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Thread: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

      
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    Default SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail in the Divisional Round

    January 12th, 2011 Matt Loede




    Sports Illustrateds Peter King is out with his divisional predictions, and hes got the black and gold beating the Ravens by 7 at home on Saturday. Heres his picks for the weekend that will appear in this weeks Sports Illustrated.

    Steelers 20, Ravens 13: Its the eighth meeting in 28 months in this hide-the-women-and-children series, and the previous seven have all been single-digit close. But keep this in mind: Ben Roethlis berger hasnt lost to the Ravens since 2006, hes playing at home, and hes had a bye week to heal all that ails him.

    Patriots 30, Jets 17: This rivalry is verging on passing Sox-Yanks in the Northeast Corridor. Easy to say the Jets wont have a prayer after the Pats 453 blowout win six weeks ago, but Rex Ryans D will play significantly better, especially in coverage, than it did in December. Sanchez versus Brady, though, is a gigantic mismatch.

    Packers 24, Falcons 21: The Falcons are healthy, home and six weeks removed from beating Green Bay. The Pack has had 17 guys on IR, is traveling on a short week and counting on Tom Crabtree and James Starks for offensive production. The latter, after his 123 rushing yards in the win in Philly, said, Im shocked. He should be ready for more.

    Bears 23, Seahawks 20: Cinderella actually won in October at Soldier Field. Seattles hopes rest on Matt Hasselbecks hitting the lottery as he did in the stunner over New Orleans. For the Bears to lose, theyll have to turn it over, which Jay Cutler has been known to do. But I sense a big day on the lakefront for Chicago running back Matt Forte.

    http://www.nflgridirongab.com/2011/0...isional-round/

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    I agree with those picks tbh

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    I agree with the picks also. Is there a way to look up the percentages of upsets during playoffs ? It seems every season there are so many upsets, so many home teams that lose and so on. Seems as if they have a stat or chart for everything else these days.

    I did however think to myself on the first game of the year playing the Falcons that, we maybe seeing this seasons two Super Bowl teams.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    Quote Originally Posted by fezziwig View Post
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    I agree with the picks also. Is there a way to look up the percentages of upsets during playoffs ? It seems every season there are so many upsets, so many home teams that lose and so on. Seems as if they have a stat or chart for everything else these days.

    I did however think to myself on the first game of the year playing the Falcons that, we maybe seeing this seasons two Super Bowl teams.
    There has already been some epic upsets. How the **** are the Seahawks still in it? For ex.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    Each week of the playoffs there seems to be these things happening. Wouldn't it be wild if the Halwks did make it to the Super Bowl or even to the NFC championship game. The way they handled the Saints anything is possible. I do however feel teams will not take them light and they have already seen the kitchen sink their team has to throw.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    I wouldn't be shocked if the Seahawks won their game. They beat the Bears earlier this year in Chicago. Bears could be cold from the week off and honestly aren't that good, regardless.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    The report on Cutler from here in the Bronco's zone (his former team) is that Jay is very streaky. He is phyically talented but emotionally immature and can be rattled. When that happens he tosses alot of interceptions.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    What was, and what may be

    Posted Jan. 12, 2011 @ 3:32 p.m. ET
    By Tom Danyluk



    Steelers SS Troy Polamalu

    The convenient hook to this year's divisional round is that the games are all rematches from the regular season. There are fresh footprints and fingerprints and clusters of evidence to examine. A gumshoe's delight. (Origin of gumshoe? Gum rubber, the original soft soles of the 1800s. Thieves used them to avoid detection, i.e., gumshoe men. Eventually referring to the detectives who caught them.)

    Rex Ryan, you have the right to remain silent

    Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3)

    In football there are two types of assertion. One is suggestive assertion, and up until 6:36 in the third quarter the Ravens quietly had been suggesting their wild-card battle with the Chiefs in Kansas City. They held a close 13-7 lead, and that is a typical suggestive-assertion score. Kansas City was now beginning its second drive of the second half.

    The other type is hellfire assertion. The intent is to eradicate. That's what destroyed the second Kansas City drive of the second half. On first down, thick coverage led to a long intentional grounding penalty on QB Matt Cassel.

    Second down, and Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, lining up as the right defensive end, loops wide, I mean way wide, out to the 39th Street District and back, then ambushes Cassel for a sack.

