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2012 Divisional Preview: New York vs. Green Bay

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the final post this week examining the Divisional matchups in the NFL Playoffs. Thanks for reading!

The final matchup of the NFL Divisional playoff pits the New York Giants against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field at 4:30 ET on Fox today. The Giants are coming off a big home victory over the Falcons in a game many expected Atlanta to win. Instead, New York demolished the Falcons by a score of 24-2. Now, the Giants face an even bigger test as they face the NFL’s top team. The Packers lost just one game this year, at Kansas City, and put up a huge number of points along the way. The Packers and Giants faced off once before this year in the Meadowlands, with Green Bay narrowly escaping with a 38-35 victory. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Offense: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads Green Bay’s offense, throwing for more than 4500 yards and 45 touchdowns this year. Green Bay was third in the NFL in passing and total yards per game as it put up offensive numbers at an impressive rate. Rodgers’s favorite target was Jordy Nelson, who caught 68 passes for 1263 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wide receiver Greg Jennings also racked up almost 1000 yards and nine touchdowns himself. On the ground, the Packers are led by running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks. Neither back put up a tremendous stats but they combined for more than 1100 yards on the year.

The Giants’ offense continued to perform at a high level last week and it was led by quarterback Eli Manning. Manning completed 23 of 32 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. Hakeem Nicks caught six of those passes, two of them for touchdowns while Victor Cruz was held to just two catches for 28 yards. Running back Brandon Jacobs rushed for 92 yards on 14 carries while Ahmad Bradshaw chipped in with 63 yards. Read more…

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Categories: NFL

2012 Divisional Preview: Houston vs. Baltimore

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the third of four posts this week examining the Divisional matchups in the NFL Playoffs. Check back soon for the final preview:

The final AFC Divisonal Matchup features the Houston Texans at the Baltimore Ravens at 1 ET on CBS Sunday. After thoroughly demolishing the Bengals last week 31-10, the Texans look to continue their play against Baltimore. The Ravens, on the other hand, spent last week resting up for this week’s matchup. The teams did not face each other this year so Baltimore has the advantage of an extra week of reviewing film, though it had to review film of the Bengals as well. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Offense: The Ravens are led by running back Ray Rice, who averaged 4.7 yards per carry this season on the way 1364 yards on the ground. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for more than 3000 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing just 12 interceptions on the year. The dual combo of Rice and Flacco gives Baltimore a potent, but not overpowering offense. The Ravens were 15th in the NFL in yards per game, but haven’t scored more than 24 points in a game since Week 11 against the Bengals as well.

For the Texans, it’s all about running back Arian Foster and last week was no exception. Foster ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over. Quarterback TJ Yates had a solid game as well, completing 11 of his 20 passes for 159 yards a touchdown. While running back Ben Tate wasn’t quite as productive as normal last week, the combination of him and Foster has been terrific all year and will pose a challenge to the Ravens’ excellent run defense. Read more…

Categories: NFL

2012 Divisional Preview: Denver vs. New England

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the second of four posts this week examining the Divisional matchups in the NFL Playoffs. Check back during the next day for more previews:

Saturday’s second Divisional game (kicking off in just three hours) features the Broncos travelling across the country to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots on CBS. Led by Tebow’s best performance of the year last week, Denver stunned Pittsburgh to earn a trip to Foxboro. The Patriots, meanwhile, watched the Wild Card games from their homes, trying (and seeming to fail) to recover from a grueling season. New England and Denver faced each other once this year with the Pats ending the Bronco’s six-game winning streak by a convincing 41-23 scoreline. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Offense: Anyone else not believe in  Tim Tebow now? Sure, he still hasn’t proven himself as an NFL quarterback, but with God on your side, you don’t need NFL-caliber skills. Tebow threw for 316 yards last week including a 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to set up this week’s matchup with New England. Running back Willis McGahee struggled last year against a physical Pittsburgh defense, running for just 60 yards on 19 carries. While the Patriot’s defense is terrible, Tebow struggled at times in the teams’ first matchup this year and the Broncos turned the ball over three times. They must protect the ball with their lives if they want to have a chance tonight.

For New England, the offense starts with Tom Brady. Brady broke the single-season record for passing yards, only to come in second to Drew Brees this year in passing yards. Nevertheless, Brady had a tremendous year, though he turned the ball over at a slightly higher rate than in previous years. Wide receiver Wes Welker was Brady’s favorite target this year as the two connected 122 times for over 1500 yards. However, when the Pats enter the red zone, look for Brady to go to his next-favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski who caught 17 touchdown passes this year. On the ground, the Patriots use Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley to offer a different look, but this offense starts and ends with its start quarterback. Read more…

Categories: NFL