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Page 121 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jun 19, 2009
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on3m@n@rmy said:
They did make adjustments and the OL and plays worked better, but I'd stop short saying the OL worked well. They were mediocre again...
...I am not sold on this OL as a group. In fact, next spring draft I'm hoping they target someone high in the draft who could be a RT in the NFL or LT and play him at RT.
Ok, you're right. They played better. Part of their problem is the amount of rushing they're getting due to the thinning receiver Corps.
A local bird at practice says Percy is coming. That could change a few things; particularly quick release plays in the middle. Two weeks from now most everyone will be rested as well. If they lose there would be no excuse other than being outcoached or outplayed. I'd love to see another SF matchup.
 
Moving right along...

The Wild Cards are the most fun part of the season for me, so here goes nothing... and you know what? I have absolutely no idea right now. I'll just have to mull these over before the deadline.

Indianapolis vs. Kansas City
Philadelphia vs. New Orleans
Cincinnati vs. San Diego
Green Bay vs. San Francisco

Btw., Happy New Year's to you all, and may we actually play for some points (and bragging rights) next year.:)

 
Jun 15, 2009
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Happy new year to all. Back in action...
Great games last weekend. First they showed BAL-CIN in our bar. That was lovely. Baltimore is out. :)

Then it got better to see GB-CHI live. What a timid HC McCartney is. (The players bailed him out big time as in 2010, climaxing in the 4-8 TD pass.) First he goes for a single point PAT to cut the lead to 27-28. What does that for you? :eek:

Then we didn´t trust our eyes that he went for it on 4-1 in own territory (ok, all of us found out later; players lobbied to go for it. I guess McC would like to punt all the time until the TMW in desparation mode, especially the way his great D is playing. ;))

It got even better at night live. My 1/30 pick is still alive (PHI)... :)

Picks for the weekend:
NO-PHI 27-30
SF-GB 17-24
SD-CIN 24-31
KC-IND 17-30

(all bets are placed. I bet against the teams i don´t want to win. So i will do paroli single game bets on SF and KC. Put long bet on CIN (more profitable). The most underrated team. They are 2nd only behind SEA in Y/PP differential. Watch out for them! Also placed long on CAR. Ok i actually like them b/c of Riverboat. But for me they would be undeserving, since the offense under Shula isn´t even NFL average*.)

* That brings us to the PB selection. The whole game and process is a joke. Players all of a sudden have injuries when the PB date comes closer, thus "replacemts" are put in en mase. The game itself is like beach volleyball. And since fans can decide, it´s more of a "beauty contest" instead of a best/efficient players electing process.
The same BS since fans vote for the SB MVP (the biggest joke ever being Tom Brady when he threw 144 yards in that infamous SL-NE game.)
 
@Alpe: Agree. No surprises with any of those let go. And no surprise Rex Ryan is still in place. Idzik is going to give him a chance. Good for him. Unlike the Browns who did not give Chud much of a chance. I think things are improving in the Raiders camp in terms of front office and coaching. No more are the Raiders a team no coach would want to go to. Player attitude wise, I'm not sure they have turned the corner yet. A year ago there seemed to be some pretty self defeating attitudes amongst the players. But it starts with coaching, who can give players hope and a reason to believe (which was the root of what was lacking). [good example of that changeover is what Mike Leach at Wash. State has done in 2 years.]

Now with the coaching change in Washington, maybe Amster will cheer up once we know who the replacement will be.

Nice Wizard of Oz pic! The whole thing. I'm sure there are other creative images for other teams in the playoffs.

Cheers!
 
Jun 15, 2009
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My Yearly Playoff-Rankings:

(As usual, basically based on combined offensive and defensive strength in passing efficieny. I did not go by regular season records. Reading the W-L column and then rank by most wins is the job of Prisco & Co. ;))

5 Stars;


1. SEA (Just edged DEN by 0.45 percent! By far the most dominat defense.)
2. DEN (Good luck for PM to get the "playoff monkey" off his shoulder. I´ll root for them the most, behind only my "big money pick" PHI.)

4 1/2 Stars;

3. CIN (My sleepers... BTW, Brian Burke ranked them high trou-out the year, when "nodody" took notice of them.)

4 Stars;

4. NO (I can´t change the numbers, but they are a different team away from home. Anyway, it would not be a serious approach if I´d throw 50% of games out of consideration.)

3 Stars;

5. PHI (Chip Kelly for NFC COY. He turned around the Reid disaster that he left as a team.)
6. SF (Just a tad below PHI. Both units ranked T-10 in pass efficiency.)

