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There are two huge battles in the NFC on Sunday, Green Bay at Atlanta and Philadelphia at Chicago.  I’m going to start my week 12 NFL previews by evaluating the Packers-Falcons game – a matchup that I think could go a long way toward determining who has home field advantage in the NFC Playoffs.

At 7-3 the Packers are a tiebreaker behind the also 7-3 Bears in the NFC North.  After starting the season at 3-3 they’ve settled in and won four in a row.  That streak includes an extremely impressive 9-0 shutout of the Jets in New York (New Jersey).  In their last two wins Green Bay has absolutely throttled their opponent, leading to the firing of that opponent’s head coach.

Atlanta Falcons in the Shotgun

Will the Packers pass rush get to Matty Ice?

Atlanta brings a four game winning streak to the Georgia Dome on Sunday as well.  If you look even further down their schedule they’ve won eight of their last nine.  I was not buying the Falcons until I watched them play the Ravens.  During that game they convinced me that they have everything it takes to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

The Packers win if: Their pass rush can bring down Matt Ryan.  This matchup is strength versus strength.  The Packers are fourth in the NFL with 29 sacks while the Falcons are tied for fifth in the NFL having allowed only 15 sacks.  Clay Matthews is going to have to introduce himself to Ryan early.

The Falcons win if: They contain the Packers passing game.  Atlanta’s secondary is less than stellar and they are currently ranked 24th in the NFL against the pass.  Aaron Rodgers has thrown seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games.  The Falcons have to keep the Green Bay receivers out of the end zone.

Who do I like: Falcons 31-27

Why: This is a spectacular matchup.  I think both teams will rack up the yardage.  Rodgers will exploit the Falcons secondary but I think the Atlanta defense will hold up a little better in the red zone than the Green Bay defense.  To me the difference is that the Falcons have a much more dangerous running game that they can employ inside the 20.  However, I will say that I don’t think the Falcons can rely on their home field advantage as much as they can against other teams.  With wins at Philadelphia, New York and Minnesota the Packers have proven they can win on the road.

Do you think the Packers can upset the Falcons?  Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Photo source: © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

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With all the byes behind us, all 32 NFL teams are playing in week 11.  It got off to a surprising start, at least to me, with the Bears dominating the Dolphins in Miami.  With a packed slate, the action on Sunday was happening fast and furiously. There were some big matchups and some telling results.

Devin Hester

The Bears are finding more ways to make their opponents worry

With the very important Giants-Eagles game currently being played, here are the Average Guy NFL Week 11 Awards:

Most Impressive Win

Green Bay Packers – 31-3 at the Minnesota Vikings

Most Important Win

Chicago Bears – 16-0 at the Miami Dolphins

Worst Loss

Cincinnati Bengals – 31-49 to the Buffalo Bills

Biggest Surprise

Washington Redskins

Biggest Disappointment

San Francisco 49ers

Offensive MVP

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers – 22 completions 31 attempts 301 yards 4 TDs 141.3 QB rating 3 carries 21 yards

Defensive MVP

Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears – 3 sacks 6 tackles

Special Teams MVP

Bryan McCann, Dallas Cowboys – 97-yard punt return TD, 2 kickoff returns for 55 yards

Most Surprising Performance

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense – held Browns to 88 yards on 27 carries

Most Disappointing Performance

Brandon Marshall, Miami Dolphins – 3 receptions 41 yards (+ penalties and dropped passes)

Offensive Rookie

Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints – 23 carries 99 yards 1 TD

Defensive Rookie

T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns – 2 interceptions, 5 tackles

Most Impressive Performance in a Loss

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks – 32 completions 44 attempts 366 yards 1 TD 104.9 QB rating

