What did we learn from the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs.

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nfl

Cardinals 14 @ Saints 45

Cards

The O line let QB Warner down. It had played so well last week but folded under the pressure of the Saint D this week. The WRs didn’t have time to get open. Warner went 17-26 for just 205 and no TDs. That was not enough to offset the Saint O.

After a single run 70 yards the Saints shut the run down. With the Cards forced to pass on every down, the D line just opened up and rushed the passer.

The Cards D was unable to cover the Saint receivers early. When the Cards fell behind by 14 in the first quarter, the D couldn’t stop the run. Injuries to key players also contributed to the Saints scoring 45 points.

Saints

The Saint O had struggled in the last few games. In the last three games all of which were losses the Saints O scored only 44 total points. But someone flipped the switch for the playoffs and the O came alive. The passing game got them up by 14 after the 1st quarter and they did whatever they wanted after that. QB Brees was 23-32 for 247 and 3 TDs. RB Thomas carried 13 times for only 52 yards but RB Bush had 5 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. The O line kept the ball moving by excellent pass and run blocking. The Card D was exhausted.

The Saints D was outstanding as well. They had played well in the losses at the end of the season but were let down by the lack of O. They allowed only 67 points in the 3 losses. Against the Cards they caused 3 fumbles (recovering 1) and a pick. The Cards just could not move the chains and keep the ball.

Cowboys 3 @ Vikings 34

Cowboys

This is the Boys we have come to see in the playoffs. They couldn’t get out of their own way. They couldn’t protect QB Romo. He was running around like a butcher shop delivery boy surrounded by a pack of wild dogs. Romo was 22-35 for 198 and a pick. The over rated Boy O line was unable to either open holes for the running game or protect their QB. RB Jones broke one run for 17 yards but had 13 attempts for 52 yards otherwise. Barber got just 8 attempts for 14 yards. The O committed penalties, missed assignments, and were unable to handle the D line of the Vikes.

The Boys D was equally inept. They did do a reasonable job against RB Peterson holding him to 63 yards on 26 attempts. But time after time, Favre hit a pass that moved the chains and kept the Boys D on the field.

Vikings

This game was why the Vikes had to sign Favre. He was the difference in this game as he had been in so many of the Vikes wins before. He was only 15-24 for 234 yards but threw 4 TDs. When the Vikes got a 14 point lead, the game was over. The O just kept the ball away from the Boys and wore the Cowboy D to a frazzle. It was a perfect combination of passing keeping the chains moving. The 14 point explosion in the 4th quarter was due to a totally defeated D giving up because the Boys O was totally outclassed by the Vikes.

One problem exists that will prevent the Vikes from getting to the Super Bowl–The O line has to be able to get Peterson running room. If they can not run the ball against the Saints, they will lose.

The Vikes D did what was expected. They harassed Romo and prevented the run from hurting them. They sacked Romo 6 times and made the tackle when he completed a pass. The Boys got just 3.8 yards per pass attempt. That is not nearly enough to get a win. They held the run to just 3.8 per attempt. This D is the real thing. The Vikes have had the D, O line, and running back to win in previous years. They one thing they lacked was a QB to get it done. With Favre they have that now.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morning at 11. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: nfl football,fantasy football,nfl playoffs,Super Bowl,Cardinals,Saints,Warner,Brees,Cowboys,Vikings,Romo,Favre
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What to look for in football this weekend in College football.

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football

#2 Alabama 26 Auburn 21 Every run for an undefeated season has some close calls. But the Auburn D exposed a flaw in the Tide. They can’t protect QB McElroy from a speed rusher on the edge. That will be noticed by both Florida and whatever team they play in a bowl. If the game was not for bragging rights in the state, you could say that Bama got caught in a perfect sandwich game. That was not the problem. Bama played a very average game against a very average Auburn team.

#3 Texas 49 Texas A&M 39 The Horns won but their pass defense looked terrible. IF they have a healthy QB Lee, Nebraska can exploit the Texas zone by running crossing routes and flooding a zone. TAM gave the Horn D fits all game long. Had a couple of bounces gone the other way, the 6-5 Aggies would have won.

#5 Cincinnati 49 Illinois 36 Cincy QB Pike looks like a pro prospect. He has a nice delivery and is accurate on all the passes you ask for. The only question is arm strength which I think is over rated. I will be doing a complete analysis for NFLDraftDog.com soon. The Cincy D stunk the place up against a below average Illini O. They are going to have to get a lot better on pass coverage to win against Pitt next week. Pitt QB Stull is 4th in QB efficiency in the FBS coming into the WV game.

Saturday

Florida St. @ #1 Florida This is another rivalry game but Florida should win. While the Gators are playing for a shot at another title, FSU is playing to keep the heat off of their coach. QB Tebow has a QB rating of 155 and the FSU pass D has been burned regularly this season. FSU will play tough but Florida is just too good.

