Posts Tagged ‘Green Bay Packers’

AFC NFC

The end of the 2012-13 NFL season approaches with Week 17.

With just this one week comes a litany of playoff implications, even in the AFC, with all playoff spots clinched. In the NFC, there are three teams still on the outside looking in; the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.

For Dallas Cowboys Fans

Dallas’ situation is the most simplistic – Win and you’re in. Lose, you go home. The Cowboys will travel to D.C., where they will face the rookie QB Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins.

For Washington Redskins Fans

Washington’s playoff situation has a bit more leeway than that of Dallas’.  A win for Washington also secures the NFC East Division Title and the 4th seed (cannot reach higher mathematically). However, should the Redskins lose to the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, they are not necessarily eliminated from the playoff race. They can still clinch a playoff spot if Chicago and Minnesota both lose, as they hold the tie-breaker between potentially four 9-7 record teams; themselves, the Bears, the Vikings and the New York Giants.

For Chicago Bears Fans

Chicago’s playoff chances are not assured but also not highly unlikely. For the Bears to make the playoffs they must first beat the Detroit Lions on the road. The Vikings also need to lose to Green Bay at home, which, according to ESPN’s “Accuscore,” is not an impossibility with the Packers a 67% favorite to win.

For Minnesota Vikings Fans

Minnesota’s playoff destiny is in its own hands, to speak proverbially. If they beat the Packers, they secure the 6th seed in the playoffs. If they lose that game, they need the Bears, Cowboys, and Giants to lose as well (In essence, leaving the standings identical). A Vikings win closes the door on any playoff hopes of both Chicago and New York.

For New York Giants Fans

New York is most certainly in the most dire of the NFC playoff race situations. The Giants not only most win their season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, but must also have the Vikings, Cowboys and Bears all lose their finale games.

Among the teams in the NFC that have already clinched their spots in the playoffs, some outcomes may affect the seeding.

For Atlanta Falcons Fans 

The #1 spot is locked and assured for the Falcons. Notwithstanding their dominance this year, Atlanta has received criticism for its lack of success in the playoffs, losing in the first round of all three of its last berths since 2008.

For Green Bay Packers Fans

Green Bay currently holds the #2 seed and will retain it with a win. A loss to the Vikings may result in trading the #2 seed for San Francisco’s #3 seed, should the 49ers beat the Cardinals at home. The Packers will concede the #2 to the Seattle Seahawks if both Green Bay and San Francisco lose and Seattle wins, claiming the NFC West Title and tie-breaker with a head-to-head victory in the “Fail-Mary” game against Green Bay. The Packers cannot fall lower than the #3 seed, secured with a first round home field advantage at-worst.

For San Francisco 49ers Fans

San Francisco has the same luxury of an assured first round home field advantage at-worst if they beat the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park Sunday. Should the Packers lose, a Niners victory secures a #2 seed and first round bye along with the NFC West Division Title. If the 49ers lose to the Cardinals and the Seahawks beat the Rams, San Francisco will lose the NFC West to Seattle and snag the #5 seed. They’d then have to play either Green Bay, Seattle, Washington or Dallas, on the road in the “wildcard round.”

For Seattle Seahawks Fans

Seattle is assured at least the #5 seed but stands to move up to as high as #2 with help. If Seattle wins and San Francisco loses, the NFC West division title will belong to the Seahawks, as well as home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. If Green Bay also loses in the previous scenario, Seattle holds the tie-breaker over Green Bay for the #2 seed and first round bye.

All the AFC playoff spots are secured, however, there still exist situations where movements in seeding can occur.

For Houston Texans/Denver Broncos/New England Patriots/Baltimore Ravens Fans

Because Houston and Denver have identical 12-3 records they hold the #1 and #2 seeds, respectively (Houston beating Denver gives them the tie-breaker). Should Houston beat Indianapolis on the road Sunday, they will lock up #1. Should they lose and Denver wins, the Broncos will take the #1 spot. If New England wins along with Denver, a Texans loss drops them to the #3 spot and gives the #1 and #2 seeds to Denver and New England respectively. If the Patriots win and the Broncos lose, the Patriots will take the #2 seed from the Broncos, as they own the head-to-head tie-breaker. If both the Texans and the Broncos lose, a Patriots win gives them the #1 seed, leaving Houston and Denver at #2 and #3 respectively. If New England loses and Baltimore Ravens win, the Ravens will move up to the #3 seed and the Pats fall to #4.

For Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals Fans

Indianapolis and Cincinnati have the #5 and #6 seeds locked up respectively.

 

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And then there were four.

The New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers have proven themselves the best four teams remaining in the NFL playoffs and each from very different paths.

AFC Championship – New England vs Baltimore:

New England has been exactly what was expected. High powered offense led by the great Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm of it all. The Patriots finished the season #1 in the AFC with a 13-3 record.

After two straight years of playoff let-downs, losing at home in the first round, the Patriots made quick work of the miraculous Broncos and Tim Tebow. They now face the challenge of fending off the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore proved at times to be the opposite of the Patriots, winning with stout defense led by veterans Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata and an average offense led by Joe Flaco and Ray Rice.

The Ravens finished the season with a 12-4 record and #2 overall in the AFC. Many analysts favored the Ravens to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl before the season started, mainly due to the punishing defense and offensive capabilities.

Throughout the season, the Ravens seemed to be plagued by shortcomings against teams far less talented. Their 4 losses during the season were to the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and the San Diego Chargers. The only team of these four with a winning record was the Titans and it was an unimpressive 9-7 in a weak AFC South division.

However, they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals in both home and away meetings, and beat the San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore.

When the Pats and Ravens meet this Sunday, January 22 at 3 PM ET the key matchup will undisputedly be the New England offense against the Baltimore defense.

