Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wild Card Weekend Preview


Are you ready for Graham’s first post of 2011? Of course you are. Sadly, it’s a joint post with Chris, but Graham fans, take what little morsel you can get. (There’s a joke in there somewhere). It’s none other than the 2011 RTS NFL Playoff Preview. And we’re posting it less than 24 hours before the first game, because, uh, we put it off till the last minute. Our bad, 11 fans. On to the Wild Card Weekend preview.

Graham
NY Jets @ Indianapolis. I have no idea what to make of this game, other than that if I were Peyton Manning, I'd go out for the first series in bare feet, just to screw with Rex Ryan. Before beating the hapless Bills in the season finale, they Jets lost 3 of 4. Indy won 4 in a row to end the season, but other than the first place showdown with Jacksonville, 2 were to Tennessee and the other was to Oakland. Plus, they can't run the ball, and they're hurt.

Part of doesn't want to bet against Peyton Manning, but on the other hand, he's an enormous douche. I was watching the Jacksonville game when Austin Collie ran a route across the middle, Manning underthrew him, and as Collie went down for the ball he got hammered and was nearly paralyzed. He laid there motionless for a while, and it was several minutes before Manning, whose underthrown ball was the reason Collie was nearly relegated to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, came over to check on him. Even then, it was halfhearted, and he walked away as quickly as he could. It was pathetic. So because of my newfound dislike for Manning, I'm taking the Jets.

Chris
First off, let's get this out of the way. Did you see Rex Ryan's quote about losing to Peyton Manning last year in the playoffs? He said, "You lose a playoff game, it's devastating. I want to put the shoe on the other foot. I know this team does too. We want him to experience it this time."

Now, I care not about Rex Ryan and his proclivity to feet. However, can't he talk football without bringing them into the mix? It's not like Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings made sex boat references when talking about facing the Bears. Wait, why am I saying this. Keep talking about putting shoes on Peyton's feet, Rex, by all means!

Anyway, the Jets suck. They are Baltimore light. Their QB is worse, but not by much. Their WRs are worse, by a lot. Their defense is good, but they don't have game changers like Ed Reed or Ray Lewis. Do you really want to go to war with Mark Sanchez? And by war, I mean, Indianapolis.

But here's the thing. The Colts aren't that good either. Sure, it's the Colts and they should win just based on having Manning, Reggie Wayne, Freeney, etc. But they barely beat the Titans twice in the past few weeks. They scare me. There's only 2 teams I hate worse than the Colts right now in the AFC, and that's KC and the Jets. I think the Colts win, simply based on playing at home, regardless of what shoes Peyton has on his feet.

Graham
The thing with this game is, I don't even really care about watching it that much. I'd be perfectly happy to tune in to the last 5 minutes and check it out. Kinda like the NBA. Except I don't even really do that with the NBA anymore. The Packers are in the playoffs, the Canucks are in first place - who needs the NBA?

Chris
I want to watch all the playoff games, just as a month long farewell to the NFL. Then again, with no Monday Night Football on last night, I managed to read 75 pages in a book I've had since October and barely touched.

As for the NBA, uh, yeah, I'm switching to AT&T Uverse on Saturday and I think I picked a package that didn't include the Grizzlies station. I told my wife I didn't even think I'd add the channel. She thought I was nuts. The NBA is the easiest thing to give up. And I was a die hard fan for about 10 years. Is this what they mean by “Where Amazing Happens”?

Anyway, what's the other AFC game this week, Baltimore at KC?

Graham
How sad is it for the NBA that the off-court stuff is 100x better than the on-court stuff? The NBA has the best draft, best free agency and best trades. I follow that stuff religiously. Then the games start and I don't care. And the impending lockout? Whatever. And I lived and breathed the NBA for 8 years when I worked there.

Anyway, we've already gone off the rails.

Tell you what, I like Kansas City's chances against Baltimore.

Chris
You like KC? Ugh, what's wrong with you? KC is frisky, but Baltimore is the darkhorse in this thing. They play as tough as anyone. They have what, 4 losses or so? Baltimore wins like 23-13 but it's one of those games that's never really in doubt. I bet it's 10-3 midway through the 3rd quarter and you start thinking, there is no way in hell KC is going to win this.

Graham
I think Kansas City will keep it close. I think the Ravens will pull it out (that's what she said), but the Chiefs will be right there in the end (that's what she said). I'll take the Ravens by a field goal in this one.

