• Author:
  • Published: Aug 29th, 2012
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

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Tune in to the Browns Half time show at Mooheadradio.com and the post game show at http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Eagles at Browns Game Time Notes

Great first call with a 28 yard pass to Gordon

Pinkston penalty  2nd guy always gets caught

Smith can catch but cannot run the ball.  Great read by Weeden throwing the crossing route vs zone

Play was late coming in and the confusion by Weeden of the defense caused a TO

New owner Jimmy Hasslam has to worry about the empty seats in the stadium.

Make up call against the Eagles on the off side.

Hardesty does not have very good vision.   That is a problem.

Hardesty spinning is a problem as well.  He just doesn’t look like an NFL back to me

Weeden arm strength obvious on the pass to MoMass

The leakage on the right side is going to be a huge problem

MoMass needed to go a little further on the out route.

Good throw by Weeden.

It is hard to run wide against a wide 9 D.

Hardesty cannot give up that much yardage in the redzone

Holding against Pinkston shows a problem at guard.  He is better than early last year but has a long way to go.

Screen pass that went VERY BAD on the Weeden fumble.  Pinkston has to get a better block on a screen pass.  Thomas also gave up way too much ground.

=

Great play by D.  Good pass rush great coverage on the Haden pick off.

Great play recognition by Rubin on the pass rush.

Benjamin was open and Weeden missed him.

WAY too many 3rd and long situations.  No Offense can be successful always facing 3rd and 7 or more.

Incompletion to Little was as much on him as QB.   It looked like the ball was out before Little made his break

=7:51

Ward is doing a lot better job on covering this year.

Great read by DT Winn on the sweep cutting down the RB in the backfield.

Very solid coverage by DBs on 3rd down.  Good pressure by Sheard.  Eagles were holding but that was not called.

Little recognizes the pressure and came back to help his QB.  He attacked the ball which is good to see.

Hardesty fumbles again.  Cannot have that.

=5:34

Haden great read on the screen.  He broke through and got the tackle.

JMJ lost track of the TE.  TD Philly. 0-7 4:18

O line false start really hurt.

Hardesty had lots of room outside on 2nd down but didn’t see it.

3RD and 15.

Browns O line cannot keep 2ND Philly D off Weeden.   Both OTs allow penetration and Thomas’ guy caused the fumble.

Punt blocked right up the gut.   Blocker was untouched.  Hanna let him in clean.

=2:43

TD Pass to Lewis vs Ward.  0-14 2:00

Cameron drops the ball on a sideline route.  Leakage over Schwartz again.

Another 4 yard pass on 3rd and long.  Just cannot do that.

Schwartz gives up the sack.

Long punt that is not covered well gives up a long return.

2nd quarter

It does not look like the Browns are ready to play.  Just missing critical blocks, lanes, and balls.

The O can’t move the ball vs the Eagles 2nd unit at all.

Browns 2nd D gets fooled by cut of WR Johnson.

Fort misses the tackle cleaned up by Robertson.

1ST team CB Brown gets burned by speed for the near TD.

Rookie WR just missed getting the 2nd foot down and did not hold the ball to the ground.

0-17 13:31

Jackson misses the pass right off his hands.  I thought he was supposed to be a pass catcher.

The run on 2nd and long will look better with TRich.

Great catch under pressure by Norwood for the 1st.

Good run by Jackson.  He has better vision than Hardesty.

Weeden put some mustard on that ball.

Short corner fade was double covered.  Not a great read by Weeden.

Hunt comes off right side unblocked to force the fast throw.

Jackson runs right by hunt not noticing Hunt was coming to crush his QB.

3-17

DE Parker makes his debut with a great move.

DB Brown had no clue where he was or when the ball was coming

Parker gets through 2 blocks for the hurry.

JMJ gets REAL deep in the secondary to knock away the pass.

=

Way too many 3rd and long situations because the Browns are not making good yardage on 1st and 2nd down.

Great throw and catch Weeden to Gordon on the slant.

