Monday, January 07, 2008

Wild Card weekend thoughts and more

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

For the most part - the Wild Card weekend went according to form (except for changing our minds about the stinking Bucs - we won't be consulting the "experts" anymore), the teams that went into the game with the better regular season won rather easily. While some would say Jacksonville's win was anything but easy - we'll chalk that up to awful officiating.

So what did this weekend's game tell us? Absolutely nothing and at the same time, a lot. We'll just say that we aren't buying the hype in Seattle and New York - if you are a fan of either one of these teams, there's not a lot to get excited about.

The Redskins were overrated going into the game - at the beginning of the year, many thought they wouldn't be a playoff team; as it turns out, they weren't. The Seahawks went into the game with the mindset that they were going to make Todd Collins beat them - a good strategy - but these road wimps will find things considerably tougher against the "pass-first" Packers. While everyone is talking about their defense and the three Pro Bowlers on D - let's not forget who their opposition was this year: their numbers were compiled against the likes of the 49ers, the Rams, the Ravens, the Bucs and the Bears - not exactly offensive juggernauts. The Seahawks D was torched by some of the league's better offensive units - it is going to be ugly this weekend. We've been saying it all year - they're counterfeit; they play like champs at home and chumps on the road.

Eli Manning plays one decent playoff game and suddenly the Giants are on the right track and head into Dallas with momentum? Get real people, the Bucs wouldn't have been a playoff team in any other division - they got there because Carolina and New Orleans crapped out this year. Yes, Eli (also known as Eli-zabeth on some of our favourite messageboards) had a good game, but it was against a Bucs defence that rarely got in his face and decided to sit back for most of the game. It was the same old story with the Bucs D - they start out great, but they're lack of size means they can be worn down. The Giants D had their way with a boring, unimaginative, risk-adverse offence that couldn't/wouldn't try to stretch the field. The Giants won, good for them; but let's keep things in perspective, the Bucs were probably the worst team going into this year's playoffs. We say that despite our hatred of the Giants and Redskins - and with the knowledge that we were stupid enough to fall for the hype. The Giants are going to find things a lot more difficult this weekend in Big D.

San Diego won in spite of the awful play calling on offence. Norv Turner is widely thought of as one of the brightest play callers - why he insisted on running L.T. on first down until midway through the third quarter is beyond us; maybe he was gearing his team to run the ball down Indy's throat this weekend. The defence's solid performance should be tempered, after all, it was just Tennessee. The most important thing to take away from the game is that Phillip Rivers can actually be trusted to throw the ball downfield - he's had a forgettable year (he's the 2007 Eli Manning), but he came through when his team needed him. San Diego has to feel good about the possibility of running play action against the Colts on Sunday - whether their D can get enough pressure on Peyton Manning to disrupt the Colts offence remains to be seen. Still though, we like the upset in Indy - sorry Patriots fans, you'll have to wait another year for revenge on the Colts.

Last but not least - the most telling game. Going into the playoffs this year, I (Quikdraw and Tilt aren't on board with me here) thought the Jaguars had a legitimate shot at beating the Patriots. The Jaguars have proven they can attack New England's achilles heel - the run defence - and maybe generate a few big plays off play action. But, the Jags showed again on Saturday night that they can't seem to put a team away - they have blown big leads twice to Pittsburgh and blew a chance to beat the Colts; they seem incapable of playing 60 mins of football. The Jags have what it takes to beat New England - a ball control offence and a physical defence - what they don't have is the focus and concentration to do it. All that said, we like Jacksonville to cover the number against New England (currently 12.5), but they'll have a lapse in concentration and New England will pounce.

So there you have it - a weekend that in some ways proved nothing (Seattle, New York), yet brought to light factors that could impact this weekend's games (San Diego, Jacksonville).

And more...
The NHL announced that Philadelphia Flyers forward (pest) Steve Downie would not be suspended for sucker-punching Toronto Maple Leafs LW Jason Blake. For those of you who didn't see it (or hear about it) Downie, the weasel that he is, punched Blake who was being held by a linesman during a scrum. The NHL is telling anyone who will listen that they are trying to crack down on incidents that aren't part of the game and conduct the is dangerous or unbecoming of the game. What is more cowardly and potentially dangerous than sucker punching an opponent who is being restrained by an official? The NHL's head jackass, Colin Campbell, told the media that he talked to Downie about his conduct and about crossing the line - a precedent has now been set; we can't wait til someone like Minnesota's Derek Boogaard decides to cold-cock someone. Actually, we're waiting for someone to take matters into their own hands and beat Downie to within an inch of his life - not that that will change his style of play; still though...

Dallas Stars LW Antti Miettinen had two goals in a 3-1 win over the Wild - honourable mention goes to our man Mike Ribeiro who had two assists (gotta represent the NHL's only porkchop).

Edmonton Oilers RW Ales Hemsky had a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win over the Islanders.

Anaheim Ducks RW Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Nashville.

That's it for today gang - we'll post our Three Play suggestions later this afternoon (through Tilt). Thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out!


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