Welcome Back Mike Williams

Mike Williams, Seattle Seahawks – 6 receptions 109 yards

Quick Takes

  • I watched the bulk of the Redskins-Titans game.  I was really impressed with the play of the Redskins offensive line, especially because injuries led to a patchwork group.  They did a very good job of protecting Donovan McNabb and opening up holes for the running backs.  Kyle Shanahan clearly put together an excellent offensive game plan.
  • It was a real shame that Vince Young got hurt.  He was throwing a good ball before the injury.  I don’t know what the heck happend after that though.
  • Rusty Smith is not ready for primetime.  Not even close.
  • Of course, a stat that I always like to look at is third down conversions.  Coming into the game in Tennessee, Washington was last in the NFL on third down conversions at 22%.  In today’s win they converted 50% and it made a big difference in the game.
  • On the topic of third down conversions – they were definitely a factor in the Falcons-Rams game.  Atlanta converted nine of 17, while St. Louis was only one of 10.
  • I was glad to hear some NFL pundits considering a pick of the Rams.  It shows the progress the franchise has made this season.  But the Falcons are just too good to lose that game.
  • The Steelers showed that they truly do have one of the best defenses in the NFL, holding the recently explosive Raiders to just 182 total yards.
  • I was definitely impressed by the Bears and Bucs this week who showed that they are for real by posting shutouts on somebody else’s turf.
  • The Chiefs, Jaguars and Redskins all sent a message not to count them out yet.
  • Shovel the dirt on the Bengals and Vikings.  They are done.

One BIG Question

Can the Dolphins and Titans climb back into the playoff race?  Or are they done now too?

Let me know your week 11 thoughts by posting a comment below.

Photo source: Monica’s Dad

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The NFL is a quarterback-driven league.  Most often, the teams with the best quarterbacks are the teams that have the best records.  This is especially true in today’s pass happy NFL.  In the past couple of decades it has been a very rare occasion that a team without a star quarterback has won the Super Bowl.

Lombardi Trophies

You need a great QB to win one of these

So at the halfway point of the 2010 NFL season what teams have gotten the most out of the quarterback position?