Benjamin reached too soon and it slowed him slightly to fail to catch the ball.

Pinkston crushes the right side of the D to get Jackson 9 yards

Bad combination of routes makes Gordon doubled.  They needed to send 2 receivers deep.

Schwartz never touched the DE and the pass was still good but incomplete.

Screen passes eat up the Browns.

The Eagles kick a field goal on 2nd down with 48 seconds left.  WHY?

Norwood was hurt.

JMJ penalty was not that bad.  Sims picked the pass and scored but it was called back.

4 missed tackles on the Brown run.  Again contain is non-existent.

Hasslam looks like he has fire.  Shurmur had dead eyes.

JMJ caused the fumble but the Eagles recover.

The 3rd string of the Eagles marched the ball right down the field and scored

3-24 6:54

Thomas has much better vision and speed than Hardesty or Jackson

Great pass by McCoy to Winsor for 23 yards

Pass blocking is non-existant.

Eagles are covering very well.

Daniels takes a penalty making it 3rd and 16.

Good job by McCoy to get 12 yards to make it 4th 4.

Play VERY late coming in.  McCoy didn’t see the play clock running down.

McCoy runs for the 1st.

RBs get hit just as they get the ball.

McCoy gets hit as he throws.  3rd 12.

Thomas catches the ball and gets 9 yards after contact for the 1st.

Cribbs catches the ball against pressure coverage to the Philly 6.

Moore has great feet and hands.  But he can’t block a lick.  10-24

=

In the 2nd half there were a lot of empty seats.

Foles did very well as the QB of the Eagles.  He burned the Browns D like it was dried leaves.

Edwards looked good as well.  Shaffering got a nice pass rush to force a hurry on a 3rd and 2 pass.

First throw by Wallace is into triple coverage and is picked.

Edwards has the guts to stand in against pressure.  He might be the 3rd QB for Philly.

After the pick, the Eagles score AGAIN.

We are not that far away.  All we need is an offense, a defense and some special teams.

 

Final thoughts:

 

The Browns are not a good team.  The Offensive line is a major worry.  If they can’t protect Weeden the Offense will not progress.

The WRs are a concern as well.  The group is very young and has trouble running the disciplined routes that the West Coast Offense demands.  There is also an issue catching the ball.  That has to improve to let Weeden thrive.

The running game will get better.  Several holes were there but the combination of Hardesty and Jackson either could not see them or just couldn’t get there.  Richardson will make the running game work much better.  It will also help the team move the chains with a 3 yard pass to TRich on a 3rd and long.

The D has played well.  The O put them in bad positions allowing the Eagles to score 17 points by moving the ball less than 30 yards.  That is not acceptable.

The D line has done OK despite the injury to Taylor.  The rookie DTs are playing better than expected.  The LBs are an issue.  The team needs to get Jackson back and at 100 percent.  Johnson looks the part on the outside.  He has the speed that last year’s starters outside lacked.

The big issue in the backfield is the potential suspension of Haden.  If he is suspended the Browns will be burned often by the long pass.

 

The team is going to get better as the season progresses but this is no more than a 5 win team given the schedule, the youth of the roster and the coaching.  As a long time Browns fan, I wish I had better news but I have to be honest with my readers and listeners on NNR.  That is about all we can expect.  Anything better will be a major move in the right direction.

 

NNR at 6PM EDT follows the Moohead show at 5PM on http://mooheadradio.com/2.5/?page_id=21.  If  you cannot hear the show when Moo ends, press the join event button to hear the show and be able to ask questions of Papa or his guests.

 

 

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Be part of the show by calling our SportSims.com hotline at 216-539-0607.

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 edits http://fryingpansports.com and was a senior writer for .  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.

He edits .  

 

 

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Who SHOULD the Browns draft?

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Browns

The first round of the Draft is Thursday so it is time for my “fearless” predictions of what the Browns won’t do in the draft.

