Sunday, January 27, 2008

In Review

Greetings, G-Force.

Before the playoffs, I was speaking with a couple of Packers fans and said that I felt '03 confident in this team. I felt that we were the team of destiny. I felt that if we played our best ball and the opposition played their best ball, we'd be the team in the Super Bowl. Much like '03, the Packers fans and organization are saying "what if?"

Last Sunday night was a Football funeral. Lambeau Field was dressed for the occasion. The Red Carpet had been rolled up. It was beautiful. The G-Force was in full effect. The ghosts of Lambeau were in attendance as two kicks were blown wide left. But, ultimately, the '07 Packers team ran out of magic. And therefore, the team of destiny failed in its quest to reach the Super Bowl.

In '03, 4th & 26 failed the Packers. In '07, neither J-Bush nor Brady Poppinga were able to corral a loose football that would have positioned the Packers near midfield with 2 minutes to play. On both occasions, Favre was given the football in OT with a chance to win. Both times, Favre threw a devastating interceptions. Favre, the ultimate of "Spirit Snipers." Normally, he rips the hearts of the opposition, but last Sunday, it was the hearts of the G-Force that got ripped of Super Bowl hope.

I'm not going to elaborate on last Sunday's NFC Championship. I cannot stomach it. But, what I will say is that I felt there were three times during the game that the Packers had a chance to seize the moment during regulation. Each time, we failed. Ruvell Martin's drop was devastating. In fact, if I were the GM, he would never play for my team again. Brandon Jackson's lack of instinct on the screen showed me that we need an upgrade behind Ryan Grant. If Jackson waits for his block, he could have scored a TD...and he definitely would have had the first down. Finally, the Bush debacle. I would have cut J-Bush on Monday morning.

Strangely, as the Packers head into the offseason, we are in a similar position as we were in '03. We have nearly everyone coming back. We had the same in '03. After the '03 defeat, I felt strongly that the Packers would be back in the mix in '04. We were young. We were talented. And the core of the team was going to be leading us into the following season. However, the '03 offseason brought the Mike McKenzie fiasco. Additionally, the draft brought the likes of Ahmad Carroll, Joey Thomas, Donnell Washington, and BJ Sander. While we made the playoffs in '04, it is needless to say that things got worse before they got better.

This offseason is an absolutely vital component to the future of this organization. Our window of Super Bowl opportunity is small and hinges on how long Favre decides to continue playing. Clearly, the Packers must get better. We need improved play at the 3rd CB. We need another LB. We need a TE. We need an upgrade at P. I am not opposed to an upgrade at S. We need depth on the OL. We need a back-up RB. I would bring in another WR as well. We could also use an upgrade at KR/PR as Willie B. cannot be trusted. The guy cannot stay healthy.

I'm interested to see how Greg Jennings and Ryan Grant respond in the offseason. I'd be surprised if both do not ask for raises. I've read that Grant has already done so. And if we do not grant him his wish, how will he respond? He's under contract for 2 more years. Could he pull a Mike McKenzie?

The major difference between '03 and '07 is that I trust Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy. While in Green Bay, prior to the game, I read a terrific quote from Ted Thompson:

"The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is so small. But the emotions that are attached to them - winning and losing - are so different. When you lose, it feels as though something inside of you has died. When you win, you've never felt more alive."

Post the loss, during Mike McCarthy's interview, Larry McCarren asked McCarthy if he'd look at this season as a successful one after the dust has settled...

And McCarthy responded, "I will look at this year as a season of exceptional progress, but we had our eyes on the target. And today, we missed a terrific opportunity to win the NFC Championship at Lambeau Field."

In light of these two statements, I feel that our franchise is in good hands. I trust McCarthy and Thompson. I'm happy that both are going to be locked up for 5 more years.

In closing, to my readers and participants, thanks for following along. I enjoyed myself. I hope that you enjoyed this as much as I did. I will continue to update the blog during the offseason especially when there are things that are "newsworthy." I am enamored with the NFL Draft. Yes, I'm a junkie with it. This blog will carry into the NFL Draft. So, please, check back in the near future. My coveted FA this year is Karlos Dansby. I'm hoping that the Cardinals do not franchise him. As for the draft, at this stage, I am targeting Fred Davis, TE, from USC as my desired 1st rounder. From what I read Talib Aqib has been jumping up draft boards. I'm still looking at Chevis Jackson as a 2nd or 3rd rounder. More to come on this subject...



Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Take - NFC Championship

Greetings, G-Force.

My wife, A-Star, is from West Virginia. She was born in Wheeling, WV. She was raised in Wheeling, WV. She went to school at West Virginia University. Her Mountaineer football blood is thick. After all, her roots are "Almost Heaven." This year - West Virginia was one win away from the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans. They had to win 1 game and they were going to the National Championship. We had rented out a hotel room off of Bourbon Street. We were driving from Miami to New Orleans. We were stopping in Kiln, MS to visit a local tavern and to ask the locals for a tale of #4. Yeah, I was going to be that guy! But, I was also going to be rooting for my wife's college football team in the National Championship game. All that they had to do was win ONE game at HOME. We all know how that one ended.

I've learned my lesson. Hence, I pass my education onto you. In this crazy world of football parity, it's one game at a time.

G-Force, we must be prepared. We take no prisoners. If the defense is on the field, elevate. If you have a voice, lose it. Plan on leaving Lambeau with an inability to speak. The NFL has granted us with the MAIN EVENT - the game under the lights...sleep in on Sunday. Rest up. Sleep off the hang over from Saturday. And be prepared to go to battle on Sunday.

The New York Giants are coming to the most magical of stadiums on Sunday. Lambeau Field. Under the Lights. The winner receives a trip to Arizona and a Super Bowl Berth. The temperature is expected to be around 8 degrees with winds of 10 mph. Let's play some football, mates!

The Giants have won 9 straight road games. Their defense stepped up to the challenge of Romo, TO, Barber, and Texas Stadium. The Giants left victorious. They deserve to be applauded for a terrific defensive performance. For much of the game, it looked like the Cowboys were the more physical team, but with the game on the line in the 4th Quarter, the Giants defense dug deep and came up with big plays to get themselves off the field.

Over the past two weeks, Eli Manning has also shown an ability to string together consecutive passes at crucial moments of a playoff game. Since Jeremy Shockey's injury, he has developed a nice chemistry with Amani Toomer and Steve Smith. Toomer has been a big time play maker on third downs in the playoffs. Smith has also proved to be sure handed and deceptively physical over the last two weeks. Smith has been able to get just enough separation and Manning has been accurate enough to put the ball where only Smith could catch it.

Kevin Boss has also developed into a respectable TE. He uses his body well and shields defenders as he runs short curls and down and outs. He's an effective possession TE and will pose a threat to the Packer defense on short yardage passes.

Plaxico Burress has been somewhat quiet in the post season but he is absolutely dangerous and possesses big play potential. It'll be important for Collins and Ras-A-tari to prevent Burress from getting behind them.

While the Giants have some threats on offense, they have "keep-the-chains-moving" guys. The Giants may attempt to find Burress deep down the field, but other than him, I look at the Giants receivers as possession players. Therefore, my biggest concern heading into this Sunday is the Giants running game. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have turned into their own version of "Thunder and Lightning." Jacobs is a load to bring down and he's surprisingly quick. Bradshaw is a burner who is surprisingly tough to bring down. If the Giants can stuff the ball down our throats on the run, we could be in trouble. We must stop the run. AJ Hawk, Nickie B, and Brady Poppinga must dominate the second tier of the defense and prevent Jacobs and Bradshaw from finding seams in the offensive line. Strong LB play is pivotal towards shutting down the Giants rushing attack. Hawk, Barnett and Poppinga will be challenged from a speed and power perspective this weekend.

The strength of the Giants defense is found in their front 4. Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora make up what is arguably the best pass rushing DE combo in the NFL. Justin Tuck is a solid utility player on the Defensive Line as well. Tuck can rush the passer from both the DE and DT positions. Fred Robbins is an admirable run stopping DT. Hell, Dave Tollefson, the Packers 7th round pick last year, was even found picking up a sack against Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round.

The Giants do a good job of disguising blitzes with their LB's. Kawika Mitchell and Antonio Pierce relish the opportunity to rush the passer. Both have had tremendous post seasons.

