What to look for in the Sunday Divisional round games.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

nfl

Cowboys @ Vikings

Cowboys

Prior to this season the Boys folded in December. When JJ issued his threat to blow up the team and the coaching staff this season unless the Boys got into the playoffs and did well, the team got the message. This team has played a lot better than they did in previous seasons but I am not on the Boy bandwagon yet.

The O has been solid but the last two games were played against an Eagle D that seemed to give up after being in a position to win the NFC East. In the upset win over the Saints, QB Romo had a QB rating of 104. In the two games against the Eagles he had ratings of 86.1 and 106. That is a great improvement over last year when he finished the year with ratings of 44.9, 66.2 and 55.8 in the 3 losses. The improved Romo is the key to difference in this years team. The Boys will need as much passing as he can generate because they will not be able to get much on the ground against the Vikes.

RB Jones ran for 148 yards but that is misleading. Take out the two long runs and he had a 4 yard average. That is VERY average. Starter Barber is probable but is coming off a knee and won’t be close to 100%.

The other key to the turnaround is the play of the O line. The line had been living on an undeserved rep. In the latter part of the season they started to play up to that rep. They will have to against an outstanding D line of the Vikes.

The Cowboy D has also had the habit of playing up or down to the competition. The key will be pressure on QB Favre. If they can pressure him, they will have a chance. The pass D ranked 20th giving up over 200 yards per game. Balanced offenses give them problems. The Vikes can be very balanced when they chose to be.

Vikings

The Vikes tend to throw too much on O. That habit tends to get them in trouble. QB Favre can light up the scoreboard but can also throw enough picks to kill the team’s playoff hopes. The Vikes ended the season just 2-3 in December including an embarrassing loss to the Panthers. Favre had a passer rating of 73.7 in that loss. The team ranked 8th in passing.

The running game is solid with the leagues best back Peterson. But he has 1 100 yard game in the last half of the season. The O line had not been opening holes for the running game and Peterson has gotten beaten up. Peterson has to get over 100 yards for the Vikes to win. That is going to require the O line to play at a higher level. G Hutchinson is probable for the game. He would help the O line a great deal.

The Viking D is solid as well. It ranks 2nd against the run but 19th against the pass. The key to the Vikes winning the game is shutting down the Boys running game and forcing Romo into mistakes. Given enough pressure, he will make errors.

This is a very hard game to call but I think the Vikes have just enough to beat the Boys. The Cowboys will not be able to run and will not be able to keep up with Favre and the Vikes.

Jets @ Chargers

Jets

The Jets beat a Bengals team that was inexperienced in the playoffs. That is not the case with the Chargers. The game will depend on how hot Jet QB Sanchez can get. The Jets took advantage of an easy schedule and even then needed gifts from both the Bengals and the Colts to get into the playoffs. The O has the top ranked running game. That is a good thing because in the last 3 weeks of the season, Sanchez had passer ratings of 49.7, 78, and 60.2 and threw just 1 TD with 9 picks. That is not going to scare experienced playoff teams. RB Thomas is their top guy but he had only 3 100 yard games in the last half of the season. He is 31 and they hope it is not an indication that he is showing his age.

The Jets are going to have to be able to throw better than that to win.

The Jet D ranked 1st in scoring D, passing D and yards. They are 8th against the run. They have been playing very well under Coach Ryan. However, they have not beaten an O like they will against the Chargers.

Chargers

QB Rivers has had an outstanding season. He has a passer rating of 104. The running game is ranked 31st which caused Rivers to throw a lot. The passing game is ranked 5th. He has a solid group of receivers WRs Jackson and Floyd and TE Gates. The running game has Tomlinson but he is a shadow of what he was a few years ago. Neither he nor RB Sproles has gotten the running going. The Chargers used the franchise tag on Sproles. That was a mistake because he will never be able to be a starting RB. The O line came together after recovering from early season injuries. It still can not run block.

The Charger D is middle of the road in terms of yards but ranks 11th in scoring D. NT Scott is their 3rd guy in that spot but has come on nicely. The loss of All Pro NT Williams has reduced the ability to stop the run and the team ranks 20th in that department. They are 11th against the pass and have a pair of pro bowl LB in Merriman and Phillips. They have not played up to their rep this season. The D backfield is led by CB Cromartie. The D can play at a very high level but is inconsistent.

Given all that, the Chargers should be able to score on the Jets through the air. I am not sure that QB Sanchez can keep up with Rivers. The Chargers win.

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.

26-7.