2 Stars;

7. SD (I know i´ll get my flak for ranking them higher than CAR, but the Rivers led pass offensive was soo efficient they ranked 2nd only behind DEN. Certainly a much better team than the 9-7 record implies, bad defense or not. They had a 4-6 record in close games BTW. Some more randomness in their favour (like they had in the last game), and they could have been easily 11-5.)
8. CAR (Great job by "Riverboat". Runner-up for NFC COY, but only b/c his offense is that much below NFL average. Otherwise he´d be No.1. Going 5-2 in close game just shows how much new-found-guts can change a team from one to another season.
BTW, the D didn´t improve that much that the turnaround can be explained by their efforts alone. The pass D "only" improved from 12th to 5th (9% improvement), the run D "only" from 18th to 12th (5% improvement).)
9. GB (It seems Rodgers is one of those QBs that is much more efficient than the back-ups. One of the chosen few.)
10. NE (Beli-Cheat pulled the trick again. My perennial AFC COY. It´s still a mystery to me how he can keep his teams winning 10+ games year-in year-out. One year he lacks defense, the other receivers, another one injuries hit really hard. Add in players-turnaround in the free agent era we are in, and it´s a awesome job he is doing.
Anyway, w/o Gronk the O is just an (at best) ordinary unit. Brady had a 7.8 Y/A (96 passer rating) w/him, and just 6.2 (80 rating) w/o him. That would rank dead last in the NFL, behind Campbell and Glennon!)

1 Star;

11. IND ("Managed" to finish below NFL average in both offense and defense pass efficiency.)
12. KC (Geez. That was worse than expected. Many of us knew and said that the 9-0 start was a fluke, but even I, the most critical of Reid & his 22 assistant coaches, expected a 13-3 finish.)
 
Foxxy, you predict the home team will win all four games this week, yet in your rankings, two of those home teams are ranked below the team they face. Do you think HFA overcomes a lower ranking? Also, while GB certainly could beat SF, do you really think the 49ers won’t score more than 17 points against that defense (which is now missing Matthews)?

I understand your preference for Cincy and NO. The Saints were the only team in the nfl in the top 5 in total offense and defense, and were 4th in total DVOA, thanks in good part because the NFC S had the toughest schedule (they played all the teams in the NFC W, the best division in the nfl, and in the AFC E, the third best). Cincy and NO, with NE and KC, were the only teams in the top 10 in scoring offense and scoring defense. But I’ll side with Chewy and say Carolina is better than eighth, definitely better than SD. They were 3d in DVOA, again in part because of the schedule—theirs was ranked toughest in the nfl.

I see the Eggman has joined the chorus demanding a seeding system for the playoffs. His system is actually more radical than the one I was thinking about. He would take the twelve best teams in the nfl, regardless of conference. Thus in the pre-SB games, you would sometimes have a team from one conference playing a team from the other conference. And conversely, the SB could match two teams from the same conference.

One of the unsung advantages of this system is that it makes it more likely that contending teams will have something to play for right up to the last game. E.g., KC was locked into 5th place this year, so rested starters vs. SD, and probably handed a WC to the Chargers. Under a seeding system, that’s less likely to happen. KC might still have had a shot at a bye, and at least at a higher seeding.

He also favors using net points as a tiebreaker. I like that idea, though one downside is that it might encourage teams to run up the score in regular season games. And it also favors offensive teams, as defensive teams tend to have games that are not only low scoring, but lower in point differential. Still, I like it better than the current tie breaker system.

So here’s his seeding for this year:

Bye teams in order of seeding: Denver, Seattle, Carolina, San Francisco.
Opening round:
San Diego (9-7) at New England (12-4)
Arizona (10-6) at Cincinnati (11-5)
Philadelphia (10-6) at Kansas City (11-5)
Indianapolis (11-5) at New Orleans (11-5)
In fact, there is only one change from the actual seeding—GB out, AZ in—and if Rodgers had not missed half the season, GB might have been in even with this seeding system. I don’t really have a problem with GB this year, because with Rodgers they were 6-2, so they probably would have won at least ten games if he played the entire season. But in this system, SF gets a bye over NE, and Saints and Chiefs get a home game. And in this system, a SF-SE SB is possible, as well as Denver-SE. There are also some potential very interesting inter-conference matchups prior to the SB, such as NE vs. SF, SF vs. Denver, and NO vs. Denver.

Of course, any seeding system will eliminate certain possibilities from the final game, but at least if the two best teams seem to be in the same conference, or even in the same division, there’s the possibility of both making the SB.
 
morning all,

late check in from me for the 2013 season

must say i'm primed for the playoffs and very pleased that all 4 games will be live and free to air here in Australia.

Not sure who I fancy in this week's matches

Saints in an open field, on grass, in one of the colder months of the year?

