National Football League

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Wow! What a finish. Have to feel pretty bad for the Ravens kicker, but in the end I think the better team won. The Pats moved the ball better, were more consistent, made good use of the run, showed surprisingly good defense for the second week in a row, and even after turning the ball over more times, some of them bad turnovers, still won.

I have to like the Patriots chances against either the Giants or 49ers.

Looks like very light rain in SF, nothing major, so I'm sticking with my previous prediction. 20-19 Giants.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Wow! What a finish. Have to feel pretty bad for the Ravens kicker, but in the end I think the better team won. The Pats moved the ball better, were more consistent, made good use of the run, showed surprisingly good defense for the second week in a row, and even after turning the ball over more times, some of them bad turnovers, still won.

I have to like the Patriots chances against either the Giants or 49ers.

Looks like very light rain in SF, nothing major, so I'm sticking with my previous prediction. 20-19 Giants.
I thought Patriots were incredibly lucky and I am a Pats fan, what Brady was doing going for it on 1st down with minutes remaining, I have no idea. Run the bloody clock down.

Feel really bad for the 2 Ravens who fluffed it, sad to see even if it benefited my team.
 
Amsterhammer said:
F**k me to tears. You utter Cundiff, Billy.:mad:
In fairness Evans who was stripped in the Endzone was equally guilty, when he caught it first, I thought it was game over. That would have sent Ravens to the Superbowl not just tie the game.

I can watch Giants v 49ers in a more sedate manner whilst cheering for SF.
 
pmcg76 said:
I thought Patriots were incredibly lucky and I am a Pats fan, what Brady was doing going for it on 1st down with minutes remaining, I have no idea. Run the bloody clock down.

Feel really bad for the 2 Ravens who fluffed it, sad to see even if it benefited my team.
cheers to you.

(i may be grumpy now but i do appreciate gracious winners.)
 
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Nice, nice, nice,nice

I have to admit, it needed all the luck in the world. But i´ve to praise Alpe (and myself here). Despite unusal otcomes in the playoffs...
1st: We still hit the jackpot pretty much often
2nd: The greatest season ever is saved. After the bummer last week, the best is saved for last.

I am happy this week :)
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Obviously please to see the Giants go through but feel bad for both 49ers and Ravens the way they were beaten.

Always better for it to be skill on the side of the victor rather than mistakes by the losing team.

On a different note: what constitutes a successful season?
Winning the Superbowl, Getting there, winning a playoff game, getting to the playoffs, winning the division, going 8-8 or better, or simply doing better than the year before whatever that was?
 
FoxxyBrown1111 said:
After the bummer last week, the best is saved for last.
Why is that? Because we picked the games (and almost the scores) correctly?!

I personally find most of these playoffs somewhat of a bust. Strange the way the Steelers folded. Made me realize how absurd it was that Denver (and NY) got home games. Thought the 49ers win over the Saints was somewhat of a fluke and the Saints were the best team (still think there is no way the Giants would have beaten them had they played). And now today, both games decided like this, ugh.

Pats an early slight favorite in the SB, but if I were a betting man, I'd put money down on the Giants. Not only to cover the spread, but to win the game. I may change my mind later, but I don't think the Patriots can beat them. The match-up favors the Giants.
 
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Why is that? Because we picked the games (and almost the scores) correctly?!

I personally find most of these playoffs somewhat of a bust. Strange the way the Steelers folded. Made me realize how absurd it was that Denver (and NY) got home games. Thought the 49ers win over the Saints was somewhat of a fluke and the Saints were the best team (still think there is no way the Giants would have beaten them had they played). And now today, both games decided like this, ugh.

Pats an early slight favorite in the SB, but if I were a betting man, I'd put money down on the Giants. Not only to cover the spread, but to win the game. I may change my mind later, but I don't think the Patriots can beat them. The match-up favors the Giants.
Yes, all in for the Giants. Nobody should be able to win the SB with such a poor defense. Eli and those receivers should go wild, and the Giant defense is playing as well as anybody's all year.

