Pittsburgh over Baltimore 31-24
Well, this game certainly went the way I expected. From the get-go you could tell these teams do not like each other. On the first drive of the game Hines Ward went after Ed Reed on a run play trying to block the safety. It was a great block, if only he didn’t block him into the ground viciously after the whistle blew earning him a unsportsmanlike conduct. This truly was a gridiron scuffle on the field, chippy as a game can get without seeing guys ejected. Ike Taylor also decided to head but TJ Housmenzadeh after a play, but there was no call there. It was truly a great game by two hard nosed teams that went down to the final 2 minutes and was won in the trenches with a clutch late sack on Joe Flacco on Baltimore’s final offensive possession. Baltimore is 0-4 in post-season play when their opponent scores 20 or more points, and after today they go to 0-5 as Pittsburgh beat the Ravens 31-24 on a defensive stop. Defense ruled this game, even if the score doesn’t reflect it. The turnover battle was absolutely key to the game. Baltimore dominated in the first half, getting themselves 2 turnovers and scoring a touchdown on both to lead 21-7 at the half. The first turnover was a strip sack on Big Ben by who else but Terrell Suggs of which every player on the field thought it was an incomplete pass except for Cory Redding who picked it up and ran into the endzone. The second turnover was a Mendenhall fumble recovered by Ed Reed to give Baltimore another short field inside the Pittsburgh 30 yard line. At the start of the third quarter it seemed like the teams decided to switch jerseys. Baltimore became completely innate in the 3rd quarter amassing a putrid -4 offensive yards and began to turn it over to the Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers quickly got two turnovers, both courtesy of safety Ryan Clark. Clark forced a rare fumble by Ray Rice, giving Big Ben a short field to get a TD to Heath Miller. Then Clark intercepts Flacco on an over thrown ball to give the Steelers yet another short field, allowing them to tie the game at 21. The game was unfolding just as I expected, both teams were getting turnovers… what I didn’t expect was how efficiently both teams were after the turnover. At these point, all four turnovers in the game amounted to touchdowns. Another indication of how evenly matched these two heavyweights are. Then the Ravens killed themselves. First step to losing to the Steelers, allow them to win the paramount turnover battle with an inexcusable botched snap. This turnover didn’t lead to a turnover, but it still garner 3 points on a field goal try. The Ravens defense remained clutch, forcing a 3 and out and continuing to harass Roethlisberger. It looked like the tides would turn back into the Ravens favor as Ladarius Webb ran back a punt for a touchdown to take the lead. Step two to losing to the Steelers, commit foolish holding penalties to take a touchdown off the board. They were still left with good field position, but could only tie the game at 24 with a field goal. Step three to losing to the Steelers, stop doing what was working on defense. All of a sudden, after very effectively rushing Big Ben (6 sacks), they stop blitzing and bring only three on the rush. What did this equate to? A deep ball to Antonio Brown for 58 yards, setting them up at the Baltimore 4 yard line for a Mendenhall touchdown run. The score was then 31-24, but the Ravens still had a chance. After a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the touchdown, the Ravens got great field position at the Steeler 48 yard line. Step four on losing to the Steelers, drop passes. It was 4th and 18 after a clutch sack by Ziggy Hood, and TJ Housmanzadeh was wide open and outright dropped the ball past the first down marker. He clinched the game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and this epic battle of defenses. The defenses set up their offenses for short fields, inflating the scores. Don’t let the final score fool you, this was yet another Ravens Steelers defensive brawl where the turnover battle determined the game.