No, my money will be on the Eagles.

Chiefs to get the bandwagon back on track.

Packers to come out of hibernation and be dominant at Lambeau.

Bengals & Chargers, I think Bengals here, Chargers will be spent after last week.

Should be a great 4 games, I do like a good elimination round.

vive le NFL. :)
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Merckx index said:
Foxxy, you predict the home team will win all four games this week, yet in your rankings, two of those home teams are ranked below the team they face. Do you think HFA overcomes a lower ranking?
Yes! I run the numbers of the teams and then implied HFA (2.5 to 3 points depending the studies one likes to use. I took the 3 for "easiness") to the match-ups. Unlucky for NO to travel, same for SF. Both teams would have been favourites if hosting PHI respectively GB...
You shouldn´t read too much into the exact scores i predict. I just didn´t want to make two kind-of-24-23-score picks. Anyway, my winner picks are serious well thought*, unlike my RS picks.
Actually my numbers show PHI by 1, GB by 1, CIN by 6, and IND by 4.

Merckx index said:
Also, while GB certainly could beat SF, do you really think the 49ers won’t score more than 17 points against that defense (which is now missing Matthews)?
As I just explained, don´t take the exact 17 points too serious. I just want to express that I think this one to be the lowest scoring game of the four. SF could also score 16 (if Harbaugh goes the safe way, and let his kicker swing the leg more often than not) or 21 (if SF is going to attack). Then I added a little Rodgers magic into and came up with a 24-17 shocker (not to me, of course :D).

Merckx index said:
I’ll side with Chewy and say Carolina is better than eighth, definitely better than SD. They were 3d in DVOA, again in part because of the schedule—theirs was ranked toughest in the nfl.
That´s a fair point. I go with my simple magic Y/PP formula. It worked well since the early 1990s (outside of the extreme outliers of BAL-2000, NE-2001, NYG-2007, and BAL-2012). But since DVOA and especially Burke are more precise, they might have an edge. OTOH, I just can´t trust CAR 20th ranked pass offense. That´s too bad for me to rank them above SD.
In the end, my only worries are SEA (very big), and PM´s playoff-form.
I´d love to see a SB of DEN-PHI (my dream) or at least DEN vs all-but-SEA. :eek:

Merckx index said:
I see the Eggman has joined the chorus demanding...
Yeah the Egg likes it his way. Just that he forgot that in his case, division races could become meaningless. That´s the same situation as now, only in a different colour.
A makeable (does this word exist :confused:) way might be to keep it like it is, but give HFA to the team with the better record.
In this round it would be:
GB at SF,
PHI at NO,
the AFC match-ups wouldn´t change.
With that you have fairness and the excitement of week 17 like we have.

(* = Isn´t that the recipe of disaster? My HFA random picks worked well in the RS, and now i change tactics for the playoffs. ;)
Good that I came up with home teams anyway.)
 
May 27, 2012
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
That´s a fair point. I go with my simple magic Y/PP formula. It worked well since the early 1990s (outside of the extreme outliers of BAL-2000, NE-2001, NYG-2007, and BAL-2012). But since DVOA and especially Burke are more precise, they might have an edge. OTOH, I just can´t trust CAR 20th ranked pass offense. That´s too bad for me to rank them above SD.
In the end, my only worries are SEA (very big), and PM´s playoff-form.
I´d love to see a SB of DEN-PHI (my dream) or at least DEN vs all-but-SEA. :eek:
We're not 20th, but I guess if you want to make up your own stats to make a point, the world is your oyster.
 
Tricycle Rider said:
The Wild Cards are the most fun part of the season for me...
...may we actually play for some points (and bragging rights) next year.:)
This, and next week tends to produce a lot of really good games to me too.

I'll try to remember that for next season. I like trying to set up both Survival Football and Elimination Football, as both are very easy to play.

on3m@n@rmy said:
@Alpe...No more are the Raiders a team no coach would want to go to. Player attitude wise, I'm not sure they have turned the corner yet. A year ago there seemed to be some pretty self defeating attitudes amongst the players.
This is interesting because Dennis Allen said he's still not sure they have their franchise QB yet. I disagree in that I think a lack of OL, and receivers are a bigger problem. But Pryor certainly has the right attitude, the other day he said he knew he wasn't the starter going into next year and planned on working his tail off. What a difference from his senior year in college. But I do think Pryor, McGloin or Tyler Wilson could be the franchise QB if they were coached well and had a team around them.

FoxxyBrown1111 said:
Picks for the weekend:
NO-PHI 27-30, SF-GB 17-24, SD-CIN 24-31, KC-IND 17-30
I think Cincy will beat SD by more than you do. Though I do agree SD was better than their record. I still say as I did before, the Bengals have a solid team across the board and I like their chances. And that includes going into New England and taking out the Patriots, or Denver and toppling the Broncos.

