I know I said I'd shy away from football posts now that the season is over, but my Giants are in the playoffs and I'm very excited. Here are my predictions for the playoffs.
AFC Playoff Race:
Pittsburgh over Denver: 27 - 10
Why?: Teams have already figured Tim Tebow and this Denver team has reverted back to their old ways for the beginning of the season. if Buffalo can destroy them like they did, Pittsburgh will have no problem.
Bengals over Texans: 24 -21
Why?: This will be a very close game that I can see going either way, but the injuries suffered by the Texans are becoming too much for this team to handle. The Bengals only lost by 1 point last time and even though they only beat one team above .500 I see them pulling off the upset.
Patriots over Bengals: 24 - 14
Why?: The defense will still have issues for the Patriots, but they'll find a way to get rookie QB Dalton. Tom Brady will be clutch on offense (like usual) and even with a poor D they will find ways to win like they have all season.
Ravens over Steelers: 21 - 17
Why?: Both are pretty balanced teams with the slight edge going to the Ravens. Ravens took both games and there's no reason to speculate that they wouldn't take the 3rd one in the series especially with a Roethlisberger that isn't 100%.
Ravens over Patriots: 30 - 24
Why?: This is where the Patriots D will bite them in the ass. The key for the Ravens to win this game is to give Ray Rice the ball often which is what they'll do. Brady will still have a good game, but the D will do the Patriots in.
NFC Playoff Race:
Giants over Falcons: 37 - 21
Why?: I already revealed my bias by stating I'm a Giants fan, but I expect a big game from this team. Eli is having his best season as a QB and is one of the most dangerous QBs in the leagues when he's clutch (which has been more times than not this season). Him and Cruz will do damage against this team.
Saints over Lions: 34 - 17
Why?: The last time these teams faced each other it resulted in a 31-17 win by the Saints. I expect a very similar score with a Drew Brees that has been fantastic all season (especially as of late). Matt Stafford has had a great season, but he's no Drew Brees.
Giants over Packers: 35 - 34
Why?: Yes, I know bias right here, but I expect a similar vibe to the 2007 season when the Giants lost by 3 points to the Pats and then beat them in a close game in the Super Bowl. Packers aren't an undefeated team this year, but easily the best in the league and I see the last drive coming down to Eli and him getting it done. Last time what stopped the Giants from a win was giving the ball back to the Packers with too much time on the clock. It won't happen this time.
49ers over Saints: 17 - 10
Why?: If any defense can figure out how to stop Drew Brees it's the 49ers. In order for the 49ers to win this game, they need to put on a great defense showing and have Alex Smith commit 0 turnovers (both will happen). Frank Gore will be the one who decides this game with 2 running touchdowns.
Giants over 49ers: 21 - 17
Why?: The 49ers beat the Giants last time 27-20 in regular season. I think the Giants are improved since then and will do what they need to do on both offense and defense to win this game. Bradshaw will have a decent game (not great, but just enough) and Eli & Cruz will put up big numbers again. Again, I understand I'm biased, but I sense another upset.
Ravens over Giants: 24 - 13
Why?: This is where my bias for the Giants end. A team that is balanced on both offense and defense will be the team that stops the Giants. The Packers don't have the D, the 49ers don't have the O, but the Ravens have both and it will be the deciding factor in this game.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Well the regular NFL season is over and looks like I'll be back to regular blogging. Final power rankings below.
1. Green Bay Packers: 606 (581 )
Previous Week: 1
Notes: No Aaron Rodgers? No problem apparently. Matt Flynn surprised everyone with his dominant performance over the Lions. Even with a subpar defense, the Packers are the best team in the NFC and in the NFL.
2. New Orleans Saints: 545 (486 )
Previous Week: 2
Notes: The Packers might be the best team in the NFL, but the Saints are the team nobody wants to play in the playoffs right now. Drew Brees is looking like the best QB in football right now.
3. New England Patriots: 493 (441 )
Previous Week: 4
Notes: In a conference without an elite team, the Patriots have the slight edge over other good teams like the Ravens and Steelers mostly due to Tom Brady. Their defense might not be great, but the Patriots have won 8 in a row and are the team nobody wants to face in the AFC.
4. San Francisco 49ers: 475 (451)
Previous Week: 3
Notes: The 49ers end the season as the #2 seed with a 13-3 record after being 6-10 the year before. If their defense plays at the top of their game, they can beat anyone in the playoffs.
5. Baltimore Ravens: 418 (384)
Previous Week: 6
Notes: A win over the Bengals gets them a bye week in the playoffs. If the Broncos upset the Steelers, the Ravens might find their road to the championship game fairly easy with the Texans suffering from injuries, the Broncos being the Broncos, and the Bengals already losing twice to them.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers: 417 (393)
Previous Week: 5
Notes: Like the 49ers, if this team's defense is at the top of their game, they can beat anyone in the NFL. They should coast against Denver next week.
7. Houston Texans: 328 (348)
Previous Week: 7
Notes: Losing three games in a row (especially all to non-playoff teams) is not what the Texans wanted to do going into the playoffs. It will be a tough game against the Bengals.
8. Detroit Lions: 312 (328)
Previous Week: 8
Notes: The Lions did not expect a Packers team without Aaron Rodgers to perform as well as they did on offense, but there you go. It's exciting that this team has made the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but it might be short-lived with their first game on the road against a red hot Saints.