I think the Packers will be able to attack the Giants secondary. They are banged up. Their starters - Kevin Dockery and Sam Madison - might not play. Both missed the Giants game. Back-up, 1st round pick, Aaron Ross started last week, but dislocated his shoulder. He claims that he will be able to play this week except the last time I saw him, he was standing on the sidelines with his arm in a sling. Corey Webster has been a ball hawk in the post season. He played very well against Dallas. He also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble against Tampa Bay. RW McQuarters has been victimized by the Packers before and he will be victimized by the Packers again this week. Gibril Wilson is an above average safety who plays well in coverage, but the Giants other two safeties, Michael Johnson and James Butler, struggle in pass situations.

The best way to slow down a good pass rush is a solid run game. Ryan Grant, stay loose. I expect the Packers to come out and attempt to establish the run on the first possession. Probably in the "Falcon formation." Two TE's. Two FB's. Grant running right at Michael Strahan. In games past, Tauscher has performed very well against Strahan. I foresee a similar result from Tauscher this weekend. Grant running right. Cutting back into the teeth of the Giants defense. 6 yards. 14 yards. 3 yards. 11 yards. 8 yards. 2 yards. 7 yards. Banging away at the New York defense.

Grant slows down the pass rush. Welcome to the play-action pass. If Aaron Ross is on the field, his shoulder will be tested. Favre to Driver. Aaron Ross will not be able to arm tackle Donal Driver. Driver will enjoy yards after the catch. Favre to Franks for 6. Favre to K-Rob for a 1st down. Favre to the touchdown maker, Greg Jennings.

I could not recall the last time that the Packers came out of shotgun...Jones lined up wide right. The slot receiver lined up between Jones and Tauscher. The play was designed to drag James Jones across the middle underneath the slot receiver...putting Jones in space. Twice, last week, the Packers ran this play. Twice James Jones had BIG receptions. I do not remember the Packers running this play since the pre-season when Jones showed that he had the potential to make an impact as a rookie WR. In fact, the last time I recall the play was when Jones caught the ball and fumbled it against J'ville in the third pre-season game this year. Nonetheless, McCarthy impressed me by digging deep into the play book on two plays that led to 1st downs on 3rd down.

The Packers take an early lead. The temperature drops from 6 to 5 degrees. Eli no longer wants to get off the heated bench. Eli, it's OH SO COLD. He has not performed well in cold weather. Eli will not beat us. The pressure from the Packer defense intensifies. Kampman and KGB apply pressure. Jenkins, who played his best game of the year last week, continues to provide an inside push. Pickett plugs run holes. Corey Williams gets in Eli's face on 3rd down.

Chuckie lines up against Toomer as Toomer lines up in the slot. Rasta Al stands man-to-man with Plaxico. T-man Williams scratches and claws with Steve Smith on the outside.

The Giants do keep it close for most of the 1st half. They may even take a lead early in the 2nd Quarter. But, this is day for the G-Force. This is a day for the Packers to return to the Super Bowl. This is a day for McCarthy, Thompson, and Favre to stand at the podium and take back the NFC Championship trophy.

Green Bay 34. New York 20.

G-Force, this game is not about who is better. If the Packers and Giants played at Lambeau 10 times, the Packers would win 9 times. This game comes down to 2 things: Heart and Preparation.

Heart: The Packers must win the battle of the elements. The G-Force must also defeat the elements.

Preparation: I saw the Packers on the NFL Network for the first time this year. It was during the first couple of weeks of Training Camp. The NFL Network was televising the Packers scrimmage at Green Bay East High School. During the show, McCarthy could be heard saying that his motto for the 2007 season was defined by 6 P's: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. G-Force, we must do the same. Be prepared to BRING IT!

Lambeau, here I come!

Feelin' Super,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Greetings, G-Force.


Ben Wehner, Pat Rad, Don Butz, Neil Buethe, Richard Evans, Chad Basten, Ryan Meisinger, and anyone else in attendance on Saturday afternoon - please pat yourself on the back. Congratulate yourself. You made a difference.

Brennan in CO, Chad in NM, Sean in WA, Stack in NE, Bob in TN, my friends in MN & IL, you, too, made a difference. You did not lose hope. You believed. Even when we trailed 14-0. While we weren't in attendance, the G-Force does not have state borders. In fact, it's universal.