I think the NO-PHI game is maybe most intriguing. Philly has no answer to Brees, or Brees to Graham, or even Brees to Sproles. That's 200 yards right there. But NO on the road, in the cold... And I think Chip Kelly has some tricks up his sleeve to counter Sean Payton's brilliance.

Indy-KC is also ripe for something interesting. My gut tells me the Chiefs are going to play out of their cleats and be on a high. But I question Alex Smith getting TD's instead of FG's, and I question them stopping Luck late.

I'll take SF over GB. Though I agree Rodgers makes this a much more dangerous game, I don't see the Packer defense stopping SF's offense.

My Yearly Playoff-Rankings:
1. SEA, 2. DEN, 3. CIN, 4. NO, 5. PHI, 6. SF, 7. SD, 8. CAR, 9. GB, 10. NE, 11. IND, 12. KC.
I would rank Carolina higher, New Orleans lower (on the road), SF above Philly, and San Diego lower. I agree New England, despite a great coach and QB, is lucky to be the 2nd seed.

I agree Denver has to be in the top tier. But I don't like their chances for some reason. Maybe because they lost to SD, NE, and Indy this year, and I question Manning in tough games in cold weather.

Seattle only loses if their heads get too big. That's it. Otherwise, they're the most talented team with the most firepower.

Merckx index said:
I see the Eggman has joined the chorus demanding a seeding system for the playoffs.
We had this same discussion over a year ago. The NFL puts too much emphasis on winning your division, especially when divisions have all but four teams. I still just favor rearranging the seeding in the conferences only. It was absurd seeing a 7-9 Seattle team beat an 11-5 Saints team, because they played in Seattle. The NY Giants also rode the 9-7 home game as well two years ago. More fuel to the fire from Cork Gains on NFL.com.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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ChewbaccaD said:
We're not 20th, but I guess if you want to make up your own stats to make a point, the world is your oyster.
I don´t wanna start at zero, but give you a short summary of 3 years discussions;
a.) Most of us do not go with total yards stats. They are seriously flawed. The latest explanatory note of this issue came by a Merckx post.
b.) Efficieny Stats are the way to go. And of them, Y/PP have the highest correlation with future and predictive sucsees. And in that very stat, CAR is ranked 20th (offense) in the NFL.

Anyway, feel free to use total yards stats or whatever you like. I´ve no problem with that. We can also discuss if there is better stats than Y/PP.
But it leads to nothing than "bad blood" when you go to the attack again with nonsense like "you want to make up your own stats". It´s simply not true.

Adios...
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
I'll try to remember that for next season. I like trying to set up both Survival Football and Elimination Football, as both are very easy to play.
I am in. We could also start something for the playoffs (but not only picking the winner).

Alpe d'Huez said:
I think Cincy will beat SD by more than you do. Though I do agree SD was better than their record. I still say as I did before, the Bengals have a solid team across the board and I like their chances. And that includes going into New England and taking out the Patriots, or Denver and toppling the Broncos.
Yeah, the Bengals get to less credit. If they advance to play NE, I certainly have them as road favourite by 4+ points.
Unlucky for SD to have to play the 2nd best AFC team. Anyway, that´s what you get when just get in as wild card.


Alpe d'Huez said:
But NO on the road, in the cold... And I think Chip Kelly has some tricks up his sleeve to counter Sean Payton's brilliance.
Exactly. The road Saints play Kelly and his Eagles. At home, NO would be the clear favourite, but they aren´t.

Alpe d'Huez said:
Indy-KC is also ripe for something interesting. My gut tells me the Chiefs are going to play out of their cleats and be on a high. But I question Alex Smith getting TD's instead of FG's, and I question them stopping Luck late.
It happened what I said some weeks ago, the loser of the CIN-IND game will have the easier opponent. Though I rate IND 11th, KC is even worse. Add in coward Reid and some punts on 4th and short, I don´t see how the Chiefs win this game.
IND shouldn´t bank on late game heroics by Luck (not that I think they´ll need it anyway), since so-called "clutch" play evens out over the long run (see how "Matty Ice" fared after all his comebacks. The "clutch" completely disappeared).

Alpe d'Huez said:
New Orleans lower (on the road), SF above Philly, and San Diego lower. I agree New England, despite a great coach and QB, is lucky to be the 2nd seed.

I agree Denver has to be in the top tier. But I don't like their chances for some reason. Maybe because they lost to SD, NE, and Indy this year, and I question Manning in tough games in cold weather.