    Now it's 3rd-and-26. Anxiety conditions. Cassel sets up in his endzone, and the ball is thrown to 5-8, 170-pound scatback Dexter McCluster. He is met by 6-1, 250-pound Ray Anthony Lewis and destroyed. Fumble. Baltimore recovery. That's hellfire assertion.

    It shattered the Chiefs for good. They now understood they weren't ready for that kind of action, and their next three possessions of the football died quietly interception, punt, interception. Somewhere in between was a choking, 10-minute Baltimore scoring drive. A 30-7 final.

    Pittsburgh is a team ready for that kind of action, because they invented it. They taught the Ravens, in the late 1990s, when the Baltimore front office got sick of being bulldozed by the Steelers and all that Blitzburgh stuff and began collecting heavy-duty personnel like the Lewises (Ray and Jamal) and Jamie Sharper and Adalius Thomas and Peter Boulware and Duane Starks. It has been a fine war ever since.

    Right now I favor the Ravens' run game over Pittsburgh's. Why? Total productivity. Rashard Mendenhall is murder when his escape route is obvious, not so scary when it comes to getting yardage on footwork and instincts. The Steelers rate higher statistically, but Baltimore chooses to feed its rushers another way through the air. Long handoffs, I've heard them called, with Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain collecting 98 catches this season, gaining 745 yards; Pittsburgh's backfield had 58 catches for 444 yards.

    But those electrified Steelers linebackers, along with a healthy Troy Polamalu, can mangle any ground game approach. So you look around at the other matchups for angles and you realize it's a waste of time. Both meetings this season ended in very late comebacks, the visitors stealing a touchdown with seconds left on the clock. To predict it will be different this time around means you're simply looking for attention.

    Danyluk's prediction: Steelers 19, Ravens 17

    Green Bay at Atlanta (-2.5)

    Last week, somebody reminded me that the Packers were my preseason choice to win the Super Bowl, and there I was picking them to lose no, not just lose, to get wiped away by the Eagles in the wild-card round and actions like that were those of a coward and a traitor.

    I wheeled around and declared, "If your great umbrage would care to meet my high dudgeon at 12 paces, I would be happy to entertain you at dawn!" Then I reminded him that the team I picked in August had players like Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant and Mark Tauscher and Nick Barnett and Morgan Burnett and this Packers lineup does not.

    Michael Vick and the Philly offense never got it together. I paid too much attention to their crazy rally in the Meadowlands in Week 15. Perhaps I should have focused on their encores. 14 points vs. Minnesota, 13 against Dallas, both defeats at home. OK, so Andy Reid's parking his club at the rest stop, a time for healing. Not so. Already the Vick-Kolb headlines are resurfacing.

    Lying in wait for the Pack is a 13-3 Atlanta team that most of the country has yet to dial into. The Falcons conquered their regular season with a nice little version of the old Dallas triplets Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White a big, ol' engine at tight end (Tony Gonzalez), and the league's 16th-ranked defense. Atlanta has been menacing in its own building lately: 7-1 this season, 6-2 in 09, 7-1 in 08, with Ryan going 20-2 at home over that span.

    Meanwhile, the Green Bay is one of these cold-weather clubs that's able to crank up its offense when the action moves indoors. The speed of the game doesn't bother the Packers. It always has been that way, it seems, even back through the Favre era.

    What was surprising about their late November meeting in Atlanta was how tightly the points came. A hard-fought 20-17 final, with Matt Bryant's late field goal tipping the scoreboard toward the Falcons. I figured it to be a game played in the 30s.

    The unknown this time around is a masher named James Starks who popped last Sunday and gave Green Bay 123 surprise rushing yards. Starks, listed at 218 pounds, drilled the Philly line and hit piles like a 235-pound man. Can he do it again? Unknowns can sometimes be the difference in these playoff scrums; As you read this, the Falcons' defense is making itself familiar with Starks, who was inactive when the teams last met in Week 12.

    Danyluk's prediction: Falcons 31, Packers 27

    Seattle at Chicago (-10)

    The Saints' defense attacked like Willapa Bay oysters last weekend in Seattle, a performance crowned by RCB Tracy Porter's effort during that late fourth-quarter Marshawn Lynch rampage. Yes, it's a professional embarrassment to be hurled five yards downfield, out of the way, as Porter was (by Lynch) during that bullish 67-yard run. Like a kid shoving a teddy bear off his bed.