Dad, thanks for your work yesterday. You were terrific. The Lambeau faithful was off their ass and on their feet. You did your part. Lambeau was rockin'! I talked to Chad after the game. Bob sent me a text message that read, "The tank is full. G-Force is fueled." Chad & I discussed how proud we are to have you as not only our Father, but as our friend. If I would have spoke to Bob, he would have said the same. Cheers, Mac.

Oh, Dad, Pat Rad also sent me a text message yesterday during the game saying: Mac just dropped "under pressure" into "go pack go"...Then...Turnover on downs. Beauty.

Bootsie called me after the game and said, "Mike McKenna kept me on my fuckin' feet all game. He did not let me sit down."

Dad, I enjoyed it when I heard Tom Petty singing "The Waiting is the Hardest Part" as the refs were reviewing the spot as Bubba Franks stretched for a first down.

Lambeau was electric. The sights and sounds were terrific. Ras-A-tari, you were the "Lion of this Kingdom." Thanks for that one, Bob. T-man Williams, a guy that epitomizes the '07 Packers, full of heart, youth, and energy. A man with a never quit attitude is thrown into the role of 3rd CB due to injury. In the second half, he knocks down a pass to help get the Packers defense off the field. If the Packers continue this Super run, Brett Favre's underhand flip could end up as the equivalent to John Elway's dive in the '97 Super Bowl.

If the G-Men can pull of a win today, I'll be at Lambeau next weekend.

Picture Perfect,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Take - Divisional Playoffs

Greetings, G-Force.

Welcome to the best sports weekend of the year. The NFL's 8 best teams prepare for battle on the same weekend. I'm biased, but I argue that this year's Divisional games are the best match-ups in my lifetime. Seattle at Green Bay showcases Holmgren's return to Lambeau. Arch rivals, the Giants and Cowboys meet for the first time in the playoffs. J'ville and their mighty defense travel to NE to take on the undefeated Patriots. And then San Diego - who 2 years ago developed the blue print on how to beat the Colts - visit Indianapolis. To me, this is mighty exciting.

I am stoked to see the Lambeau crowd on TV this weekend. G-Force will be rocking. G-Force will be ready to welcome Holmgren back to the most hallowed theater in all of sports. Holmgren, the man that has a street named after him in Green Bay. Holmgren, the man who brought Titletown back to Green Bay. Holmgren, the man who developed the only 3-time MVP in the history of the NFL. Holmgren, the man who would not deny a departure as he prepared his team for a repeat Super Bowl. Yeah, that Holmgren. That man. That guy is coming back to Green Bay.

Offensively, the '07 Seahawks are a generic version of the '07 Packers. Matt Hasselbeck does his best impersonation of Brett Favre. Ryan Grant reminds me of the Shaun Alexander of 2001-2003. The Seahawks WR's are dangerous, but they are not the weapons that the Packers possess. Finally, Donald Lee is playing at the level that Marcus Pollard did in 2002-2003.

The Seahawks defense provides a significant test to the Packers offense. Patrick Kerney and Darryl Tapp bring motors with an endless supply of fuel. Both thrive on rushing the QB. Before last year's NFL Draft, I talked about wanting the Packers to consider Brandon Mebane out of California. I suggested that the Packers should draft him in the 2nd round. The Seahawks drafted him in the third round and today, he's a starter on the Seahawks D-Line. Rocky Bernard has developed into a solid run stopping DT.

At LB, Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupa, and Julian Peterson have developed into one of the best Linebacker groups in the NFL. Leroy Hill is a tremendous football player. He's fast. He's powerful. He finds the football and he's grabbing ball as he's making the tackle. This year - he forced 3 fumbles. Tatupa is a Pro Bowler who has developed into a game changing LB. Julian Peterson is one of the most versatile defenders in all of football. I am enamored with his game. The Packers must spread the Seahawks out and keep their LB's off the field.

However, I feel that the Seahawks DB's are as overrated as any in the NFL. I've always been a fan of Marcus Trufant, but I've also believed that you could set him up. Early in the game, you've got to force Trufant to creep towards the line of scrimmage. I want to see Trufant in bump-and-run coverage. The Packers must attack him early with 3-step drop passes. With that being said, Trufant did have 7 interceptions this year. I also think that you can attack Kelly Jennings. In fact, I hope the Packers turn Jennings into their whipping post. He's undersized. He'll grab you. And he'll miss tackles. Jordan Babineaux makes plays normally puts himself in position to make the play. Deon Grant does the same. But, the Seahawks lack depth in the defensive backfield. If we spread them out, they cannot cover us. Josh Wilson and Brian Russell cannot compete with the Packers WR's.