Round 1: No. 7 overall There has been some talk about the Browns trading with the 49ers for their 13th & 17th picks. The value of this pick is 1500. The 13+17 equal 2100. To do the deal the Browns would have to give their 2nd pick (#38 520) and their last pick in the 3rd (#92 132). They would likely get an early 5th round back as part of the deal. In short, I doubt this deal gets made.

Another rumor is that they would trade up to 5 and give the Chiefs 7 and #72 in the third round. I don’t like this deal because I don’t see that much difference between Berry and Thomas. I would take Thomas and save the 3rd round choice.

S Earl Thomas Texas The Browns need a FS badly. It is looking like KC will take Berry or Thomas at 5 and if they pass on him the Seahawks might grab one or the other at 6. If Berry is there, they would take him. However on many draft boards, Thomas has moved over Berry. I prefer Berry as a player by the thinnest of margins due to his greater experience. But Thomas at FS is a better fit for the Browns and has a higher up side. He has better cover skills, is a more consistent tackler and can be as good a center fielder. They will not pick him but they should.

Round 2: No. 38 overall DT/3-4 DE Brian Price UCLA There is a better than average chance that Rogers will be the guest of the Federal Government in 2010. The team needs another NT badly. Price is 4th on my DT list but is not quite big enough yet to be a NT but he will grow into it. He is young and athletic enough to play DE in the 3-4 as well. He is a trouble maker for the O with a great motor and quickness to get into the backfield. He forces fumbles and interceptions. Watch him vs USC.

Backup plan: Cam Thomas DT North Carolina Thomas has the size and the athleticism. I question his motor but that is not unusual for big men. He can rush the passer and is a rock in the middle of the line against the run.

Backup plan: DT Lamarr Houston Texas He is rising as more people watch tape. He can be disruptive but is not as consistent as Price. If you can get into his head he has everything to become a very good pro.

Backup plan: NT Terrence Cody Alabama Cody is the last resort because he looks disinterested despite his physical abilities. I am concerned about Cody’s dedication to football but if anyone can handle him it is DC Ryan. There is a real risk of him eating his way out of the league.

Round 3: No. 71 overall QB Dan LeFevour Central Michigan The team needs a QB that can throw the ball through the winds of Cleveland in December and hopefully someday in January. Almost every mock has them taking McCoy in the 2nd round. I believe NT is a much more pressing need than QB. Lefevour has above average arm strength and size. They might be able to wait to pick 85 to take him but to be sure they need to take him here.

Backup plan: QB Tony Pike Cincinnati I like Pike almost as much as LeFevour but Pike is a little less constant.

Backup plan: ILB Navorro Bowman Penn State Bowman is rising fast. He is a solid run stopper in the mold of Dan Connor from PS now with the Panthers.

Round 3: No. 85 overall CHANGE: WR Carlton Mitchell South Florida This is a tough pick because it is just below the end of the second level of players. If they could trade this pick for a 2nd next year that would be a good move. However, if not Mitchell has deep speed and can stretch the field. He has great instincts and has fallen a little in 09 because he lost his Senior QB at USF to injury.  He needs work on running patterns but which WR doesn’t.

Backup plan: TE Anthony McCoy USC McCoy is the best available here that also fits a need. McCoy is a good receiver and willing blocker. He is one of the top combo TEs in the draft.

Round 3: No. 92 overall LB Jason Worilds Virginia Tech Worilds is a DE that will transition to OB in the 3-4. He has the speed to attack the QB and enough quicks to cover when needed. He is solid against the run and has the instincts to attack it. He could play IB or OB.

Backup plan: Javier Arenas CB Alabama Arenas is rising again. Originally he was the guy and Jackson was the “other” corner for the Tide. But his speed in the 40 drove his draft potential down. He got a lot of action because Bama was ahead so often and has good instincts. His 4.6 40 has pushed him into the 3rd round.