  1. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning
    Without much run support and with an average offensive line at best, Manning has led the Colts to a 5-2 record while throwing 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions.  He’s also made the most of an injury-plagued receiving corps.  Even though he may have lost a tick he’s still the elite quarterback in the NFL.
  2. San Diego Chargers – Philip Rivers
    Although he’s not one of my favorites, Rivers deserves his props.  While his team has struggled to a 3-5 start he’s been steady, leading the NFL with an average of 331 yards passing per game.  Like Manning, he’s had to deal with a receiving corps that’s been decimated by injury.  Still, he’s put up the third best quarterback rating (98.9) in the NFL through the first eight weeks.
  3. Denver Broncos – Kyle Orton
    Orton’s been nothing less than spectacular for the Broncos.  He’s second to Rivers in averaging 314 yards per game.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns with only five interceptions against defenses that have not had to respect the Denver running game at all.
  4. New England Patriots – Tom Brady
    Efficiency is the key for Brady.  He’s completed 65% of his passes.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions.  But, he’s averaging only 229 yards passing per game.  Maybe most importantly though he’s led New England to the best record in the NFL.
  5. New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees
    He’s thrown a frightening 11 interceptions but Brees has also completed 71% of his passes and has thrown a league leading 16 touchdowns while trying to make up for the loss of the Saints top two running backs.
  6. Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan
    Ryan’s quiet consistency has been a key to Atlanta’s 5-2 start.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 62% of his passes for an average of 245 yards per game.
  7. Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb
    Combined Vick and Kolb have thrown for 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions.  They’ve completed nearly 63% of their passes.  Two of the Eagles three losses have come when one of the quarterbacks were knocked out of the game.  With two quarterbacks with such differing skill sets as Vick and Kolb it is hard to adjust the game plan on the fly if one has to substitute for the other.
  8. Tennessee Titans – Vince Young and Kerry Collins
    The Titans have not exactly been racking up the yards through the air.  They rank 24th in the NFL at 187.6 yards passing per game.  But Young and Collins have combined for 14 touchdowns and five interceptions while helping Tennessee start the season at 5-3.
  9. Houston Texans – Matt Schaub
    Schaub has been steady but not spectacular and has not matched up to his 2009 season.  He’s completing 63% of his passes but only has 10 touchdowns compared to six interceptions.
  10. Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco
    Playing against top competition gets Flacco the benefit of the doubt.  His numbers are just okay – 59% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, six interceptions and 236 yards passing per game.
  11. New York Giants – Eli Manning
    His 11 interceptions send off sirens, but in fairness to Manning many of them went through his receivers hands or were tipped.  Otherwise, he’s completing an excellent 66% of his passes while throwing 14 touchdowns and averaging 255 yards per game.
  12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson
    Freeman has a very impressive six 4th quarter comebacks in just 16 starts, including two in a row.  He’s only thrown three interceptions to eight touchdowns while leading the Bucs to a 5-2 record.
  13. Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Cassel
    He hasn’t lost games for the Chiefs but he really hasn’t won games for them either.  He does have a respectable 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.  He’s only completing 59% of his passes though while throwing for 171 yards per game.
  14. Detroit Lions – Shaun Hill, Matthew Stafford and Drew Stanton
    The trio has combined for 14 touchdowns and an average of more than 250 yards per game.  To the negative they’ve thrown nine interceptions.
  15. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
    It’s hard to believe that Rodgers could be this low but he’s thrown nine interceptions to only 12 touchdowns while completing 61% of his passes for an average of 251 yards per game.
  16. Cincinnati Bengals – Carson Palmer
    He was pretty atrocious early on but Palmer has rallied some through the middle of the season.  He has 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon
    Roethlisberger’s four game suspension necessitated the starts for Batch and Dixon.  Roethlisberger has played quite well but their production at the position in the first four games was putrid.
  18. Jacksonville Jaguars – David Garrard, Todd Bouman, Trent Edwards and Luke McCown
    This foursome has thrown 15 touchdowns while completing nearly 64% of their passes.  The key contributor of course has been Garrard who has completed 68% of his passes for 13 touchdowns.  But his interceptions are high (7) and his yards per game are low (157).
  19. Miami Dolphins – Chad Henne
    As he continues to find his rhythm with Brandon Marshall, Henne is developing into a solid NFL quarterback.  He’s completed 63% of his passes for an average of 238 yards per game.  Interceptions have been his achilles heel.  He has seven, compared to eight touchdowns.
  20. New York Jets – Mark Sanchez
    He’s a polarizing figure among NFL talking heads and Sanchez has probably seen more ups and downs than any other quarterback in the league.  His nine touchdowns to four interceptions ratio is good but he’s only completed 53% of his throws for an average of 194 yards per game.
  21. St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford
    As I’ve written before, one thing is for sure, when he actually has some weapons Bradford is going to be nasty.  The fact that he’s led the Rams to four wins in eight games counts for a lot.  He’s already thrown 11 touchdowns.  His eight interceptions are not good nor is his 59% completion percentage.  However, much of that can be put on that receiving corps.
  22. Buffalo Bills – Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards
    There’s a lot to like about Fitzpatrick.  He’s thrown 12 touchdowns to just five interceptions.  He’s completed 60% of his passes for 240 yards per game.  But the outings of Edwards have to count here and so does the Bills 0-7 record.
  23. Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo and Jon Kitna
    Maybe this isn’t fair to Romo.  After all he did complete nearly 70% of his passes, threw 11 touchdowns and had numerous drops by receivers.  But Romo also threw some critical interceptions, Kitna has been less than mediocre and the Cowboys are 1-6.
  24. Oakland Raiders – Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski
    Campbell and Gradkowski have combined to throw 10 touchdowns and average 197.5 passing yards per game.  Their interceptions are high (8) and their completion percentage is low (54.8) but they have led the Raiders to four wins.
  25. Washington Redskins – Donovan McNabb
    It pains me to put McNabb this low but the stats are the stats.  He’s only completing 57% of his passes and has thrown eight interception to seven touchdowns.
  26. San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith, Troy Smith and David Carr
    Across the pond the 49ers got a good performance from Troy Smith.  Alex Smith has been mediocre at best, completing 59% of his throws for nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.  Carr was predictably awful in a short relief stint.
  27. Seattle Seahawks – Matt Hasselbeck
    The Seahawks are 4-3 but Hasselbeck has played predominantly poorly.  He’s completed only 57% of his passes.  He also has seven interceptions to just six touchdowns.
  28. Minnesota Vikings – Brett Favre and Tavaris Jackson
    It’s hard to believe Favre is the same guy who threw 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season.  He’s already thrown 11 interceptions through seven games with only seven touchdowns.
  29. Cleveland Browns – Colt McCoy, Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme
    I’ve been saying this for years – Delhomme is just plain awful.  Wallace has been decent and McCoy has been okay in managing games.
  30. Chicago Bears – Jay Cutler and Todd Collins
    Collins set quarterback play back centuries in just one game.  Cutler has been brutalized but is completing 61% of his passes and averaging 247 yards through the air per game.  He’s evened up at seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
  31. Arizona Cardinals – Derek Anderson and Max Hall
    These two have been atrocious.  They’ve combined to complete less than 53% of their passes and have thrown 12 interceptions with five touchdowns.
  32. Carolina Panthers – Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen
    After the past few years Panthers fans are used to poor performances at quarterback.  This season they are at an all time low though.  Moore and Clausen have thrown a league-worst 13 interceptions and have completed 52.2% of their passes, also worst in the NFL. 