Once again, on the first possession of the game, I'd come out with 4 WR's to force the Seahawks to play with only 1 or 2 LB's. Grant as the single back. Favre under center. Grant on the draw. Right at the interior of the Seahawks defense. I'd challenge Mebane and Bernard with my guards and I'd try to get Wells on top of Tatupa at the 2nd line of defense. If the Packers can establish the run on our first possession, it could force the Seahawks to put more LB's on the field. We can force mismatches.

The Packers pick away with Grant. 4, 5, 7 yards at a crack. The Seahawks have no choice but to put more beef on defensive side of the field. But, at that point, Favre goes to work. He finds a well rested Donald Driver for 11 yards. Jennings on the skinny post for 8. Jones on the curl in front of Trufant for 6. The quick hitter to Koren for 7 yards. Poking away at the Seahawks defense, the Packers find the end zone.

Holmgren, the ultimate game planner, responds. In my mind, Holmgren is the best coach I've ever witnessed when it comes to taking advantage of a defense's weakness. If Poppinga is on the field, Holmgren will put him in space. Otherwise, Holmgren will attack Ras-A-tari via the pass. Holmgren will come after T-man, Willie B., J-Bush, Frank Walker - whoever it is playing the third CB position - he will be tested! Early and often. Hasselbeck will be instructed to repeatedly go after the Packers 3rd CB.

Deion Branch is banged up, but will play. I would not be surprised if our 3rd CB is covering him. I would put Chuckie on either Burleson or Engram, whoever is in the slot. For the most part, D.J. Hackett will be playing on the outside. He could be matched up with Rasta Al. Frankly, of the playmakers on the Seahawks offense, Hackett scares me the most.

We'll see the Seahawks come out in 3 and 4 WR sets. We'll see a limited amount of Shaun Alexander. Thankfully, I don't foresee Seattle's offensive front pushing the injured D-Line of the Packers around. They may try to run the ball early, but I think that our D-Line will have success.

Holmgren turns to the pass. The Packers apply good pressure to Hasselbeck, but he avoids the pressure and slides the ball to Burleson and Engram to keep the chains moving. The Packers defense bends, but it does not break.

The Seahwaks come with immense pressure. Blitzing Favre to attempt to take him out of rhythm. The Packers reply with the screen pass. As of late, the Packers have not been able to successfully run the screen play. This week - it's Grant in the open field and he's picking up big chunks of yardage against the over-pursuing Seattle defense.

Seattle hangs tight in what becomes a feisty battle. But, in the 3rd Quarter, it's Favre opening his bag of tricks. McCarthy gives Favre a drive. It's Favre chance to show that pupil is outperforming teacher. Favre, out of shotgun, works his magic. The flip to Morency picks up a big third down. Favre, dissecting the defense, finds Donald Lee in the back of the end zone for a 10-point lead. And Mac says, "I don't want to work. I just want to bang on the drums all day."

The G-Force elevates. Rises in unison. Gloves pounding together. 24 degrees. You can see the nervousness in Hasselbeck's eyes. A-to-the-K rounds the corner and forces an incompletion. KGB applying pressure as well. The camera flashes towards the ecstatic Lambeau faithful. You can see a cloud of breath floating through the stands. The G-Force is shouting their beliefs. And the Packers defense forces the turnover as Chuckie jumps in front of a pass.

In "Championship Drive" style, the Packers put the "dagger" into the Seahawks as Favre engineers another TD drive. We're going to the NFC Championship, baby!

Green Bay 34. Seattle 23.

Bring it, G-Force. Bring it! We've had two weeks to prepare. We enjoyed our weekend. Harness in the good energy. Block out the bad. It's been a very good season thus far, but a win this week makes it a great season.

For the rest of my Divisional Playoff predictions, check back with me as they will be released either Wednesday or Thursday night.

Off Yur Ass and On Yur Feet,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Who Are You Watching Now?

Greetings, G-Force.