Packers Dominate Falcons 48-21
The Packers dominated in absolutely every phase of the game. Aaron Rodgers completed 31-of-36 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns before being rested in the fourth quarter. He also ran for 13 yards and a touchdown while eluding nearly every sack attempt by the Atlanta Falcons. Rodgers focused on Chris Owens, the Falcons replacement nickel back, and saw a lot of success. The Falcons played the wrong team, not only are the Packers better at every position save running back, but they are very limited in the secondary which plays right into the Packers’ strength. The game started with a would be huge pass play to Greg Jennings as the Falcons forced a fumble. Atlanta took advantage of the turnover and scored on an intimidating Michael Turner touchdown run. The Packers came back right away with an 8 minute touchdown drive. On the ensuing kick-off, Eric Weems took the ball 102 yards for a NFL post-season record touchdown return to put the home team up 14-7. Rodgers drove his team back down the field again, capped by a Kuhn touchdown run behind lead blocker BJ Raji. From there it was downhill for the Falcons, they began turning the ball over. Ryan threw two picks on two promising drives, one was brought back for six. Ryan then botched a snap and Green Bay recovered, proving that Matt Ryan is still not ready for the big games. As Rodgers kept running up the score, the Falcons were forced to abandon the run and put the game on Ryan’s shoulders. He was not up to the task, throwing two picks on bad decisions, and couldn’t handle the pass rush of the Packers. It is not yet time for the Atlanta Falcons, they need another viable running back to pair with Turner and another receiving weapon to compliment White. Tony Gonzalez lost about 2-3 steps this season, he should retire this off-season without winning a playoff game in his Hall of Fame career. As for my predictions, Ryan again threw for under 200 yards against the Packers and White had another pedestrian receiving total at 57, though he did get a touchdown. I predicted about half the total points scored in this game, but really… who expected 48 points from Green Bay?
Post will be updated as games finish…

According to ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney, St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols has set a deadline for his contract extension. The sluggers agent has informed the club that negotiations will be cut off when Pujols reports to spring training. According to ESPN, Pujols will then opt to test the free agent market following the 2011 season. Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. said earlier this week that talks are “not that far along yet.” Pujols is one of those players that could be up their as one of the greatest players to play professional baseball at the primed age of 30. The clock is ticking St. Louis, you have just little over a month to keep this guy for the long haul as position players report on February 18th for Spring Training.

Can anyone imagine Albert Pujols hitting the free agent market? Players of his caliber just don’t hit free agency, mostly because there hasn’t been a player this good since free agency was implementing in the MLB. This would be unprecedented in baseball. Luckily we have some insight into such an offseason as we come off the heals of “The Decision”. LeBron James is to his game as Pujols is to baseball, two players that will be in the conversation of greatest of all time when their careers are over. LeBron-mania was the most exciting free agency periods, possibly in all of sports. We could even get back in the realm of baseball and look at how publicized the courting of FA southpaw Cliff Lee was this very off-season. During the Lee sweepstakes, people read about the smallest implications on the front of the sports section every day. If Pujols hits the market, you can expect to read about the color shirt he wore that day on the front page of the New York Times because if its Red, he might just go to Cincinnati. Things would be just that crazy, and the money that would be thrown around would make Bill Gates cringe. Nearly every team in the majors will be after this man. I could easily see the Yankees telling A-rod to pack his bags and Texiera to go learn to play 3rd so Pujols can come in and win the pin stripes more championships. It would be easier to name who wouldn’t want Pujols should he hit the market. The Boston Red Sox just acquired Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford with Youkalis moving back to third base, it hard to imagine them spending even more money next off-season on just one player. The only other team I can’t imagine going after Pujols is the Philadelphia Phillies, and even then you could see a mid-season trade of Ryan Howard for Pujols so that both teams could extend the players with minimal loss.

It would be one of the most exciting times in baseball free agency history, and the mere prospect of it makes me giddy. A betting man would put his money on Pujols signing an extension in St. Louis, because any team would be foolish to not pay absolutely whatever this man is asking for. We shall see….

The AFC has its best two divisions on display this weekend. The AFC North and East are the only two remaining division in the AFC Championship race, and really it is no surprise. The Patriots, Steelers, and Ravens have been three of the more consistent teams in the entire NFL this past decade, and coming into this one they are all still hot. All three teams have sprinkled young talent here and there to keep their prolonged winning ways intact. The Jets have had a very up and down decade, but Rex Ryan has begun to lift them up to high standards the past two years. We will see both divisions battle it out for the proverbial rubber game in the Jets at the Patriots and the Ravens at the Steelers. The NFC is a far less interesting show. In one corner we have, unfortunately, the Seattle Seahawks going on the road to Soldier field in Chicago and in the other there stands the bout between the #1 seeded Atlanta Falcons hosting the hot Green Bay Packers. Lets get too it.

