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LOOKING AT THE DIVISIONAL ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS
by Trace Armstrong on January 14, 2012 a 8:39 AM

Man, a guy has to take two weeks off and the Broncos knock off the Steelers in the playoffs. What is the world coming to? I mean seriously, what happened? I apologize for my absence but life has thrown a few curveballs throughout the month of December. I’m in the midst of a life change, I had some holiday traveling, and I’ve been sick. A lot has happened to say the least. Now that life has leveled out it’s time to play catch up on some writing…


The Lions-Saints game was as brutal as I thought it would be. First off, Calvin Johnson is an amazing player to watch. The game he had last Saturday was a thing of beauty to watch. He and Stafford played pitch and catch all day and it was close to unstoppable. The problem is they were playing a VERY motivated Drew Brees and New Orleans offense. The Saints offensive line dominated Suh, Fairley, and the rest of the cast on defense. The amount of passing yards, points, and records Brees was able to set is unbelievable. Aaron Rodgers had a great year but my friends, Drew Brees IS the MVP of the NFL. Between the records, the dominance, and the amazing surge they went on after the Rams loss (still a fluke in my opinion) is nothing short of stunning.


I always thought there was a chance Denver would beat Pittsburgh, I just never really thought it would happen. I should have looked at the injury report closer. The Steelers offensive line was decimated. They had one starter left from Week 1 and most of them hadn’t played in the position they were forced to play. Mike Wallace and Hines Ward look old. It’s sad to say it but they look and play old. I know I preached it earlier this season and I was wrong but you’re starting to see the fall of the Roman Empire. They need to get younger on their offensive line and in their linebackers. Their d-line is ok and the secondary can wait a bit longer but the linebackers allowed the biggest plays of the day. The final touchdown in overtime was a perfect play call and Tebow hit it right on the money because it split the seam between the linebackers and defensive backs leaving nothing but open space for the winning touchdown. Congratulations to Denver on a well deserved victory.


I should also mention at this point I understand what makes Tim Tebow a good quarterback in the NFL. I caught the NFL Films “All Mic’d Up: Tim Tebow” the other night and was astounded. In previous shows I’ve watched quarterbacks do a lot of “football talk”, running through plays, etc. Tebow took time after bad series to sit down and encourage his teammates. In games where they trailed and had that one shot, he gave these calm “We’re going to do this right now” type speeches. Each time, they came back and won. The most interesting one was the Bears games. He threw a perfect pass to one of his receivers that would have been a TD on 3rd and 10 and it went between his hands. On the field he asks his fullback did it go through his hands. He shook his head when he found it was a “yes” and went oh well next time. They got back to the bench and he sat down next to the receiver and calmly said, “I’m going to throw you one more of those and you’re going to catch it for a touchdown next time.” Sure enough, fourth quarter, same pass, same play and the guy catches the ball and puts them on the 5 for the winning touchdown. After the play he slaps him on the head and said “See, I told you so.” Do I think Tebow is going to be an elite quarterback in the NFL? Maybe. With two more seasons of work he has no choice but to get better. The key is his teammates truly like him and believe in him. They will do whatever they can to win together.

I’m sure Disney will make a movie out of the first “Miracle Tebow Season”. Just imagine it. Timmy is on the bench praying for his shot. Kyle Orton gets pulled and Timmy is told to warm up and get ready to go in. They highlight the first game where he almost brought them back. Disney cuts to the week of prep for their first win where the Broncos come from behind. They do the montage of them running through the locker room three weeks in a row with cuts to ESPN headlines of “How are the Broncos doing it?” Then, the conflict starts. Success affects the team in ways they didn’t realize. They still stand together but they get beat down by the Patriots in a nationally televised game. The last week of the season they are mired in a losing streak but back into the playoffs. Then you have scenes of people scoffing that the Broncos can beat the mighty Steelers come Sunday. You have Big Ben give an interview about how his leg is falling off but come Sunday he’ll be 100% and ready to play. They show shots of Big Hair himself, Polamalu, grunting and trying to not sound like a sissy (his voice is quite pleasant and not intimidating at all). Finally, before the game Timmy gives the locker room the “nobody believes in us speech. No one comes into our house and beats us. No one thought we had a chance but we believed in each other and believed God would honor us. Let’s go out there and shock the world but first let us pray.” Tebow leads them through a fiery prayer then the team runs out on the field. Disney does the dramatic action shots and has plenty of tense goose bump moments. The set up for the final play in OT is magical. The play moves in slow motion with lineman leaping in Timmy’s face until he spots the open receiver and delivers the bullet. The second the receiver catches the ball the slo-mo stops and we cut back to Timmy Tebowing as the winning touchdown scores. The stadium goes crazy as Tim walks up to Big Ben and shakes his hand, then he walks up to Polamalu who instead gives him a hug and says in his tiny voice “good job Tim”. Tim smiles and points to the sky. From there Disney does their weird “afterword” montage with footage of the Patriots game with captions about what happens next. It proudly states this: “The Broncos went in to New England the underdogs yet again and shocked the world beating The Patriots on a last second touchdown. Unfortunately the Broncos lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game by a field goal. Tim Tebow was given a big contract by the Broncos and has led them to three straight division titles but the Broncos have still fallen short of the Super Bowl. Tim vows to get there….with his brothers, the Broncos.”