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: NFL,NFL Football,nfl playoffs,divisional round,Cowboys,Vikings,Favre,Peterson,Jets,Bengals,Chargers,Colts,Thomas,Thomlinson,Sproles,Rivers,Sanchez
  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 31st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

football

OUTBACK BOWL Northwestern 8-4 Auburn 7-5

This game pits the Big 10 vs. SEC. NW wins over two ranked teams (Iowa and Wisconsin) in the last two games gave them hope they can break a 6 bowl losing streak. This is the first New Year’s day bowl since 97. QB Kafka has thrown for 2898 yards but only 12 TDs and 7 picks. He has to produce the majority of the O because the running game has struggled. RB Fields has averaged just 3.0 per attempt this year. The NW D is solid and is led by DE Wootton who should be a top 15 pick in the NFL Draft. The NW D will have to find a way to contain the Auburn running game or it will be a long day.

Auburn had its usual fast start 5-0 only to lose 5 of their final 7 games. QB Todd had a nice season with 2377 yards 21 TDs and just 6 picks. He was able to take advantage of opponent defenses focused on stopping the 13th best running game in Division 1. RB Tate is the key. He ran for 1254 yards at a 5.8 per attempt and scored 8 TDs. He should be a 3rd round pick in the draft.

The Tiger D is led by LB Coleman and DT Ricks both of whom are good draft prospects.

Auburn is the better team that played a better schedule and will win.

GATOR BOWL Florida St. 6-6 #16 West Virginia 9-3

This is the last game on the sideline for legendary coach Bowden. He is second in all time Div. 1 wins. Bowden’s problems in the last few years have been on D. He has not gotten the super athletes on D to be competitive at the highest level. This year’s D has 3 draftable players. CB Robinson is a 1st round prospect. OB Watson is a 3rd round prospect. I really like SS Rolle and he would be a steal in the 5th round. QB Ponder is hurt but had a good year. His replacement Manuel has thrown more picks (6) than TDs (2). The running game is capable with RB Thomas averaging 5.2 per attempt.

WV has won 4 straight bowl games. They took advantage of a below average Big East to get to 9-3. QB Brown is supposed to be 4th round prospect but don’t expect that. He has struggled this year an the team has averaged 211 per game passing which ranks a dismal 84th. On O also watch OT Capers who may be a 2nd round pick.

On D the team has been good but has no senior super stars. The FSU team will play their hearts out for Bowden and despite being the underdog, I expect a close game and maybe an FSU win.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL #12 LSU 9-3 #13 Penn St. 10-2

LSU should have at least on player taken in each of the 7 rounds of the draft. Potential 1st round pick WR LaFell is 6-3 and is the prime target in the endzone for LSU. Look for OT Black and RB Scott to be picked in 2nd and 4th round respectively. Scott is a slasher who averaged 4.7 per attempt but injuries held him to just 116 carries. He is questionable for the game. The Tiger O ranks 108th which is not good looking at a solid Penn State D. The LSU D is led by SS Coleman (3rd or 4th round) and DE Alem (4th or 5th). While the D started out well, it has struggled to get off the field in the last 4 games giving up over 380 yards a game.

PS QB Clark was the leading passer in the Big 10 but tended to throw picks at the worst times against the toughest competition. His 2009 performance has dropped him from a possible 4th round pick to undrafted Free Agent status. Junior RB Royster has yet to decide if he will enter the draft. He averaged 5.9 per attempt and would be a 2nd round pick most likely.

The strength of PS is the D which is led by DT Odrick (1st round), ILBs Lee (2nd) and Hull (5th) .

The line is PS by 3 and that looks about right. If Scott doesn’t play it could be a lot worst than that.

ROSE BOWL #7 Oregon 10-2 #8 Ohio State 10-2

OSU Coach Tressel has suspended 3 players for the game including WR Small. That won’t help an O that has struggled this year. They have only 1 draftable Senior on O—C Cordle. The O line has been bad and QB Pryor has run for his life rather than running for first downs. The Bucks have the 106th ranked passing O. Pryor has not improved in his 2nd year as starter. In fact, he has become less accurate with worse mechanics than last year. The running game ranks 19th with a gagle of backs contributing including Pryor.

The OSU D ranks 5th in rushing D. That D will be tested often by the Ducks who rank 6th in rushing. S Coleman and DT Worthington are both prospects in the last half of the 2010 Draft.

Oregon’s RB James hides in the back pocket of the Duck O line then bursts out to rip off big gains. USC never could find him let alone tackling him close to the line. James replaced RB Blount who was suspended for hitting a player after the Boise State game. QB Masoli has a passer rating of 130 and has a great target in TE Dickson (2nd or 3rd round). The Ducks are 7th in scoring and will give the Buckeye D all they want.

Big 10 teams usually lose the Rose Bowl but that has been against USC most often. But the line is Oregon by 5. It shouldn’t be that close. However the best bet here is the under at 51.