Yeah, it sux when teams lose like that. I feel sorry for the kicker and the returner. The media and shallow fans will focus on those and they will catch hell, but single plays don't lose games. You should hear the clowns skewering Jacoby Jones on Houston sports talk radio, much moreso than the 3 ints by Yates.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Wow! What a finish. Have to feel pretty bad for the Ravens kicker, but in the end I think the better team won. The Pats moved the ball better, were more consistent, made good use of the run, showed surprisingly good defense for the second week in a row, and even after turning the ball over more times, some of them bad turnovers, still won.
Yeah, too bad for the kicker really. I wonder if he tried to adjust his kick because the threads were not dead center and were to the right, expecting it to fade right if he kicked normally. It looked like he pulled it, but I don't know if it was on purpose.

The team with the better game plan won. Long ago Don Shula said coach Bilichick was the best game planner. I say he still is, or is still up there at the top. They consistently seem to get the receiver matchups they want; TEs vs safties, and WRs or RBs vs LBs. And they always seem to execute that style. Some teams ought to copy that formula. That's the Pats offense you expect to see every week.

But the Pats defense... hats off to them for playing some defense and making some critical plays.


pmcg76 said:
I thought Patriots were incredibly lucky and I am a Pats fan, what Brady was doing going for it on 1st down with minutes remaining, I have no idea. Run the bloody clock down.

Feel really bad for the 2 Ravens who fluffed it, sad to see even if it benefited my team.
I see why you think they were a bit lucky. But besides what I said above, which speaks more to how well they played when they needed to, I would say instead of the Pats being lucky that the Raves missed some big opportunites. None more than that missed FG. Other missed opportunities would be the dropped pass in the end zone near the end of regulation that would have ended the Pats season (give the cover back credit though), and the inability of Flacco to connect with a WIDE OPEN Torrey Smith who was looking straight over his back for the ball, which he never seemed to see until too late. That would have been a TD if that was a completion.


Amsterhammer said:
F**k me to tears. You utter Cundiff, Billy.:mad:
Haha. I too was hoping for a Raves win. But at least we had two really great games... down to the wire in both of them.
 
Jun 22, 2009
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on3m@n@rmy said:
I see why you think they were a bit lucky. But besides what I said above, which speaks more to how well they played when they needed to, I would say instead of the Pats being lucky that the Raves missed some big opportunites. None more than that missed FG. Other missed opportunities would be the dropped pass in the end zone near the end of regulation that would have ended the Pats season (give the cover back credit though), and the inability of Flacco to connect with a WIDE OPEN Torrey Smith who was looking straight over his back for the ball, which he never seemed to see until too late. That would have been a TD if that was a completion.

Haha. I too was hoping for a Raves win. But at least we had two really great games... down to the wire in both of them.
Man, that was depressing last night.:( I hate it when the head wins over the heart - i.e. my picks were right but I wish they hadn't been.

I am SO behind the Giants for the big one.:p
 
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Why is that? Because we picked the games (and almost the scores) correctly?!

I personally find most of these playoffs somewhat of a bust. Strange the way the Steelers folded. Made me realize how absurd it was that Denver (and NY) got home games. Thought the 49ers win over the Saints was somewhat of a fluke and the Saints were the best team (still think there is no way the Giants would have beaten them had they played). And now today, both games decided like this, ugh.

Pats an early slight favorite in the SB, but if I were a betting man, I'd put money down on the Giants. Not only to cover the spread, but to win the game. I may change my mind later, but I don't think the Patriots can beat them. The match-up favors the Giants.
No... You know i don´t like too much upsets, making regular season games irrelevant. So it´s great that the best team in the AFC advanced. I know it´s a first for me to root for the Patriots. And it felt great. It was highly emotional last night. Admit, it could have easily gone the other way.

And yes :p
I like to be right sometimes (as everybody, i think). Not bad to pick NYG on 3rd spot in the NFC, based solely on their NFL´s fourth best Y/PP-Offense.
And turnovers are random. How much was written about how great SF is in this categorie. ST and turnovers are no repeatable skills. It was just proven again last night. Basically SF lost because of this allegedly strength. I relax now and enjoy!