9. Atlanta Falcons: 275 (226)
Previous Week: 9
Notes: The win over the Buccs in week 17 means that the Falcons get to play the Giants on the road instead of the Saints who destroyed them in week 16.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: 197 (170)
Previous Week: 12
Notes: Might be "weird" ranking a non-playoff team so high (especially one that only finished the season at .500), but very few teams played as good of football at the end of the season as the Eagles. They somehow end the season in 2nd place in the NFC East only one game back from taking that division.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: 178 (196)
Previous Week: 10
Notes: Well, they lost to the Ravens, but got some help and are now in the playoffs as a 6th seed. Their first game is against the Texans who they only lost to by 1 point a few weeks ago.
12. New York Giants: 176 (132)
Previous Week: 14
Notes: When the Giants team can put it all together like they did against the Cowboys, there are very few teams they can't beat. Victor Cruz is one of the better receivers in the league as is Eli in the QB position. This QB / WR combo will be exciting to watch in the playoffs.
13. San Diego Chargers: 153 (128 )
Previous Week: 15
Notes: The other non-playoff team (besides the Eagles) that few would want to face in the playoffs. They are the best 8-8 team out of the 3 in the AFC West, but unfortunately will not be able to compete in the wildcard game against the Steelers.
14. Tennessee Titans: 150 (119)
Previous Week: 16
Notes: They won, but didn't get the help they needed to get in. That one touchdown loss against the Bengals was the only thing preventing this team from making the playoffs. That and giving up the Colt's first win.
15. Dallas Cowboys: 144 (185)
Previous Week: 11
Notes: They simply played worse than the Giants on all sides of the ball. The blame can't be on Romo this time as he still put up a solid game. Jerry Jones says Jason Garrett's job is safe and he's probably being truthful although if they end up not making the playoffs next year it probably will be a different story.
16. New York Jets: 135 (148)
Previous Week: 13
Notes: The Jets lose their last 3 games of the season and end up not making the playoffs. Rex Ryan's job will be safe for now (he was the one who transformed this team from a joke to relevant after all), but is very far from that Super Bowl guarantee he promised at the beginning of the season.
17. Chicago Bears: 117 (98)
Previous Week: 17
Notes: Well, they finally win a game and end the season at .500. If Jay Cutler didn't have starting QB security for the Bears he does now.
18. Seattle Seahawks: 75 (75)
Previous Week: 18
Notes: Even they ended the season with the same record, the Seahawks still exceeded expectations this season.
19. Arizona Cardinals: 54 (15 )
Previous Week: 22
Notes: A moral victory for the Cards. Arizona ends the season on a strong note with a win over the Seahawks and an 8-8 record.
20. Oakland Raiders: 32 (57)
Previous Week: 19
Notes: The Broncos gave the Raiders a shot at an AFC West division title, but they couldn't beat the Chargers. Will Carson Palmer be the starting QB for the Raiders next season?
21. Miami Dolphins: 32 (8)
Previous Week: 23
Notes: Nothing made this team happier than shattering any hopes of a playoff birth for the Jets with a win over them. After staring off the season 0-7, the Dolphins go 6-3.
22. Denver Broncos: 15 (35)
Previous Week: 21
Notes: Well, I guess Tim Tebow "led" this team to a surprising playoff berth despite losing their last 3. This team is the weakest of the 12 teams in the playoffs, but based on some of their wins you never know what can happen.
23. Carolina Panthers: 6 (55)
Previous Week: 20
Notes: Excited about watching Cam Newton & co compete next season. They might not be a playoff team in 2012, but they'll be a lot closer than they were this year.
24. Buffalo Bills: -52 (-4)
Previous Week: 24
Notes: I thought after being up 21 - 0, the Bills could at least NOT get destroyed by the Pats for their last game of the season. I was wrong. What a disappointing season for a team that started off so strong.
25. Kansas City Chiefs: -71 (-104)
Previous Week: 26
Notes: Too early to say, but Romeo Crennel looks like a good fit in KC. Prior to him taking over the head coaching gig, the team looked like one of the bottom 3 in the NFL. While not a playoff caliber team yet, they look much improved.
26. Washington Redskins: -103 (-59)
Previous Week: 25
Notes: Another team that started off the season so strong (and a team that some said could have taken the NFC East), but showed their true colors as the season progressed. It will be interesting to see what happens in terms of changes in the off season.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars: -134 (-187)
Previous Week: 28
Notes: The only bright spot in the Jags season was MJD who put up another great season (and one of the best in the NFL in the RB position).
28. Cleveland Browns: -181 (-161)
Previous Week: 27
Notes: 6 losses in a row and 0 division wins to close out the season. Disgusting.
29. Minnesota Vikings: -217 (-204)
Previous Week: 29
Notes: They still put up a fight against the Bears and like a lot of their losses, they came up short by one possession.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -306 (-266)
Previous Week: 30
Notes: 10 losses in a row and Morris is gone. This team was so competitive last year and started off this 4-2. I can't remember the last time I saw such a collapse.
31. Indianapolis Colts: -387 ( -366 )
Previous Week: 31
Notes: They get the #1 pick in the draft. It will be interesting to see if they get Luck (for themselves or for trade bait).
32. St. Louis Rams: -395 (-370 )
Previous Week: 32
Notes: And the Rams end the season on a horrible note and Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney are immediately fired. It will take a while for this team to rebuild.