Round 5: No. 134 overall SS Larry Asante Nebraska Asante is a solid player against both the run and the pass. If the Browns pick FS Thomas, Asante could be the perfect compliment at SS. He is a great special teams player with the kind of up side that suggests that he could step in to start in 2011. The team has only 1 S on the roster with any experience.

Backup plan: Riley Cooper WR Florida Coop is not fast but gets open and catches everything.

Backup plan: Greg Hardy DE Mississippi He led the SEC in sacks in 08 and is big enough and quick enough to play DE in the 3-4. He needs to work on lower body strength and use his hands better. He has a history of injury which is why he may be available in the 5th.

Round 5: No. 146 overall OT Ed Wang Virginia Tech Wang his a value here but should still be on the board. He is a RT that can drive block with the best of them but is needs to improve his technique on pass protection. He has good awareness and the ability to get to the second level blocking. He can play G as well as RT. He is a natural knee bender with real pop at the point of attack.

Backup plan: Eric Olsen C/G Notre Dame Olsen is a perfect backup interior lineman. He is technically sound with the feet to pull from either G or C and block on the edge. He is also a knee bender and uses leverage effectively.

Round 5: No. 160 overall WR Armanti Edwards Appalachian State The former AS quarterback is the guy that let the upset Michigan in 07 as a Soph. He understands routes and runs a 4.41 40. He is an outstanding smart athlete and the team can use all of those they can get.

Backup plan: Andrew Quarless TE Penn State He has decent speed and great upside. If the team hasn’t gotten a TE he would be a great value here.

Backup plan: ILB Phillip Dillard Nebraska Phillips is one of the top IB prospects but is lower ranked due to a history of injury. He is a downhill player with good instincts and had 11 tackles for loss in a tough Nebraska D.

Round 6: No. 177 overall LB O’Brien Schofield Wisconsin Schofield probably won’t be able to play in 2010 due to a knee injury in the Senior Bowl practices but he has outstanding instincts and a non-stop motor. He is quick enough to blitz and is a knee bender. He could become an all pro in the future. At the EW Shrine game he was outstanding at OB after just a couple of practices at the position. If he was healthy he would have been a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.

Backup plan: OB Arthur Moats James Madison Moats is another transition with a great motor but very green. At this point, teams are looking for a player with one above average skill. Moats’ skill is the ability to rush the passer but he is a year or 2 away.

Backup plan: A.J. Edds OB Iowa or OB Kavell Conner Clemson Both of these guys
are run stuffers with enough speed to rush the QB.

Round 6: No. 186 overall OB Keenan Clayton Oklahoma Clayton is listed by almost every expert as undraftable. But when you watch him play he is outstanding. He can cover the TE down the field with quick hands to knock the ball away but then stuff the run after taking out the blockers. He has great instincts. Take a look at the OU Texas game and you will see what I do.

Priority Undrafted Rookies:

Jacob Hickman C Nebraska He is not a great athlete but at C he doesn’t have to be. He is a very hard worker with above average technique and a mean streak. He gets to the LB and runs hard to get blocks down field on runs.

Brandon Minor RB Michigan He is a tough guy that can move the pile up the gut. He has outstanding vision and balance even when hit.

Cordarrow Thompson DT Virginia Tech He is athletic with a good motor. He is not as instinctive but gets through double teams to put pressure on the QB and collapse the pocket.

Jevan Snead QB Mississippi I am not sure he will be undrafted but if he is he deserves a look. He had a very bad 09 but coming into that year he was considered one of the top 3 QBs. He had an outstanding 08 and is much better than he showed in 09.

Doug Worthington DT Ohio State He is a rotational player that can make some plays in both the pass and the run. He can play DE in the 3-4 as well. I believe in football or basketball, you never have enough good big guys. If the coaching staff can keep him focused and his motor going, he can help a team.

Donovan Waren CB Michigan He is able to cover man to man effectively. He has decent speed and fluid hips. He handles multiple moves effectively without losing contact with the receiver. He has quick hands and is effective at knocking the ball away. He plays his best in big games.

