After a great weekend of NFL games last weekend in which 3 out of 4 Wild Card games came down to a field goal, this week was a little more disappointing in terms of intrigue. Not one of the four games was really in doubt during the course of the weekend, as all four favorites handled their business and are now going on to play Championship Weekend in which might be the best Final Four in NFL History. Next week we will have the legendary QB matchup that we all wanted in Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady and the NFC West Blood Bath Part III, as the Seahawks and 49ers battle it out for NFC Supremacy. Before we begin breaking down these incredible games, let’s take a look as to how we got here.
Seattle Seahawks 23 – New Orleans Saints 15: Even though the final score shows a one score loss for New Orleans, anyone watching the game witnessed a one-sided Seattle win, despite New Orleans tacking on some points in the closing minutes. Marshawn Lynch went into “Beast Mode” with 140 yards and two touchdowns. His second TD run came with 2:40 left in the game and the 31 yard dash to end zone pretty much ended the game. Although Russell Wilson had a shaky game, the Seattle defense and running game more than made up for it. The best TE in the game, Jimmy Graham was held without a catch until there was 41 seconds left in the game, and his eight yard reception did nothing other than erase the zero on his stat line. Although Drew Brees ended up with 309 yards, he was only 24 of 43 in earning those yards and a big chunk of them came in the 4th quarter when Seattle began playing a prevent style of defense. Overall, the Seahawks took care of business and will now host the NFC Championship game in a building that provides them with the past home field advantage in the NFL.
San Francisco 49ers 23- Carolina Panthers 10: In what was expected to be a low scoring defensive affair, the San Francisco 49ers kept their hopes of a second consecutive Super Bowl trip alive by beating the Carolina Panthers on the road. There was a debate about who the more reliable QB heading into the game would be, Colin Kaepernick who has done nothing but win in his career but doesn’t bolster the sexiest numbers; or Cam Newton, the #1 pick from three years ago who has the stats to backup his game but he was making his playoff debut. While Kaepernick didn’t wow anybody with gaudy numbers, he stayed true to form and got San Francisco into the end zone once with his arm and once with his leg. Cam Newton let the playoff nerves get to him a little bit and ended up throwing 2 picks along with only one touchdown. Twice in the game, Carolina had the ball inside the 49ers 3 yard line with first and goal. Both times, the stingy 49er defense stopped them from getting into the end zone, as Carolina settled for one FG and turned the ball over on downs. Frank Gore had a solid game as usual, running the ball 17 times for 84 yards. The veteran WR Anquan Boldin, whom the 49ers picked up from the Champion Ravens for moments like yesterday had a huge game, catching 8 balls for 136 yards. The 49ers stamped their ticket to Seattle where they’ll look to carry on their Road Warrior ways in what should be an epic battle.
New England Patriots 43 – Indianapolis Colts 22: This was the only game I got wrong in my predictions last week. Though I also felt that Andrew Luck was overhyped at this early stage in his career, I believed that the injury plagued Patriots would be vulnerable to the Colts. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was traveling to a bar to catch the game and by the time I reached my stool at 8:30, the Colts were in a 14-0 hole. Andrew Luck played like an Andrew Luck type of game, throwing for a lot of yards but combined his 2 TDs with 4 INTs. This is a recipe that will always lead to a loss, especially when going against a Bill Belichick coached. I never thought I’d see the day in which the Patriots score 6 TDs and Tom Brady was responsible for none of them, but that is exactly what happened. LeGarrette Blount tied the Patriot postseason record with 166 yards on the ground, adding 4 TDs to an incredible stat line. Stevan Ridley added 52 yards and 2 scores of his own as he attempted to redefine what has been an extremely disappointing season. With the run game in high gear and Brady still at the helm, the Patriots played their way into their 3rd straight AFC Championship game.
Denver Broncos 24 – San Diego Chargers 17: If you told the San Diego Chargers that they would hold Peyton Manning and the Broncos high power offense to 24 points, I guarantee you that they would have felt really good about their chances of winning. In a season in which all of the talk in Denver has been about the offensive weapons at Manning’s disposal, it was the much aligned defense which stepped up and lead the Broncos to victory. The Chargers were unable to get onto the score board until the fourth quarter, as Phillip Rivers only completed 18 passes for a meager 217 yards. San Diego has been living with it’s running game in recent weeks, but the Denver front seven only allowed the Chargers 65 yards on the ground. I couldn’t believe all of the chatter I heard this week in which the “experts” felt as if San Diego had the Broncos number. The fact that Phillip Rivers was 6-2 in his career in Denver and that Peyton Manning was 0-3 in his last 3 postseason games provided the fodder for this misconception. Peyton was efficient, threw for 230 yards and 2 TDs and most importantly, helped the Broncos convert 3rd downs at a 9 of 13 clip. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball combined for 133 yards on the ground for Denver who controlled the game and will now be reward by hosting the AFC Championship game next week.
We will be breaking down each matchup in detail later this week and give our picks for the games…next week will be unbelievable as the four best teams in the NFL are alive and all four of them are candidates to win the Super Bowl this year. Stay tuned and enjoy the hoops and puck until the weekend arrives…
Hello Sports Debaters fans! Part of the New Year Resolution is to make a strong comeback and deliver the content that the millions of our fans have been missing and asking for. It’s been a while since we spoken but that’s because we’ve been waiting for the right time to reenter your lives…The NFL Playoffs!
