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NFL 2011 Playoffs round 2 picks


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Posted

Holy Fraggaroley. I started the playoffs with a gigantic thud: 1-3! :doh:

This time, the picks will be good, or your money back.

Broncos @ Patriots

The Broncos' offensive game plan is pretty one-dimensional. Unleash the Tebow. He destroyed the crumbling, injury-riddled, age-decayed Steeler defense with a masterpiece passing attack that came out of NOWHERE. Positively NFL films material. So, expect a few belly-option plays with RB McGahee, and that will suck in the Pats D for play-action passing. So, the Pats must play two things at once: the option and keep guys deep for the pass. When they box Tebow in, they MUST tackle him. Sounds easier said than done. Pats will attack the middle with unstoppable TE and WR running slants, and keep Brady upright. That got them the W in week 15. If Broncos can't get to Brady, he'll shred their pass D clean.

Pats by 11

Texans @ Ravens

The Ravens already beat the Texans with first string QB Schaub. The Texans had failed to run successfully to slow down the Ravens' pass rush. So, they need to get RBs Foster & Tate going early. Since Schaub is out, the Ravens will pay extra attention to Foster at all times. RB Rice has been the Ravens' MVP this year, but he might get help from WR Boldin who dominated in their last game. So the Texans absolutely must get to QB Flacco before he gets comfortable & hook up with Bouldin off play-action plays.

Ravens by 6

Giants @ Packers

Giants' offense revolves around 3 excellent WR. However, QB Manning will have to deal with the Packer pass rush that's fierce off the edges, which exploits the main weakness of the Giants' OL. If the tackles can't hold up, Manning won't find time to throw to his WRs. One way to slow down the nigh-invincible Packer offense? Find WR Nelson, cover him properly. He shredded the Giants' pass D a month ago. Despite the Holy Terror at DL, Rodgers is a shrewd scrambler that can exploit their overly aggressive pass rush.

Packers by 4

Saints @ 49ers

QB Brees has had a magical year but he never faced a stubborn defense all year long. The wildcard is TE Graham, and the 49ers will have to sic SS Whitner on him. While Brees is the best in the league at throwing before he sets up his feet, and throws the best deep ball, if the 49ers' pass rush collapses the middle, he no longer can see downfield & becomes average. So the 49ers will move guys up & down the line, targeting the tackles. RB Gore has a large responsibility: move the chains consistently, slow down the clock, and keep Brees cooling his heels on the sidelines. The Saints' D is a front-running one, so when they're behind, they no longer force turnovers.

49ers by 3

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Posted

I make no comment about your point spread predictions, but I'm going to disagree with you on the Saints 'Niners game. If the Saints get rolling, I don't think the Niners offense can keep up in a shootout.

A buddy of mine down in the mailroom at work is a huge Broncos fan. He doesn't expect them to beat the Pats either, unless they pull out another perfect storm of a game like they did last week.

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Posted

I make no comment about your point spread predictions, but I'm going to disagree with you on the Saints 'Niners game. If the Saints get rolling, I don't think the Niners offense can keep up in a shootout.

The saints' offense needs to run to get "rolling." They will not be able to run on the 49ers, who has the best run stoppers in the league, and that makes their offense one dimensional.

Moreover, they're playing on the road, (where they averaged 27 ppg as opposed to 41 at home) on grass that's going to be over-watered by the groundskeepers to muddy the field.

One reason why the Saints' offense stretches defense is their great TE Graham and the mighty mite Sproles. But the 49ers have two excellent LB in NaVarro and Willis who will slow them down.

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Posted

Despite having a healthy run game all year long, New Orleans Saints had only 26 yards rushing today.

Enough said.

Best game all season long. 4 lead changes in the 4th quarter, & Drew Brees leaving too much time on the clock for Vernon Davis.

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Posted

Despite having a healthy run game all year long, New Orleans Saints had only 26 yards rushing today.

Enough said.

Best game all season long. 4 lead changes in the 4th quarter, & Drew Brees leaving too much time on the clock for Vernon Davis.

I think it was 37 yards rushing, but your point remains the same. There were a few factors which contributed significantly to the fact that the Saints ended up being not particularly concerned with running the ball.

First of all, there was Pierre Thomas being literally knocked out (of the game) just short of the goal line on the first drive (and losing the ball as he apparently lost consciousness). The three-headed Saints rushing attack actually starts with Thomas who is, in effect, a combination of Sproles and Ivory/Ingram. I would say that Thomas most directly sets the stage for Ivory or Ingram.

Be that as it may, the loss of Thomas affected how Sproles would be used; the Saints were definitely going to concentrate of using Sproles as a receiver. Their concern with saving Sproles also had them turn to Roby for kick-off returns (which, in turn, provided another Saints fumble).

Realizing that their usual way of using the running game was not available to them, the Saints decided to go almost exclusively with their passing game. Brees' first interception was the result of excellent defensive awareness regarding the Saints' preference for vertical passing, and that interception was a significant contribution to the Saints falling behind 17-0.

However, the Saints offense quickly adjusted and was able to get that vertical air attack to work. Brees' second interception (which essentially amounted to a punt and turned out to be inconsequential) seems to have eventually benefited the Saints offensive attack inasmuch as that dedication to the long passes ended up opening up the field for the Sproles 4th quarter touchdown in particular. The last Graham TD was itself just a continuation of the deep pass attack.

The bottom line is that the Saints did not need a running game against the 49ers.

The biggest problem for the Saints (disregarding them having 5 - count them 5 - turnovers) was the Saints' defensive scheme for the end of the game. They had this very same problem at the end of their first game against the Falcons and which ended up with them having to go into overtime before managing to win only because Mike Smith had the Falcons go for (and fail to get) a first down on 4th and one at their own 29 yard line.

This article captures the thoughtless obstinacy which has been too characteristic of the Saints' defensive scheme. I remember hearing some young QB for one of the Saints' opponents earlier this season describe Greg Williams as having a tendency to stubbornly stick with some aggressive scheme until it works no matter what damage is being inflicted in the meanwhile. That pretty much seems to be what happened late in the game yesterday.

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Posted

Pretty nice work so far, Heretic, 3-0 and awaiting the outcome of the Pack/Giants game. But you got the 49er and Ravens picks right almost to the exact spread.

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Posted

Well, hold the fort on a perfect prediction day. The Giants are kicking hell out of the Pack. :shock:

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