Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Luck’

And thus begins another year’s NFL Playoffs.

Considering the defending champions (Baltimore Ravens) and defending NFC No. 1 seed (Atlanta Falcons) both missed the playoffs, this postseason presents big change opportunities. Saturday’s match-ups feature prime examples of such opportunities.

Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts – Saturday Jan. 4 (4:35 PM ET)

Chiefs vs ColtsThe No. 4 vs No. 5 seed match-up may be the closest game to call. It’s no surprise then to discover a litany of parallels between the teams.

Both teams feature a starting QB that was the No. 1 overall draft pick, Alex Smith from the 2005 draft and Andrew Luck from the 2012 draft.

Both the Colts and Chiefs went from last place in the NFL to securing a wildcard spot the following year, the Colts from 2012 to 2013 and the Chiefs from 2013 to this current season.

Thanks, in part, to a disastrous AFC South Division, the Colts seemingly coasted to the division title. Such was the not the case for the Chiefs’ AFC West, which features the No. 1 seed Broncos and both the Wildcard teams (Chiefs and Chargers respectively).

Terrible division aside, the Colts certainly boasted perhaps the most impressive out-of-division record, having beaten the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and the Chiefs themselves. In fact, the Colts held the Chiefs to a season-low seven points.

Arguments may be made that the Chiefs had already locked up a playoff spot by that point and lacked luster. However, I believe the Colts, and more specifically Andrew Luck, have proven themselves true contenders.

Ultimately this game will come down to defense and which team can win the turnover battle.

Prediction: Chiefs win 27-24.chiefs

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles – Saturday Jan. 4th (8:10 PM ET)

Saints vs Eagles

The second Saturday game brings a sense of resurrection.

In the Saints’ case, this comes with the reinstatement of previously suspended Head Coach Sean Payton. Payton’s absence was almost unanimously understood to be the cause of the Saints’ poor season in 2012-13.

The postseason resurrection of the Philadelphia Eagles is two-fold. One, the hiring of the former Oregon Ducks’ Head Coach Chip Kelly and two, the Dallas Cowboys’ narrow throat.

The most interesting aspect of this match-up, in my opinion, is that each team’s offensive strength is the other’s defensive weakness. The Eagles own the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL while the Saints’ rush defense ranks 19th. The Saints are the No. 2 passing team in the NFL while the Eagles rank dead last in pass defense.

I tend to give the edge to the team with the better run game in a cold atmosphere, which Philly will definitely provide. However, Drew Brees and Co. are hungry and I cannot see an NFC “Least” team with a first year starter taking down the Saints.

Prediction: Saints win 31-24 Saints

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College football is drawing to a close. With just the BCS National Championship left (of the games we care about) it’s time for another edition of 5 things to remember and forget.

5 Things to Remember:

1. Cam Newton is not out of the woods.

If you’ll all remember the Reggie Bush saga, there were accusations and speculations regarding whether or not Bush had accepted payment for his abilities while still at USC. It wasn’t until 5 years later, long after Bush had been in the NFL, that the investigations were concluded and the sanctions laid down.

If I were the NCAA, I would have done the same thing regarding Newton with the amount of evidence present at the time. Remember, it’s much better to hold off on punishment until all skeletons are uncovered than to discipline in anticipation of finding said skeletons.

Believe me, Cam’s case is being prepared and thorough investigations are in order, even if the NCAA hasn’t gone public with each step of the process. Besides, the NCAA is benefitting greatly from Newton playing just as they did Bush. Just saying.

2. The landscape of college football changes drastically next season with the expansion of conferences.

Nebraska to the Big 10, Utah and CU to the PAC-10, TCU to the Big East, and BYU moving independent. The moves alone would be big enough, but now throw in 2 new conference championship games, the Big 12 losing their championship game, and you have a huge shake-up.

The Mountain West Conference, in essence, has become the WAC but with better lower tier teams than the WAC had. Boise State Community College will remain a BCS buster while Utah and TCU vie for an automatic bid (TCU more than likely will be conference champ favorite off the bat).

3. The SEC will remain the most elite conference.

I know, I know, the SEC gets more respect than it deserves before the season even starts, but let’s just take a quick glance at the conference rundown. The SEC has won the national championship the last 4 years in a row and has a contender in Auburn in the game this year.

The 7th ranked team in the conference was Florida. The 7th best teams in the other “elite” conferences are as follows; Big 12 – Kansas State, ACC – North Carolina, Big 10 – Michigan, Big East – Cincinnati, PAC-10 – Arizona. The best part is that only 2 teams in the SEC were not bowl eligible by season’s end. Impressive to say the least.

4. USC still isn’t post season eligible.

The reason I mention this is that Utah will be a member the PAC-12 South Division, made up of USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, and CU. Of these teams, the only one I’m concerned about is possibly Arizona, because Utah plays them at Arizona. Since USC will be ineligible for postseason play, Utah gets the conference championship slot even with second place in the division under USC.

5. Remember Boise State and Notre Dame will be the only teams likely to be BCS busters next year.

Although Boise State got a rude awakening as to how far 1 loss will drop you when you play in the WAC, having to play in the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl while other one loss teams received BCS invites, they will certainly remain a force in their new home, the Mountain West Conference.

Brian Kelly finally started getting things clicking for Notre Dame, as they destroyed Miami in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX. Freshman QB Tommy Rees had a great game and will be returning next season to Kelly’s offense. Should be interesting to see what he can do next season.

5 Things to Forget:

1. Forget about the WAC.

Even though they found a few teams to fill holes, they’re pulling no-names. University of Texas San Antonio, Texas State University, and Denver University will replace Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii…totally balances out.

Hard to believe that the WAC used to be home to Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, TCU, and BYU at one time or another the last 35 years.

2. Stanford can forget about the success they’ve seen the last few years.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is likely headed to the NFL, and starting QB Andrew Luck is surely headed to the NFL as well. Likely destinations for Harbaugh include the Denver Broncos, working under Stanford alum John Elway, the 49ers in nearby San Francisco, or even the Miami Dolphins.

Luck will be the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft in all likelihood. Sorry Stanford.

3. Forget about the SEC national championship streak.

Oregon plays at a pace Auburn hasn’t seen yet. Sure, Auburn will get theirs, but as I’ve said all season, Oregon might not be the most completely balanced team (like TCU) but they are the nations most unbeatable team. Their offense is outstanding and they don’t slow down. Even if Auburn can keep it close through 3 quarters, they won’t for 4.

4. BYU can forget about long-term independence.

The minute the Big 12 decides to replace Nebraska and Colorado, BYU will be at the top of the short list of candidates.

If not for weakness in all categories other than football, Boise State would be considered with the Cougars but the Big 12 does have SOME pride in it’s academics and sports outside football. Can you picture Kansas vs Boise State as a basketball conference game? Yikes.

5. Forget about the good old days when college football news consisted of stories and reports on the game itself.

With ESPN Sportscenter, 24/7 news and blog updates, Twitter, Facebook and endless other media outlets, the stories that get the most face-time are the scandals, firings, and drama. Fans can only read about the game itself so many times before needing to search out other forums with more debatable topics than the stats and highlights.

In reaching the final chapter of this college football season, hopefully we can all remember the history and memories made in 2010 and forget our teams’ struggles and move forward with hopes of a brighter twenty-11.