Georgia @ #7 Georgia Tech This is a chance for Tech to uphold the honor of the ACC against a middle of the road SEC team. As always, GT must be able to run the ball on 1st and 2nd down to be competitive. If the Dogs can get out in front, GT will struggle because they can not be successful passing when they have to. GT should win but don’t be surprised if the Dogs upset the Yellow Jackets.

#12 Oklahoma St. @ Oklahoma This game is critical for the BcS hopes of the non-BcS conference teams. A 2 loss OkState team would get the BcS invitation over an undefeated TCU if for no other reason than their fans travel more. That is a slimy way to pick which team should get into the best bowls. But the Sooners have more depth than State and will win.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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What to look for this weekend in College Football

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football

#6 Bosie St. @ Utah St. Friday night

This is not a game. It is a celebration of a 11-0 season for BS.

Watch for #1 Florida and #2 Alabama to get fat on cupcakes.

The leaders in the BcS play Florida International and Chattanooga respectively. Come on, you can’t schedule out of league teams tougher than that?

#4 TCU @ Wyoming

TCU pads its stats against a decent Wyoming team that is 5-5 overall. They try hard but are totally outclassed in this game.

#8 LSU @ Ole Miss

This is the best game in the SEC this week. Miss started the season at #4 and despite a bad season is still dangerous at home. LSU is looking to make style points to try to overtake the loser of the SEC Championship game. Rebel QB Sneed has fallen in the eyes of the scouts due to 17 TDs and 14 picks. The biggest problem he has had is the O line protection. He will be running for his life again against LSU. The Tigers win but it shouldn’t be too lopsided.

#10 Ohio State @ Michigan

This game has lost a lot of its importance because of Michigan’s problems in the last several years. Ohio State seems to have gotten better on O in the two big wins over Penn St and Iowa. It might seem like an easy win for the Bucks but the three times that OSU had clinched the Rose Bowl before the game the Blue has won.

#11 Oregon @ Arizona

The Beavers have the inside track to the Rose Bowl but have a tough game at Arizona. Arizona also has a chance but needs to beat the Ducks and get some help in other games. Oregon will win despite some key injuries. The key to the game will be the strong running game of the Ducks vs. the outstanding run D of the Wildcats. Duck RB James is just fun to watch. He is extremely elusive and has the best jump-step in the college game.

Pac10 game of the year (again) #25 Cal @ #17 Stanford.

Both Cal and Stanford have designs on the Rose Bowl but will need the Cats to stun the Ducks among other things to happen. Stanford is one of the hottest teams in the country having had back to back wins over #8 Oregon and then #9 USC. The Cardinal is much tougher at home and seem to have finally smoothed out their O. They have scored over 100 points against those two foes. Cal has lost their star running back Best. Stanford should win at home.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Bosie St.,Utah St.,Florida,Alabama,TCU,Wyoming,LSU,Ole Miss,Ohio State,Michigan,Oregon,Arizona,California,Stanford,USC
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  • Published: Oct 2nd, 2009
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What to look for this weekend in College games.

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football

Tonight Utah St. @ 20 BYU The Cougars should have no problem with Utah St. This game should be over by half time but probably won’t be. BYU has a habit of playing down to the competition even at home.

Tonight Pitt @ Louisville Pitt was stunned by NC State last week. They have looked good until that game but State controlled the ball over 37 minutes. The Pitt D could not get off the field. Louisville was thought by some to be a top 25 team before the season. They are not. Pitt wins easily.

#4 LSU @ #18 Georgia LSU is 4th by default. They are not that good. Their win over Washington looked a lot better than it was after the upset of USC. The team is struggling on O. They just got by a very weak Mississippi St. team last week 30-26. QB Jefferson has good passing stats against weak DBs and the Tigers can’t run the ball. Georgia is a better team and is getting 3 points at home. LSU plays better at night at home and neither is the case here. Take the Bulldogs and give the 3.

#7 USC @ #24 Cal USC will be without both QB Barkley and RB Johnson this week. The problem with the USC O is the O line. It just has not come around as quickly as everyone thought it would. Cal has problems of its own after a 42-3 loss last week to Oregon. Cal is over rated and it showed last week. USC wins by more than the 5 point spread.

#8 Oklahoma @ #17 Miami This is a very young Miami team playing a very young Sooner QB. Miami looks like a bunch of freshmen and sophomores playing great against both Florida St. and Georgia Tech then looking outclasses by Virginia Tech on the road. Which Miami will show up is anyone’s guess. But the Oklahoma D will show up. I would not touch this game with a 50 pole but I usually go with the best D. Oklahoma should cover 7.5 point spread despite a couple of interceptions thrown by QB Jones.

#22 Michigan @ Michigan St. Big Blue has a very slow defensive backfield. That will be a problem against a set of very good WRs from MSU. Of course there is always an issue of QB Cousins getting the ball to them. He looked OK last week in a 36-30 loss at Wisconsin but was replaced by Nichol who averaged 16 yards per attempt vs. Cousins 5.6 per throw. Regardless who plays QB, Big Blue wins.