    But Porter dutifully popped up and rejoined the stampede, as he's paid to do then proceeded to loaf out the final 25 yards. He had another crack at Lynch at the 15 but pulled up. No thanks, I've had enough for today we've had enough for the day. That was the Saints' defense in an oystershell.

    Matt Hasselbeck emerged as the surprise QB starter for the Seahawks, and you had to admire the old-time arrogance and engineering he brought to the game. Hasselbeck, a physical wreck, left hand wrapped mummy-tight, filling the air with those looping, arching, dew-drop-in balls, daring the Saints' defenders to run under them, and those safeties and corners not being able to cover any of it. It was the most points allowed by New Orleans since opening day 2007.

    My favorite quote from the dressing room came from Seahawks TE John Carlson, who caught two of the quarterback's four TD passes. How's it all feel, Johnny? Vindicated? Satisfied?

    "We're not satisfied. We're not even .500 yet."

    So 8-9 Seattle heads back to Chicago to face a team it barely outscored in October, back when the Bears' pass protection was in a daze and Jay Cutler was getting sacked to pieces. The 'Hawks nailed him six times in an afternoon full of Chicago screwups (clock management, Cutler misfires, penalties on TDs, etc.).

    Since then the Bears' offensive line and its trainer, Mike Tice, had everyone convinced things had firmed up; that was, until Green Bay wrecked them for six more sacks in the season finale, and Chicago finished with the most allowed in football (56). What's the right adjective here sackiest? Oh, sackable. Sackable teams usually aren't long for the postseason.

    Meanwhile, Pete Carroll has his team caught in the sis-boom-bah, yes-we-can routine. It's tricky when you get one of these heavy-upset clubs in the playoffs is it a one-shot deal or a sincere march toward destiny? Carroll's again a 10-point underdog. No matter. He's talking destiny. He always does.

    I'd be more concerned for Chicago if the Seahawks had a deadlier pass rush, one certain to mess with Cutler and turn it into another field-position game. Instead, the focus lands back on that clunky Seahawks offense and the need for road playoff points. Lynch won't be shoving around teddy bears this time. If Hasselbeck's arm can't rise up again, Seattle gets smothered out.

    Danyluk's prediction: Bears 28, Seahawks 13

    N.Y. Jets at New England (-8.5)

    John Unitas, another Colts passer, once moaned about his in-game strategy sessions with head coach Weeb Ewbank. Weeb deferring to the orthodox at times, and Unitas sneering at that.

    "Early in my career he'd try to limit where I could throw against certain people," said Johnny U. "He had tremendous respect for Night Train Lane. He'd tell me, 'Don't throw the ball in his area.'

    "Well, hell, I wasn't going to give Night Train the day off. So I'd throw at him, and maybe he'd pick one off, but we could do things against him, too."

    Peyton Manning threw to Reggie Wayne 175 times during the regular season, with Wayne catching 111 of them. Against the Jets more specifically, against CB Darrelle Revis, he fired Wayne's way once. That's game-plan logic, safety first, and the strategy essentially erased a third of the field from the Colts' playbook. It also produced 16 points and some bitter postgame griping from Wayne.

    During the recent Sugar Bowl broadcast, ABC's Todd Blackledge talked about this very thing. The Buckeyes had hurled a missile deep into Arkansas territory, toward a receiver who was very well cloaked in man-coverage. They scored anyway. A fireworks play, but one that made sense to Blackledge, a former QB himself, who then summarized:

    "When you have a great receiver, one with excellent ball skills even if he's not open sometimes you just throw the ball up and let him make a play for you."

    A strange vibe, Jets-Colts. Urgency absent from both sides, it seemed. Both teams looked beatable, more so the Jets conceding, who pulled out a safety-first playbook from 1964 and attacked the center of the Colts' defense with straight-ahead blocking and basic runs Tomlinson for eight, Greene for six, then Tomlinson again, or maybe Brad Smith, then a short pass, etc.

    Those were the most effective Jets drives, the ones that kept Manning on the sideline, handcuffed to his coach. If the Jets had found Matt Snell or Bill Mathis inside that dome they'd have handed them the ball, too.