SUGAR BOWL #3 Cincinnati 12-0 #5 Florida 12-1

The big question in this game is which Bearcat team will show up? Their coach is on his way to South Bend. This is big game not only for Cincy but for the Big East. This is their chance to show the football world that they are just as good as the big boys. Cincy is ranked 6th in total O and scoring but that was not against the kind of D speed that Florida has. They will depend on QB Pike (2nd or 3rd) to WR Gilyard (top 20). The Cincy O ranked 7th in passing despite the loss of Pike for a good deal of the season. RB Pead has average 6.6 per attempt. They won’t have that success against the Gators.

On D, Cincy has been solid led by DE Daniels and SS Webster both late round prospects. The team has been good against the run but a little soft vs the pass.

Florida has coaching questions of its own. Coach Meyer announced he was leaving the sideline but a day later that it was only a leave of absence. QB Tebow has been the bell cow of the team and is the spiritual leader. No other player in the draft has as many different views of his pro potential than Tebow. Experts rank his anywhere from top 3 to the middle of the 4th round. I will have a detailed scouting report later. He has 2413 yards passing with 18 TDs and 5 picks. He added another 859 yards rushing with 13 TDs. WR Cooper (3rd or 4th) is solid. The O line has been a little shaky but has blocked enough to allow RB Demps to average 7.7 per carry.

The Florida D is led by LB Spikes (1st) DE Cunningham (3rd) and OB Stamper and Doe. Look for them to keep the pressure on Pike all day.

Florida is a 13 point favorite and it shouldn’t be that close. But Cincy has fooled teams before.

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: New Year’s Day Bowls,NFL,NFL Draft,Outback,Northwestern,Auburn,Gator Bowl,Florida State,West Virginia,Capitol One Bowl,LSU,Penn State,Rose Bowl,Ohio State,Oregon,Sugar Bowl,Cincinnatim Florida
  • Author:
  • Published: Nov 6th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for this week in College football

What to look for this week in College football

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

football

#9 LSU @ #3 Alabama – 7.5

Alabama dropped a spot in the BcS last week on a bye. They get it back this week against a good but over matched LSU team. Bama QB McElroy has to be effective throwing the ball because the LSU run D is outstanding. In the last 4 games he has failed to throw for 150 yards. He must do better than that against LSU to keep the Tigers from loading up the D line. This will be another real test of the Bama O line.

LSU QB Jefferson, also a 1st year starter, has struggled to get the ball down the field. He is completing almost 64% of his passing but only for 7.36 per attempt. RB Scott is not producing as much as they had hoped at just 4.5 per attempt and has scored only 4 TDs. The LSU O will struggle to keep the ball and let their D rest.

Look for a very low scoring game with Bama winning but struggling to cover the spread.

#17 Ohio State @ #11 Penn St – 3.5

People around Ohio are thinking Rose Bowl—not so fast my friend. That would require that the Bucks win at PS and then beat #4 Iowa next week plus a win at Michigan to end the regular season. That dream ends Saturday. The Bucks have no offense and are not sure where it went. QB Pryor has regressed and now is struggling with mechanics and reading defenses. The result is he may hit a couple of big plays.

PS has gotten solid production out of QB Clark and RB Royster. Clark has a rating of 149 and 18TDs to 7 Ints. Royster is averaging nearly 6 per carry. The D is solid but not special.

The Bucks will be trying FGs with a backup kicker while PS is scoring TDs. PS wins and covers the spread.

#7 Oregon @ Stanford – 7

This is a classic LET DOWN game for the Ducks. They looked unbeatable last week against USC at home. Now they face an up and down Stanford team that can be dangerous at home. They have not lost there. Oregon’s O is the most improved unit in all of college football. The running game is much better with RB James than it was against Boise St. He has the speed and change of direction to make the stretch play work to its maximum. The running game has made QB Masoli extremely effective with play action.

The only hope that Stanford has is that the Duck head are so big they can’t get their helmets on. Oregon should win and cover but stay away from this one due to the chance of a let down.

#24 Oklahoma @ Nebraska + 5.5

How far has this once great rivalry fallen? To the point that no one really outside of those two states cares who wins. Sooner QB Jones has done better than anyone could have hoped taking over from the injured Bradford. He has a passer rating of 142 with 17 TDs and just 6 picks. Their problem is the lack of a running game. RB Brown is averaging just 4.3 per attempt and the team struggles moving the chains. They are just trying to get into a decent bowl after losing 3 games this year.

The Huskers was quietly having a nice season at 4-1 until they lost in each of the last two games including a bad loss against Iowa St last week 9-7. The D has played better than it did last year and the O has good numbers but the latter is misleading. The O has let them down in their 3 losses scoring just 32 points in those games.

The Sooners are the better team and should win and cover but who cares?

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: NCAA Football,BCS Rankings,BCS,Alabama,LSU,Ohio State,Penn State,Iowa,Michigan,Oregon,Stanford,Oklahoma,USC,Nebraska,Rose Bowl,Bowl game,NFL Draft
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 29th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Rams have a long road back to respectability.