Florida St @ Boston College FSU has looked great one week and horrible the next. They went to BYU and looked like world beaters then were drubbed by a back up QB for South Florida at home last week. BC is struggling on O against Clemson then looked better against Wake Forest last week. But WF is over rated and the athleticism of FSU will carry the day.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Utah St.,BYU,Pitt,Louisviiie,LSU,Georgia,USC,Cal,Oklahoma,Miami,Michigan State,Michigan,Florida State,Boston College,NCAA Football,College Football
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What did we learn from weekend 2 in football?

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football

In the Pros

Carolina and Delhomme are both very over rated. “DelInt” threw 4 picks against the Eagles. All the experts picked the Panthers to win but as I predicted here on Friday, the Panthers are paper tigers. The Eagles went to Panther land and kicked butt. The Eagles are now in trouble due to an injury to McNabb. He was hit by 2 players in the endzone AFTER he was down. I will have more to say about that tomorrow.

A couple of other teams showed they may be road warriors. The Jets upset the Texans on the road. It was a nice win led by rookie Sanchez passes. He was 18-31 272 yards 1 TD and 1 pick. Nice start for the rook.

The Jaguars look better than anyone thought. They went into Indy and should have won the game. They ended up losing 14-12. Clearly there is something wrong with the Colts and it has nothing to do with the D not having S Bob Sanders.

The 49ers were road warriors going into Arizona and getting the win. The win was led by the D. Arizona is going to have to improve on the O line to win consistently.

The Bronco D played better than expected at Cincinnati. They held Benson to 76 yard rushing and Palmer without a TD. They also got 2 picks. The Bengal receivers had caught the Dropsy Flew on Friday and had not recovered. The Bengal O line is one thing holding them back.

The Chiefs played the Ravens tough. The Chief D scored 1 TD and set up the second.

I told you so.

As predicted, the Bears went to GB and gave the Packers all they wanted and more. A single bone head play beat the Bears.

It took the Vikes the first series in the second half to finish the Browns. Quinn started and didn’t look too bad. The Browns O line is horrible particularly the right side. Several penalties on St. Clair and others slowed the O. They cannot win if they kick field goals inside the 10. Farve did just enough let the Vikes sneak by the Browns 34-20. The lack of ball control by the O let a great effort by the Browns D go to waste.

The Redskins came close to beating the Giants. The lack of catches will make Manning’s life miserable this year. The WRs will cause more picks than he will. Now the Giant problems at WR got worse with the ankle injury to Nicks. Initial reports say he will be out 2 to 4 weeks.

The Dolphins played pretty well but the Falcons are really good. A tougher schedule and not being able to sneak up on teams will result in a worse record for the fish. Pennington is going to have to stop throwing picks.

Drew Brees threw 6 TDs in the opener for the Saints. Of course it was against the Lions. Matt Stafford had a tough day but helped the Lions to 27 points. That was 3 weeks of scoring for last year’s team.

Bonehead play of the day

Leading by 2 points in the second half, the long snapper Patrick Mannelly did a direct snap to the up man to fake a punt and go for the first down. That might not have been a bad move if the Bears had been deep in the Packer end of the field. But the Bears were inside their own 35 and it was 4th and 11. The Pack took over and kicked a field goal to take the lead and never looked back. A lesser coach would throw the 12 year vet under the team bus but Smith probably will not.

The Paul Brown “I’d rather be lucky than good” award

The Broncos used a tip drill on the Bengals by throwing the longest pass play in the final minute of the game in NFL history. With the ball on the 13, the pass was tipped by a Bengal and it was caught by Brandon Stokley who ran it in for a TD.

College Football

#3 USC is still USC and #8 Ohio State is the same as well. The OSU D played very well until the game was on the line then folded and let USC march the ball down for the winning TD.

#5 Oklahoma State was too busy reading their clippings from a nice road win to prepare for their game Saturday. They are not the real deal. Houston passed the OSU D into the ground.

#16 TCU had a nice win at Virginia. # 7 Penn State held Syracuse scoreless until the 2nd string was in for the 4th quarter.

#18 Notre Dame will probably move up two spots after a close loss to Michigan. The Michigan D has come around faster than I though. ND is as usual over rated.

Three different radio hosts picked #19 North Carolina as a sure thing to cover the spread against UConn. I went the other way and picked UConn to win. They came close and only a holding penalty in their own endzone prevented OT and gave the game via safety to NC.

Best analysis of the weekend

Deion Sanders on the NFL channel had the best piece of analysis when he said that the Panthers are in danger of losing their locker room due to the management granting Delhomme a new deal with 20 mil guaranteed right after he intercepted them out of the playoffs and despite the fact his current deal wasn’t up. They snubbed DL Julius Peppers who deserved the deal to give it to DelInt. Sanders is exactly right and it was a comment that only an ex-player would know to make.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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