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 afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Mock draft,nfl team needs,Browns,Berry,Tennessee,Thomas,Texas,Price,UCLA,North Carolina,Houston,Cody,Alabama,LeFevour,Central Michigan,Mitchell,South Florida,USF,Worilds,Virginia Tech,Arenas,Asante,Nebraska,Cooper,Florida,Hardy,Mississippi,Wang,Olsen,Notre Dame,Edwards,Appalachian State,Quarless,Penn State,Dillard,Schofield,Wisconsin,Moats,James Madison,Conner,Clemson,Edds,Iowa,Clayton,Oklahoma
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  • Author:
  • Published: Feb 6th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Saints have their work cut out for them.

The Super Bowl preview from the Coach's box. The Saints have their work cut out for them.

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s

Overall

This is the game everyone except the fans of the other teams in the playoffs wanted to see–The top team in the AFC vs. the top team in the NFC. The game matches 2 of the top QBs and offenses in the last several years. But that is not going to determine the game. The key to the final score is most likely to be which defense makes the big plays.

Offense

The Saints’ O ranks 4th in passing and 6th in rushing. They are 1st in total yards and total points. While the passing game of Brees is the mainstay of the O, the running game will be just as critical in the Super Bowl. The Saints O balance should help them move the chains and keep the Colts’ O off the field.

While RB Thomas is the workhorse, RB Bush is the wild card. The 2 problems with Bush are inconsistency and fumbling. While he dominates some games, he disappears in others. Then there is the fumbling. In the post season he was as likely to generate a big play for the opponents by dropping the ball as he was for the Saints. He can not do that against the Colts if the Saints are going to win the game. The Vikes converted turnovers into field goals. The Colts will score TDs from Saint errors.

The O line has been banged up but has played well. They lost their outstanding LT Brown who is on IR early in the season. But the unknown third year T Jermon Bushrod stepped in and has done an amazing job. He had never started a game prior to this season and had been active only 3 times in his previous 2 years on the roster. The Colts D will try to put pressure on Brees by attacking the left side of the Saints line.

Defense

As much as the media has focuses on the offenses of both teams, game is more likely to be determined on the D side of the ball. The Saint D has been pushed around a lot this year. It is ranked 26 against the pass and 21st against the run. But it has come up with key turnovers all year. The team ranks 2nd in in the NFC in interceptions with 26 and 1st in TDs from those picks. They rank 10th in the NFC in recovered fumbles. A couple of turnovers would be very helpful in the Super Bowl.

The Saints have suffered some key injuries on the D line including former All Pro DE Grant and vet NT Clancy. Grant’s replacement McCray, DT Ellis and DE Smith are going to have to be able to put pressure on Manning so that the team doesn’t have to blitz as often. Manning picks blitzing teams apart. Smith is an outstanding pass rusher.

The loss of a NT for a 4-3 is not as critical as it is for a 3-4 but the Saints are down to their 3 string DT Ayodele. The 26 year old DT was picked up last year after he was cut by the Cowboys for the second time. He has filled in well but doesn’t collapse the pocket like Clancy can.

The second level has suffered injuries as well. LB Simoneau had been the starter for 2 years but was not able to even start the 09 season. OB Fujita has been in and out of the lineup with injuries but seems to be OK. OB Shanle AND Fujita are good against the run and can cover but are not strong at blitzing the QB.

The last line of defense will be tested often Sunday. The key to the DB crew is S Sharper. He is a vet and is the leader of the group. He needs to make some big plays to give the Saints a chance. CBs Greer and Porter and 5th DB Gay are going to have to be disciplined in their coverage. A broken zone against most NFL teams is a problem. Against Manning, it is a crisis. It will result in TDs more often than not.

The Bottom Line: The Saints are solid. They are the most balanced team in the NFC outside of perhaps the Vikes. The D is a concern but the Colts’ D is not any better.

The Saint offensive game plan should be to take advantage of the rookie corner of the Colts and run the ball to move the sticks so they can keep Manning and Co. off the field. They must be able to run the ball to win. They should also use RB Bush to challenge the LBs ability to cover the pass.