The Rams have a long road back to respectability.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

t

The good news at QB is that the Rams have a legitimate backup—Kyle Boller. The bad news is the way the O line plays, they will need Boller and Brock Berlin to replace starter Marc Bulger when he gets hurt. Bulger is a top QB on a team with an O line that couldn’t protect a Sherman Tank.

Bulger has had passer ratings in the 90’s when the team had an O line and receivers that could catch the ball in 2002-2006. In 07 and 08 Orlando Pace was hurt and there were more injured O linemen than healthy ones. Bulger had a rating of 70.3 in 07 and 71.4 last year. Bulger needs some better protection if the Rams’ O is going to improve.

The running game has suffered a similar fate to the passing game. RB Steven Jackson is as good as any but has struggled the last few years. In 06 he carried 346 times for a 4.4 average. In 07 he had averaged 4.2 and in 08 4.1. He failed to finish either of those two seasons healthy. He is capable of being the difference in close games that the Rams could not close out last year. He has 4 guys behind him but the team will probably keep 2 or 3 at the most. HB Kenneth Darby is a 3rd down type slasher back who may not be able to carry the load should Jackson go down. Antonio Pittman has the ability but has had trouble staying healthy. Pittman could be the odd man out. The team drafted Chris Ogbonnaya in the 2nd round this year and he will stick. They also signed vet Samkon Gado who does everything OK but is not outstanding in any way. He and Pittman will battle for a 4th rb if the Rams keep that many. The FB will be vet Mike Karney.

The WR is a gab bag at best. The corps is 2nd year Donnie Avery and a bunch of guys. And Avery is a #2 quality WR at best. He is out now with a broken foot. Keenan Burton is always hurting. Laurent Robinson is trying to revive his career with the team. So far he looks decent and may win a starting job. Derek Stanley is recovering from an ACL. Players usually take 12 months to fully recover. Good luck to the Ram QBs depending on this group. The TE situation isn’t much brighter. Randy McMichael is capable when healthy. He missed 12 games last year with a serious foot injury. So far he looks OK. The rest of the group is a long shot at best.

The O line has been the walking wounded for the last 2 years. It is no different this year. The best of the group is T Alex Barron and C Jason Brown. Barron has been hurt (knee) and is in the last year of his deal. 4 year vet Brown has developed nicely and is solid. LG Jacob Bell was signed from the Titans last year and has yet to prove he is worth his game check. He is now suffering from a concussion. G Richie Incognito is a penalty magnet. He needs to get his head in the game. Rookie RT Jason Smith is going to start but has trouble with quick DE pass rush. The Rams have 10 reserve OL guys and hope to find 4 that are good enough to stick. Don’t bet on it.

The D line will be a challenge as well. The starting 4 will be LDE Victor Adeyanju, LDT Adam Carriker, RDT Clifton Ryan and RDE Chris Long with backup E Leonard Little in reserve. Long and Carriker are good as long as the later can stay healthy. Ryan and Adeyanju are fair at best. Little is a pass rusher and little (excuse the pun) else. They drafted T Darell Scott in the 4th but there isn’t much else. The problem will be that they need at least 2 more good DL guys to make a full rotation.

The linebacker crew is looking much better thanks to the addition of 2nd round steal MLB James Laurinaitis from Ohio State. He attacks the run and is an effective blitzer. Last year’s MLB Will Witherspoon slides to the weak side and should be fine. He is a playmaker. Chris Draft will start on the strong side and is OK. Larry Grant and David Vobora have potential but little experience in the backup roles.

FS Oshiomogho Atogwe and SS James Butler are set. Atogwe has good ball skills and Butler was brought here by Head Coach Spagnuolo from the Giants. The CBs are a question mark. The starters should be Ron Bartell and Tye Hill. Bartell got experience filling in for the injured Hill last year. Hill is battling young Justin King. King had the inside track last season before a toe injury ended his season. Jonathan Wade has the physical tools but has not yet learned what to do with them. He needs to learn the game and become consistent.

OVERALL: The Rams are a good bet to have an early draft choice next year again. But they are getting better with a good draft in 09 and some decent FAs. Spagnuolo should be able to get these guys to play hard and in the NFC West, that could get him some wins. I still expect the Rams to be 4th in the weakest division in the league.  The only Fantasy players are Bulger, Jackson, and maybe Avery.

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: nfl,NFL Draft,Bulger,Jackson,Pittman,Avery,McMichael,Smith,Barron,Brown,Incognito,Long,Carriker,Ryan,Laurinaitis,Witherspoon,Atogwe,Butler,Hilli,King,Spagnuolo,Fantasy football,Giants

© 2011 FryingPanSports. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by the Wordpress platform and beach rentals.