Agree:
NO (and GB in 16 games) were better than the NYG. But the Giants were the best "non dull" team left in the NFC.
Great game plan by NYG not to try to run too much. 58 passes by Eli w/o throwing a stupid INT... that´s exactly what was needed. Still it could have gone the other way around too. This week luck evened out for SF. I was waiting for this to happen since september!

I am rooting big time for the Patriots now. And i followed your advice: I put some money on a NYG win, not to feel to bitter if they should win.
I mean it would just show how meaningless the regular season has become. No team ever before this years Giants reached the SB with a negative point differential. Only two teams ever reached the superbowl giving up more than 360 points. The Cardinals with a whopping 426, and this years NYG. 400, not bad either.;)
Both are light years away from the next worse defense team, the 2006-Colts with their back then non existent run defense.
What did all three teams have in common? They weren´t the best teams (all of them wild cards), but carried a super effiecient pass offense.
But still, it would be absurd if the NYG win it all again on a pure hot streak like 2007. The NFL should be called NHL as soon if Eli lifts the Lombardi Trophy.
Conclusion: Go Pats, for the better of the game.

I have to admit it will be a tough game for the Pats. I am nervous here :eek:
My pick:
NE 31, NYG 24 (Covering the line of 3 1/2, and around the 54.5 to 55.5 o/u. We´ll see how the final o/u will be. Right now i am in the middle. Those guys in Vegas set perfect lines again. As i said before, no way to beat Vegas on the long run, unless you are an insider. ;))
 
@Foxxy: Just for the heck of it, I'm curious. Do you ever root for a team that you do not think will win? Another way to ask that, do you ever bet on a team to win but hope their opponent wins? I would think it hard to root against a team you bet on. That's probably why I don't bet money. My heart gets too tied up on the team I like, which are usually underdogs, a sentimental favorite, or a team I just like. In this coming SB, I'll pull for the NYG because they are the underdogs... but I wouldn't bet $$ on them. Never know though, they could pull off another stunner like in 2008 vs the Pats.
 
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on3m@n@rmy said:
@Foxxy: Just for the heck of it, I'm curious. Do you ever root for a team that you do not think will win? Another way to ask that, do you ever bet on a team to win but hope their opponent wins? I would think it hard to root against a team you bet on. That's probably why I don't bet money. My heart gets too tied up on the team I like, which are usually underdogs, a sentimental favorite, or a team I just like. In this coming SB, I'll pull for the NYG because they are the underdogs... but I wouldn't bet $$ on them. Never know though, they could pull off another stunner like in 2008 vs the Pats.
Normally i don´t bet at all. B/C there is no chance to beat the house advantage. It´s not possible in roulette (2,7 % in europe), and even tougher in vegas (around 10% for the house on winning bets).

I sometimes bet on things i am "sure" (but unluckily was never betting for Armstrong. Why o why? That still hurts, b/c all the Ulle loses were for nothing:mad:).

I seldom bet to save myself from bitter feelings. Last time i did it was 2004. I bet on NE, and every game i re-invested the winnings (it´s called "paroli" betting in germany). You only lose your original bet, but win the house money when the "paroli" comes through. Man, i won a whole lot. I really hated the Pats back then. So i lost but won. :D

In short: I never bet on my favourites.

BTW: So far i am...
6-4 straight
6-4 ATS
5-5 O/U
with my picks (but havnt bet real money on it).
In this example i´d have just won 14 % of my invested money, even tough i won 60% ATS. The best bettors over a long period of time win around 53% ATS. That makes a net profit of just 0,7 %. It´s not worth the time. And 95+ % of people lose their houses, money and wives. Only one decision is worse than that: Marriage. I did that.... omg ;)
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Going back to an earlier point about the purpose of the regular season, seedings, wildcards etc.

I think the current system does what it is meant to do very well. ie maintain interest and level the playing field.

I do take the point that seedings should be done on regular season records rather than the division winners taking the first 4 spots but I think they are trying to raise the profile of winning the division and keep it open.