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
The first game of the week is by far the most intriguing in my opinion. The rubber match against arguably the two toughest teams in the league from the two toughest cities in the States. I’ve always loved the war analogy as it pertains to football, and apply it to two teams like this just gets me pumped. James Harrison, poster boy for the ludicrous anti-”hard hitting” platform, against Ray Lewis, the guy who will walk up to and tell you he is going to dominate you to your face… and then do it. Then we have Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, the two best safeties in the NFL today (and theres no debate about it). These men are both complete stand up guys who dont speak up all that often, but my lord is their play loud. Both missed time this season due to injuries, and yet both players not only made the Pro Bowl roster, they start on it. These are but the most prominent defensive presences in this game, but lets not forget the warriors of Haloti Ngata, Casey Hampton, Dwan Landry, Ike Taylor, Terrell Suggs, James Farrior. The Steelers linebacking core, I mean lets be serious, all four of them could start for the Pro Bowl and you would hear little complaint. If these players don’t scream out war, I don’t know what does. These men are truly out to knock the other team flat on its back. These defenses came to battle for a third time, and this time its more important than ever. It is so exciting because these two teams epitomize the old school football persona. Their defenses hit hard and they are built from the trenches out. Both teams have great guys at the nose in Ngata and Hampton. Both teams have young and up incoming stars on the offensive line in Pouncey and Oher. Honestly, these teams are so similar its hard to say which has the better anything. Joe Flacco vs Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall vs Ray Rice, Anquan Boldin vs Mike Wallace, Todd Heap vs Heath Miller. I honestly don’t know who I would pick and choose from that lot. There are but three things that could give either team the edge in this game and determine the winner. The first is turnovers, who can win that battle? The answer is both, it just comes down to who capitalizes on them and gets them at opportune times. Let’s not forget Reed led the league in interceptions despite playing in only ten games (Polamalu is second by one with 14 games played). Next is the weaknesses of both teams. The Steelers have a leaky offensive line, and a battered one at that. The Ravens have a suspect cornerback corp. Which team is better suited to take advantage of the other’s weakness? Honestly? Both. The Ravens have Suggs, one of the best sack artists, and Ngata, one of the best penetrating nose tackles, to throw at that Steelers offensive line. Yes, Big Ben is known for his mobility and avoiding sacks… but how long can he last against these men? Then the Steelers have deep threat burner Mike Wallace to force the issue with the Ravens secondary that features Josh Wilson and Chris Carr. Let us delve deeper though. While both teams have ways to attack each other’s weakness, it is the Ravens that have the advantage. Yes, the Steeler’s Mike Wallace is a dangerous player against the likes of Josh Wilson, but lets take into account the Steelers O-line getting pushed around by the pass rush of the Ravens. Making Big Ben think on his feet will limit how often he can test the Ravens’ corners and could even be forced into a mistake in the form of the ever opportunistic Ed Reed. So the edge is to the Ravens, right? Yes and no. Logic says the Ravens should be victors Saturday, but lets not forget what happened in the last meeting of the North. Polamalu came up with the huge strip sack late in the game to help the Steelers to a 13-10 win. Troy is a wildcard, and quite frankly he defies logic. I still don’t know how he timed that snap so 100% to just leap over both lines to sack Kerry Collins on a QB sneak. If Troy can come up with the right play at the right time once again, the Steelers will head to the AFC championship bout, otherwise, this is the Ravens game to win. Watch out Joe Flacco.
Prediction: Ravens 17 – Steelers 14

Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Is this really the Falcons year? Is Matt Ryan (I hate the nickname Matty Ice by the way) ready to lead this team to a Super Bowl? I can’t imagine he even knows, as much as he might think he can. Thats why eventually, Ryan will have a ring on that throwing hand of his. When is the real issue. The Falcons hit the ground running this year… figuratively. Michael Turner isn’t the big time back he was during Matt Ryan’s rookie campaign. The man is a bruiser, and I will always love backs like that. There is an obvious downside to being the guy that lowers his shoulder. The body wears down, quickly. Turner has been nicked up a lot over the years, and honestly, I think his play has diminished to a degree. He is still an above average back, but not quite the back he once was coming out of Tomlinson’s shadow. That okay though, because Matt Ryan and Roddy White have stepped up, in a big way. Those two put on a show this season, showing amazing chemistry. Atlanta is here now because of the performance of those two men. How will Ryan hold up against Clay Matthews when not even Mike Vick could escape him? How will White do against one of the better secondaries in the league that was able to contain the explosive DeSean Jackson? I’d say about as well as they did last time when Ryan threw for under 200 yards and White accounted for only 49 of them. The Falcons still won that game 20-17, proving they can win in other ways. It was the ineptness of the Packer running game that allowed the Falcons to come away with the win. If James Starks can show just a margin of what he did last week against the Eagles, the Packers will avenge their week 12 loss and remain hot.
Prediction: Packers 24 – Falcons 13

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
Well, didnt the Seahawks make the world look stupid last week. Can they do it again? Absolutely not. The Bears defense are monsters again and its time for Pete Carroll to go home. Mike Martz will scheme the hell out of anything Carroll will cook up on defense and Cutler will have one of his good days. Hassellbeck will suddenly realize that he is old and still very bald as he fails to get anything going against a motivated Brian Urlacher who realizes that his career needs that Super Bowl win, soon.
Prediction: Bears 27 – Seahawks 3

New York Jets at New England Patriots
Well my lord are the Patriots not the hottest team in all of sports right now? They have beaten every playoff team left save the Seahawks (7-9…). They demolished the Jets 45-3 in their last meeting. Plus they are at home, in the cold, after a bye, with a bulletin board chalk full of Rex motivating them? How could they lose? Well… how did they lose the first time? It is actually quite simple, Rex Ryan built his defense to play against New England’s offense… at the time. Rex knew how to defeat the Patriots offense with Randy Moss. He saw the 2007 Super Bowl, as Strahan, Tuck, and Umenyori used there talents to rattle Brady. So he went out and assembled his pass rushers. He saw Randy Moss go deep, beating his man. So he made Revis into an island and brought over Cromartie from San Diego. This Jets defense is built to beat the Patriots offense… the old one. I honestly believe, though I have no proof, that Bill Belichick traded Randy Moss for this reason. It wasn’t because he was declining, although I am positive that was a factor. The Patriots traded Moss to revolutionize their offense after their defeat to the Jets. Belichick transformed his offense into one that the Jets just arnt built for. The passing game is all about short, efficient passes in AR (After Randy). This eliminates the effectiveness of the patented Rex Ryan blitz. The plethora of receiving options makes Revis taking out just one man (doesnt matter who) irrelevant. Finally, they Jets have no one that can cover the tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Oh, and did I mention the Patriots have their first 1000 yard rusher since Corey Dillion? This offense is tailor made to beat the Jets defense. Bill Belichick turned the tables on Rex Ryan this season, and the pure domination in the last bout showed by just how much. Ryan can run his mouth all he wants this week, but his team is in over their head.
Prediction: Patriots 31 – Jets 24

We all know the story. We have all heard the sound bite. “I’m taking my talents to South Beach”. Now, most of you are thinking, “here is just another article bashing LeBron’s “Decision”. Wrong, I could careless. In fact, kudos to LeBron James for making the right decision. The Heat are rolling of late as the older teams are getting beat up (Celtics; Rondo (ankle, foot) and KG (calf), Lakers; Kobe commenting on a his knee, Spurs are slowing down, Mavericks; Dirk Nowitzki’s knee). If it wasn’t for the blockbuster trade revamping the Orlando Magic, Miami would be the clear cut best team in the NBA at this point. That could change next week as teams get healthier, but the Heat are here and look impressive. LeBron and Dwayne Wade are putting up numbers like they were still on their own and Bosh has settled into a consistent role. This truly was his best chance at a title, since it never seemed like the Cavs were willing to go out and do what Miami did to keep Wade. No one ever talks about that, but Wade couldve left Miami for greener pastures too. Wade couldve teamed up with LeBron and Amare in New York. He didnt because Pat Riley went to him and said, “Listen Wade, we need you… but what do you need?” Too bad the pompous Dan Gilbert didn’t think of that.

