Jan 5th 2009 8:38AM by JJ Cooper (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Eagles, Giants, Panthers, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, NFL PlayoffsWhen you get to the playoffs, it’s worth keeping one eye on the weather–Chargers fans rightfully believe they would have made it to the Super Bowl in 1981 if it wasn’t for a record cold snap in Cincinnati. And there are Cowboys players from the 1960s who still have frozen fingers from the Ice Bowl.
We shouldn’t see anything like that this weekend, but it appears that three of the four second-round playoff games could see some inclement weather.
The Titans-Ravens game could be a turnover-fest, as rain and potential snow showers are forecast for Saturday with a high of 38 degrees. And the Chargers should be ready to bundle up as the projected high in Pittsburgh on Sunday is 23 (with mild winds) and occasional snow showers are forecast.
The Giants-Eagles game will be played in very mild conditions for a Giants-Eagles’ game in January–30 degrees and sunny, while the Panthers-Cardinals game may see rain–as the early forecast is for 52 degrees and rain. While rain might affect the Cardinals’ passing game, they surely would prefer to have 52 degrees and rain to another snowstorm like the one that buried them in New England last month.
These are forecasts for six or seven days in the future, so there is a chance that they will change over the next week. But if they don’t change we could see some interesting weather this weekend, which usually makes playoff games even more interesting.
Jan 3rd 2009 7:35PM by Michael David Smith (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Giants, Panthers
The good news for the Arizona Cardinals is that they won today’s wild card playoff game, beating the Atlanta Falcons and advancing to the divisional round.
The bad news is that in the divisional round, they’ll play either at the Carolina Panthers or at the New York Giants. And the Cardinals have been absolutely atrocious when traveling east this season.
The Cardinals went 0-5 on the East Coast this season, and they were blown out in three of those five losses, losing 56-35 at the New York Jets, 48-20 at the Philadelphia Eagles and 47-7 at the New England Patriots. Whether the Cardinals have jet lag or just need their assistant to the traveling secretary to find them more comfortable hotel rooms, long road trips have been rough for Arizona.
The good news is that of their five East Coast losses in 2008, the closest was to the Panthers, who beat the Cardinals just 27-23. Perhaps Carolina is the one place out East the Cardinals feel comfortable playing. They’ll find out tomorrow, based on the Eagles-Vikings result, whether they’re going to play there again.
Jan 2nd 2009 3:45PM by Matt Snyder (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Panthers, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Vikings, AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West, Fantasy Football, NFL PlayoffsThere are several different fantasy playoffs models, so it’s difficult to accommodate everyone when doing any set of fantasy advice for the real playoffs. Most common models require you to do a bit of prognosticating as far as the actual game winners. To that, I say good luck. This isn’t like last year, where we all knew the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl. This season the playoffs are wide open, and no, I don’t think the Giants are a sure thing to make the big game. They are the surest bet, but it’s still a bet.
Anyway, we’re going to analyze some of the players.
First, here are the regular-season defensive rankings for the teams playing this postseason.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1, 2, 1, 1)
Baltimore Ravens (2, 3, 2, 3)
Philadelphia Eagles (3, 4, 3, 4)
New York Giants (5, 9, 8, 5)
Minnesota Vikings (6, 1, 18, 13)
Tennessee Titans (7, 6, 9, 2)
Indianapolis Colts (11, 24, 6, 7)
Miami Dolphins (15, 10, 25, 9)
Carolina Panthers (18, 20, 16, 12)
Arizona Cardinals (19, 16, 21, 28)
Atlanta Falcons (24, 25, 22, 11)
San Diego Chargers (25, 11, 31, 15)Continue Reading
Dec 30th 2008 8:30AM by JJ Cooper (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Panthers, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Vikings, NFL PlayoffsWe all know that NFL records are not always created equal, and life isn’t fair.
That explains why the 11-5 Patriots are sitting at home while the 8-8 Chargers are preparing for the playoffs. But now that the playoff pairings have been set, it is pretty easy to get a quick and dirty look at which teams were tested during the regular season and which teams skated into the playoffs thanks to very forgiving schedules.
To get a better look at how the playoff teams matched up, I compiled each playoff team’s record against the other playoff teams. It’s a look that has some flaws–a win against the 8-8 Chargers counts while a win against the Patriots doesn’t, but it is a very good, and quick, way to see how many tough games each team played during the regular season.
So which teams earned their way and which ones snuck in? Well, the Dolphins shouldn’t be too proud, while the Eagles didn’t exactly back their way in, even if they had to win on Sunday to snag the NFC’s last wild card spot.Continue Reading
Dec 28th 2008 10:30AM by Sportz Assassin (author feed)
Filed under: Falcons, Panthers, NFC SouthThe scenario is simple: if the Panthers win in New Orleans or the Atlanta Falcons somehow lose to the St. Louis Rams than Carolina wins the NFC South and gets a first round bye.
But how important is that?
The past three teams to win the Super Bowl didn’t have a bye. The 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers and 2007 New York Giants won three road playoff games and the Super Bowl. The 2006 Indianapolis Colts had to get through three playoff games before beating the Bears in the Super Bowl.
Since 2000, only four Super Bowl Champions have gotten a first round bye. Three of those teams were the No. 2 seed in their conference (a Panthers NFC South title gives them the No. 2 seed). Only the 2003 New England Patriots have won a Super Bowl as a No. 1 seed this decade.
Carolina’s only Super Bowl appearance came after not getting a bye.
Dec 28th 2008 6:20PM by Sportz Assassin (author feed)
Filed under: Panthers, NFC SouthThe Carolina Panthers are deserving NFC South champions.