If it was to be done on regular season only then every team would have to play everyone else home and away for it to be a fair comparison. Only possible if the NFL went down the route of promotion and relegation with leagues of 10 or 11.

That is not going to happen and to be honest nor would I want it to. The premiership is all over for all bar maybe 3 teams by about 1/3 of the way through. As a sort of Spurs fan (who are currently third) I am just hoping they stay in the top 4 and get to play in the champions league next season. There is no chance of the title unless some billionaire buys the club. But I digress.

With regards who should be considered the best team it is perhaps pertinent consider the strength of schedule for some of the contenders.
GB's 16 opponents had a win:loss ratio of 117:139. NE's and SF49ers at 115:141, NO's only 113:143.

The NYGs? 133:123 Even if the NYG had gone 13:3 like NO,NE and SF it would still have been 129:103.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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SirLes said:
With regards who should be considered the best team it is perhaps pertinent consider the strength of schedule for some of the contenders.
GB's 16 opponents had a win:loss ratio of 117:139. NE's and SF49ers at 115:141, NO's only 113:143.

The NYGs? 133:123 Even if the NYG had gone 13:3 like NO,NE and SF it would still have been 129:103.
Ok, let´s trim down NYG strength of schedule to the around same percentage as the clear better teams:
Take away the GB game and the NO game, then you get a opp. Wng.-Pct. of 47% (105-119). Then their record would be 9-5 (64% wins) w/a point differential of +28 (+32 projected for 16 games).

Compare it with...
NE: 45% opp. Wng.-Pct., 13-3 record (81% wins), +171 points
GB: 46% opp. Wng.-Pct., 15-1 record (94% wins), +201 points (unluckily, they saved their worst home game for the playoffs)
NO: 44% opp. Wng.-Pct., 13-3 record (81% wins), + 208 points.

I mean it´s obvious, no matter how we turn and twist, GB, NE, NO are the clear superior teams. The Giants ride a luck streak, the same way as in 2007. They do not deserve to be super bowl champions. It would be a joke like this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Calgary_Stampeders_season

A Giants win would be like Jelle Vanendert as last TdF-Champ. He got on a hot strak in the "playoffs";) (mountain stages), but we wash away the "regular season" (all other stages). It sounds hilarious. We would not want that.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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They're not superbowl champions.

To to that they would have to beat NE again meaning that they would have beaten NE twice as well as SF and GB which imo would make them worthy winners.

The one team that in recent seasons the Giants have struggled against is NO. The last two times NYG have played them when NO have been coming off a bye they have been stuffed. NO certainly seem to have the NYG number at the moment.

I'm just glad that the NYG have been relatively healthy for the first time the last few weeks and have started to show what they can do. GB suffered last year with a string of injuries to starters and limped into the post season 10-6 if memory serves. (Helped by a NYG teams that rolled over embarrassingly)

In 2008 the Giants looked unstoppable for much of the season then lost Plaxico (and others), finished poorly and went down with a whimper against the Eagles.

As the cliche goes "You're only as good as you next game"
 
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
They do not deserve to be super bowl champions. It would be a joke...
SirLes said:
They're not superbowl champions.

To to that they would have to beat NE again meaning that they would have beaten NE twice as well as SF and GB which imo would make them worthy winners.

The one team that in recent seasons the Giants have struggled against is NO. The last two times NYG have played them when NO have been coming off a bye they have been stuffed. NO certainly seem to have the NYG number at the moment.

I'm just glad that the NYG have been relatively healthy for the first time the last few weeks and have started to show what they can do. GB suffered last year with a string of injuries to starters and limped into the post season 10-6 if memory serves. (Helped by a NYG teams that rolled over embarrassingly)

In 2008 the Giants looked unstoppable for much of the season then lost Plaxico (and others), finished poorly and went down with a whimper against the Eagles.