Tell me that movie isn’t in the works and in that exact order. I should copyright this now for a piece of the action.


Now that I’ve gone on a 700 word tangent, it’s time to get back to recaps.


Why are the Falcons allowed into the playoffs year after year with MATTY IIIIICCCCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEE??? They have been such a fraud all year playing crappy teams with the most fair-weather fans in the NFL. They have ZERO heart and rolled over and died in New Jersey. They put all their eggs in the “Julio Jones is our missing piece” basket. The only problem is their defense is amazingly average and it was hardly exposed until a GOOD team cleaned their clock. Enough said. Next year when Carolina is in second place in the division all will be right with the world (provided Drew Brees doesn’t sign with Dallas and the Saints go in the cellar when their franchise player is offered more money than he could dream of in free agency by Uncle Jerry).


---------Divisional Round Picks------------


New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers


Jim Harbaugh should be commended for the job he has done with taking the 49ers from one of the worst teams to arguably a top five team in his first season as coach with Alice (typo intentional) Smith as his quarterback. Here’s the truth. It’s going to be sexy to pick the 49ers this weekend but don’t be fooled. New Orleans is going to score 30 points, guaranteed. The big question is does Alice Smith have the ability to put up 31? I don’t think so.

Final Score: New Orleans Saints 38, San Francisco 49ers 24.


Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots


The last time these teams met, New England won because it was able to take advantage of two turnovers. I truly don’t believe that happens again. The win over the Steelers has given the Broncos momentum and they should be able to squeeze a win out in New England. Is it going to be hard? Yes. Will the Patriots score? Yes. The question is can the Denver offense execute like it did last week? If they can score on the Steelers, they can just as easily score on the Patriots.


Final Score: Denver Broncos 23, New England Patriots 20.


Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens


Houston had a great win last week, no doubt. The problem is the Ravens defense will eat them for lunch. It will be somewhat close as a final score but only because Houston will get a garbage time touchdown. The Ravens are notorious for letting up in the final five minutes and letting those cheap touchdowns occur.


Final Score: Baltimore Ravens 24, Houston Texans 17.

New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers

The Giants almost pulled off the upset last time they were in Green Bay if you will recall. The Packers have injuries on the offensive line and the defensive line. The strongest parts of the Packers are their quarterback and receivers. The rest is amazing average. I think this game is close but the Giants pull it out. The Giants have this amazing ability to rise to the occasion in big games (see the New England surprise that I correctly predicted earlier this season) but flame out in meaningless games (see Seattle and Washington games). Get ready cuz the upset train is pulling out.

Final Score: New York Giants 27, Green Bay Packers 24.

---------NFL Newsline-----------

So here’s something interesting. As everyone knows I am a diehard Redskins fan. There have been significant rumblings the Peyton Manning to Washington Redskins trade is going to go through post-Super Bowl. The Colts have officially decided to start over and with the departure of Peyton’s friend (the former GM), it is now all but certain he is going to be traded.

So here’s the question is it a good or bad move for Washington? Realistically they will owe Manning a ton of money. To get him I would imagine they are going to trade at least a first round pick or a second and third round pick. Manning probably has 3 seasons in him. Is that a reasonable enough time for Washington to draft the quarterback of the future and have him learn from the master? Not if they have to surrender a first round pick. The only way this works is if they can get a good first round pick immediately. When Peyton rides off into the sunset, the new quarterback needs to know the system and have some of the knowledge. I don’t know how I feel about it yet but the rumblings I’m hearing are from some pretty reliable Redskins sources I follow.

Thanks for reading everyone. Sorry I missed the last two weeks but life has a way of changing your priorities very quickly.



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