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 Post subject: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:29 am 
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http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100000 ... -pushovers

Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts look like playoff pushovers

NFL.com
Published: Dec. 10, 2012 at 02:32 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 10, 2012 at 03:03 p.m.

Several playoff contenders turned in less-than-impressive performances in Week 14, including the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears. Late-season struggles usually portend bad things in the postseason (if some of these teams even get that far). Which team do you feel most confident will be one-and-done in the playoffs?

Ian Rapoport NFL Network
Despite sparkling record and gaudy numbers, Falcons appear most suspect
It's unbelievable, but the worst-looking team on that list, in my mind, is the one with the best record. The Falcons have all sorts of gaudy numbers, with an offense that can score from anywhere. But it was very troubling to see Mike Smith's bunch get drubbed by the lowly Carolina Panthers. The Falcons can't run the ball, and they couldn't stop the run on Sunday. Atlanta let Carolina talk trash and then back it up on the field with an upset win.

It does bode well for the Falcons that they'll likely start the playoffs in the Georgia Dome. But if they face a hard-nosed team like the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears or New York Giants, will they wilt? Atlanta's players have admitted they won't get respect until they win in the playoffs. They are correct, but my confidence in them isn't high.

Gregg Rosenthal NFL.com
Bears won't even make playoffs; Falcons would benefit from wild-card game
I don't think the Bears will make the playoffs at all, so they aren't a candidate to be one-and-done. That leaves me with the Falcons. It's not about the loss in Carolina. It's about all the lucky, last-minute wins against sub-par competition. It's about a roster that has overachieved, but is stuck in a very deep conference. Atlanta is good at a lot of things, but not great at anything.

The Falcons would be better off with a home game in the wild-card round, just to get the playoff monkey off their back, because the competition will be too good in the divisional round.

Charley Casserly NFL.com
Road issues will doom Colts, Andrew Luck in postseason
I think it will be the Colts. They are not going to win the AFC South, so they will have to go on the road in the postseason. They probably will have to travel to play the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs. As good as Andrew Luck has been this year, he has not been as good on the road, with 13 of his 18 interceptions coming away from Lucas Oil Stadium. (Not to mention the Colts' 3-3 road record, as opposed to their 6-1 mark at home.) The Colts have played two playoff-caliber teams on the road: Chicago and New England. They lost to the Bears by 20 and the Patriots by 35.

I don't think Indianapolis' defense will be able to contain the offense of Denver, New England or Baltimore. So the Colts' magical season will end at "one and done."

Elliot Harrison NFL.com
Another postseason trip to Denver = Another first-round loss for Steelers
There are so many factors that determine who will be one-and-done. The way the Bears are playing right now, they are an easy target. Ditto the Falcons, whom so many in our business feel will be home for one playoff game and then home for a good camping trip. I'm not spinning any yarn against the Seahawks or Colts, who seem to surpass expectations and challenges on a weekly basis. In fact, I anticipate the latter will play at Baltimore in the opening round, which would have the Steelers travelling to the same city in which their postseason dreams were laid to rest back in January ...

Thus, my sense is that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be the first team down, not because of Ben Roethlisberger's health or Batch-y ball, but because of the prospect of facing Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and a quality Denver defense at their place. The Steelers' offensive line is not an organizational strength to say the least, while the Broncos' edge rushers have played very well. In fact, Denver's secondary probably hasn't received enough credit for how well it has played. Basically, I see the Black & Gold going to Denver and coming up empty.

Jason Smith NFL.com
Indianapolis' postseason stay will be brief but beneficial
I'm actually going with the wild-card team that looks like the biggest lock for the postseason: Indianapolis. As good as the Colts have been, they'll have to travel for their first game, likely to Denver, Baltimore or New England. They're not winning in any of those places. Look, they're a great story and they're fun and exciting, but realistically, who can they beat in the first round?

Playoff football is different. As good as Andrew Luck is, he and the Colts will greatly benefit from a brief postseason experience. It's something every young team needs to go through: losing so you can learn how to win.