If the Ravens are able to get to Brady early and often, they may well be able to disrupt the Patriots rhythm and give Flaco a chance to take advantage of a horrid New England defense, which is ranked second to last in opponent yards allowed this season. However, with how uncharacteristically well the Patriots defense played against the Broncos, the Ravens may need more than their defense to win this game.

Prediction: New England 35 – Baltimore 24

NFC Championship – San Francisco 49ers vs New York Giants:

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off of an instant classic that could end up rivaling some of the all-time classic games of Montana and Young. Just how much bigger does this game become should the 49ers go on to win the Super Bowl? And don’t think for a second that isn’t exactly what the goal of every single player in that locker room is.

On top of that, this team has an aura of winning and success around them. They are as confident as any team in the NFL. Some may try to find excuses for his great play when the answer is obvious. Alex Smith plays with poise again for the first time seemingly since Utah.  Smith can play without error and in clutch situations because he knows the coach and the team have his back.

They believe in the guy. And for good reason. Smith did what only 3 other teams have done this season. Beat the Saints.

The New York Giants are coming off of a huge upset over the Green Bay Packers, #1 seed overall and highly favored to repeat as Super Bowl champs this season.

Eli Manning proved why he considers himself an elite quarterback in the NFL with a 21-33, 330 yards and 3 touchdown effort Sunday, January 15, 2012.

One could argue that the Packers gave away opportunity after opportunity that day with wide receivers dropping pass after pass.

There is no doubt that the Giants have one of the NFL’s best pass rushes. The front four for the “G-men” can put pressure on a quarterback that most other teams require 5+ rushers to accomplish.

Led by Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, the New York Giants defense may be the only hope of victory.

The Giants did play the 49ers earlier this season, remember. San Francisco 27 – New York 20

Prediction: San Francisco 49ers 30 – New York Giants 17

Super Bowl: San Francisco vs New England

 

 

(Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)

The game went the Green Bay Packers way from the kickoff. They held the Pittsburgh Steelers to a punt on the opening drive. Although the Packers also had to punt the ensuing drive, they proved to the Steelers they were there to play.

No one played harder than Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Defense. Rodgers threw for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. The defense forced 2 first half interceptions and a second half fumble. More impressive than that, they continued to play at that high level after losing star CB Charles Woodson to a fractured collarbone he suffered on a tackle made late in the second quarter.

All 3 turnovers can be attributed to the play of the linebackers and linemen because of the pressure they put on Roethlisberger all night long. Both interceptions were due to obstructed throws from defensive pressure.

The Packers, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, capitalized on all 3 turnovers by converting one immediately on the pick 6, the second interception and fumble were also converted into 7 points on touchdown drives. At one point, the Packers led 21-3.

The Steelers dominated the end of the first half and the entire 3rd quarter and were able to pull the game to within 3 points at 28-25.

The Packers weathered the storm and with just over 2 minutes left in the game, kicked a chip shot field goal to increase their lead to 6 at 31-26, eliminating the chance of tying with a field goal for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers are famous for last-minute drives to win games. They did it to the Arizona Cardinals in the ’09 Super Bowl with the amazing catch made by Santonio Holmes to win the game. Not to be this time around.

Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense couldn’t get their feet under them. They gained a first down on the first play of the drive but then crashed. Ben threw 4 straight incomplete passes.

Green Bay took the victory formation and that was that.

Of course the poll starts this early. Why not?

Interview after interview, analyst after analyst, picks and predictions favor Green Bay. The Bears still get their spotlight, as is necessary to remain unbiased, and even get their praise. But the Packers are getting the votes.

Obviously it’s not quite unanimous. Mike Greenberg of ESPN’sMike and Mike” did pick the Bears…ironically to the dismay of the Bears’ fans. Greenberg (Greeny) is infamous for incorrect playoff picks this year. The Bears can’t catch a break.

The funny thing is though, I think the Bears like not having support so they can play the “us against the world” card. It makes it easier to get up for a game with a chip on your shoulder. New York Jets‘ coach Rex Ryan rants all the time about how no one thinks the Jets can beat these good teams and waves the underdog flag loudly. Lovie Smith, Bears head coach, is not a ranter. He is content fueling his team with the bulletin board and locker room speeches.

It’s been that way all season for the Bears and even a little before the season. Ex Bears’ great Gayle Sayers said pre-season that he didn’t expect the Bears to be any good. With almost all the focus on Brett Favre in Minnesota and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, the Bears almost silently won the NFC North Division. Though they are the NFC North Champions and #2 overall NFC seeded team, the Bears just do not have the momentum and appeal the Packers carry.

The Packers are coming off a dominant performance over the #1 seeded Atlanta Falcons on the road. The Chicago Bears beat the 7-9 (8-9 including wildcard victory) Seattle Seahawks in Chicago. Jay Cutler is always talked about in terms of potential. No one really trusts him yet. NFL analysts describe him like a ticking time bomb for interceptions. All good comments about Jay sound like, “He really has the arm to make any throw on the field, but you just know he’s going to throw the defense 3-4 balls a game and it comes down to whether or not they can take advantage.”

Definitely, the Chicago Bears enter their own house this Sunday as the underdog. They haven’t seemed to mind the doubt thus far.

 

Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes raise Lombardi Trophy

 

11 Super Bowl victories.

Since 1966, the year of the inaugural Super Bowl game, the 4 remaining teams in the 2011 NFL playoffs, the New York Jets, the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have combined for those 11 titles. The Bears and the Jets have won 1 Super Bowl each, the Packers have won 3 (including the first 2 in ’66 and ’67. The Steelers have won an NFL record 6 Super Bowls.

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