Seattle only loses if their heads get too big. That's it. Otherwise, they're the most talented team with the most firepower.
Yeah. I already took off a star for the Saints road "weakness". PHI/SF are close as I said, still have PHI a tad higher for their clicking-on-all-cyclinders-offense.
I have my doubts too for DEN. Solely b/c of PM. But OTOH he is ripe to match his regular season success in the post season. This year or never... just go out of the way SEA. Don´t destroy the party. :cool:
SEA certainly is the top favourite with their amazing D.
 
May 27, 2012
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
I don´t wanna start at zero, but give you a short summary of 3 years discussions;
a.) Most of us do not go with total yards stats. They are seriously flawed. The latest explanatory note of this issue came by a Merckx post.
b.) Efficieny Stats are the way to go. And of them, Y/PP have the highest correlation with future and predictive sucsees. And in that very stat, CAR is ranked 20th (offense) in the NFL.

Anyway, feel free to use total yards stats or whatever you like. I´ve no problem with that. We can also discuss if there is better stats than Y/PP.
But it leads to nothing than "bad blood" when you go to the attack again with nonsense like "you want to make up your own stats". It´s simply not true.

Adios...
No, my real error was that you wrote "offense" and I read "defense." My apology.
 
May 27, 2012
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
I am in. We could also start something for the playoffs (but not only picking the winner).



Yeah, the Bengals get to less credit. If they advance to play NE, I certainly have them as road favourite by 4+ points.
Unlucky for SD to have to play the 2nd best AFC team. Anyway, that´s what you get when just get in as wild card.




Exactly. The road Saints play Kelly and his Eagles. At home, NO would be the clear favourite, but they aren´t.



It happened what I said some weeks ago, the loser of the CIN-IND game will have the easier opponent. Though I rate IND 11th, KC is even worse. Add in coward Reid and some punts on 4th and short, I don´t see how the Chiefs win this game.
IND shouldn´t bank on late game heroics by Luck (not that I think they´ll need it anyway), since so-called "clutch" play evens out over the long run (see how "Matty Ice" fared after all his comebacks. The "clutch" completely disappeared).



Yeah. I already took off a star for the Saints road "weakness". PHI/SF are close as I said, still have PHI a tad higher for their clicking-on-all-cyclinders-offense.
I have my doubts too for DEN. Solely b/c of PM. But OTOH he is ripe to match his regular season success in the post season. This year or never... just go out of the way SEA. Don´t destroy the party. :cool:
SEA certainly is the top favourite with their amazing D.
I'm actually happy when people give little credence to the Panthers. They've proven those same people wrong all year. I'm guessing that the people who have to play the Panthers in the Playoffs don't consider them a 2 star opponent...
 
Jun 15, 2009
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I have nothing against CAR. They field a great D, have a metamorphosed-to-the-better coach, have a QB whom I already included in my T-5 of active QBs when everybody wrote him off last year... and they did a mistake: They got rid of Chudzinski (or did the Browns sign him off?). Either way, Shula should have kept his playbook instead of going dink-and-dunk.
No doubt, CAR would battle SEA for NFC supremacy.
 
May 27, 2012
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
I have nothing against CAR. They field a great D, have a metamorphosed-to-the-better coach, have a QB whom I already included in my T-5 of active QBs when everybody wrote him off last year... and they did a mistake: They got rid of Chudzinski (or did the Browns sign him off?). Either way, Shula should have kept his playbook instead of going dink-and-dunk.
No doubt, CAR would battle SEA for NFC supremacy.
The players didn't like Chudzinsky. Steve Smith has been very vocal about the team's attitude toward him. (Cleveland signed him off, but Smith says that the guy was calling plays all year to try to show what a great play-caller he was so he could get a head coaching job, and not necessarily what they needed to do to win) That isn't to say that Shula is a better alternative as evidence of the Panther's final drive in ATL. 3 transparent running plays when you have the ball on your own 45 or so, and you only need a 1st down to win the game...p!ssed me off to no end.

That aside, I guess I get wrapped up on our defense because I love defense.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Listening to the weather forecast in Green Bay...single digit temperatures and snow. I like SF to pick them apart but this won't be a finesse game. GB will win a sufferfest.
 
May 27, 2012
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Oldman said:
Listening to the weather forecast in Green Bay...single digit temperatures and snow. I like SF to pick them apart but this won't be a finesse game. GB will win a sufferfest.
It will give them the mental edge, and they already have the beginnings of a mental edge with Rodgers playing again. The more I hear, the more I like GB's chances.
 
