Monday, January 12, 2009

Florida Wins Another Title and NFL Playoff Hoopla

From January 8 to January 11 football was at it's peak. First and foremost the Florida Gators won their second BCS title in three years. What Urban Meyer's crew has been able to do is nothing short of extraordinary. With that said here are some general thoughts on the 24-14 victory over Oklahoma.

In a game of that magnitude teams can not waste golden opportunities. Let's look at the Utah Utes win over Alabama. Utah seized every opportunity they had right from the get-go. When deep in Bama's territory, Utah did not turn it over, but rather they scored points. That's why it was 21-0 and that's why Utah would win the game.

Flip ove to the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS National Championship Game. In the first half it happened twice where the Sooner got inside the Gators' 10-yard line and both times Sam Bradford and Co. could not muster any points. The halftime score was 7-7, but anyone could tell you that scored favored the Gators.

With all that said I must give credit where do. No question the Florida defense played one of the greatest games a defense has ever played. Coming into the game the Oklahoma Sooner averaged 54 points per game. In the title game the Sooners scored a mere 14. Kudos to Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and the performance his unit pulled off on the field.

Now onto the NFL playoffs...

This week I did a bit better, but still going 2-2 is nothing to brag about. (Overall 3-4 record)

Cardinals 33-13

The Arizona Cardinals are in the same league as the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints. For much of their existence the franchise has struggled. You have to tip your hat to what is being done. I expected the Carolina Panthers to win a close one, but never did I remotely consider the Cardinals winning by 20. More so than we the viewers can imagine, Arizona is playing with a huge chip on their shoulder. This is a team that is hungry and loves to be doubted week in a week out.

Ravens 13-10

The Ravens' defense was getting beat early on by Tennessee, but somehow the group pulled itself together and clawed its way to victory. Joe Flacco is a smart quarterback who, when needed, can make the big throw. The official missing the delay of game call is unfathomable, but for Titan fans to rest the loss on the is ludacrious. I believe the Ravens' have the best defense and will continue to win every game they win the turnover battle.

Eagles 23-11

Like so many teams in the playoffs, Philly has one heck of a defense, though the single biggest reason Philly moved on was McNabb's uncanning ability to make numerous third down conversions. For a defense, giving up third downs is devastating, but to give up third and that is crippling. Eli Manning was rattled all day and was about as ineffective as I have seen him in a while. In short, I can honestly say the Eagles dominated this game on every side of the ball. New York got beat in a way they are very unfamiliar with. And by the way, never in the history of the NFL has a game ended with the score of 23-11.

Steelers 35-24

The underdog story of the San Diego Chargers came to a screeching halt. In the freezing cold of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Big Ben and Co. jumped all over a SD team that looked out of sorts in the snow. With such an impressive showing the Steelers look like the Super Bowl favorite. The defense is one of the best, the offense is clicking, and the special teams with Santanio Holmes is good for seven points about every other game.

NFC Championship

The Arizona Cardinals are one game from the Super Bowl. That sentence alone is leaving so many people across the US unsure on when this week the apocalypse will be occurring. As great as this run is I think it comes to a close Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Arizona has beaten up two good teams so far, but keep in mind they have not gone against a defense like Philly. Philly's defense will have it's way with QB Kurt Warner. Look for another big, game-changing interception by the Eagle secondary. McNabb will shine in the spotlight and continue to defy the odds.

Eagles 28-20

AFC Championship

Beating a team once in the NFL is difficult. Beating them twice is very difficult. Beating that same team three times is immeasurable. In Pittsburgh, the Steelers will hope to defeat their bitter rivals the Baltimore Ravens for the final time this season. In two meetings this year, Pittsburgh has won by an average of 3.5 points. Look for this one to be a bigger margin. Joe Flacco has been consistent, but not much on the big playmaking chart. Sure a touchdown pass here and there, but not a whole lot else. Big Ben has not been overly glamourous either, but he does have two advantages: the game is in Pittsburgh and he has won a Super Bowl. Big Ben has more experience in games like this. This won will be close...right till the end.

Steelers 23-14

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