield
    • O Line: Ravens right side struggled last week. I'm going to say they're even with Baltimore having a very slight edge. Both QB's have been sacked 31 times this year.
    • TE: Both teams have 2 very capable TE's a piece, although the Patriots TE's have been used more and are bigger threats. Edge goes to the Patriots
    • WR: As it stands right now I'm giving the edge to the Patriots. If Lee Evans was producing I would say it's a push, but he hasn't given anything so far. He had an amazing catch last game so here's hoping he does something this week. Patriots have Branch, Welker, and Edelman while the Ravens have Boldin, Smith, and Evans
    • Offense as a whole: You have to say that the Patriots and their pass game get the edge but the Ravens threat with the running game keeps the 2 close
    • Defense: I'm just going to save time and say that the Ravens not only have the edge when it comes to defense but it's not even close. The talent and production the Ravens defense lines up with is something that is not comparable when you look at the Patriots D which is ranked 31st out of 32 teams against the pass this season.
  • Another note with the Patriots D and it's something I have heard from a lot of Patriot fans on their local sports station was that they have given up a lot of yards but only average 17 points a game. Now you can say yeah that stat is a little skewed but you give a team like the Ravens and they will move the ball enough in the air and on the ground to eat up game clock. Doing that you're keeping Brady and their offense off the field. Want to see an example of this? Look at what the Steelers did to them earlier this year. That's what I expect to see this Sunday with the Ravens.
  • Ravens will eat up game clock and will keep the Patriots offense off the field enough to not be a factor. You look at Brady's stats against the Ravens defense and there is no other team that has played worst against than our very own Ravens.
  • Ravens win and move on to "Festivus Maximus" winning 24-20
  • Let me add here because it appears weather may be moving into the area this weekend up in Mass. If that's the case I am definitely giving the Ravens and their running game the edge.
  • I can't wait to see this game as well. 2 great games this week.
  • SF's QB Smith had a great game last week but there's no sense in getting carried away and start comparing him to the likes of Brady, Manning, Brees, and Rodgers. He had a good game but he needs more than one game like he just had to make me think he's anything other than a game managing QB.
  • Weather also may play a factor here as rain is predicted. Which may favor the 49ers and their run game.
  • Manning has been playing great for the Giants and has proven in my opinion that he is one of the top QB's in the league. Up there close to his brother.
  • Giants defense now that they are healthy are playing great and are right there with the 49ers and their defense.
  • Since both have great D's I'm giving the edge to the better QB in the Giants. Again if it rains that could change if the 49ers have success running the ball.
  • Giants win 20-16 setting up a rematch of the Ravens first SB trip.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Division Round NFL Picks

This has got to be the best time of the year. NFL playoffs are in full swing and MLB trades, signings, etc are going on. Not that the Orioles are doing anything other than sign Minor League talent. The only thing that would make this time of year better in the sports world would have been if the NBA was still locked out.

Let's look at the games this week.

Denver @ NE

  • Denver was surprising last week but Pittsburgh has been beat up all season and it continued last week losing Hampton and Keisel. A healthy Steelers team takes this Bronco team down, but any given Sunday right?
  • Usually I wouldn't even hesitate to pick the Patriots but their Defense is just not the Patriots Defense of years past. Not only with the amount of yards they allow but the amount of 3rd down conversions allowed isn't good at all.  Anytime you don't shut down drives and get off the field any team has a chance to take you down.
  • With that said I just don't see Denver moving past the Patriots. I think NE will give up yards and even somewhere around 21 points, but Brady and that Offense should put up more.
  • NE wins 34-21
Houston @ Baltimore
  • This will be Houston's second trip to Charm City this season and I'm afraid to inform Houston fans this one is going to end the same way. With the Texans flying back to Texas with their heads hung low.
  • Cincy went into Houston last week and showed they were a young Defense. They weren't disciplined at all against the Texans Zone blocking scheme they use with their run game. It's similar to what the Ravens use when handing off to Ray Rice and he racked up 191 yards on the ground against the Bengals in the last regular season game.
  • Baltimore will be more disciplined against the run as they have the veteran presence to do so.
  • When these teams met last time Houston didn't have receiver Andre Johnson or LB Mario Williams.
  • If Schaub was playing I would be a little more worried about their offensive attack. However with this being the Texans first playoff trip EVER and going with 3rd string QB TJ Yates I think the Ravens D will give him trouble.
  • Last game Baltimore held Foster to only 49 yards on the ground.
  • Baltimore WINS 24-17
  • This time around the G men have their main guys on defense healthy and starting.
  • Last game in NY the Packers won with a FG with :58 seconds on the clock.
  • This time around I'm thinking it's going to be close again and REALLY want to pick the Giants. I want to and am tempted to but I'm going with GB 27-24. I hope I'm wrong though.
  • NO hasn't played well outside of the Bayou. On the road they have struggled and even went to StL and lost to the Rams and that was in a dome. Which the Saints thrive in.
  • SF has the defense but their Offense isn't anything to write home about.
  • However I like SF 21-19
I know I didn't go into much depth with the NFC games. Can't help it the AFC is going to take it all this year anyway.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Wild, Wild Card Round

Alright let me start by saying how disappointed I am that I missed every single game this past weekend. We moved and Directv gave us some incorrect info and we didn't have tv until Wednesday.  I had to follow the Steelers game on my phone which pretty much was watching little arrows move across my screen. Speaking of the Steelers game that was the only game that threw me off this past weekend.