Honestly, people’s biggest gripe is with the TV special dubbed “The Decision”. The media could only bash LeBron for doing what Shaq did for so long. Jordan, Magic, Bird, Kobe, Pierce; they all got their help. Shaq came to LA for Kobe and KG and Ray Allen came to Boston for Pierce, the two most recent examples. So LeBron did it for Wade in that same respect. However, this special, well, it was genius. LeBron James has described himself as an entrepreneur off the court, and what do such men do? They make money! How many of you didn’t watch that special? The thing is, he did what he wanted to, he got your attention and you all chomped on the bit. “Based on the overnight ratings in 56 cities, the James telecast was the highest-rated program of the night on both cable and broadcast TV, according to ESPN,” said USA Today. Also written in USA Today; “[The Decisions TV special] exceeded the audience for ESPN’s interview with Tiger Woods in March, which posted a 0.4 rating. It also trumped ESPN’s interview with Alex Rodriguez in 2009.” Was it a tasteless move as so many claim? Absolutely not! I am pretty sure I just saw the Boston Red Sox host two press conferences for acquiring Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. They made a spectacle of those players to raise excitement for the fan base. The only difference is that LeBron hosted his conference to disclose his new team to the world rather than the other way around. Also, never mentioned, LeBron raised 2 million for the Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. Selfish indeed.

Again, my ire is not with LeBron, and as much as it is present for the reception he has gotten, thats not the point here. The point is the Heat are flashy. LeBron and Wade make the highlight real more than anyone in the NBA save the LA Clippers and Blake Griffin. They have one of, if not the, most dynamic offense in the NBA. This is great for basketball, a sport founded on fancy play that make fans oo and aw. LeBron brought that to South Florida, but according to Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross, South Florida needs more. Stephen Ross has informed the coaching staff that he wants a flashy, pass-oriented offense that “will hark back to the days of Dan Marino” in Miami. “I want an aggressive, creative (offense), not playing just to keep it close,” Ross said to Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post. “A little bit more unpredictable, and opening it up. That’s what I think South Florida wants, and that’s what this climate demands.” The climate that LeBron and the Heat have set? Shame on Mr. Ross for saying such a thing. First of all, this is football. This sport isnt watched for the oo’s and aw’s, its watched for the hits and the toughness exuded on the field. However, as the league becomes more and more pass heavy and we get closer and closer to pinning flags on players’ belts, this could be a moot point. Pretty has started to come to the NFL, as much as I might hate it the idea of leaving behind the blood pumping hits of football. Pretty, though, should not come to South Beach football. Ross began this off-season in a foolish manner as it was, going after Jim Harbaugh with Tony Sparano still in the position only to lose out on Harbaugh and turn back to Sparano with a sorry for turning my back on you and hanging you out to dry, heres more money contract extension. Now though, with his “request” for a Dan Marino-esk offense, he destroys what the Dolphins have been building since Parcells came in as footbal czar. Parcells was building a defense in Miami to go with the two headed running game. Think about their early draft picks in recent years. They drafted the likes of cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith. They went out and got Karlos Dansby last off-season to solidify the center of that defense next to Channing Crowder. He plucked Cameron Wake from the Canadian Football League and drafted Kao Misi to replace a rapidly declining Joey Porter at outside linebacker. He built up the trenches like the old school mind he is by drafting left tackle Jake Long and defensive end Jared Odrick. He hired a coach in Tony Sparano, a coach who made his name coaching offensive lineman in the trenches. The Big Tuna built an old school team and had great success. Now that Parcells is gone, Ross has stepped in and decided to go the complete opposite direction. What a smart man. Because, you know, its easy for a run first minded coach to change his run first team into a pass first team and then coach it successfully. Its really easy for a team who already has a problem at quarterback to all of a sudden have a Hall of Famer Dan Marino-esk offense, the greatest QB in Dolphins history. Where are you going to find this quarterback I wonder? I suppose Sparano could just stockpile sixth round picks and hope to pull a Tom Brady out. It would fit, I mean thats why Ross went after Harbaugh… he is a Michigan man like Tom Brady. Chad Henne shares that alma mater too, but apparently that actually isn’t good enough for Ross. Stephen Ross, heres a word of advice; do not become Dan Snyder, it does not work. Let Sparano build his team instead of trying to make his team something that it is not. Do not go out and get all the flashy players. Ask around, that doesn’t work. Look at Dallas and all their flashy names and their 6-10 record. Building a team is about assembling the right players together, not always the best players. After the public pursuit of Jim Harbaugh with Tony Sparano still under contract only to fail to land him, a despicable business move, Stephen Ross should’ve hid his head in shame. Instead, he comes out and proves he has no idea what he is doing. Ross, go back to your owner’s box, stay there, and let the football minds handle to football and you just stay back and count your money.