Random thoughts sprinkling through the mind of the BuzzBoy as I marinate with Alterra's Organic Kavarna Blend coffee on a Sunday morning during bye week. Sitting on the balcony. 72 degrees. Feeling the breeze coming off the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, this is bye week. Relaxed. Chillin'. Hell, A*, my wife, even offered to cook breakfast this Sunday morning. Truly, I'm on football vacation. Fully prepared to beat up Holmgren next Sunday. Fit with my game plan.

As I canvassed the internet this morning, I noticed that Devin Thomas, Martellus Bennett and Davonne Bess have entered the draft. This excites me. Though we don't need another WR, Thomas fits into our scheme perfectly. Bennett would provide Favre with another target over the middle. Bennett can block. Bennett can catch. Bennett can run after the catch. He runs smooth routes and he's strong in traffic. I watched him with my naked eye against the U at the Orange Bowl. Bess is also a gifted receiver though we don't need him. Regardless, he'll be drafted early by another NFL Franchise.

Tomorrow night is the BCS Championship and I while I don't agree that these are the two best teams in College Football, it'll be exciting to watch a number of players that we'll be watching on Sundays in the future.

LSU is loaded with future NFL stars - I am only going to list Jr's and Sr's:

QB - Matt Flynn #15. He'll be drafted. Probably in the 6th or 7th round. Guy is a winner. He has a knack for making the big play. He's tough. Takes hits and stands in the pocket with confidence.

RB - Jacob Hester #18. Can you say Brian Leonard?

WR - Early Doucet #9. LSU's best weapon on offense.

DE - Tyson Jackson #93. He is a do-it-all DE.

DT - Glenn Dorsey #72. Enough said. Marlon Favorite #99. He improves with every game that I watch him.

LB - Ali Highsmith #7. A stud LB. Gets sideline to sideline. A ball hawk. Fast. Finds the football. Darry Beckwith #48. When he hits you, you fall. He's also slapping your wrist and jarring the ball.

CB - Chevis Jackson #21. I want this guy to be a Packer. He reminds me of Craig Newsome. Not overly fast. Tall. Lean CB. Sure tackler. Good make-up speed. Turns his head and finds the ball. Good at making plays with the ball in the air. I hear that experts say he is a 2-3 round draft pick. I'd snatch him up in the 2nd without thought.
Jonathan Zenon #19. A compliment to Jackson. A bit undersized. He could be a 6-7 round pick. He'll be in camp with someone next year.

S - Craig Steltz #16. Guy will hit you square in the mouth without fear. He is deceptively fast. Can get sideline-to-sideline. Takes good angles. Finds the football in the air as well. He has some John Lynch/Chuck Cecil in him.

Curtis Taylor #27. He needs another year of school. But, he continues to improve and will be discussed as a college playmaker next year.

Ohio State:

WR - Brian Robiskie #80. He needs another year of school as well, but he is a guy that has big play potential and is sure handed as well.

DE - Vernon Gholston #50. An absolute stud!

LB - Larry Grant #6. I hear people talk good things of him. Personally, I've never seen too much from him. He'll stand you up before he drives you to the ground.
James Laurinaitis #33. Clearly, he is the elite player on this Ohio State team. He's following in the tradition of superstar LB's from the Land of the Buckeye.

CB - Malcolm Jenkins #2. I will be watching him more than any other player tomorrow night. From what I've seen, the guy comes up to play the run with a vengeance. But, due to the style of football played in the Big 10, I did not see him challenged as much as I'd like to. Tomorrow night is a test for Jenkins. Thus far, I'm extremely impressed with Jenkins' game. In fact, he could be the type of guy that I'd like the Packers to draft this year in the first round. But, I want to see more of him tomorrow before I officially confirm that statement. He's only a Jr and has not yet declared. But, he's got NFL size and he's an active player on defense. Additionally, it worked out the last time we got a CB from the Big Ten that wore #2.


Talkin' S-Mac.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My Take - Wild Card Week

Greetings, G-Force.

The NFL playoffs are upon us. All year - we KNEW we belonged. All year - the "experts" and opposing NFL fans/teams searched for our weaknesses. They thought we could not run the ball. They thought that they could attack our 3rd corner. They thought we had deficient special teams return skills. They thought that they could be more physical than our D-Line. All season - teams failed.

