NFL’s Worst Blown Call? … I Disagree

Well a lot has been made of the Ed Hochuli blown call this past week in the Chargers/Broncos game but let’s not forget that the Chargers might have wanted to play some sort of defense all day. When you allow a team to score 39 points in merely 48 minutes, you can tell what kind of a day they were having. Yea the call came at the absolute worst time and certainly took a victory out of their hands but they still had to play for another minute and 20 seconds or so.

They could have stepped up once to make a stop on a 4th-and-4 with 24 seconds left in the game to stop the Broncos from scoring. How about playing some more defense on the 2-point conversion where Cutler slices up 3 people in the end zone and completes a pass Royal to go up by 1.

How about some sort of double or extra coverage on Brandon Marshall who has 18 receptions for 166 yards? How about getting some pressure on Cutler who went 36 for 50, passing for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns? How about converting 3 drives of over 65 yards into touchdowns instead of field goals? How about three drives inside the opposition 30 yard line that only led to field goals? How about two drives inside the 20 yard line that were only a field goal? How about converting a 1st-and-5, 2nd-and-5 or even a 3rd-and-3 into a touchdown instead of settling for a 4th-and-3 field goal?

You convert any of those and you don’t leave the game hanging in the balance and the let the outcome be determined by a bad call. Yea it was a bad call but the game should have been over before then so it would not have even mattered.

Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and feeling self-pity that you are 0-2 on two last minute losses because you have a New York team coming in fresh off a game they felt they should have won too and before you know it, you’ll find yourself 0-3 with no shot at the playoffs.

NFL Predictions… What Are Yours?

I’ll post my NFL predictions for this season now and talk about a couple of things I think will crucial this upcoming season. A couple of things to look out for will be the age of the New England Patriots’ defense. No one expects them to run the table again in the regular season but people might be in for a surprise if their age finally catches up to them and they end up losing 4 or 5 games. Also, who knows how injured Tom Brady really is and how effective he’ll be in the early parts of the season?

In the NFC, Aaron Rodgers has been handed a wonderful team but a great receiving group and all he has to do is not try to be Brett Favre. If he can stick to the short passes and allow the receivers to do their work with YAC as they did last year along with the new found running game in Ryan Grant – the Packers could really repeat as one of the top two seeds in the conference. New York Giants on the other hand have lost two considerablely talented players on defense and will that blow be big enough to keep them out of the playoffs? I doubt it because their offense has matured well enough and Eli should be able to carry a team to a couple of wins just by himself this year.

In the playoffs, you can never count out Brett Favre and certainly he’s not done with the way he played last year. Cold weather will be not be an issue and just might be something to provide Jets’ fans with something to hope for. However, let’s all be realistic. The Jets went 4-12 last year and just making the playoffs this year will be a dramatic improvement so I doubt they advance much further even though I do have them winning a game in the post-season.

Is this the year that Tony Romo finally breaks through and stops choking in the clutch? I think so. Packers losing Favre drops their main threat to be #1 once again in the conference and they had all the opportunities in the world to beat the Giants last year in the Divisional Round and if Romo can control the ball, they would have at least been a game away from going to the Super Bowl. No reason to expect the same progress this year, if not a little bit more poise and potentially a couple more wins in the post-season.

Does a Manning win a Super Bowl this year as well? Well that would make it three years in a row with Peyton and his Colts beating the Bears in 2007 although the loss of Jeff Saturday in the early parts of the season can slow down their progress but probably not enough to keep them from winning the division yet again en route to the Super Bowl XLIII victory on February 1, 2009.

Predictions are after the break. Continue reading “NFL Predictions… What Are Yours?”

Green Bay Wins, Brett Favre Loses

I decided against posting on this issue until it was completely resolved and last night, just that happened.

After taking a beating in the press for not welcoming back Brett Favre as their starting quarterback, the Green Bay Packers accomplished what they originally set out to do – trade him to a team as far away as possible that they could only see him in the Super Bowl. They also secured the fact that he would basically not be traded to the Minnesota Vikings by having the Jets give the Packers three 1st round draft picks if they do decide to ship him in that direction. There is no doubt that he still has some talent left in him and Packers made that clear when they were ready to bring him back early this off season but when he kept going back and forth, the Packers decided to pursue to future in Aaron Rodgers.

I can’t blame the Packers for what they did because they had lived through the past few years not knowing whether Brett was coming back or not and for the first time when they had a definitive answer this early in the off-season, they needed to make plans for a Post-Favre Green Bay. It is understandable why the media is just in love with Favre who can’t seem to do anything wrong in their eye. He has never come out and said anything against them, he has always had a good relationship and it always helps that he has been more successful than not in his career.

