Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wild Card weekend, v2

Thoughts from two forgettable games...

Balt @ Miami
I'm a Ravens super-fan, so I follow this team pretty closely. Classic performance by them, in both good and bad ways. The Ravens this season are known for dominating defense, and then for letting down late in the game. Tennessee, 2nd Pittsburgh game, Dallas, now Miami...those are just the most obvious examples.

But man, they were just relentless defensively. They hit and hit and hit and made the Dolphins offense really not want to touch the ball until they finally found some life in the fourth quarter. The big difference between the '08 Ravens and previous versions is that this team actually has an offense to help them finish off games like these. The Phins start to get a little life, the earlier Ravens would have had to man up on defense and hold them. This version punched the ball into the end zone to finish it off.

That's a derivative of the play calling. Flacco is a solid QB, but he's still a rookie, and it showed today. Bad passing day, sure. He stayed composed, made only one big mistake which fortunately was a dropped should-have-been INT, but it was a bad game. The QB sneak for the TD though? Never would have seen that in the Billick era. Great play call, which is why it went for a TD.

The Phins have had a terrific season. Nothing not to be proud of here...they simply ran into a better team. But the Phins going from 1-15 to 11-5 and hosting a playoff game is simply a terrific accomplishment. If Parcells sticks around, I think you have to feel like this team is a very serious threat to win Superbowls over the next decade, and potentially unseat the Patriots in the division. Not for sure, but potentially. Sparano's clearly a great coach, and they did what they did this year mostly off the scrap heap. Three years of building with this personnel, this team could be scary-good.

Phil @ Minn
Strong game by the Eagles. That team is really, really scary. It's so tough to judge them and how good they are, cause as scary good as they are, they're just as possible to turn scary bad.

Much like the Vikings! The Vikes really just let down. They had two decent drives, but outside of that, it wasn't really at all a good day for them. Peterson couldn't really get anything going other that one big run. Tarvaris was Tarvaris. The Vikes D was solid but if it doesn't get any offensive help, how much can they do?

But the Giants have to be crapping their pants right now. The Eagles just got done destroying them a couple weeks back. No Plaxico has really hurt Eli. The Giants frankly haven't been the same team since then. And momentum is really with the Eagles here. When they're on, they're really tough. If the team that came to play today shows up in NY next weekend, it should be a really good game, but could be a lopsided thumping like the Eagles laid on the Giants last time out.


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  2. As well as the Ravens played, and they played very very well, this game confirmed to me how difficult it will be for Baltimore to seriously contend this year. Flacco has yet to play very well in a tough game. He gets to see a tough rested Tennessee defense (again) and then another tough defense. Baltimore won't be able to run well against any of their remaining opponents. If Flacco doesn't step up, the Birds will be golfing.

  3. Whomever makes it to the conference championship games.....this is going to be a defensive battle to the title. I don't see more than 30 points being scored in either conference championship game, nor the Super Bowl.

  4. I will go on record right now and say the Giants will handle the Eagles. The carpet ride is over in philly.

  5. Agree with Patrick...I'll have more on Flacco later.

    Jon - Agree on defensive battles for the most part, but not sure about the 30 points piece. Balt @ Pitt 1st meeting had over 40 scored. Pitt @ Tenn had 45. Three games all going under 30 would be rare.

    Sean - Bold prediction after the Eagles killed the Giants last game. Plax going out really hurt them. I may have more on that later too, but Patrick did a great pre-and-post Plax analysis he may want to share.

  6. The main point is that with pretty comparable schedules the Giants were 8-0 with Plax and 4-4 without him. The passing stats follow the trend. I might regenerate it for this forum for next week's game but the Giants are in really bad shape without a go-to receiver.


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