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Can't these big, mean teams just let us and the Texans play in the Super bowl? :drugged:

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:25 pm 
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All I can think is this is often a game of luck, strange bounces, random tips, and such. We have the players that are good enough to compete and win, so who knows, maybe luck will be on our side. It is why you are a fan, and rarely do the best teams win the SB. :fingersx:

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:02 pm 
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I had a dream that the playoffs started last Sunday. The birds did not make me wake from that dream.

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:54 pm 
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Quote:
The Falcons would be better off with a home game in the wild-card round, just to get the playoff monkey off their back, because the competition will be too good in the divisional round.

That's exactly right. Barring a complete offensive turnaround, this team is much better suited to be a 3 or 4 seed rather than a 1 or 2 seed.

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:13 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
Quote:
The Falcons would be better off with a home game in the wild-card round, just to get the playoff monkey off their back, because the competition will be too good in the divisional round.

That's exactly right. Barring a complete offensive turnaround, this team is much better suited to be a 3 or 4 seed rather than a 1 or 2 seed.



Pudge, can you lowball this for me? What needs to occur for us to get a wildcard home round?

And while I agree with you that this would keep us from getting rusty or 'flat', what are your odds of this happening?

I know I ask this every year, and every year you tell me I could figure it out for myself, but I guess that is one shining testament to TD and Smitty and further proof of my 'sorryness':wink:

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:58 pm 
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http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/machine
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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/playoffscenario

I know technically more teams are alive for the #1 and #2 seeds because the Falcons could lose all 3 of their remaining games, but that to me is the absolute worst case scenario. I can't imagine a Smitty-coached team tanking its final 4 games barring some catastrophic injury (*knocking on wood*)

So assuming the Falcons lose 2 of the next 3, basically to get to the 3-seed, they would need Green Bay and San Francisco to run the table.

GB schedule: @CHI, vs. TEN, @MIN
SF schedule: @NE, @SEA, vs. ARI

GB seems to have the easier road, but those 3 road games (GB@CHI, SF@NE, SF@SEA) appears bound for at least 1 of the home teams to win, so it seems extremely doubtful.

The likely scenario that unfolds for Falcons is they lose to Giants this week, then beat the Lions. With home-field locked up they potentially sit their starters in Week 17 and rest up for playoffs (like nincompoops). But in the above scenario (where both GB & SF win out in Weeks 15&16) that would open up the chance of them winning the finale and stealing homefield from Atlanta. In that event, no way Smitty sits the starters Week 17, unless he's an eccentric genius (and losing the #1 seed was all part of an elaborate ploy to motivate the team :shock: ).

So if you're rooting for this to happen, then you want the Falcons to lose this week vs. NYG and next week vs. DET, and hope GB + SF run the table, so it doesn't really even matter what Falcons do vs. Bucs in Week 17.

I'm not rooting for this, but I do think all of the potential #6 seeds (which is pretty much everyone not currently leading a division), with WAS, SEA, and CHI likely having the best odds probably present a more favorable matchup than the likely 4 seed (NYG).

But I guess we'll see that on Sunday. If the Giants smack us around, I don't want to see them again in 4 weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: worst looking team?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:44 am 
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SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100000 ... pretenders
New England Patriots

That was an absolute clinic Monday night. But honestly, who didn't see that coming? Tom Brady, one of the most clutch performers in NFL history, is having another MVP-caliber season. Stevan Ridley is a legit back who gives New England balance and the ability to run the ball with authority in January. And the Patriots will get Rob Gronkowski back. Defensively, Devin McCourty is a different player at safety. Aqib Talib suffered a hip injury Monday night, but he is an upgrade at corner. Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower don't play like rookies. The battle-tested Patriots can win at home, on the road or on the moon.