Chris
Way to toe the line. You praise KC but then pick Baltimore. So if KC wins, you bust out the "I told you I liked KC" and if Baltimore wins you have the "I picked Baltimore" card as well. What else should I expect from a Brett Favre fan?

Graham
Excuse me for not writing a 35,000 word missive detailing everything point by point while at work.

Chris
You are forgiven. Do we even have to preview the Saints-Seahawks game?

Graham
What kind of bloggers would we be if we snarkily dismissed the Seahawks? If we just decide we're too lazy to put any thought into the game, and not consider circumstances where the Seahawks could pull out a win?

Actually, we'd be regular bloggers.

Saints by 17.

Chris
You want me to give some thought into a circumstance in which the Seahawks win? The Saints plane would have to go down Marshall-style. And that's only if Drew Brees is on the plane. If the entire Saints team dies except Brees, I'm pretty sure he could put together a rag-tag group of free agents, castoffs and minor league football players and beat the Seahawks. That sounds like a movie script I should start working on.

Graham
You could cast Jason Schwartzman as Charlie Whitehurst.

By the way, in the topic of lame feuds from the other day, we can add a new one: Tony Allen vs. OJ Mayo.

Chris
The funniest part about it is that it's not a feud, it's an ass-kicking. Allen beats Mayo up to the point that Mayo can't show his face at the game, and what happens to Allen, he gets Mayo's starting spot! He's going Nancy Kerrigan on someone before the season's over. The Memphis Grizzlies everyone!

Graham
Beat a guy up AND take his job. Now that's badass.

Take note, Kevin Kolb.

Chris
The day Kevin Kolb beats up Michael Vick is the day a 7-9 team makes the playoffs. Oh wait....

So I suppose this is our transition to GB at Philly. Convince me GB wins.

Graham
Here's why Green Bay wins:

-They have an elite defense. The 240 points they allowed this season was best in the NFC and second best in the NFL behind Pittsburgh, allowing them to have the league's second best point differential at +148.

-In the last 9 games of the season, they gave up 20+ points once. And it was to New England.

-Six times this season they held opponents to under 10 points. I'm too lazy to look up other teams so I'll assume that's either best in the NFL, or at least top 3.

-According to one NFL expert*, Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams are the best CB duo in the league.
(*I am the expert quoted in that stat).

-Clay Matthews is a frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year. He absolutely terrorizes opposing defenses. In Week 1 against the Philly team they play Sunday, he had 3 sacks, 7 tackles and 1 forced fumble. He also had a "PD", but admittedly I can't figure out what that is. If there's one defensive player in the league who can keep up with Michael Vick, it's Clay Matthews.

-They have an offense that hung 30+ points on opponents six times, including 45 points in Week 16 against the Giants in a do-or-die game.

-Oh yeah, they already beat Philly once this year. Yeah yeah, Kolb started, was ineffective, got hurt and gave way to Michael Vick. But that doesn't change the fact the Packers put up 27 points against the same defense they face this weekend.

Chris
That was like, some actual analysis. It threw me off and even you had me believing. It's hard to trust Michael Vick, and it's also hard to pick against him. I really don't have a dog in this fight (I went there) so I'm not blinded by cheese like you are. But I do love cheese. How's that for analysis?

Graham
Here are three things that could kill the Packers:

-Run game. Fun fact: Aaron Rodgers was the leading rusher in the Week 17 win over Chicago. He had 21 yards.

-O-line: Bryan Bulaga has not been good lately. He's been as effective as a Bulaga Whale*. (*rimshot)

-Defense. Yeah, I spent the previous emailing bringing out fancy stats like yards against and PDs (whatever they are). But when Green Bay has a late lead, Dom Capers has them go into the Prevent defense. I'll spare you a 10,000-word manifesto on why I hate it so much, but it comes down to this: it just doesn't fucking work. When you play dominating defense for 58 minutes, I see no reason to change your style for the last 2.

Mark my words: if the Packers are up by a touchdown or less with 2 minutes to go, Vick will carve them up when the Packers lay off and take them down the field.

Chris
I think the game boils down to one thing, and one thing only. Does Michael Vick go f-ing nuts. If he has 75 yards and a rushing TD and 200+ yards passing and another 2 passing TDs, then you guys lose. If you contain him, make him pass, stay in the pocket, etc, you win. Your offense seems good enough to put up 20+ points, regardless of your rushing game, so it seems to me, can you contain Vick? You've won me over. I'm going to say they do. (Cue "That's what friends are for.")


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