Much like the WWE Royal Rumble in two weeks. the NFL has it's own Battle Royal for the right to play on it's grandest Stage the first week of February... the first round is gone... four teams were callously tossed over the top rope... but 4 more teams who drew the high numbers (keeping with the Royal Rumble theme)... have now jumped in... and the right to play in the Super Bowl is on the line... and nothing like a free for all fight for the right to be World Champion right??
Saturday January 16th:
Cardinals at Saints:
How the Cardinals can win:
Momentum... the Cardinals are on a roll now, and can go big play for big play with ANYONE in football and that's what the Saints do best... if they don't make mistakes, they will expose the Saints defense, who much like the WWE's Edge is the guy who sits an waits for an opening.. or a mistake... and they take it back and make it into six points (or in Edge's case he goes and knocks boots with your girlfriend ).... and no one in the league was better at that this year then Darren Sharper... but as odd as it is to say... the Cardinals are savvy and playoff tested and won't make those mistakes the Saints D needs to be effective in this game...Kurt Warner is as good a big game QB as there is in the league, and with a little rushing, a pinch of defense, and the Saints will be rusty... if not flat out exposed in the last few weeks...a repeat trip to the NFC title game is not out of line to expect here....
How the Saints can win:
The Saints had three plus weeks to throw it all out the window... forget about it... and START OVER... they know what teams did to them... they have a healthy secondary for the first time in a long time... Reggie Bush is back... so is Shockey... and they added Deuce McAllister (as good a back as you can get off the scrap heap now) to add some inside running... and the Saints can get back to what made them SO GOOD before... balanced offense.. kill you with whatever weapon you can't account for, and Drew Brees is no Jake Delhomme... he WILL NOT implode in this game as the Panthers did last year...Darren Sharper can make plays on defense or maybe Reggie Bush breaks the walls down (like the Jericho reference too??) on special teams.. and honestly... the Cardinals did blow a load in getting 51 points and some luck (as well as bad 1st quarter from A-Rod last week).... I don't think those things can repeat themselves here....
What will happen:
This is gonna be another fun game, TONS of offense... but it's really going to come down to.. which defense can make a play (or even a stop in this one)... and I really like the Saints D a little bit better then the Cardinal one... if the Saints can get a pass rush with only 4-5 guys in his face Warner will flounder... he always does....I'd not be shocked if Arizona wins... and I'd be amazed if either team blew out the other.... but I think the Saints do alot of what Arizona does, just BETTER... the one thing that scares me about this is the 2 best players out there are Cardinals (Warner and Fitz)... but I still love the Saints here to squash the naysayers.....and for god's sake TAKE THE OVER!!!!!!!!!
Ravens at Colts:
How the Ravens can win:
The same way they beat the Patriots... the running game (though don't expect the first play to go 87 yards and be up 14-0 before your appetizer gets to the bar ).. timely defense... and the Ravens have lost so many close games to the Colts, that they are due to have a bounce or two go their way... the biggest thing they need to do is play the doubt card...early and often... get to Manning, be physical... get in their faces and BE PHYSICAL... the Colts are a finesse team in and out, pound them like veal...and be the classic big man wrestler who catches the little guy in the power bomb and make it "Future Endeavors time" in Indy.... Ed Reed must be Ed Reed and out mind-game Peyton Manning
How the Colts can win:
Well like I was saying... the Ravens are physical, but slow... it's more like this is Mark Henry vs HHH with the role of the Cerebral Assassin going to Peyton Manning... no player in the game can break down and expose a defense like he does (amazing how that seems to run dry in the playoffs ain't it?)... score touchdowns... get the Ravens to come from behind and feast on that speed rush and pathetic WR-corps the Ravens have....come out with a chip on the shoulder and show the world (and your own fans)... you did the right thing in tanking and being Santa Claus for the Jets (though even Santa took a Stone Cold Stunner once )... you're the better team AND at home... show it!!!
What will happen:
Like I said... I don't like the Ravens slower style vs the speed and finesse of the Colts, I also hate the Raven WR's... that's a matchup they have NO CHANCE in... the Colts have too many weapons and the guy who always seems to make the play when it matters most against the Ravens... and for the 8th time in a row, we're gonna hear motorhead after the game... spoiler HHH WINS... and the Colts go to the AFC title game (and it does make me sick to say that since I HATE how they laid down to do it)
Sunday January 17th:
Dallas at Vikings:
How the Cowboys can win:
Keep it up... pressure from Ware, Spencer and Ratliff... Terrence Newman can make plays... the rest of the secondary can hang with the B- level receivers the Vikings have...mix up the run and the pass... let Felix Jones hit the home-runs, as well as the WR corps (the Vikings have always been week to the spread 'em out and throw all over them under Childress)... really stay the course... Dumbo keeps playing like he is... and you're the better team... the Cowboys showed they can squash the noise in New Orleans... no reason to think this will be any different... and ready and willing to help out Flozell with Jared Allen... the way the Vikings failed time and time again in the last few weeks is when Allen is a non-factor... Brett Favre over the years also... not ... so....good... against Dallas in the playoffs.....
How the Vikings can win:
Adrian Peterson... the Cowboys haven't faced a back on his level and when the Giants beat on them it's line it up and control the running game... don't forget Chester Taylor and his pass catching ability too... get a four man rush and confuse Dumbo with looks and keep the crowd in this game....the Vikings need to keep this game in control and balanced to win this week
What will happen:
God I cringe more and more each week when I say this... but the Cowboys are the better team here.. they have more depth in just about every position and when it comes to Dumbo vs Favre... Dumbo's been better... the running game... the Cowboys are better... big play WR's, the Cowboys have more options that can kill you... special teams... defense....I think it's why I keep putting off writing about these damn games... but if both teams keep playing like they have the last month, Dallas should win this and damn I hate saying it....*ulp*... advance to the NFC title game!
Jets at Chargers:
How the Jets can win:
The same way they got here... run the ball... San Diego is weak to the run (but to be fair their offense is SO GOOD it forces you to give up the run, so it doesn't matter... MAKE IT MATTER)... Nacho didn't fvck up last week... he may have to do a little more then that this week... his WR's played a perfect game last week... will be hard to repeat that.... FIX THE SPECIAL TEAMS... if they allow returns like they did last week... Darren Sproles will DESTROY them in the return game! Play good defense...and try to pester Phillip Rivers.....basically buy into all the bullsh!t Fat Boy Rex is telling them eh??
How the Chargers will win:
Yes they have Revis, and the only guy in sports he can' stop is Andy Green... so what?? Kill them with Gates... kill them with Tomlinson (talk about a guy with something to prove... he's NEVER been big in the playoffs)... use Sproles for dump off passes and in the return game (yes I think he's a huge X-Factor in this one)... they can shut down one WR.. but you have FOUR monster guys who all make a living going over the top and making plays... just simply hit the open one.. they will be there.. not to mention that Antonio Gates guy is stupid good too... he'll make mismatches all over... and if they put a nickel back on him.... pound the damn ball on them... put the Jets in a zone they don't wanna be in... down and having to play catch up.... out attack them!
What will happen:
The Chargers are not the Bengals... and they won 11 in a row for a reason, there's too much offense for the Jets to slow down and the Jets don't have the guns to get into a slugfest with them... the only way the Jets win this game is if the time of possession is in the 43-47 minute range for the Jets and I don't see that happening.....