What do you think of my list?  Who would you rank higher and who would you rank lower?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo source: daveynin

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NFL week eight has its share of good matchups.  I’m going to preview the three games I think are most important, but I also think it’s worth paying attention to these three in addition:

  • 4-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 3-3 Arizona Cardinals – I think the East Coast travelling to West Coast rules will apply here and the Cardinals will get the victory.
  • 4-2 Seattle Seahawks at 3-4 Oakland Raiders – It’s strength versus strength as Oakland’s 3rd ranked rushing offense faces off against Seattle’s 2nd ranked rushing defense.  I like the Seahawks because I think their defense will hold the Raiders to below 20 points.
  • 2-4 Minnesota Vikings at 5-1 New England Patriots – This game will get the most attention this week.  There’s a number of storylines, not the least of which is the return of Randy Moss to New England.  I think he could present trouble for the Patriots secondary but I’m still picking them to get the W.

Now, on to the third most important game of NFL week eight.

3.  Green Bay Packers at New York Jets
Sunday, 1:00 pm

Mark Sanchez

Will Sanchez and the Jets Knock Back the Packers?

No team has been hit harder by injuries than Green Bay.  They’ve lost two major pieces of their offense while also dealing with numerous injuries on the other side of the ball that have caused key defenders to miss games.  Despite all of that they are 4-3 and are coming off an important win over Minnesota.  At 5-1 the Jets have had an excellent season so far and should be mostly healthy and well rested after having their bye last weekend.  Right now I’d rank them as the top team in the NFL.  And this week Darrelle Revis has pronounced himself 100% healthy.

The Packers win if:  Their defense can slow the Jets running game.  Green Bay has struggled against the run and currently ranks 23rd in the NFL.  New York has excelled in the running game, ranking 2nd in the NFL.

The Jets win if:  They can get to Aaron Rodgers early.  The Packers have done a better job in pass protection this season.  The Jets pass rush has not been as explosive as last year but this could be their breakout game.  Rodgers will be Green Bay’s entire offense so him staying upright is critical.

Who do I like:  New York Jets 27-13

Why?:  The Packers were my preseason NFC Super Bowl pick but their injuries are just too much to overcome to beat the Jets coming off a bye week in New York.

Am I selling the Packers short?  Will the Jets easily handle Green Bay?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Photo source: Seamus Murray

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Time to tackle the division that seems to be more up in the air than any other.  We all know why the uncertainty exists, two words – Brett Favre.  The NFC North could go a number of different ways.  Here’s how I think it will go.