I think a new seeding system is coming:

Home teams have enjoyed a .575 winning percentage during the Super Bowl era, according to STATS. That figure jumps to .675 during the playoffs.
It figures to be higher in the playoffs, because usually the team with the better record plays at home. But .575 is a pretty big advantage. I also wonder about that supposed three point HF advantage. Just comparing the home and away records of several teams this year, it seems to be much larger. E.g., the Panthers outscored opponents an average of 26-12 at home, and 20-18 on the road. Seahawks are somewhat similar. The 49ers are pretty neutral, but the Saints of course are much worse. In fact, NO is 16-0 at home in RS in 2011 and 2013 (Payton's last two years), and 8-8 on the road. They have never won a road playoff game.

In fact, I would favor the Saints even over SE if they played in NO (and how fortunate were the Seahawks that they played NO at home this year, while SF and AZ played them in NO; even the Rams beat NO at home). I think in the dome, NO is the best team in the nfl, even better than the Seahawks in SE. At home, they have an offense a little less prolific than Denver's with a defense comparable to Seattle's (home and away combined). In 8 home games, they averaged 34.0 pts. and 443 yards vs. 15.6 and 270 for opponents, 6.5 YPP vs. 4.7.

SE at home:29.1, 350 vs. 13.8, 254; 5.6-4.2
DE at home:39.5,455 vs. 22.5,343; 6.3-5.2

FoxxyBrown1111 said:
a.) Most of us do not go with total yards stats. They are seriously flawed.
Actually, Carolina is even worse in total yards—29th in passing offense, and 26th overall.

I have nothing against CAR. They field a great D, have a metamorphosed-to-the-better coach, have a QB whom I already included in my T-5 of active QBs when everybody wrote him off last year
One of the stranger developments this year is that Newton is given great credit for Carolina’s 12-4 season, and makes the Pro Bowl, while Kaepernick has been heavily criticized as a disappointment. Yet last I looked, the 49ers are also 12-4, and Kaep has a better QB efficiency rating than Newton (10th vs. 16th) and a better total QB rating (7th vs. 14th).

What’s going on? Granted, the 49ers have better receivers than the Panthers, but I think CK is also the victim of greater expectations. After his great performances last season, extending through the playoffs, people expected him to throw for 300 yards and run for 80 more every game. In contrast, Newton had his sophomore slump last year, people were starting to write him off, so everything positive he does is magnified.

ChewbaccaD said:
I guess I get wrapped up on our defense because I love defense.
The people who get wrapped up in Carolina’s defense are the opposing QBs. They led the nfl in sacks. And therein lies their best shot at SE, if the title game comes down to those two. SE had the highest % of sacks on passing plays of any team in the nfl. I’m surprised at this, given how mobile Wilson is, but it highlights the problems they’ve had with the O-line.

The news gets gloomier for SF:

Two bum hamstrings could equal bad news for the 49ers entering their wild-card meeting at Green Bay on Sunday.

With the status of cornerback Carlos Rogers already in serious question, the next man up, cornerback Eric Wright, appeared on the injury report Thursday with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice. He was apparently injured in Thursday's practice.

Wright's injury is particularly troubling given the upcoming opponent. The Packers used at least three wide receivers on 77 percent of their snaps this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

If Rogers and Wright can't play, the 49ers would turn to four-year veteran Perrish Cox, signed Monday after being cut Nov. 12.
And as Oldman noted, the weather will not be fun:

temperatures for the wild-card showdown at Lambeau Field are expected to dip below zero. The wind chill, according to the National Weather Service, could drop to 30 below.

“You can get frostbite within 30 to 40 minutes in these temperatures if you’re not covered up,” said Roy Eckberg, a meteorologist with the weather service in Green Bay.

A weather front expected to sweep through Wisconsin this weekend is even cold by Midwest standards. Some are expecting Sunday’s 3:40 p.m. CST game to rival the so-called Ice Bowl, played at Lambeau Field between the Packers and Dallas Cowboys in 1967, for the coldest NFL game on record. It was 13 degrees below zero that January day, with a wind chill of 48 below.
The 49ers have not played a cold weather game this year, and I don’t think they’ve played one in the postseason since GB in the late 90s. OTOH, cold weather usually favors the ground game, and the 49ers have a better running game and a much better rushing defense than the Pack.

The SD @ Cincy game recalls the last time these two teams met in the postseason (I think?), in Jan 1982, when it was also below zero. Cincy’s HC at the time, Forrest Gregg, played for GB in that Ice Bowl, and when asked to compare the 1982 game to that, he said, “I’ve never been colder”. Dan Fouts never got the passing game going, and the explosive SD offense, which scored 41 pts the previous week in sultry Miami, was held to one TD.
 