Denver Broncos








I predicted after the Monday night win against San Diego in October that the Broncos wouldn't lose again in the regular season. They haven't. They won't. Peyton Manning is playing at a Hall of Fame level. His receivers have stepped up. You never want to over-evaluate a runner who is successful against the pathetic Oakland Raiders, but Knowshon Moreno gained needed confidence after two average games replacing an injured Willis McGahee. This will pay dividends. Denver's defense is strong in a league filled with weak play on that side of the ball. Von Miller is the front runner to be the defensive player of the year, a quarterback-chasing wrecking ball.

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco is legit. As I wrote last week, the Niners have the best defense in the league. Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks are beasts in the front seven. Jim Harbaugh is a great coach. Colin Kaepernick again proved he is more than capable at quarterback, with his accuracy, arm strength, and ability to run the ball via the read option. He's getting better. And Alex Smith is a heartbeat away.

New York Giants


David Wilson

It's the Giants' time of year. They know how to deal with adversity. The Patriots have Belichick and Brady; the Giants have Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. They have flaws -- the back end of the defense is leaky -- but they have a great pass rush and a knack for making plays on defense. Manning and Victor Cruz are humming. Hakeem Nicks, who has endured an injury-plagued campaign, is back and battle tested. David Wilson, banished to Coughlin's dog house for most of the season, just set the team record for all-purpose yards and will be fresh for the playoffs. Sure, the NFC East isn't even clinched yet, with the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys nipping at the Giants' heels. But the Giants have earned respect, and nobody would be surprised to see them in New Orleans.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers haven't resembled the Packers in a while. It wasn't pretty, but Green Bay showed toughness Sunday night, coming back and surviving the Detroit Lions. And they survived the Minnesota Vikings the week before, in a game where it would be easy to argue that Christian Ponder was serving as a double agent. But help is on the horizon, with Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Jordy Nelson on their way back from injuries. Sure, they have issues with pass protection and running the ball. Come playoff time, I trust Aaron Rodgers to overshadow those issues.

SUPER BOWL FRAUDS


Atlanta Falcons



Debate: Playoff one-and-done?

Are Matt Ryan's Falcons headed for another brief postseason? Our analysts debate which contender looks most suspect. More ...


I credit corner Dunta Robinson for telling us on the SiriusXM Blitz that he understood the skepticism and the doubters. The Falcons knows they need to win in January to silence the haters. I just don't think they are capable. The Carolina Panthers debacle was alarming. A game like that was a long time coming. San Francisco, Green Bay, and the Giants would suffocate Atlanta in the postseason. I think the Seattle Seahawks, with their great defense, power run game and wise-beyond-his-years quarterback, also could win in the Georgia Dome. No matter who they play in the playoffs, the Falcons will fall short in key matchup areas of quarterback play, defense, head coach and confidence.

Houston Texans

I love this team. I root for the organization, from the owner down. But there are some questions. What has happened to this defense since Brian Cushing's injury? You can't rely on them. If this defense was performing at a dominant clip, perhaps the Texans could overcome their lack of an elite quarterback. Matt Schaub is somewhere between very good and solid, but he can't beat the star quarterback (like Rodgers and Brady in the regular season this year) in the big game. And I don't love the receiver depth. I would easily pick Denver or New England over Houston, regardless of where the game was played.

Baltimore Ravens














Top 10 Photos of 2012: Week 14
Take a look at the best shots from around the league Sunday.

I wrote two weeks ago that I didn't trust Joe Flacco. Look at what's happened since. Cam Cameron was rightly fired as the offensive coordinator. The offense should go through Ray Rice; it's absurd that it doesn't. The defense is weak and a shell of what it used to resemble. There is a very realistic chance the Ravens lose out. What a mess.

Chicago Bears

I'll be the first to tell you when I am right and the first to tell you when I am wrong. I whiffed on Chicago's second half in Cecil Fielder fashion. Injuries have piled up. The defense is compromised. The offensive line is a wreck. Now, Lovie Smith is talking about his own job security heading into the final three weeks. A month ago, the Bears looked like NFC North winners and Super Bowl contenders. Now, their spot in the playoffs is deservedly on life support.

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