Went one-for-two yesterday with a Steelers comeback win and an Aaron Rodgers deflowering of Atlanta. Looks like the parallels between the 2010 Falcons and 2006 Chargers were valid after all. I’d think to think the game would’ve been different if Matty Ice didn’t throw that first half walk-off touchdown pass to Tremon Williams, but we will never know. Moral of the story yesterday: QBs win you playoff games. Big surprise, right? Yesterday it looked like this: Aaron Rodgers > Big Ben > Joe Flacco > Matt Ryan. Simple as that. The theme continues today.
Sunday, 1:00pm – Seahawks (+10) over BEARS
Let’s be honest, this line has to be too high, right? Jay Cutler has all the trimmings of a playoff collapse. Let’s look at all these things that uninspired confidence:
1. This is his first playoff game ever.
2. He is such a dick, he inspired Rick Reilly to roast him in a column this week. The usually fang-less Reilly reserves his selective criticisms for the likes of high-profilers Obama and Tiger Woods. Cutler’s misplaced bravado was enough to make Reilly interested.
3. He is extremely turnover prone. This year: 16 picks and 9 fumbles. Last year: 26 picks and 4 fumbles.
4. He was sacked more times than anyone else in the league.
5. He notoriously makes poor decisions throwing the ball, and as Keyshawn pointed out today has had quite a few balls hit defenders in the hands this year that weren’t caught.
6. His teammates don’t like him.
7. This is his first playoff game ever.
If I am the Seahawks defense, I can’t be more excited to play Jay Cutler. He is clearly the biggest question mark in the playoffs and I can’t see him not making a few mistakes.
On the other side, Matthew Michael Hasselbeck showed off his playoff chops last week and has to be confident coming into this week. Mike Williams had his breakout game in week six against the smaller Bears’ corners with 10 catches. Look for Seattle to exploit that matchup again.
Seattle wins this game if two things happen:
1. Jeremy Bates has a good day play-calling. Trust me on this as I’m one of the few people who have watched every Seahawks snap this season outside of Seattle; when Bates is clicking and the team is in a groove they can move the ball on anyone. When they get cute and try the wrong things at the wrong times (see: the four 25-yard floating jump balls on 4th-and-1s this year) they will not succeed. If the Seahawks can out-coach the Bears like they did the Saints last week, they will win this game. (Okay that was a pretty obvious statement a la John Madden…but it is true. I love Brett Favre.)
2. They have to keep the Bears receivers in front of them. If Cutler hits a few big plays and gets some confidence it could be bad. In the Seahawks “Bandit” package where they play three safetys, rookie safety Kam Chancellor is very vulnerable. If the Bears do there homework, they’ll find this out.
Sunday, 4:00pm – PATRIOTS (-9) over Jets
The 2010 New England Patriots are first in the league with 0.525 points per play. The next closest in the entire league was San Diego at 0.424. The Jets? 0.332. Why do I bring up this stat? Because it is reeeeediculous. The Pats weren’t even close to that number last year. Not enough people are realizing how good Brady and the Pats are this year. The yards-per-play stat says this: If both teams run 50 plays, the Pats win 26-16. If the Jets run 60 and the Pats 40, the Pats still win 21-20.
IT IS NOT ABOUT “KEEPING BRADY OFF THE FIELD!” This is what you’ve been hearing all week. It’s about limiting his plays. The Pats won games this year with the following TOP (time of posession) numbers: 27:43, 25:35, 24:52, and 19:12. Remember in the NFL we play 60-minute games.
I have no doubt the Pats win. Mark Sanchez isn’t going into Foxboro and beating this team with this quarterback and this coach that had a week to prepare. Brady didn’t watch the Jets game last week because he didn’t have to. What could he possible have seen that he hasn’t already? He’s been going to the theatre, wearing Uggs, and rolling around on a Razor scooter like a boss not giving two shits about anything to do with the Jets. And now he will go out and shred them per usual on his way to his fourth Super Bowl. The line has moved to 9 but I’m still confident in at least a 10-point win. Take the Pats.