Merckx index said:
The SD @ Cincy game recalls the last time these two teams met in the postseason (I think?), in Jan 1982, when it was also below zero. Cincy’s HC at the time, Forrest Gregg, played for GB in that Ice Bowl, and when asked to compare the 1982 game to that, he said, “I’ve never been colder”. Dan Fouts never got the passing game going, and the explosive SD offense, which scored 41 pts the previous week in sultry Miami, was held to one TD.
Funny you should mention that, a friend linked me this video earlier this morning:

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-films-americas-game/0ap2000000307227/America-s-Game-Chargers-go-cold-in-AFC-Championship

Looks chilly. BRRR :eek:
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Merckx index said:
I also wonder about that supposed three point HF advantage. Just comparing the home and away records of several teams this year, it seems to be much larger.
3 points HFA sounds little, but it has huge effects.
Actually home teams score 52.5 % of all points.
http://www.advancednflstats.com/2008/09/home-field-advantage-by-quarter.html
That means of 47 points scored in a game, roughly 25 "belong" to the home team, and thus 22 to the visitor (= 3 point HFA). But how does that translate into 57-58% home wins?
See it this way:
"Team Joe" has the following scores at a neutral side;
19-17 W
17-19 L
20-17 W
17-20 L
23-17 W
17-23 L
27-17 W
17-27 L
31-17 W
17-31 L
37-17 W
17-37 L
"Team Joe" won 50% of their games (6-6 record), and had an even point differential (259-259).
Now we add 3 points HFA to each game, the scores become;
22-17 W
20-19 W
23-17 W
20-20 T
26-17 W
20-23 L
30-17 W
20-27 L
34-17 W
20-31 L
40-17 W
20-37 L
Average "Team Joe" (even strength with the opponents) suddenly has a 7-4-1* (.625 Wng.-Pct.) home record by only adding 3 points HFA to each game. "Team Joe" scored 295 points, the visitors 259 (= 53% "home points").
I took care that 25% of games were decided by 3 or less, and 50% by 8 or less, since that are roughly the long term averages for NFL games...

The big impact of these little 3 points actually gave two home teams in the WC round a win projection, even tough I ranked them lower...

(* = Even if we give the tie game to the visitors, the Wng.-Pct. still would be 58% in favour of the home team)
 
That was the Freezer Bowl. One of the things that made it stand out is that the Bengals linemen agreed to go shirtless, in order to have a psychological (and dexterity) advantage over the bundled up Chargers. The temperature was cold, but it was very, very windy. That's what did Fouts and company in. But yes, the week before they had a shootout in hot, humid Miami. If you look back through the years, the Chargers are missing a ring or two.

This week won't be as cold as that, or the Ice Bowl. But the games in Cincinatti, Green Bay, and Philadelphia will definitely have weather come into play. I also think this increases the chances of the home teams a little. Not just because it's home, but because of the way the teams are. Cincy can grind it out, the Eagles have McCoy to run, and Rodgers has a history of playing well in the cold. Either way we look at it, it's going to be fun for us fans.
 
ChewbaccaD said:
I'm actually happy when people give little credence to the Panthers. They've proven those same people wrong all year. I'm guessing that the people who have to play the Panthers in the Playoffs don't consider them a 2 star opponent...
Know the feeling well with Seattle until just recently. But I will go on record giving kudos to Carolina, who Seattle played early in the season and gave Seattle a tough run for their money. And since then Carolina has only gotten better. The thing I love about Carolina... Defense. No surprise huh?
 
Saw an interesting documentary produced by NFL Films about Vince Lombardi. It was an hour long video that aired on the NFL Network this week. As such, I’m reluctant to post about things like that here, since many here may have seen it. I also know some here will not have seen it. That and the fact I could not find the video on the NFL Films or Network sites (I could only find small 2 to 8 minutes segments, but not the entire compilation), and the fact this video was packed with history, I could not help myself. If you get a chance to see the video, do. So here goes…

Most people know who Vince Lombardi is and what he did in Green Bay. But the video was packed with history from his times before, after, as well as during his time in Green Bay. It includes many interviews with players from his days with the NYG, the Packers, as well as later HOF coaches.

- Lombardi was a born/bred NY guy who started coaching football in high school. So he really wanted to be a part of the NY Giant organization.

- Lombardi started out his NFL coaching career as an assistant with the NYG, owned by Tim Mara (later Jack & Wellington). He and Mara had a good relationship, but Lombardi was passed over several times for the HC job with the NYG. By the time Lombardi was about 42 years old, he aspired to by a HC somewhere. So he left for the small NFL town of Green Bay when they gave him the chance he was looking for. [Tom Landry was also an assistant Giant coach at that time, whose Cowboy’s later faced the Lombardi-coached Packers in the 1967 Ice Bowl, the final year of Lombardi’s coaching career.]