Division Winner

Green Bay Packers

This is a little bit of a surprise.  I think that even if Favre does play this year Green Bay will win the division.  There’s a lot to like about the Packers – the continued development of Aaron Rodgers, the potential for improvement on the offensive line, a defense that was first in the NFL against the run and another year of experience and increase in maturity in some key defensive players. 

MVP

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers was brilliant last season, posting a 103.2 quarterback rating with a 64.7% completion percentage, 4,434 yards, 30 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.  The one area Rodgers could improve in is dumping the ball off to running backs more and not continuing to hold it to wait for a receiver to come open down field.  That and improved offensive line play should lead to Rodgers taking far fewer than the 50 sacks he took in 2009.

Most Important Player

Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings

The difference between Favre playing and not playing is the difference between the Vikings making a push for a division title and maybe even an NFL championship and a season where they are fighting to make the playoffs.  I think Favre will play, but I don’t think he’ll end up playing all 16 games.  I think he’ll definitely miss the first game against New Orleans.  Based on the condition of his ankle some are speculating that he may not play until after the bye in week four.  If the ankle is going to be an issue, the Vikings would be smart to preserve him for the playoffs even if it means they lose the division as a result.  I think that will be the case.

Offensive Player of the Year

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

With the Vikings losing Chester Taylor to the intra-division rival Bears more of the backfield burden will fall on Peterson.  I think he’ll be up to the task and more.  Peterson’s ability to run the ball and accelerate through a hole with speed and strength may be second to none in the NFL.  I think that he will also take better care of the ball in 2010 after working on it in the off season.

Defensive Player of the Year

Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers

Matthews made a big impact in his rookie year racking up 10 sacks.  He’ll be even better in his second year as he discovers how to do more than just rush the passer.  I’ll give this to him by a very small margin over Jared Allen.

Top Newcomer

Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago Bears

To me this is a battle between two new teammates, Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor.  Ultimately I think Peppers will make a bigger difference than Taylor.  If Peppers is motivated he can be an absolute beast and terrorize quarterbacks.  He can also open up opportunities for his teammates to make big plays.  I think he’ll play with much more passion in his new surroundings.

Top Rookie

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions

There is no doubt Suh was the most dominant player available in the NFL Draft.  He’ll be the anchor of the Lions defense for years to come.  However, his ability to shine in his rookie year may be limited by the lack of talent around him.

Most Improved

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions

Stepping in as a rookie to play starting quarterback in the NFL is one of the hardest things to do in all of professional sports.  As should be expected, Stafford was inconsistent in his first year in the league.  With some additional weapons and a full off season to work on his game I think he’ll take a big step toward his potential in 2010.

Jay Cutler Faces High Expectations in 2010

Most Pressure

Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

Cutler has all the tools to be a top five quarterback in the NFL.  He seems to struggle in making the right decisions.  With new offensive coordinator Mike Martz in Chicago Cutler is likely to either have a spectacular year or go down in a gigantic wreck of flaming ash.  I think he’ll succeed.

Biggest Loss

Larry Foote, LB, Detroit Lions

This was a tough one to choose because the division did not lose much talent.  The most talented players that left the division were replaced by a solid pickup or a budding youngster.  He may not have been spectacular, but the fact is that Foote led the Lions in tackles last year and was the key to the middle of the defense.  The Lions don’t have much to replace Foote with but they probably needed to tear the defense all the way down in order to build it back up.

Let me know your thoughts on the NFC North in the comments section below.  Will Favre play?

Photo source: Monica’s Dad

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While the weather is almost unbearable in January, the good news is that it is really one of the best sports months of the year.  We’ve got bowl games and the “national championship.”  Conference play starts in earnest in college basketball.  The NBA and NHL start to really pick up.  And best of all, the NFL playoffs.  Here’s who I like and why in the wildcard games:

N.Y. Jets @ Cincinnati Bengals

It would be easy to look at this game and be overly influenced by their matchup last weekend.  My suggestion – ignore it.  The game meant nothing to the Bengals.