Seattle Seahawks upset defending champion New Orleans Saints

Wow, that about raps it up right there. Honestly, how much more can be said? That team we saw in Seattle was not the Seahawks, that was some other team that is, well, good! They had the most points they had scored in the regular season. Marshawn Lynch made plays for the first time in years. Hasslebeck thought it was 2006 during his Super Bowl run (2005 regular season). As much credit I give the Seahawks for their out-of-no-where resolve and ability, we have to look at one aspect that gave them a boost. Drew Brees, during the regular season, struggled at times. Some people attributed this to a rogue knee injury, the existence of which was shot down by Brees himself. You know why he really struggled? No consistent running game. When Brees didnt have the running game of Pierre Thomas, well, take a look at the Browns game. Then Chris Ivory began to step up and Brees too played much better. Yesterday, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory were on the injured reserve list. Guess what! Drew Brees struggled. Not as much as he did against the Browns, but they have playmakers. The Seahawks are still… the Seahawks… at least a little bit. Drew Brees against any other NFC playoff team would’ve looked like Jake Delhomme with the running by the Saints yesterday. Just shows three things; Pierre Thomas was the real MVP of the Saints Super Bowl run and win last year, Drew Brees is indeed not on the same level as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and Reggie Bush will always be a compliment back and nothing more. Kudos Seattle, but dont expect another win until next season.

New York Jets over the Indianapolis Colts

I have little to say about this game, it went just about how I expected… except the Jets defense did a little better than I expected them too and put the Jets in position to win it. Peyton had his chance, but couldnt get that touchdown late in the game to seal it. If he had, the Colts would’ve won. However, he got the field goal instead. Sanchez struggled, all game, as expected. He can get that field goal attempt though, and Nick Folk hit it from 32 out as time expired to give the Jets a win. They move on to face a rested New England Patriots team who looked dominant as the season wound down… especially in their 45-3 victory over the Jets. Mark Sanchez needs to play MUCH better in order to beat the Patriots. LaDanian might not give him that support again this week.

Baltimore Ravens over Kansas City Chiefs

Well, this isn’t what I predicted, but it is not a surprise. The Ravens have been road warriors in the post-season in recent history. However, I do not believe that is the story here. The story is the Chiefs… or better yet… the young Chiefs. Matt Cassel did not look ready for a post-season bout. He was flustered and he let Ray Lewis’ defense get under his skin. Young star wide out Dwayne Bowe didn’t help his struggling QB. Bowe just couldn’t get open to save his life, and with Baltimore’s somewhat suspect cornerbacks, I have to assume Bowe just dropped the ball on this one (not a pun, he didn’t see a ball all game). Then we have rookie Devin McCluster and his timely fumble. The Chiefs were still in the game at this point, but when Ray Lewis punched the ball out of McCluster’s hands to give the Ravens offense a very short field, the Chiefs couldn’t recover. Don’t fret Chiefs fans, this wasn’t your year anyways. It was still a highly successful season in Kansas City, and they are young and built to compete. We will see Kansas City again next post-season. As for the Ravens, Joe Flacco cant struggle to start the game again next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Green Bay Packers win over Philadelphia Eagles