    The last time these Jets faced New England, well, it was Alexander the Great, routing 260,000 feisty Persians at Gaugamela. New York couldn't cover and Tom Brady didn't miss, and the result was 405 yards of Patriots offense. A 45-3 ripper. How can Rex and the Jets recover?

    The way to unhinge Brady is through gut pressure, hopefully in some form of a four-man rush; few teams have the personnel to achieve it. Start adding bodies, the blitz, and Brady reaches into his candy box those timed, underneath passes he's so unearthly accurate at delivering. Zing-bing-zing. It's one reason why the Ravens have had some success against him, the internal wreckage they can create with minimal manpower.

    This version of the Jets can't do that. They had better success when their 360-pound NT Kris Jenkins was in there hogging up the center, but Jenkins broke down in September and never returned. Next step is to scramble Brady with deception and trickery. Ho-hum says Tom. Odds are Revis won't be getting another day off.

    Danyluk's prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 15


    One final note on Manning. The postseason misery continues. Why did he surrender Reggie Wayne, allowing his top man to be held captive by Revis? Manning refused to attack, to blow down the door and send in the hostage rescue team. I think clues can be found in the lines of a poem I once saw.

    You cannot ask a fish not to swim

    It's the only thing that makes him him

    The author was Tony Curtis, an actor, a man who made a living pretending to be somebody else. Somehow it also explains the ways of the quarterback, a man who doesn't pretend at anything.

    http://www.profootballweekly.com/201...nd-what-may-be

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    Quote Originally Posted by JerryGlanville View Post
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    I wouldn't be shocked if the Seahawks won their game. They beat the Bears earlier this year in Chicago. Bears could be cold from the week off and honestly aren't that good, regardless.
    The bears are pathetic they are not that good. Won over Detroit on a bonehead ref call and packers would have beat them cept pack had a sideline turnover. I would love to see someone expose the bears for who they really are.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    I see no reason why the Seahawks couldn't win. First off I really don't believe the Bears are as good as their record. Many thought the Saints were the tough kids on the block and they crumbled. I think the Saints are better than the Bears as matter fact.
    I haven't followed the Seashawks and who really does but, if they are growing, working the bugs out and starting to roll in a positive direction then, they might end up grabbing the bear by the tail.
    I see this as an upset.

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    Didn't Peter King predict the Steelers and Packers in the Super Bowl before the season started? He still has a shot at getting that right.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackNGoldRules View Post
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    Didn't Peter King predict the Steelers and Packers in the Super Bowl before the season started? He still has a shot at getting that right.
    I have actually been wanting this match up for years and it's totally possible this year. The 2 best fan bases in the game too.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    That's how I remember it. I'm positive he picked the Steelers because everyone said that will be the nail in our coffin because Peter doesn't choose well. And I do believe he picked the Packers. I remember that because I was thinking that would be one epic Super Bowls given all the history these two franchise have had.
    We will beat the Packers in the Super Bowl if that scenario presents itself.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    Breaking Free of Steelers-Ravens Malaise

    By Mike Prisuta
    SteelCityInsider.net
    Posted Jan 12, 2011



    Mike Prisuta doesn't agree with every other football fan who's predicting another close Steelers-Ravens game Saturday. He's predicting a blowout from one side.

    Weve seen it before and well see it again.

    Weve seen Joe Flacco with the ball in his hand and a typical Steelers-Ravens street fight about to be decided in the final seconds.

    Weve seen that twice already this season.

    The first time Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons blitzed but didnt get there and T.J. Houshmandzadeh had time to beat Bryant McFadden on a double-move touchdown.

    The second time James Farrior got in Flaccos face just enough to induce an incompletion on a toss to a wide-open Ed Dickson.

    Whatll it be this time?

    Perhaps more of the same on either account, but not necessarily.

    We dont expect the game to be close, Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El said. We always say it doesnt have to be close. It could end up being close but it doesnt have to be close.

    Based on how the Ravens performed in their postseason-opening win at Kansas City there is much the Steelers can take advantage of toward that end.

    Lets start with Flacco.

    He was given much credit for his periodic scrambles out of the pocket. And as Mike Tomlin observed this week Flacco is not a lawn deer. But hes not Mike Vick, either.

    Escaping the Chiefs pass rush is one thing, but doing the same to the Steelers is quite another. And Flacco also lost a fumble when he was unable to vacate the pocket in Kansas City. The Steelers are well aware that wasnt the first time such a turnover had occurred.