Their D game plan should be to change up their rush and pass coverages often and challenge the O line. They need to get good hits on the receivers early. The Colt receivers are young and may get SB jitters.

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,Super Bowl,Saints,Colts,Brees,Manning,Super Bowl game plan
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What to look for in the NFC Championship game.

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Vikings @ Saints

Vikes

QB Farve has brought the passing game that has been missing from the team for years. Prior to this season, the team had the D, the O line, and the running game of an NFL Champion. The one thing they didn’t have was a championship quality passing game. Farve has not only provided the passing, he has helped the receivers develop. WR Rice has gone from “great potential” to one of the best receivers in the league in 1 year. In 08 Rice caught 15 balls. In 09 he caught 83 with a 15.8 yard average for 8 TDs. The rookie that the Vikes drafted Harvin who didn’t have an NFL position. Not only did he become a WR, he caught 80 balls for a 13.2 average and 6 TDs. That didn’t happen by accident. Farve didn’t help them develop out of a desire to be a good team leader. He did it to win a championship. The Vikes have a key injury on O. WR Harvin is questionable for the game. I think he will play.

The problem was that as the passing game developed, the running game withered. RB Peterson is one of the most skilled backs in the league. After his season of 1760 yards, a 4.8 yard average and 10 TDs, he fell to 1383 yards, a 4.4 yard average and has not had a 100+ yard game in the last half of the season. So what is the problem? There are actually a couple of problems. First, there is not nearly enough push by the O line up the gut. The guards are not able to slide off double teams and get to the second level. The line is too often pushed back into the backfield allowing the backs to be hit before they get to the line of scrimmage. The second problem is leakage around the edge. The TEs are receivers more than blockers. In the Dallas game the OLB got to the runner off the edge by pushing past the TE. Those problems are not the kind of thing you can solve in a week.

The D has been solid all year ranking 6th in yards and 10th in scoring D. After holding the Bengals to 10 points in week 14, the D had a pair of bad games allowing 26 and 36 in consecutive weeks in losses to the Panthers and Bears. But they turned it on again and have allowed just 10 total points to the Giants in week 17 and to the Cowboys last week in the Divisional round. The Cowboys were one of the best offenses in the league. The Boys scored just a field goal against the Vikes D. The key to the D is the line. The Williams boys at DT are the best pair in the league. They crush the run and push the O line back into the QB. The DEs Edwards and Allen are as good as any pair in the league. The D has 48 sacks, 23 fumbles forced and 11 picks this year. The D does have injuries as well. Pat Williams and Edwards are both questionable with injuries. The Vikes need both to slow down a great Saint O. CB Sapp is also questionable.

The key to this game may be if the Vike LB can drop off enough to clog the seams and prevent the quick seam pass. The Saints live off of quick passes to the short seam and run after the catch. No catch no RAC.

Saints

The Saints have the top O in the league. They are 1st in yards and points, 4th in passing yards and 6th in rushing. QB Brees is as good a QB as there is in the league. He is under the radar because this is the first time in a while that the team has made it this far. The Saints have 3 WRs, a TE and a RB that each have more than 40 catches. Brees’ favorite receiver is whoever is open. WRs Colston (70 catches) Henderson (51) and Meacham (45) are all dangerous. TE Shockey (48) stretches the D down the middle and RB Bush (47). Bush is perhaps more dangerous as a receiver than a runner. He can take a 1 yard pass out of the backfield and take it to the house. Shockey is questionable as is pro bowl C Goodwin. If Goodwin can’t go it would be a problem for the O. His replacement Leckey struggles to handle big active DTs.

The team has 3 RBs with more than 300 yards. Bush (390, 5.6 average) is Mr. Outside and RB Thomas (793, 5.4) is Mr. Inside. RB Bell (654) can do both. The O line has done a good job blocking the run and the pass. Every lineman can get outside to block the sweep and screen.