Well, this is the one I got right. The two BIG factors attributed to this Packer win is David Akers’ two missed field goals and James Starks’ day on the ground (23 carries, 123 yards, 5.3 ypc). Dom Capers’ defense really did the job I expected holding down a Vick lead offense to just 16 points. Vick was blitzed 13 times and sacked thrice while rushing for 33 yards on 8 attempts (4.1 ypc). Clay Matthews consistently got to Vick forcing him to get rid of the ball quickly, limiting the Eagles big play opportunities. Matthews was so effective, the Eagles felt compelled to bench starting tackle Winston Justice for King Dunlap. Side note: If you talk to an Eagles fan, they will tell you that Dunlap is the better tackle to begin with, to which I agree. The Eagles had a very slow start on offense, going three and out on their first two possessions. However, Green Bay started quickly, scoring 14 points in the first half to the Eagles 3. It could’ve been 21-3 if not for a horrendous drop on a perfect pass to James Jones who had beat Asante Samuel and the rest of the Eagles secondary. The second half was a completely different story, almost like a flip flop. Aaron Rodgers began the 3rd quarter with a fumble that let the Eagles back into this contest. Vick took advantage with the turnover for a touchdown pass to Jason Avant, making the score 14-10. Aaron Rodgers didn’t look like a QB who just coughed up the ball on the next drive, methodically moving his offense down the field for a touchdown screen play to Brandon Jackson. That would end Green Bay’s day scoring mid way through the 3rd quarter. Vick was able to start the makings of a comeback victory and he looked like a warrior. Despite all the hits throughout the game Vick was standing tall and delivering strikes all day. His clutch rushing TD from inches away on 4th down is what kept the Eagles fighting for the win. Andy Reid immediately decided to go for the 2pt conversion to make it a 3 point game instead of a 4 point game. Absolutely the right call, since even with a 5 point deficit if the attempt failed they would still need a touchdown on their next possession. Vick, the warrior he was, had Celek on a perfect pass to complete the 2pt conversion. Unfortunately, he stepped out of bounds at the back of the endzone and came back in to be the first to touch the ball, a penalty in the NFL. Vick had his team on the precipice, but Celek’s mistake was costly. Less costly that it seemed, as the ref indicated that it was a loss of a try. Then Fox went to commercial, and Eagles fans at home were left to face-palm and sit dismayed on their couches. The fans at the Stadium though saw a glimmer of hope as the refs began to huddle. Turns out, since Celek reestablished his position on the field, it was not a loss of down play (or in this case loss of try). Merely, it was a 10 yard penalty, retry the 2pt conversion. Eagles fans had hope again, but was the second chance their death sentence? They try again with Vick in shotgun. Dom Capers brought the blitz and Vick couldn’t get a semblance of a pass off before get hit, hard. So hard, he limped profoundly off the field as the try failed. The Packers got the ball back, and went into time killing mode. Starks was able to break off a 12 yard run, but the Packers offense failed to do anything else with Rodgers taking a sack to end the drive and force a punt. The Eagles had held and they were back in the game. Desean Jackson trotted out onto the field and the atmosphere suddenly changed. People around the nation had flashbacks to week 15 at the Meadowlands when Jackson took back a Matt Dodge punt for a game winning TD. It felt like he could do it again, and it looked good as he reversed the field too. Yellow flags flew quickly though, as Jackson went down. Holding penalty on the Eagles, and it started looking bad. Then out trotted Vick, and hope was again restored. Reports were that the Eagles coaches tried taking Vick’s helmet away, preventing him from coming back into the game. He wouldn’t have that, and came back onto the field; a warrior. However, the warrior he had been all game was not the one on that last Philly possession. Vick looked off, throwing incompletions that could’ve been completed. Bar one big play to Desean Jackson for 28 yards, he overthrew Celek a great deal leading him into a big hit, and he overthrew LeSean McCoy on an easy dump off pass. To ice the game, Vick went to what worked for the Eagles all year, the big play. He went for the deep pass to the edge of the endzone, but he didnt throw it to the sideline, which is quarterbacking 101. Instead, he threw it inside, allowing Tramon Williams (pro bowl snub with 6 regular season picks) to clinch the victory for the Packers with an interception. With one Aaron Rodgers kneel, the Packers stamped their tickets to Atlanta to face the first seeded Falcons while the Vick redemption season ends on the worst note possible short of a serious injury. It looked good Eagles fans, it really did. The Eagles were the sexy pick going into the game. I’m not one that fancies the sexy pick’s though. I believe the old school view holds true, football starts with the trenches. The Packers won that battle with 3 sacks on Vick (hobbling him) and protecting Rodgers well on the other side of the ball. Next step for the Eagles, resign Michael Vick because he is their future, trade Kolb for a 2nd round pick, and draft defense. The Packers need to watch the game tape from this week and figure out why Starks was able to run for over 5 yards a carry. They need to bring that run game to Atlanta because it makes them so much more dangerous.