- But while with the Giants as an assistant, Lombardi did not start out with a bang. He struggled in the job at first. Frank Gifford, who played and roomed with Chuck Conerly for the NYG, said his struggles were not because the players did not like Lombardi, but that the players just thought he was a little strange and unable to communicate. One day, recalled Gifford, Lombardi paid Conerly and Gifford a visit to their room. Gifford said that Lombardi literally asked, “What am I doing wrong?” So the two told him what they thought. Gifford never said what they told Lombardi. But Gifford said after that meeting football knowledge began to pour out of Lombardi, and Lombardi became respected and well-liked by players.

- In Lombardi’s first team meeting in Green Bay, Bart Starr recalled one important message from Lombardi to the players, “We will relentlessly pursue perfection. We will not reach perfection. But we will pursue it relentlessly (emphasis on relentlessly). It is not my intention for us to be just good.” BAM. Starr said he sat up in his seat and thought, “Let’s go”.

- Bart Starr noted that the 1958 Packer team (before Lombardi was hired to coach the Packers) finished the ’58 season with one win (1-10-1 record), but had a roster containing 13 future Pro Bowlers under Lombardi. All great athletes.

- As the new Packers HC, Lombardi made it known to the managing board of directors from the beginning that he was going to be in control of the team. I guess the board took him lightly, because after a regular season loss in Lombardi’s first year (1959) as the Packers HC, a board member approached Lombardi with a list of “things” the board wanted Lombardi to implement or do. Lombardi did not even look at the list, but crumpled it up in front of the board member and tossed it to the ground and saying, “I will coach the team”. That was the last time the board suggested any changes.

- Future Pro Bowl OG Jerry Kramer, who was recipient of several Lombardi bu**-chewings in front of the team, was approached by Lombardi in the locker room one day. Lombardi told him, “Jerry, one day you are going to be the best guard in the league”. Jerry said that was the turning point in his career, and from that point on Jerry said he began to work his bu** off for Lombardi every day. There was video of Jerry with no shirt on, going full gas in practice. He was a large man, but he was not flabby like many linemen today. And he could move.

- Starr recalled he also was the recipient of many bu**-chewings from Lombardi. But since Lombardi wanted Starr to lead the team, Starr went to Lombardi’s office saying, “I don’t mind getting chewed out. But if you want me to lead the team, don’t chew me out in front of the team. Do it privately.” And Starr said Lombardi never chewed him out again in front of the team, and that was huge.

- In 1960, the Packers nearly won the NFL Championship (that era’s version of today’s Super Bowl). And in 1961 the Packers returned to the NFL Championship game to face his former team, the NY Giants. By that time, new Giant’s owner (Jack or Wellington) Mara (who inherited the team from father Tim who died in 1959) wanted to hire Lombardi to become the next Giant HC for the following season (1962). So, on the eve of the 1961 championship game versus the Giants, Lombardi picked up Mara in his car and took him to a diner, apparently to discuss the Giant HC position. At the end of the meal, Lombardi got up from the table and told Mara “My boys are going to beat your boys tomorrow.” Then Lombardi left Mara at the diner without a ride home (BAM), and Lombardi remained the Packer’s HC until he retired. The Packers routed the Giants 37-0 the next day.

- Well, the Packers had many years of success after that first 1959 season with Lombardi as HC. Lombardi began doing coaching conferences around the country. One session was attended by young JUCO coach John Madden. Madden said that prior to listening to Lombardi, he thought he knew everything about football. Lombardi spoke for 8 hours on ONE play, the sweep. Lombardi: “Seal inside here, seal outside there, and run it up the alley” (as he diagramed the play on a chalk board). The Packers ran it to near perfection, so Madden listened. After the conclusion of the 8-hour session on one play, Madden said “I didn’t know anything about football.”


Weekend predictions later...
 
I too am hesitant to pick GB over SF, but first...
expert jounos pickers:
1. seem slit between KC and IND, but most favor INDY.
2. heavily favored... PHI, CIN, & SF.

My Picks:
KC @ IND (3rd D @ 15th O, 21st O @ 20nd D; hence reason for split opinion, but I stick with defense)
NO @ PHI (4th D @ 2nd O, 4th O @ 29th D; lack of PHI defense dooms them)

SD @ CIN (23rd D @ 10th O, 5th O @ 3rd D; easiest pick, too much for SD to handle)
SF @ GB (5th D @ 3rd O, 24th O @ 25th D; by far hardest pick of the 4 games; SF won a close one 34-28 at home hosting GB this year)

In my KC and NO picks I love to defy the HFA when I can on principle: that being if the NFL ever becomes too predictable based on HFA, then I quit watching NFL and stick to NCAA and HS.
 

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