Angry Indians Divisional Round Playoff Preview

I have to agree with the bomb. This is the best football weekend of the year. 7 hours a day, 4 games, the 8 best teams in the league. It’s the last weekend of the 2007-2008 football season where you can literally not do anything all weekend but watch football. Nonetheless, it’s time to stop dwelling on the end of the season and discuss my X-factors and predictions for the most exciting playoff matchups in a long time…

image0241.jpg Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers green-bay-packers-logo.gif
X-factor=Lambeau Field

People finally got to see these Seahawks play a game. They aren’t a team that receives a lot of national media exposure. Sports are dominated by teams in the East and with Seattle in the Northwest people don’t see them play on a weekly basis. So it’s not a surprise people completely overreacted to their performance last weekend AT home. This team is a home team. They went 3-5 on the road this season and two of those wins came at St. Louis and San Francisco. This team simply is not a good road team. Here are two stats that show how much Qwest Field makes a difference.

  • This season at home their opponents committed 57 penalties. When on the road, their opponents committed only 42. How many of those are silly false start penalties caused by the 12th man?
  • At home, Seattle had 29 sacks this season. On the road they had only 16. The home crowd gives Seattle’s pass rushers a split second head start off the line.

I can not say enough for Seattle’s field and fans. Those fans impact a game more than any other fans in all of pro sports. Too bad for Seattle that this game is in Lambeau. It’ll make all the difference.

jaguars_logo_small.gif Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots new_england_patriots_logo_200.jpg

X-factor=Kevin Faulk

If you think Belichick and the Brady Bunch are losing this game with two weeks to prepare then you are crazy. I think the Patriots got all the film preparation they needed when they saw the Steelers in the second half. Spread out the Jags defense and force Garrard to throw the ball. Put Rodney Harrison in the box and put 4 and 5 wide receivers on the field. That’s why my X-factor is Kevin Faulk. This is not a Laurence Maroney game. This is a game where the Patriots will put four wide receivers on the field and place Kevin Faulk in the backfield. He will be instrumental in running the ball on draws and catching passes out of the backfield. Jacksonville is getting a first look at New England and they’ll find out how good and dynamic this New England team really is…

chargers.gifSan Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts indy.jpg

X-factor= Philip Rivers

Antonio Gates is out. This whole talk about him being a game-time decision is stupid. It’s so the Colts don’t know whether to prepare for him or not. With Gates out, the obvious X-factor is Philip Rivers. In the first meeting between the two,the Chargers won, but it was not thanks to their offense. Darren Sproles had two return tds and this offense only mustered 177 total yards. They found out that this Colts team is better than last years Super Bowl team and it’s because of the defense. It is number 3 in the league in total yards allowed and number 2 in the league in passing yards allowed. In a game where Philip Rivers is going to have to beat the Colts, he is going to need some legitimate options. With Gates out, he won’t have his safety net. He needs to have a big game if the Chargers want to keep this close. If Manning doesn’t throw six interceptions then the Chargers might be in a little bit of trouble…

giants_logo_small.gif New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys dallas-cowboys-logo.jpg

X-factor= Giants Defensive Line

I’m being obvious, right? This Giants defensive line can completely change a game around I know. They had 53 sacks during the season. So what’s so “X” about this factor. This defensive line is a duh factor. I could have made this X-factor the Dallas offensive line, but the Giants need to win this game more than Dallas does. And if they want to win this game it will fall on the shoulders of the defensive line. Eli and the offense will put up the numbers. They will score at least 20 points, but I’ve said it once already and I’ll say it again; this defense just doesn’t match up well with the Dallas offense. They can’t cover TO and Witten, and Romo is a scrambling quarterback that can elude the rush and create on the run. You want to talk about an overrated pass rush? Well, let’s look at the Giants. 53 sacks during the year. In the 4 big games they had all year against Dallas (2), Green Bay and New England, the top teams in the league, they had 5 sacks. FIVE?!? Where did this pass rush go when the Giants needed them the most? This pass rush is good, don’t get me wrong, but in a big game against a good team, it won’t make a difference. It has to on Sunday if the Giants want to get over the hump and defeat Dallas.

My Picks

green-bay-packers-logo.gif 24 image0242.jpg 17 (+7.5)

new_england_patriots_logo_200.jpg 35 (-13.5), jaguars_logo_small.gif 17

indy.jpg 37 (-9.0), chargers1.gif13

dallas-cowboys-logo1.jpg31, giants_logo_small1.gif 27 (+7.5)

 

Enjoy the games!

Aneesh

 

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