As the cliche goes "You're only as good as you next game"
May you missunderstood me. I said they don´t deserve... would be...
So i think it´s clear what i meant. I was talking in future 1. I think it´s no need to ride on some grammar errors. Germany is talking. ;)

Yes they would have beaten NE twice. But how? Because they won the luck battle (speak turnovers)? And they did not beat GB twice. SF i don´t count as contenders. In all quality meassurments, they were mediocre. They rode an incredible luck streak. Turnovers and ST are non repeatable "skills". A 16 game season is a small sample size to measure turnover "skill". Other than passes or rushes (around 500 occasions each), turnovers are seldom (around 30 per season). That might be a reason turnovers do not correlate well with future seasons, not even inside seasons. OTOH, offensive pass performance have the highest correlation in future seasons and inside seasons. For more on that topic; go to advancednflstats.com

In short: NE, NO and GB dominate teams with effiecient passing not only this season. They excel on high levels for a long long time. Thus they are perennial winners.

"You're only as good as you next game":
I do not judge team strength on 3 or 4 games, nor do i judge them on how lucky they got, or worse on one game. That is absurd.

The Giants would (normally) win games vs. NE with a postive turnover ratio, lose with a negative one. On other occasions (around 20% of time) NE wins. That´s why they are only a 60% favourite (= 3,5 spread). I think it´s correct since NE has a bad pass defense. The smart guys in vegas (and the "football money") know that of course.

Since the Giants have such a bad run defense, i hope NE calls 50% runs early, but only to minimze high variance which comes with passing. In a good to perfect game, Brady goes like 20/28 245 3/0 (no sacks) while running early and then heavy when protecting the lead, going like 42 for 180. Since it´s time for Eli to have one of his funny Ints, a line like 28/45 350 2/2 is possible. They will not succeed with running early.

Next to turnovers, the game will be decided in the trenches. As described, i see good advantage for NE here. Especially if the OL is back to all it´s starters (Vollmer seems to come back).
 
FoxxyBrown1111 said:
May you missunderstood me. I said they don´t deserve... would be...
So i think it´s clear what i meant. I was talking in future 1. I think it´s no need to ride on some grammar errors. Germany is talking. ;)

Yes they would have beaten NE twice. But how? Because they won the luck battle (speak turnovers)? And they did not beat GB twice. SF i don´t count as contenders. In all quality meassurments, they were mediocre. They rode an incredible luck streak.
perhaps for a better superbowl and more worthy winner, they should ban all turnovers during the post-season?

ban anything "lucky", if something lucky happens they should replay that down.

:rolleyes:
 
I actually think the 49ers were better than Foxxy gives them credit for. They had an excellent defense. Sure, they were more like a 10-6 team than a 13-3 team, but they were pretty good.

As to turnovers, they're part of the game. If you look at the NYG-SF game there were two bad turnovers by SF, and two other occasions where Eli threw the ball right at 49er defenders and were dropped. Does that mean the 49ers should have won? I don't know, maybe, maybe not. They weren't moving the ball very well in the 2nd half and with Ginn out they weren't throwing much at all. Then again, the Giants weren't moving the ball much either.

As to the other game, sure the Ravens should have won, but they didn't. Yeah, Cundit missed an easy FG, and Flacco played much better than most people thought. Ray Lewis showed great leadership and class with his statement at the end of the game about winning as a team and losing as a team. Both teams that won played well enough to win, and I don't consider either game a fluke. Yes, they involved luck, but mostly bad luck for the losing team. But that's the way it goes sometimes.

Regardless of Foxxy's stats, I like the Giants in the SB. I don't really care for either team, and will probably cheer for NE, but I'm picking the Giants (for now). Here is why: I think the Pats defense isn't very good, despite the last two games. I think their DB's give up too many passes and yards. The Giants strength is an OL that gives Eli plenty of time, and excellent receivers. This is not something I see NE able to disrupt for the full game. The 49ers could do it pretty well, but I don't think the Pats are that good. On the other side of the ball I think the Giants will be able to play the way the Jets did a year ago, and get a good pass rush from their front four, especially indoors on that field turf, this will allow them to run a lot of dime packages and keep Brady from picking them apart. He'll still throw well, but I don't think enough to win the game.