Here's a quick look at my picks from last weekend:

Houston over Cincy     CORRECT
Pitt over Denver     WRONG
NO over Detroit     CORRECT
NYG over Atlanta     CORRECT

Looking ahead to this weeks games, I'm pretty excited to see what transpires.  Some pretty good match-up's this week. Coming up I'll give my insight on those games so keep an eye out.

Houston is coming to Bmore and I'm pretty excited how the path to Indy is working out for the Ravens.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Still here...and maybe some picks too...

Alright so I missed last weeks picks. It's been crazy running around with all the Holiday stuff for Chirstmas and new Years. Which by the way I wasn't able to celebrate New Years this year due to having strep throat and getting hit with a high fever around 9pm NYE. Great way to ring in the new year, sleeping. Then you throw in us getting prepared for moving back into our old house this weekend. With this economy and our old house not selling as fast as we thought it would have we have to move back. I mean who would have thought that a nice house fairly new listed way under other comparable homes on the market wouldn't move in 2+ years. Oh well, let's see what the new year brings. Maybe a buyer? Hopefully.

Anyway with everything going on I couldn't get things together in order to pick games. So I just sat back and watched as the Ravens did Bmore proud and brought home the # 2 spot in the AFC and the Division title. Looking back I really wish we had our act together and won the games we should have on the road, but we didn't fair too badly coming in 2nd in the conference, sweeping our division for the first time in team history, and our 3rd Division title. I can't tell how relieved I am that we have a bye week and home game to start our SB run. Looking over the roster and who is practicing so far this week I'm really liking what may unfold this year. Those that were injured and missed the last game of the season are on the field practicing and we are going into our first game in the playoff's totally healthy. Alright well as healthy as a team can be after playing an entire season. you still have some guys with nagging injuries to toes and such but nothing keeping anyone off the field. More importantly nothing keeping any of our starters off the field.

While we're at it let's look at this week's games shall we.

Cincy @ Houston

  • The last time the Texans have won was almost a month ago against the Bengals. Since then they have lost to the Panthers, Colts, and Titans.
  • The Bengals since that loss to the Texans have gone 2-1. The loss came last week to the Ravens. The 2 wins came against the Rams and Cardinals, so take that for whatever.
  • I think due to injuries the Bengals look to have the advantage here. Although with another week of practice can Delhomme put together a good game? If Yates is playing he's seen this Bengals team once.
  • One thing that made me shake my head was hearing that knowing Houston is closing the roof this week, Cincy is still practicing outside. Wouldn't be a big deal other than it was in the 30's and you'd rather have your guys out in the cold rather than prepare for the environment you're going into? Univ of Cincy isn't far and you have the ability to use their bubble for $5000 and use choose not too and have your guys freeze. That's cheap! Even Dan Snyder wouldn't have his guys inside.
  • Close game but I'm going Houston squeaking by and heading to Baltimore in the Division round.

Pittsburgh @ Denver
  • Want to know what my hope is here? I don't have to I'm sure you already know.
  • Both are beat up and in key areas on both sides
  • Ben's hobbling around which is also affecting his downfield passes.
  • Flip side of that Tebow can get the ball downfield but the problem is you NEVER know where it's going. Is it going to hit the receiver in stride or the guy in the third row back holding up some goofy sign just to get on TV?
  • As much as I'd like to pick the Broncos because that's my hope. I just can't. The Steelers are the better team even with a gimpy Ben. Which by the way I not of the same mind set as many opinions I've heard that they are better with Ben even if he's at 50%. Really? Batch is no where close to a 50% Roethlisbeger? Why is he on the team?

Detroit @ NO
  • The last time these 2 met NO won 31-17 in NO
  • Something I found interesting was these 2 teams have never met in the playoffs. In 44 years these 2 have never met in the post season. Although that's how long it's been since the Lions have had a winning season, alright sorry I couldn't resist.
  • Two teams I don't really care for. Nothing close to how I feel about the Steelers. Just when the 2 are mentioned it's more of a ehh, next.
  • I was pulling for Schwartz and the Lions early on. Especially since he's a Maryland guy, but after seeing a different side of him this season and the whole mess with Suh I've changed my view.
  • The Saints kinda wore out their welcome with me the year they won the SB. It may make me a terrible person but with them CONSTANTLY using the whole Katrina disaster to paint "them" (a sports team) in this heavenly portrait. Katrina was devastating, but plastering the 2 together EVERY second was too much. Sports are to be a release from tragedy and everyday crap. Focus on the game and that's it. Sorry just my opinion.
  • That aside I think NO is the better team and should win this week. NO has their running game going and combine that with their air attack they stay on top of the Lions

Atlanta @ NYG

  • Both teams scratched their way through the season and found themselves in the playoffs.
  • Weather shouldn't be brutal but you take any of those dome teams from the South and put them outside in January I'm always leery on picking the dome team to win.
  • Another game where 2 teams with a good deal of history have never met in the postseason.
  • I'm liking the Giants D and Eli controlling the Offense than I do the Falcons and Ryan.
  • Giants move on.