What to look for Sunday in the Wild Card round.

nfl

Ravens @ Pats

Ravens

The Ravens turned their season around about 5 weeks ago. Prior to week 12 they were a pass first run second team. The team was putting too much pressure on QB Flacco asking him to win the game rather than be just part of a balanced O. From game 13 on the Ravs were in their heavy set (2TE) 34% of their snaps. That allowed them to run the ball much more effectively. RBs Rice and McGahee were devastating. In the final game McGahee ran for 167 yards. Rice will be key as a receiver as well as a runner. The Pats LBs have real trouble covering a back and Rice is an outstanding receiver.

The running has helped the passing game. In the last 4 games, Flacco has thrown for 7 TDs with just 1 pick. That is key for the Ravs. They need to be able to keep the Pat D from loading up the box. A couple of play action passes will do that.

The Raven D is not what it has been over the last few years in part because of injuries. They have struggled to cover the inside routes. Their pass … Read more at FryingPanSports

8 & 8 no longer good enough for the Texans

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For the front office and the coaching staff, another 8 win season could well be their last. The pressure is on to get over the average hump and get not only a winning season but a spot in the playoffs. But the team has a lot of questions to answer before that happens.

Offense:

This is the third year of the “Matt Schaub” experiment. So far, Schaub has yet to complete a season. He is one of the talented but fragile QBs in the league. He is going to have to say healthy and improve in 09 to get this team into a playoff position. They are in the AFC South with two of the NFL’s best teams the Colts and the Titans. He must limit the turnovers and increase the TDs for the team to be competitive. His backups are Rex Grossman and Dan Orlovsky. Neither of those two are going to get the team to 9 or 10 wins.

The running game has had resurgence in 08 with rookie RB Steve Slaton. The team knew that Slaton had speed but were amazed with his ability to run inside through microscopic holes. There is quality and experience … Read more at FryingPanSports