The one factor though is running the ball. While I agree with Foxxy and it's just obvious it's a game for passing the ball these days, as the Giants showed on Sunday, I think if the Patriots can run the ball as Foxxy says, and they are within a FG in the 4th quarter and still running the ball well, they could simply have the ball longer on the clock, more plays, more possessions, and thus win. The Pats run the ball fairly well, and the Giants are poor at defending it. This is probably the game Foxxy sees, and it could happen. I just don't think it will be enough, and it's NE's character to throw the ball 50+ times a game with Brady, so I'm taking the Giants in a 31-27 game.

Might change my mind later. Fully agree with Foxxy that the game could be turned on one bad turnover. Or one turnover, period.
 
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
May you missunderstood me. I said they don´t deserve... would be...
So i think it´s clear what i meant. I was talking in future 1.
I do not judge team strength on 3 or 4 games, nor do i judge them on how lucky they got, or worse on one game. That is absurd.
I knew what you meant I was just highlighting the fact that they still have a lot to do. Ie beating a very good NE side.

I was also highlighting the fact that under the current NFL schedule you can't crown one side on the basis of their regular season record. When I first started getting into the NFL I found the fixtures confusing and thought it odd everyone didn't play everyone else. How else can you make a comparison? Now I understand the reasons behind it I like it. Teams are rewarded for a good regular season but they also need to perform in a high pressure elimination situation which certainly tests teams mental strength and undoubtably effects teams' and individuals' performance. To win it all you need an all round game and the ability to perform under pressure. You can't get lucky and if any of the teams that made the playoffs and then won the next three or four games against the remaining teams have deserved it no question.

There is a phrase in cricket called "flat track bully" used to describe a batsmen who scores big runs when conditions are ideal and often against weaker opposition. Their stats look amazing but when the pressure is on and conditions against them they crumble. There have been some teams and players in the NFL over the years that fit that description well. Those teams don't win a superbowl (or Super owl as my computer wants to call it) and why winning playoff games have such value.

You dismiss SF as one of the top sides and don't consider Baltimore or the Steelers. I suspect because they haven't won big during the season. Personally a win is a win in my book. Yes, if points are level at the end of the season points/goals difference can count but wins and losses are the main thing.

The turnovers thing is interesting. There was a comment on the NYG /SF game report comments section which lambasted the Giants players for falling to the ground when defenders got near them. Clearly they were cowards. An alternative reading was that they had been given clear instructions that on a wet field it was better to go to ground and avoid the risk of a fumble than fight for extra yards. It was a problem that Bradshaw suffered from last year (and nearly did on Sunday).

I actually think the problems that the Giants had to sort out during the season, notably injuries and run defence has left them in a stronger position now. SF would have benefited from using different returners during the season. The Giants had to.
 
Ted Ginn actually was a good return man, and a their best WR, but he was hurt and didn't play much of the game, hurting SF. But the 49ers definitely need a big WR, that's the missing key. And Alex Smith has to improve. He was good this year, no doubt, but he has to get better if they're going to get to the big dance.

Regarding strength of schedule, I always thought that was somewhat pointless in the NFL because you can only play the teams you are scheduled to play. Also, I don't know the true numbers, but I'm willing to bet that Cleveland and Carolina had the most difficult schedule all year. So if they had managed to win a few more games and get into the playoffs, they would have been the best team in the NFL? A couple of years ago there were complaints that the league rigged the schedule to favor some teams, I believe the Patriots, Giants and Bears were mentioned. But none of them got very far in the playoffs.

There have also been other teams that have had "missing rings" simply because they had a bad day at the wrong time, just like the Saints and Packers this year. Remember he 15-1 Vikings team with Cunningham? The 14-2 Chargers that lost to the Patriots. The 12-4 Chargers with Fouts, Joiner, Winslow, etc. The 2006 Colts who blew their game with the Steelers, and of course the unbeaten Patriots. It leaves a sour taste in your mouth, but it's also the way the game goes sometimes.
 

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