He goes to a New York Jets team that was 4-12 last year and certainly raises their hopes of becoming a playoff team. The Jets vastly improved their offensive line which was their biggest weakness and for Favre who was sacked 15 times all of last season (Pennington + Clemens were sacked a total of 53 times). Favre’s deep ball should open up the running game for the Jets who are still vying for the second spot in the division as you can realistically expect the New England Patriots to win the division again. Continue reading “Green Bay Wins, Brett Favre Loses”

Conference Championship Recap

So I guess I am finally getting around to talking about the two games because I am finally getting over the Packers loss. I will start with this game first because certainly this was arguably one of the best playoff games I have ever seen. A back and forth game from the start where neither team really got true momentum and even though it was a game that many will argue Giants dominated from the start (outside the one 90 yard pass to Driver). The Packers, much to my surprise, never established a running game that had really balanced out their offense in the second half of the season and really burst wide open in the last game against the Seahawks. Give all the credit in the world to Eli Manning who kept going to Plaxico Burress against a clearly over-matched Al Harris. Make no mistake about it, Packers gave this game away to the Giants with their mistakes but Eli stayed composed the entire game even though the Packers responded to every Giant score. I will still say it, Tom Coughlin’s decision to play all of his starters in that ‘meaningless’ Week 17 game versus the Patriots really brought this team together and there is no way they are in the Super Bowl unless their starters play that game. 3 straight road playoff wins, 10 straight road wins… this team has the momentum that could produce a victory in Arizona, but that is a little too early to call. Momentum is a dangerous opponent to play against regardless of who you are.

Oh by the way, Patriots continued their winning ways basically because the Chargers could find a way to score in the red zone. They were held to four field goals, two of which certainly could have been touchdowns and who knows, might have produced a different result at the end of the game. Regardless, the Patriots played less than their ‘A’ game but still found a way to win. They did that this game and have done that often over the course of the season and now stand one win away from a perfect 19-0 season. I will not elaborate more into what I think happens in two weeks but yea, I just might pick the Patriots two weeks in a row, who knows?

Conference Championship Predictions

Well here we go again… it is Conference Championship weekend – the Final Four of the National Football League. 3/4 the first week but a very disappointing 1/4 last week – only 50% for the playoffs… gotta pick it up with a perfect week this week.

San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots (3:00 PM – CBS)

Not too many people expected the Chargers to pull off the upset over the Colts last week without the help of Rivers and LT for the entire second half but give credit to Norv Turner and his team for sticking together and pulling out a gutsy playoff victory. Let me just say that the Chargers will not be able to repeat the same kind of result this week unless they do have quality contributions from Rivers, LT and Gates. The Patriots have proven all year long that you might slow them down for a little bit by taking away Moss or taking away their running game but that only works for so long. They just have so many weapons on offense that they can give any defense nightmares. Now the Chargers do have quite an athletic defense that has the ability to stay with the Patriots playmakers and with the weather forecast for heavy gusts, the Patriots short passing game that they run so well will probably be in full use. Chargers need to be able to apply some sort of pressure onto Brady if they want to have any chance this game. Brady was sacked on the first play of the game last week but then he was barely touched for the entire game after that. If San Diego can bring pressure often, I can see them keeping this game close in the 4th quarter otherwise it is an easy path for the Patriots to the Super Bowl. Patriots 31-21.

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers (6:30 PM – FOX)

Now this is the Eli Manning everyone had been waiting for. Who really expected this Manning brother to be in the Conference Championship game while is brother was sent home packing? Give all the credit in the world to Tom Coughlin for playing his starters in the last game of the regular season against the New England Patriots – these guys really came together on the field then and that has led to 2 straight victories on the road for the Giants. Now they head to Green Bay where the high temperature for Sunday is forecasted to be about 4 degrees. Brett Favre is a career +40 in win/loss ratio at home and only has a handful of losses when the temperature drops below freezing. Everyone questioned the Packers running game at the start of the year and whether it would be good enough to provide a balance to defenses to keep them honest with their prolific passing attack. Ryan Grant proved that last week with a franchise record for rushing yards in a playoff game – one that seemed very unlikely after he fumbled the ball twice on the Packers first two possessions of the game. The Gaints’ pass rushers need to be able to do what most teams have not been able to do all year and that is bring pressure on Brett Favre and force him to make mistakes. He has really cut down on his interceptions and if he manages the game again the way he did last week vs. Seattle, the Giants are in for a long day in Green Bay. I think you have to tip your hat to Eli Manning for finally bringing his game to that next level and I certainly think he is going to have another efficient game this week, I just do not think that will be enough for the battered Giants team to pull out a victory at Lambeau Field. Packers 35-20.