NFL 2010 Playoffs Second Round
by Tony Medley
Last week I was 2 out of 3 if
you donít want to count the Seattle fiasco, which I donít. Who would
have guessed that the Saints were going to defend Seattle with the
Little Sisters of Mary? All Seattle QB Matt Hasselback had to do was get
the ball in the air and it was a touchdown. You wonít see worse safety
and corner play than New Orleans played it. And that 67 yard run by
Marshawn Lynch to clinch it? Motormouth ESPN commentator Joe Theismann
called it the best run heíd ever seen, which shows how little he knows
about football. That run was nothing but horrible tackling by New
If Mike Vick doesnít throw a
horrible pass at the end of the game, Philly beats Green Bay and I pick
them all correctly. Oh well, thatís football.
This week is much easier.
Pittsburgh should beat Baltimore despite all the hype about Baltimore
after they beat a weak Kansas City team. If Ray Rice canít run against
KC, whatís he going to do against the Steelers with the best defense in
football? And if he canít run, forget Baltimore and its aging defense.
Then thereís the game in which
the two weakest teams left square off against each other, Chicago
against Seattle. Weak as Chicago is, and their offensive line is maybe
the worst in football among teams with better than .500 records, Seattle
is no match for it. Seattleís only hope is to pressure Jay Cutler so
much he canít mount an effective passing attack. Defensively, Chicago
plays cover 2 (which New Orleans didnít, at least most of the time that
I could see, although itís difficult to see on TV) the way itís supposed
to be played with the two safeties not letting any receiver get behind
them, so Hasselback wonít be able to get those easy long passing plays
he got against New Orleans.
Iíve only seen Atlanta play once, losing to New Orleans, and
they certainly didnít impress me. They will be playing at home against
Green Bayís good defense and good qb, but Green Bay is a team that has
shown a running game only once, last week with James Stark finally
getting some playing time. By the by, if Stark was so good, why did it
take until the first game of the playoffs to display his wares? Maybe
for the same reason that Tom Brady couldnít beat Drew Bledsoe out for
the starting quarterback position at New England until Bledsoe got hurt?
Or why Johnny Unitas, cut by Pittsburgh and signed by the Colts,
couldnít beat George Shaw out until Shaw got hurt in 1956 and Unitas got
his chance. Coaches arenít as smart as theyíre cracked up to be,
especially in judging talent. If Green Bay can balance Aaron Rodgersí
passing attack with Starkís runs, they have a good defense (5th
in the league) and should be able to beat Atlanta, whose pass defense is
less than average.
So weíre down to the best game
of the weekend, the Jets vs. New England. Lots of people think that
since the Patriots blew the Jets out last month that this is no contest,
especially with NE playing at home. But lots of people forget things.
They might remember that in 1940 the Bears annihilated the Redskins in
the NFL Title game, 73-0 (in that season the Bears introduced Clark
Shaughnessyís T-formation to professional football). What most donít
know or remember is that three weeks previously the Redskins had beaten
the Bears 7-3, so whatís past is not necessarily prologue.
The Patriots have a
well-rounded offense, 11th in passing and 9th in
running, but are weak on defense, 9th against the run but 30th
against the pass, which is why Sanchez is so crucial to the Jetsí
success. The Jetsí big weakness is Antonio Cromartie, who stunk out the
place last week. If the other corner, Darrrelle Revis, can stop Wes
Welker, Bradyís most consistent receiver, which he probably can, the
pressure will be on Cromartie because Brady spreads his passes around
and he is sure to pick on the Jetsí weakest link.
Cromartie has been mouthing
off, which seems inappropriate after his dismal defensive performance
last week (despite his fine kickoff return that set up their win). Heís
a flawed character who has apparently fathered 9 children with 8
different women in 6 states. This is not the type of guy I want on my
team, and his play at corner has been horrible all year. If he can step
up, the Jets can make life much more difficult for Tom Brady. But I
doubt if Cromartie is up to the task. Coach Rex Ryan still disdains the
nickel defense and blitzes more than other teams, and I like that. Brady
is better when pressured than he used to be but pressure is the best
defense against a great passer.
The Jets have a fine offensive
line that was responsible for last weekís victory (they are 4th
in rushing offense but only 22nd in passing offense). The
Jets have a very good offensive line and a smart runner in Tomlinson. If
Sanchez can have a good game and his receivers donít drop all those
passes on him, with a good running game to mix in with Sanchez passes
(assuming heís accurate), they can win this game, just like I said they
could win last weekís game. But as Iíve said before, the Jets have to
let Sanchez throw downfield. If heís accurate, the Jets can win. I just
wish he could throw an out consistently.
So Iím picking Pittsburgh,
Chicago, Green Bay, and the Jets, but Iím crossing my fingers on the