They became the only NFC South team to win a divisional game on the road all season. Heading into today, the Panthers, Falcons, Buccaneers and Saints all won their home games against other division foes. That extra victory gave the Panthers the division title.
Today, Carolina went into New Orleans and beat the Saints, 33-31, breaking that streak. They also become the only NFC South team win a winning division record.
With the win comes the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs and a first round bye. The Panthers can use the week off to get guys healthy before hosting the Vikings, Cardinals or Falcons in two weeks.
This is the third time the Panthers have won their division and their fourth playoff appearance. All three previous trips saw Carolina in the NFC title game (against the Packers in 1995; the Eagles in 2003; the Seahawks in 2005) with the Panthers reaching Super Bowl XXXVIII.Continue Reading
Dec 22nd 2008 8:15PM by Will Brinson (author feed)
Filed under: Giants, Panthers, NFL Media Watch, NFL RumorsThe Carolina Panthers tossed up 300+ yards on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently, just on the ground. And then last night, the Giants did the same thing to Carolina on national television. Needless to say, the Panthers defense isn’t thrilled about being embarrassed, but they took the yards in stride.
For the most part anyway; Jon Beason seems to think that New York’s performance is more the Cats fault than the Giants’ success.
After blaming sloppy play and poor communication on the Panthers’ inability to stop the Giants’ running game, Beason was asked if the talents of Ward and backfield mate Brandon Jacobs might have had something to do with it.
“I hate you asked that question,” Beason said. “The politically correct thing to say is they’re a great combination of running backs — really good backs. And they are. But based on the film, of the 300 yards, let’s say, uh, 250 were on us. That’s how I’ll answer that question.”
So, um, yeah. What I think Beason is saying here is that “If we’d tackled properly, Derrick Ward doesn’t look that good.” And also, “Nice 50 yards Jacobs.” Although I could be reaching on that last one. Still, the point being is that Beason definitely wasn’t trying to be complimentary of the Giants running game. And you better believe this won’t be the last you hear of this either. Paging, Dr. Ward.
Dec 21st 2008 1:30PM by Will Brinson (author feed)
Filed under: Giants, Panthers, NFL Coaching, NFL Media Watch, NFL Real TalkKeyshawn Johnson says a lot of things that are relatively unimportant. But as far as ESPN Sunday morning analysts go, he’s not that bad. Still, it’s probably a bit aggressive to dog Jake Delhomme the way he did this morning, considering that he was on the Panthers for all of, oh, one year.
I don’t trust Jake [Delhomme]. I’ve played with him. He’s a good guy and everything, but in this situation he’ll try to do too much if they put the ball in his hands, try to throw hand grenades like in Green Bay.
Well, obviously Key missed that whole “Smash and Dash” thing — you know, where the Panthers run the ball about 40 times to wear the defense down and let Jake do his thing on third down if he has to, while picking spots to hit Steve Smith downfield.
Additionally, it’s not like Jake hasn’t taken a Panthers team to the Super Bowl or performed at an All-Pro level — he has. And to further the point, if the Panthers put the ball in Jake’s hand tonight, well, that’s just plain stupidity on the coaching staff’s part; the plan, as far as anyone should be concerned, is nothing more than a heavy dose of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Dec 21st 2008 2:55PM by Sportz Assassin (author feed)
Filed under: Bills, Broncos, Buccaneers, Chargers, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, Jets, Giants, Panthers, Patriots, Ravens, Titans, Vikings, NFL Media WatchLast year, the NFL started this flex scheduling thing, which allows them to alter the schedule late in the season so that the more meaningful games are broadcast on national television.
While there are rules that the NFL follows for selecting these games, they do Week 17 a bit differently. No games are off limits for the switch to NBC, aside from picking teams that have reached televised limits. They also only have to give six days advance warning about the change, instead of the normal 12 days.
That means the NFL will place the game with the most riding on it as their season finale on NBC.
So which games look like they could be a possibility?Continue Reading
Dec 21st 2008 4:30PM by Will Brinson (author feed)
Filed under: Giants, Panthers, NFL Playoffs, NFL Eliminated Teams, FanHouse PreviewsAs Ryan has already pointed out, this game, despite the “Homefield Throughout” nature in which it will be played, isn’t the most “important” of the season, since both teams are all but playoff locked (if the Panthers lose out and the Bucs, Falcons and Cowboys win out … well, then I’m a jackass).
But there’s still puh-lenty at stake here. Namely: home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the likelihood of being favored to rep the NFC in the Super Bowl. The last one of course, is really just a semantical bonus for those that like to gamble.
Make no mistake though — HFA is a huge deal to both of these teams, considering that they’re a combined 14-1 this season at home. So, yeah, it’s kind of important.
And as such, this should be a great game, even if it’s kind of odd to see the seasonal arc that each team is taking. The Giants were, just a few weeks ago, already being penciled in to rep the NFC in Tampa. However, in just the course of two losses to the Eagles and the Cowboys, people have started to wonder how they can perform when they’re not a full strength.
But, as Giants early season roll has slowed, the Panthers have only picked up the pace, moving from a tough team that looked like a contender to a powerhouse that rumbled over Tampa Bay for 300+ rushing yards in a Monday night blowout. Of course, there’s the whole matter of DeAngelo Williams being secretly hurt — yeah, it’s weird. It also seems unlikely; he was, after all, tutored by Vinny Testaverde and that goes a long way towards maintaining health. But still, a shoddy performance or an early exit from “Dash” would make this a pretty big deal going forward.Continue Reading