13-3. And now we sit on the couch for a week. LakeFront Brewery Riverwest Stein in hand. Coupled with a plate of Wisconsin cheese. A good man never forgets his youth. After all, we are all products of our youth and we applicate ourselves to our current environment.

Football. Beer. Cheese. 1st round bye. Does it get better?

I admit that I don't have a great grip on the games this weekend, but I have to give a quick prediction for the games this weekend:

Washington travels to Seattle in a very interesting opening wild card game. Holmgren has been unbeatable at home in the playoffs. The Seahawks fans are wicked loud. Shaun Alexander is finally healthy. Hasselbach has been in a groove. Seattle's defense has been applying more and more pressure on the QB with each passing week. Additionally, their defense has a knack for forcing the big turnover.

However, Joe Gibbs has his team peaking at the right time. Since Todd Collins replaced Jason Campbell, the Redskins have been extremely efficient on offense. Portis continues to run with a vengeance. Santana Moss looks to be finding his stride as well. The Redskins defense has been playing like caged animals all year - hungry to find the football. Angry at the point of attack. And they've also been able to force turnovers at crucial moments.

In the end, 3 out of every 4 games on Wild Card weekend are won by the home team, but this year is different...Washington pounds away at Seattle. Keeps the clock moving and slows down the potent Seattle attack. Seattle should have lost the wild card game last year. This year - they do lose the game.

Washington 23. Seattle 20. The heart of Sean Taylor still beats inside the defense of the Redskins season.

Jacksonville travels to Pittsburgh in the best match-up of the weekend. Two physical teams who try to play similar styles. They'll pound away at each other at the line of scrimmage, but the Steelers are too banged up and cannot slow down the J'ville defensive line.

Jacksonville 27. Pittsburgh 23. Jack Del Rio gets his first playoff win.

The Giants travel to the Bucs. It'll be a defensive battle. It's a tough game to predict. While I believe that the Giants can run the ball better than the Bucs and I feel that Brandon Jacobs will pound away at the Buc defense, I am putting my money on Jon Gruden and Jeff Garcia over Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning.

Tampa Bay 17. New York Giants 16.

San Diego hosts Tennessee. Tennessee is a dangerous opponent. Jeff Fisher is a great coach. Highly underrated. But LT is too much to handle and Vince Young's status is in question. While I think that Kerry Collins is a respectable QB, this battle is a tough mountain to climb. The Lightning Bolts are victorious.

San Diego 34. Tennessee 20.

Rest up, G-Force. Enjoy Wild Card week. Next week, no matter the opponent, it all gets real!

Go Pack Go,

Talkin' S-Mac.

Who Are You Watching Now - Orange Bowl

Greetings, G-Force.

If you're watching the Orange Bowl tonight, be sure to keep your eyes on the following:

Virginia Tech:
DE - Chris Ellis #49
DT - Kory Robertson #75, Barry Booker #59
LB - Xavier Adibi #11, Vince Hall #9 - both will be LEGIT NFL LB's.
CB - Victor Harris #1, Brandon Flowers #18. If Flowers stays in college, next year, he'll be one of the more discussed CB's in College Football.
WR - Eddie Royal #4. I would not be surprised if he was a 3rd or 4th round draft pick this year. A much better player than David Clowney.
RB - Branden Ore #28. I believe that he is only a Junior. Great cut back. Good speed. Good vision.


WR - Marcus Henry #86. He will be a Day 1 pick. A senior. An under appreciated stud at WR. Big. Fast. Gets deep.
WR - Dexton Fields #88.
TE - Derek Fine #85. Big target. Each time that I watched him - he has been productive.
DT - James McClinton #93. He makes plays against big time competition. True NFL prospect.
CB - Aqib Talib #3. Some "experts" feel as though he could be the Packers first round pick. He wears #3. He's got a knack for making the big play. He occasionally gets beat because he tries to jump routes. Sometimes he's shy on attacking ball carriers. I have not seen a bunch of him as teams don't throw his way all that much. I'm really excited to see more of him tonight as I continue to develop my thoughts on this potential star.
CB - Kendrick Harper #24. He tends to get picked on as Talib is a 1st round prospect, but I think Harper is a solid college CB as well. Each game that I've seen - Harper seems to do something that impresses me. A true compliment to Talib as he likes to be physical.

Enjoy the Orange Bowl,

Talkin' S-Mac.