Green Bay Packers(6) at Philadelphia Eagles(3):

This is probably the best game this weekend, the one that is the biggest push. Can Green Bay handle Vick for a full 60 minutes? Will they blitz the defensive backs, which seems to be causing Vick problems. Will Clay Matthews contain and set the edge? Will Asante Samuel guess right against Aaron Rodgers? Will Green Bay overcome their running woes against a poor Eagles rush defense? Honestly, who knows? There are a lot of ifs in this game, things that could go either way. To me, the talent is all their for both teams to win this one. This game will come down to two people; Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid and Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers. Its up to these guys. Andy Reid needs to get his offense ready for what Dom Capers is surely to throw at him. I have faith in Capers gameplanning the Packers defense to victory, forcing Vick to continue his streak of iffy play with Matthews setting that edge and Woodson blitzing.
Prediction: 34-24 Green Bay Packers

New York Jets(6) at Indianapolis Colts(3)

This one is incredibly simple to me. Yes, the Colts have had an uncharacteristic up and very down season. Yes, for the first time in years they had to play in week 17 to get into the dance. However, I have two word for you, Peyton Manning. The only way the Jets win games is if the defense makes plays for their average offense. Peyton Manning wont do that, Mark Sanchez is going to have to dual with Manning, and guess who is going to win?
Prediction: 30-17 Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints(5) at Seattle Seahawks(4)
The first team with a losing record to ever make the playoff. I find it despicable, a travesty. Much better teams sat at home. I am not calling for a change other than a possible change of the divisions to make them more competitive. Now, how will this team do against the defending Super Bowl Champions? The only thing the 12th man will be doing is booing and beating the traffic home.
Prediction: 38-10 New Orleans Saints

Baltimore Ravens(5) at Kansas City Chiefs(4)
This is another push game in my opinion. Ed Reed is going to get a pick, Ray Lewis is going to limit Chief’s tight end Moeki; you know, the usual. However Dwayne Bowe is going to abuse a weak cornerback crop and Jamaal Charles will run like he did all season, shockingly well. The Ravens offense will give up on running Ray Rice as usual when they meet the brunt of Chief’s defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and turn one dimensional and struggle. Look for Kansas City to pull this one out at home at Arrowhead despite how good Baltimore has been on the road in the playoffs in recent years.
Prediction: 21-17 Kansas City Chiefs

Introducing: Me

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


There is a few things you should know about me. First off, I am abrasive and often disagree with what you might see on ESPN. You want a different opinion that you usually see, here is the place to come. You want a guy that you will either love or hate, well I’m him too. When I decide something, I will not be nice about it. Example: Cam Newton does not deserve the Heisman trophy. Here are some words within the mission statement of the Heisman Trust: integrity, pursuit of excellence, diligence, perseverance, and responsibility. Cam Newton is surrounded by a lack of all those things. You either like that view, or you despise me for it. Get it? Guess what else, I am biased. I will not forced feed you people any kind of neutral boring opinions. I will have a clear view, one way or the other. What good is being neutral? Lastly, this is a blog, and I will maintain it as formally as possible. However, I do have a plethora of other responsibilities. Welcome to my football mind.