    Ray Rices 99 combined yards also inflicted some damage in KC, but here, too, the Ravens shouldnt count on a repeat. He wont run against the Steelers because no one does. And any damage hes able to inflict in the passing game ought to be minimal because of Farriors rebirth this season as a linebacker who can once again keep such plays contained.

    Baltimores red zone offense ought not to strike fear in the hearts of the Steelers, either. The Ravens converted TDs only 49 percent of the time during the regular season (just ahead of the Steelers 48 percent), then went 2-for-5 against the Chiefs. Third-quarter drives to the Chiefs 11- and 9-yard lines resulted only in field goals that extended leads to 13-7 and 16-7 and kept Kansas City in the game longer than it should have been.

    As for the Ravens defense, it looked susceptible to the run in the first two quarters as Jamaal Charles was gaining 87 yards on seven carries (including a 41-yard touchdown) and averaging 12.4 yards per carry.

    So naturally the Chiefs came out throwing in the second half.

    This isnt to suggest Rashard Mendenhall is going to rumble for 200 yards on Saturday. Mendenhall found the going tough against Baltimore all season, but he still managed to rush for 79 yards and two TDs in the loss to the Ravens in October (the game played between the teams without Ben Roethlisberger).

    The key this time will be to run Mendenhall often enough to make the Ravens respect the possibility of a run. That and the home-field crowd noise advantage ought to allow the Steelers to do a good enough job of protecting Roethlisberger to where he can eventually scorch a still-suspect secondary for big plays, especially off play-action passes.

    If the Steelers can get a couple of those early and achieve a two-score lead they can take the Ravens out of the plodding, calculated, ball-possession offense they prefer.

    And then the Steelers pass rush, operating with the home-field crowd noise advantage against an offensive line thats every bit as suspect as the Steelers offensive line, might really be able to make a few things happen.

    Roethlisberger is the biggest advantage either team has going for it in Round 3, as he seemingly always is in Steelers-Ravens get-togethers. The Ravens know that as well as anyone. And they know they wont be able to keep up if these teams get into a trade-scores type of affair.

    That would be uncharacteristic, but far from inconceivable.

    Make it 27-10, Steelers.

    See you in New England.

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    Default Re: SIs King Three of Four Home Teams Will Prevail

    Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Divisional Playoff Round

    Thursday, January 13, 2011
    By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Pigskin picks from the PG's gridiron guru ...

    Last week: 3-1 (.750)

    Season record: 156-104 (.600)


    SATURDAY

    Baltimore Ravens (13-4) at Steelers (12-4), 4:30 p.m.

    The Skinny: History and intangibles favor the Steelers, who have never lost a playoff game to a division opponent (8-0) since the 1970 merger. Two of those victories are against the Ravens. In addition, the Steelers are 8-1 in their past nine wild-card or divisional playoff games at home. But the Ravens are comfortable on the road in the postseason and they don't want to keep playing the role of the 1978-79 Houston Oilers to the Steelers.

    Prediction: Steelers, 19-17



    Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3), 8 p.m.

    The Skinny: The Falcons tied for the best home record in the NFC in the regular season and have the conference's No. 1 seed, giving them a nice path to the Super Bowl. But they have to get past the Packers, who have won three in a row and are coming off a wild-card victory in Philadelphia. They, not the Falcons, are looking like a Super Bowl team.

    Prediction: Packers, 27-24


    SUNDAY

    Seattle Seahawks (8-9) at Chicago Bears (12-4), 1 p.m.

    The Skinny: Is it shades of 2008 all over again when the Arizona Cardinals, dubbed the worst playoff team in history after a 9-7 record, made it to the Super Bowl? Can the Seahawks pull another surprise with a victory against the Bears? Not if their defense is going to surrender 36 points as they did in their stunning upset against the Saints.

    Prediction: Bears, 34-17



    New York Jets (10-6) at New England Patriots (14-2), 4:30 p.m.

    The Skinny: No matter what anyone thinks about the Patriots, is there anyone outside New York who doesn't want to see Rex Ryan silenced for the final time this season? It is unlikely to think the Patriots will do to the Jets what they did the last time the teams met in Foxboro (45-3, in case you've forgotten). But it is also unlikely to think the Patriots are going to lose.

    Prediction: Patriots, 27-17

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11013...#ixzz1AxKGQvnl

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