The games this weekend were excellent. We had the future of the NFL, Andrew Luck lead the Colts in a huge comeback over the Chiefs. After that, 34 year old Drew Brees taught 24 year old Nick Foles how a grown ass All-Pro QB wins playoff games on the road in a nail biter in Philly. Today’s games reminded us that Andy Dalton is an obstacle that the Bengals will never overcome as Phillip Rivers outplayed him and lead the San Diego Super Chargers to a playoff win over Cincy. Last but not least, Colin Kaepernick took his 49ers north of the wall to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and the better team came out on top by a FG..SF 23, GB 20.
So we head into next week and I wanted to be the first to tell you how the games will turn out. The Divisional Round is always the best as the big boys come off their bye weeks and host the survivors from the first round. The QB’s next week will feature an unbelievable combination of Super Bowl Winners (Brady, Manning, Brees), an all-pro veteran trying to make his mark (Rivers) and the youngest, best talent in the league (Newton, Kaep, Wilson & Luck). I think it’s safe to say that 7 of the best 8 teams from the season will be playing next weekend (not quite buying the Chargers yet!)
With that said, here are the picks:
Denver Broncos will get revenge on the San Diego Chargers for beating them in Denver in early December. Peyton Manning will be too much for the San Diego defense and not give the ball away as much as Andy Dalton. Denver wins fairly easily: DEN 35 SD 24
New England will host the Colts who are coming off the second best comeback in playoff history. The Patriots have been up and down all season long and were blessed with a weak division and easy schedule. I like the Colts to go into Foxborough and take out the Patriots in an extremely close game, setting up a Manning-Luck matchup in the Championship game: IND 28 NE 27
While I love the Saints and what they did against Philly, Seattle is a much more complete team and near impossible to beat at home. The Saints travelled there on a Monday night and got destroyed in the regular season and while I think they’ll put up a better fight this time around, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle vaunted defense will be too much for the Saints: SEA 27 NO 21
Even though the Carolina Panthers have had an impressive year, winning their division and clinching a first round bye, I still need to see more from Cam Newton. This will be his playoff debut and though I know he has all the tools to get the job done, the 49ers are more complete and Kaepernick has shown his ability in a big spot often in his young career. I love this defensive matchup and I believe this will definitely be a low scoring blood bath. In the end, the more complete team wins: SF 17 CAR 13
Like I said, we are back for 2014 and look forward to dropping knowledge on you once again…enjoy the college pigskin tomorrow night and we’ll talk later this week…
The time has come. Even though we are a New York based site and both the Jets and Giants crapped the bed this year, that doesn’t mean that Sports Debaters interest in the NFL playoffs lessens. The Wild Card Round is upon us and there are some extremely exciting match-ups. Here is our breakdown and predictions for both of Saturday’s Wild-Card games.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans: In a rematch of last year’s Wild Card game, the Bengals and Texans will face off in Houston to open this year’s festivities. The Houston Texans were in the drivers seat all season long, and many experts expected them to win the AFC’s home field throughout the playoffs. However, over the past few weeks, they have come back to earth and their loss last week to the Colts forced them into action the opening weekend. The Bengals have played an impressive brand of football the past few weeks, and their Week 16 nail biting win over the Steelers catapulted them into today’s game. Last year, the Texans beat the Bengals 31-10 behind QB T.J. Yates, as starter Matt Schaub went down with an injury heading into the playoffs. This year, Schaub is back and ready to prove himself in the post season for the first time. The Bengal’s Andy Dalton and AJ Green are easily among the best young QB/WR combinations in the NFL and it is a sure bet that they will be a presence in the playoffs for years to come. However, we expect the Texans, behind Arian Foster, J.J. Watt and the rest of the supporting cast to take care of business in front of their home crowd. Prediction: Houston 21- Bengals 17.
Minnesota Packers vs. Green Bay Packers: Anytime two division rivals matchup in the playoffs, players on both teams inevitably bring their best games. In a rematch of a game that was played only a week ago, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay 37-34 in a thrilling game to clinch a playoff spot. Adrian Peterson came into the game needing 208 yards to break the all-time rushing record one year after tearing up his knee, and he came a mere 9 yards short. In the two games against Green Bay this year, Peterson has put up 210 and 199 yards so we can expect a similar performance in this battle. Unfortunately for the Vikings, there is a well known QB opposing them in the likes of Aaron Rodgers, who has completed 75% of his passes against the Vikes in the past five seasons. Greg Jennings finally looks healthy and he will join forces with Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones as the best set of wideouts in the NFL. Although Viking’s QB Christian Ponder threw for three TD’s against the Pack last week, Green Bay’s Charles Woodson will return to action and will surely make life more difficult for the Sophomore QB who is 1-3 in his career against Green Bay. We expect a close, high-scoring game and a lot of Peterson yards but in the end Aaron Rodgers will out-duel Christian Ponder by a margin that even Peterson can’t overcome. Green Bay will make up for last year’s disappointing home loss to the Giants and a 2-4 record in their last 6 playoff games at Lambeau, and move on to the Divisional round next weekend. Final Score: Packers 38- Vikings 28
Check in tomorrow prior to kickoff for our predictions on the Colts vs. Ravens and Seahawks vs. Redskins.