2012 Wild Card Preview: Detroit vs. New Orleans

This is the second of four posts this week examining the Wild Card matchups in the NFL Playoffs. Check back during the next few days for more previews:

The New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions open up the NFC Wild Card games on Saturday at 8 ET on NBC in New Orleans. The Saints haven’t lost since week eight and has won by more than 20 points in its past three games. The Lions have won three of their last four, but gave up 45 points in a loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday in a game that Aaron Rodgers didn’t play. In their one meeting this year, New Orleans defeated Detroit 31- 17 behind 342 yards and three touchdowns from Drew Brees. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Offense: For New Orleans, this is all about Drew Brees, who sent an NFL record with 5476 passing yards in the season and is neck and neck with Aaron Rodgers for the MVP award. While running back Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas combined to rush for just 1165 yards, they averaged nearly six yards a rush. Brees moved the ball around to his receivers, with Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston his favorite targets.

Detroit’s Matthew Stafford wasn’t too shabby either, throwing for more than 5000 yards as well and 41 touchdowns. Stafford looked to wide receiver Calvin Johnson the most as the two connected on 96 passes for 1681 yards and 16 touchdowns. On the ground, the Lions weren’t as effective as running backs Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith combined for just 746 yards, less than four yards a carry. Continue reading “2012 Wild Card Preview: Detroit vs. New Orleans”

Who Cares About The NFL Draft

Less than 90 minutes from now, the NFL Draft will get under way with the Detroit Lions selecting QB Matthew Stafford with the #1 overall pick. For the next five hours, ESPN will broadcast every pick of the first two rounds. Then, Sunday morning, they will broadcast ANOTHER eight hours of draft coverage. Just five hours of coverage would be overkill, and ESPN is showing 13.

To be fair, I don’t consider myself much of a football fan. Yea, I’ll watch all my Patriots’ games and know the team fairly well, but in terms of teams I care about, they are down on the list. I still can’t figure out who can watch 13 hours of NFL Draft coverage without killing themselves though.

No other sport has that kind of coverage for an event in which NOTHING is determined. You barely hear anything about the MLB and NHL drafts. The NBA Draft has the closest thing to the kind of coverage that the NFL Draft has, but that is because one player on an NBA team can make much more of a difference than one player on an NFL team.

Think about that in terms of numbers. Five players are on the court at one time in the NBA. If you can significantly improve one of those players in the draft, then you have just improved your team by 10-20%. In football, there are eleven players on offensive and a different eleven for defense. That’s 22 players, so significantly improving one player via the draft only improves your team by 5-10%. Continue reading “Who Cares About The NFL Draft”