2005 NFL Wildcard Weekend Review ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
|A Look Back and Ahead in the NFL Playoffs
By Tony George www.sportsaudioshows.com
Another first, or at least proof positive thishas been a very unconventional year in the NFL to say the leastwith 3 road dogs winning SU in the Wildcard games this past Sunday. After a record setting 69.7 percent ATS record overall in theNFL in 2003, I struggled to a mere 54% and lost not only the last4 Sunday’s in December, but also opened up the NFL Playoffs at2-3 over the weekend. Slightly better than home favorites inthe NFL Wildcard races, that went 1-3 SU, and the Seahawks, Chargersand Packers did not have to fly home to clean out their lockers. My takes and look ahead for this upcoming weekend are posted.
Breaking it down after the fallout of this weekendsNFL upsets, the least surprising was Seattle getting beat, asthey have been unable to close out big games all year, and givingup 4 points, which is over the KEY fall number of 3 was good winfor Rams supporters. The Rams also had Seattle’s number all year,winning 3 games against the Hawks. The Seahawks season was definedby one thing, and that was dropped passes, even Jerry Rice inhis twilight, could not save them in that department and it wasfitting that a dropped ball in the endzone was their demise andfinal offensive play of the season. The Rams are hot and dangerousthis weekend, winning 3 straight and with their offense in highgear, are a dangerous team getting 7 points at Atlanta. Expecta shootout.
The Chargers meltdown was surprising, but withShottenheimer losing his 5th straight playoff game, I guess asmuch as things change, they remain the same. The tandem of DrewBreese, LT and Antonio Gates were shut down by a Jets defensemissing a starting DB and big time rush end John Abraham. TheChargers were held to 17 points, when they had averaged over 30ppg at home this season. Still a great turnaround for the Bolts,but Marty ball continues, as he now counts 5-12 SU in post seasonhistory as a head coach. The Jets Chad Pennington is a greatQB who sliced and diced the Chargers secondary all day with surgicalstrikes, all without Wayne Cherbet on the roster this past week,but the Jets will have their work cut out for them against a verygood Steelers team who has beaten the NFL’s elite teams at homethis year, barely breaking a sweat. They are a 2 1/2 point dogin Pittsburgh this week.
How about those Packers? Cannot stop the run,cannot stop the pass, cannot beat the hapless Vikes who lost 7out of their last 9 heading into Green Bay this Sunday. An injuredRandy Moss beats a DB on a side post route to score late in the4th and put it away? Randy Moss beats 2 DB’s in double coverageon a fade route in the end zone? Brett Farve has 4 interceptionsin a playoff game at home? The key is simple, no defense andturning the ball over 4 times is a death wish for any team inthe Playoffs. The Vikes are also dangerous right now, but notnear as dangerous without Moss being healthy in Philly this week,as evidenced by 9 point underdog role against a team they blew itagainst on Monday Night earlier this year. Philly dropped 2 straightto end the season once they had home field sewed up, and theirstarters basically have not played in 3 weeks. Should be interestingto say the least.
The Colts are awesome, did you notice? It willbe rare to see in the near future, a QB playing as well and havingthe year that Peyton Manning has had. He simply destroyed theBronco’s with his play calling and precision strikes against aBronco secondary that looked lost, confused and back on theirheels all day. Bronco’s coach Mike Shanahan has not won a playoffgame since John Elway retired, and with Jake Plummer at QB, heprobably will not win another one! The key with the Colts ishaving 4 guys in Clarke, Wayne, Harrison and team MVP (in my opinion)Brandon Stokely. You have to play man coverage against them tototally shut them down, and leaves RB James to deal with, whois more than capable. If you try and zone cover these optionsthat QB Manning has, you will struggle to keep up and no doubtbe playing from behind. Their defense has played better, andthey need only to be average at best, since this offense, whichis one of the best I have ever seen in my 13 years of handicapping,will score at will. New England’s banged up secondary has a bigchore in front of them, but as we all know, Manning has neverplayed well against the Patriots, but maybe his dream season willcontinue after Sunday, but it will be a war in New England thisweekend I assure you, and a battle between 2 of the NFL’s bestquarterbacks. The Colts are a 2 1/2 point underdog at the openingline, and I expect that number to drop. This game probably isthe BEST GAME of the entire season, enjoy it!
All but one Totals is posted above 48 pointsthis weekend, which is also a rarity, and usually this time ofyear the defense’s are the key in big games. Once again I closethis article as I opened it, it is an unconventional year in theNFL! People expect the Jets and Steelers to play tight and keepthe scoring down, I disagree unless the weather becomes a factor. The stars this weekend in most all these games are on offensein all 4 games, keep a eye on those lines moving up, and of courseinjury and weather reports.