The D has been as good as necessary but that is all. They rank 20th in points allowed, 25th in yards, 26th in passing yards and 21st in rushing yards. The D depends on the O to score more points. The loss of DE Grant early in the year hurt the pass rush. DE Smith gets double teamed often. The one weapon the Saints have in the DB is S Sharper. He is a ball magnet and played with Favre in Green Bay. Farve must know where Sharper is. MLB Vilma heads up the second line of defense. If the Vikes can take advantage of a below average Saint D, they can win.

The Bottom line: The Saints are the 3.5 point favorites with an over/under of 52. The Vikes have and outstanding D and an O the equal of the Saints. Despite their D, I think the Saints win but I am not willing to put my money on that. If the game was in Minnesota, I would probably pick the Vikes. I would bet the over as the only pick here.

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,nfl draft,NFL Playoffs,NFC,Championship game,Vikings,Saints,Bengals,Brees,Favre,Colston,Bush,Grant,injury report,odds,over/under
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What to look for in the AFC Conference championship game.

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Tomorrow: The NFC Conference championship game.

Jets @ Colts

Jets

The Jets are the only surprise in the playoffs. They were not even supposed to make the post season but here they are after upsets of the Bengals and Chargers. The O depends on the run WAY too much and that could be the downfall of the Jets. RB Thomas did not practice on Thursday but the absence was not injury related. They can not hope to win without a huge game from him.

The game plan of the Jets will be run the ball and hope to keep the Colts O off the field. The Colts are vulnerable to the run. But the Jets will face 46 guys in the box if they cannot pass for more than 100 yards against the Colts.

QB Sanchez has not been asked to do much passing the ball. In both games the Jets have been ahead. They will get behind against the Colts and it will be up to Sanchez to pass them to catch up. There is a great deal of doubt he can do that. The media has made a lot about rookie Sanchez winning his first 2 playoff games. He has not won them. Rather, he has not lost them for the Jets.

The Jets O line did a very solid job protecting the QB giving up just 1 sack in 2 games. More significant, C Mangold was able to handle the NT of the Chargers letting the Gs get to the second level to block for the run. He should be able to do the same against the 4-3 of the Colts.

The D of the Jets has been outstanding. It continued to stifle the opponents offense ability to pass and run. They have gotten 5 sacks in the two playoff games but have consistently put pressure on the opponent QBs. There is “but” coming however. The team has played 2 offenses that have been down in the last few games. The Bengals couldn’t score more than 24 points in any of their final 5 regular season games. Palmer looked old and was inaccurate and RB Benson was hurt and not nearly at 100%. The Chargers had only 1 good offensive effort against the wounded Titans in their last 5.

The key to the Jets D will be putting heat on QB Manning. They can disregard the run because the Colts are last in that category in the league. They also need to find a way to cover the receivers for an extended period of time. Otherwise Manning will pick the pass D apart.

Colts

For the Colts, its Manning, Manning and Manning. They have not been able to run the ball all year and will not be able to run against the Jets. The passing game should be helped by the return of WR Wayne. He had a full practice Thursday. They will need all their weapons in the passing game to compete. If they could find a way to run just a little, it could make a huge difference in the amount of pass rush the Jets can generate.

The D is hobbled by injury. They are looking for any help they can get particularly in the D backfield. They have signed S Darrick Brown (Saints) and have looked at FA CB Deltha O’Neal (Texans) due to injuries. S Sanders is on IR and S Bethea was limited in practice due to injuries. Reserve CB Powers will likely not play due to a foot injury. Bethea is critical because with the loss of Sanders, he is a key run defender.

The bottom line: I don’t think that Sanchez can take advantage of the injuries in the pas D of the Colts. The Colts can score a lot faster than the Jets. I will take the Colts to win but probably under the total points projected by Los Vegas.

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 Playoffs,NFL Football,Playoffs,point spreads,Colts,Jets,Bengals,Chargers,Manning,Sanchez,Thomas,Sanders
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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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