Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Weekend Full Of Wild Fun

What a great football weekend we had to kick off the start of the playoffs. We are going to review the games that occured in the NFL's first week of postseason games.   Afterwards, we will take a look at the next matchups for the winners.

Minnesota 10 at Green Bay 24
The Pack are back people. They never really went away, but what I really mean to say is Charles Woodson is back. The Packers can play the defensive schemes they want to now. The presence and leadership that he brings to this defense allows them to play on a different level, and that level was what shut Adrian Peterson down. In the two prior games that the Vikes played the Packers, Adrian Peterson ran for a combined 409 yards.  In this past game, Green Bay held him to under 100 yards.  It did help that Christian Ponder didn't play after an elbow injury sidelined him at the last minute.  You have to feel for Joe Webb.  After going the whole season without taking a snap he gets sent out to an angry green and yellow squad who weren't about to be beaten by him.

The Packers go on to play the 49ers in San Francisco this week. Let's focus on the matchups in this game.  Colin Kaepernick's first playoff start will be against the Packers. Someone drew the short straw on this one, but unlike Joe Webb, Kapernick been playing at a high level all season and this will be a great defining marker to see how far he has come together with the offense. The Packers offense is red hot right now.  Will they be able to beat one of the hardest hitting defenses in the league?  Will Kyle Williams be able to hold onto a punt return this year?  Watch on Saturday night to have all these questions answered.

Bengals 13 at Texans 19
For such a strong start to the season the Texans had, they are merely a shadow of their former selves. This is an offense that is built to put up 30 points per game and it's just not doing it. To win by only 6 points against what should have been an overmatched Bengals team is not a good sign. Unfortunately for the Bengals, who couldn't squeeze anymore out of their magical connection of Andy Dalton to AJ Green. The season is over but there is much to improve on and much to look forward to. I just want to know where all those sacks from the regular season were because the Texans offense was only stopping themselves. 
The Texans go on to face New England and all I have to say is good luck. Brady and company have been scheming in their wintery foxhole and surely will come out cannons firing. The last time they played after the playoff bye week, the Pats smacked around Tebow's Broncos 45-10.
This game is simple, if the Texans can put up the points per game they should be and the defense holds steady, which they have in the past thanks to defensive coordinator Wade Philips, they have a fighting chance.  If not, well then we have another AFC title game with Brady and Belichek at the helm.

Colts 9 at Ravens 24
I won't bore you by focusing on Ray Lewis since that's what the rest of the media has been doing, but let he deserves at least a mention. After 17 years in the NFL and missing considerable time this season with the tricep injury, he came in and played today as if it was his last game and came out with a monster's presence and had 13 tackles.  Anquan Boldin and Joe Flacco played well against the non-stop assault of the Indianapolis pass rush. It was good to see Chuck Pagano on the sidelines again, but without Bruce Arians, who had led that team all year long in Pagano's absence, it just didn't seem like Indy had their best game plan in place.  Arians was hospitalized that same morning and wasn't cleared by doctors to return to coach.  The Colts went farther than anyone projected them to go and have the definition of a franchise rookie quarterback in Andrew Luck. If the Colts were a stock, and I were your broker, I'd tell you to BUY.

The Ravens will travel to the Rockies to play Peyton Manning and the Broncos.  Denver is the team nobody wants to face in the AFC. The Big matchup there will be how Lewis' defense will hold up against Manning's orange assault. 

Seahawks 24 at Redskins 14
This was exciting and painful to watch at the same time. Exciting because both rookie quarterbacks were having their playoff debuts. Two smash mouth defenses and two reinvigorated offenses in a head to head to head matchup and the victor was clearly the superior team. Painful to see how the season ended for RGIII.  While I was a bit surprised at the early dominance of the Redskins, I was just waiting for the Seahawks to start rolling. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson continued to show up all of his doubters and even went as far as running up field and making a block for running back Marshawn Lynch. Speaking of Lynch, this guy is a workhorse and deserves praise for putting this team on his back and running through the gauntlet that is the NFC. As great as it was for Seattle, Washington had its troubles and issues. Alfred morris couldnt get going and Griffin couldnt run the read option with his bad knee.  To make matters worse, he re-injured it towards the end of the game. Kirk Cousins came in and gave the Skins some hope but it wasn't enough in the end. 

The Seahawks get to look forward to the mighty Atlanta Falcons this weekend. Seattle lost their sack leader Kris Clemons in the victory in Washington and will hope to keep the pressure up on Matt Ryan. The regular season monster of a team will be looking for their first playoff victory under Matt Ryan.  He is more than due for one. Key matchup with be the WR duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones versus Seattle corners Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. This physical matchup on the outside of the numbers could be the difference in who wins and who loses. 

Enjoy the next slate of playoff football!

Steven Vitakis is just like any fan you can talk sports while enjoying a beverage. Whether he believes you to be right or wrong, he will almost always listen to your viewpoint. It's also how he has had a Patriots fan as a best friend for years now

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