Keys for the Jets:  On offense they must run, run and run some more.  They need to keep their third down situations to five yards or less.  Mark Sanchez is a rookie QB in hostile territory and he has shown a predilection for making mistakes.  His passing attempts should be kept short with easy reads.  On defense they need to continue their blitzing unpredictability and stop Cedric Benson.

Keys for the Bengals:  Offensively they must stack the line and play smash mouth football.  With only one threat in the passing game, Chad Ochocinco, they have to run the ball effectively to have a chance to win.  On the defensive side of the ball they will have to stop the Jets strong running game.  With the advantage of having quite possibly the best tandem of cornerbacks in the league they can devote eight and even nine guys to the run.

Prediction:  Bengals 13-10.  I think both teams will play very conservatively and hope their defense can win it for them.  Mistakes will be key and I think a Sanchez pick will lead to points and the win for Cincinnati at home.  I also think the Bengals will draw on the wave of emotion from the death of Chris Henry for motivation.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

Another rematch from last week.  I do think we can get more from last week’s Eagles-Cowboys game than the other two rematches.  However, my guess is that Philly was still holding some things back.

Keys for the Eagles:  The Eagles are a big play team and offensively they can be explosive.  They will need their passing game to be in sync, with Donovan McNabb making accurate throws and the receivers catching his bullets.  Defensively they need to mix up their blitzes and coverage schemes to stop both the run and the pass.  If they play too conservatively Tony Romo will be able to pick them apart.

Keys for the Cowboys:  Establish the run.  With Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice the Cowboys have a lot of options in the running game.  They need to wear out the Eagles D with the run and set them up for the pass.  On defense they have to get to the quarterback.  If they can pressure McNabb and not allow him to make the throws he wants to make on long developing plays they will shut the Eagles attack down.

Prediction:  Eagles 24-21.  Something tells me that Andy Reid has a few tricks up his sleeve for this game.  Whether it is Michael Vick or some other ways to attack the Cowboys defense.  I think he was determined not to show his hand last week.  A stronger offensive attack and more creativity on defense will lead to an Eagles win.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

The only game that is not a rematch.  Both teams have serious injury issues.

Keys for the Ravens:  Get Joe Flacco going early.  The Ravens have an excellent running game but in order to win this game they are going to have to rely on Flacco.  They need to set him up early with some easy completions to establish a rhythm and potentially use the pass to set up the rush.  Defensively it needs to be all about getting to the QB.  If they can attack Tom Brady and get some early hits on him he’s likely to stay off balance for most of the game.

Keys for the Patriots:  On offense the Pats need to get the running game going.  They managed Fred Taylor well throughout the course of the season and he appears to be healthy when it matters most.  They need to lean on him and their stable of other running backs to grind out yardage and keep the pressure off the passing game.  Stopping the run will be the key to the Patriots defensive success.  They need Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork to be healthy and to attack the Ravens’ backs with ferocity.

Prediction:  Patriots 31-21.  I do think the Wes Welker injury will hurt the Patriots but not in this round.  At home and with the mad scientist dialing up defenses I like them in this game.

Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals

Rematch #3 and the last game of the weekend should be a very intriguing match up.

Keys for the Packers:  The line play will be critical for the Packers on offense.  The unit was much improved in the second half of the season and needs to continue to be strong in drive blocking for Ryan Grant and pass protecting for Aaron Rodgers.  On defense Green Bay must do as much as they can to slow down the Cardinals receivers physically without being called for pass interference.  Their defensive backs like to maul opposing receivers and they need to be as sly about it as possible.

Keys for the Cardinals:  Offensively, Arizona must be effective early in the passing game.  Kurt Warner has run hot and cold much more frequently as he has gotten older and it will be critical for him to be “on” to get the ball in the end zone.  On the opposite side of the ball the Cardinals must be able to count on their defensive backs to slow down the Green Bay passing attack.  Arizona has given up a lot of yards through the air against the worst schedule in the NFL. 

Prediction:  Packers 30-24.  Arizona has been so up and down all year while the Packers come into this game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning six of their last seven game.  A strong effort on both sides will lead them to the win in this game.

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