Saturday, January 21, 2012

So I Talk To My NFL Diary (Championship Round)

"Bobbin' and weavin' and let the good get even
C'mon down and welcome to the terrordome."

Saturday, 11:18: Man I thought I was pumped up last week. Haha, it's time to get back to that Super Bowl boys! Seriously, we are feeling it up here for two reasons. 1.) There are few teams left that we have not got vengeance on, and those would be the Ravens and the G-Men...that alone is enough right there, but then there's the fact that 2.) this team, despite having bad D stats and all that good stuff, has been on fire for the past wo months, and it could be argued that the current offense is even better than the one we had in 2007.

The Ravens have shown that they have a formidable defense. That's pretty much the most obvious observation you can make about this team, but let's face it, they are the only chance for the Ravens tomorrow. They are going to need all on them to stop the offensive freight train that we have been pummeling opponents with for the last three months. Clearly the focus will continue to be up the middle of the field for the offense. Ed Reed, who is one of the best safeties in the history of the game (Bill refers to him as "the greatest free safety in the history of the league"), but his game is really based on deflecting/catching the deep ball, something the Pats do not nearly as much as they did in the last playoff encounter, or really for the entire decade of dominance. Instead, short passes have burned opposing D's, and if one or two of the members of WHONK is getting doubled, you're going to get burned by the others.

I was watching "AFC Playbook" on NFL Network this morning, because I was pretty sure the Pats game was going to be focused on big time being as it's the only AFC game left this year. Anyway, they ran an interesting piece about the effect that Ray Rice could potentially have. It's no secret that he is their biggest weapon, and in the last two meetings, he's had over 100 yards on the ground. Knowing our "bend, don't break" defensive philosophy, Rice could be close to that in this game, but what was shown was the Pats' ability to limit his yards catching balls out of the backfield. By having Brandon Spikes and Patrick Chung back, we have means for stopping the flow over the middle. They aren't all-pros (yet), but it cannot be emphasized how much they both mean to this D.

I understand Baltimore's got a great team, but I'm taking my chances making Joe Flacco try and beat us, because ultimately, he's going to have to try and keep pace with the Pats' scoring. We likely won't get 45 like last week, but I'll be stunned if we're not right around 25-30 at least, even against such a good defense. What tends to get overlooked when people talk about the divisional playoff game when we got blown out was that Wes got hurt in the final game of the year, and the starting receivers that day were Moss, Edelman, and Sam Aiken. Nothing against those guys, but the lineup of Welker, Gronk, Hernandez, Branch, and the Ocho (yes, that guy) puts them to absolute shame. All I see is an offense that is firing on all cylinders and a defense that is looking to prove themselves, mostly in terms of shutting Rice down.

New England (-7) vs. Baltimore: I will say this: Flacco has a tremendous record in road playoff games (4-1 in non-Pittsburgh games, who he's lost to twice at Heinz), but played fairly shitty in basically all of them (with their blowout of the Chiefs being the exception). He's going to need a monster game ti pull this off, but again, the Ravens have never played against all these weapons,mand while they will put pressure on Tom, he has too many checkdowns up the middlenfor that to work like it has in the past.

The G-MEN (+3) vs. San Fran: I'm not even getting into the stats of it, but more like attempting to reach back to the past to find the answers to this game. So the Niners are coming off a game that was eerily similar to the T.O. catch game (i.e. The Catch II), right down to the crying part. In '98 when that happened, the Niners lost their next game. The G-Men are looking like the road warriors that they were in '07, where they of course won the whole thing. I'll give the Niners all the credit in the world if they can somehow pull this one out because I don't know how they would have anything left after that game last week (in all honesty, the Niners/Saints game is up there with The Music City Miracle and Pats/Panthers in terms of the greatest playoff game I've ever seen).

Alright guys, time to get this party started! Haha, I'm actually finishing this up on Sunday morning (sorry about not time-stamping's 11:00 if you must know), so the excitement is really at a fever pitch right now. I'm pumped. Let's do this. GO PATS!!! Peace.


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