NFL Playoffs: What To Watch

The NFL Playoffs are great. This time of year is great. Right as college football starts to wind down, Wild Card weekend gets the blood pumping again. Lets take a look at some things to focus on this weekend.

Ravens v. Patriots

I love this matchup. Joe Flacco goes the entire season as being just so average. Flacco was 12th in passing yards, 18th in yards per game and 23rd for passer rating. But when the playoff come around Flacco becomes untouchable. He is 10-4 in the playoffs and hasn’t lost in the postseason since 2012. He almost has a 3 to 1 TD to INT ratio in the playoffs and his last interception in the postseason came in 2011. (Note: didn’t make the post-season in 2013)

Similarly, there is this guy named Tom Brady that likes the playoffs as well. 

The Ravens knocked off a beat up Steelers team but I really like Baltimore in this matchup. What I will be watching for is the turnover battle. Whoever takes away the ball first will win. As clutch as both of these QB are I am going to say Ravens D coordinator Dean Pees (great name) will have a plan to trip up the Patriots’ postseason success.

Baltimore knocks out the Patriots at Gillette.

Panthers v. Seahawks

I wish I had something exciting to say about this game. The only reason the Panthers are here is because 1). The Falcons are awful and 2) The Cardinals would have had a better chance of winning if they started me at QB (I didn’t throw a pick this year at my Thanksgiving game!) The Seahawks are going to blow this team out. Don’t be fooled by the numbers that the Panthers’ defense put against the Cardinals.

Seattle wins big.

Cowboys v. Packers

This is the matchup that I am having the hardest time picking. Both teams do certain aspects so well. Dallas and DeMarco Murray can run the ball like no other; second in NFL for rushing yards. The Packers and Jordy Nelson light up the air like no other; second in NFL for average yards per pass.

Both defenses are middle of the NFL (Packers 15th in total defense and Cowboys were 19th) which makes this game hard to predict.

It looks like it’s going to be cold as hell in Green Bay (it’s currently 0 degrees there and it feels like -17). 

If the Cowboys run the ball well start to finish and control the clock they have a shot. If they try and go throw for throw with Aaron Rodgers I don’t believe it will end well for the Cowboys.

Please note that Dez Bryant is a beast. I’ll take the Packers just because they’re at home.

Colts v. Broncos

This is a matchup that the NFL and network producers dream about. Peyton Manning, the Canton bound quarterback facing off against his successor in Indianapolis Andrew Luck.

As much as that’s a storyline, I don’t believe that’s the key to the game. It will be important for both signal callers to play well, but it comes down to the Denver defensive line. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware will need to get in the backfield and get after Luck early and often. The Broncos D had 41 sacks during the regular season putting them in a tie for 9th in the league and the Colts offensive line has given up only 29 sacks ranking them 8th in the NFL.

The Colts are first for passing yards per game (305.9 YPG) but this is partly due to no run game. If Luck has time to throw down field then Denver might be in trouble even with their stellar secondary. Indy had 78 plays go for 20 plus yards this season which was best in the NFL.

This also depends on if TY Hilton wants to concentrate long enough to catch the balls thrown at him. He had seven drops on the year which doesn’t sound bad but he was top 10 in the NFL in that category.

In a nut shell, this is the game. Will the Colts be able to keep Luck up right long enough to get the ball down field, or will the Broncos defensive line thwart the passing game.

My bet is on the Colts offensive line.

Enjoy a great weekend of football!

It Has Been Awhile, The Blog Is Back

It has been way to long since something about sports has been posted on this site. So here we go!

College Hockey, I Have Missed You

It's Friday! College hockey is coming to you from all over the country. I'm a little late to be posting a NCAA Hockey preview, so here is more of an update of who is who in Cawlidge Hawkey.

Who's Hot

North Dakota:

The Fighting Sioux moved from the number two team in the states to the number one (USCHO Rankings). Now it's easy to say that the number one team in the land is hot but they are 10-3-2 with a 6-1 road record. They swept Wisconsin in Madison and split a series with a solid St. Could State team. Junior Drake Caggiula leads North Dakota in points with 20 (7 Goals, 13 Assists) which ties him for second in all of NCAA hockey. This program is a hockey factory and will be playing late into April.

The Sioux host Lake Superior State this weekend.

Harvard:

This Ivy League team moved up nine spots from the last poll to put them at number nine. Harvard is on a four game win steak after defeating UMass Lowell, Boston University, Bentley and Dartmouth. With a record of 7-1-2, Harvard faces Princeton and Quinnipiac on the road this weekend which will be another big heat check for this team. Harvard's depth and quality net minding has helped them navigate through tough opponents such as UMass Lowell and Boston University. 

Will we be talking about the Crimson a month from now?  

Who's Not

Colgate:

Colgate is on a two game skid and fell to the 13 spot on the charts. They are 8th for penalty minutes averaging 16.27 per game but only allow 2.07 goals per game. It's hard to win when your team spends that much time in the sin bin. In their last two game Colgate had 16 minor penalties. The penalty killers are logging a lot of minutes and that usually makes things harder in the second half of the season.

Colgate will try and right the ship on the road against Providence on December 9th.

Boston College: 

(I will do my best to hold back my joy) BC has lost two in a row and are 7-7-0 on the year! Yes, they have played a pretty tough schedule early but still! The Eagles' normal high flying offense is currently 22nd in the country for goals per game (2.93 GPG). After graduating Hobey Baker winning Johnny Gaudreau and his partner in crime Kevin Hayes this team might finally be low on top end talent. I don't expect to see BC drop out of the top 20 but they're currently 17th.

Boston College has a Home-and-Home with New Hampshire this weekend.