1) RAVENS-PATS. Edelman will take Welker's place. He'll get his routes. He can do "most" of what Welker can do, but Edelman does not have that ability to create the second or third oppty. Welker is dynamic. Everyone expects the Ravens to single Edelman and then see how that goes. Ravens' secondary is injury-riddled and weak. That has made their defense less aggressive as the season has worn on, so they just try to out-hit you. You have to spread the Ravens defense (by spreading your offense) to beat them. Ray Lewis: "Let's out-hit them and make them throw it." Baltimore's run blocking is really good. Ray Rice is a "tremendous" inside run who does the little things that polished/accomplished runners do, far ahead of the curve for a 2nd year player. Belichick is well aware of Rice, his son is/was a Rutgers student, and he was wary of Rice in Week 4, so of course he is going to be hyper concerned about him now.
2) CARDS-PACKERS. The Cardinals have this ability to look awful one week, great the next. They use that emotion on defense to get the most out of that unit. We'll see that good team today and then the question becomes whether the Packers are good enough to handle that.
Re yesterday's games:
3) Jets-Bengals. Re the three counter-plays that netted the Jets 127 yards and made the difference in the game... "Offensive Coordinators have to call the (correct) plays at the right exact time." Shonn Greene was a big part of the win. The Bengals pass offense "let's be honest, they stunk" this year. Palmer was able to get it done in key moments, but he did not have a great year. His poor performance yesterday, throwing high, was bad mechanics.
4) Cowboys- Eagles. "The Cowboys are a really good football team with 6 or 7 top flight players."
Ultimatenyg here. The Eagles defensehad not shown me anything making them a real bonafide playoff threat to go all the way, which was why the Cowboys' win last night was not a surprise. They were favored. Should it surprise that the Eagles explosive offense was shut down? NO, again. Just go back to the one sentence summaries of all 32 teams made by Wonder this past Thursday. He gave the pulse on the Eagles and Cowboys that was evident in the game. If the Cowboys defense plays for 60 minutes with focus and concentration, then they can play with ANYONE. Simms here on Sundays in the past has specifically noted how the Cowboys are a very good team on paper yet have lapses that cost them games. The biggest problem we have noted here all season for the Cowboys is their head coach, Wade Phillips. Phillips is an underachiever. His players played for him yesterday and they are peaking at the right time. If you are a good team playing against the Cowboys in this post season, you need your A game now vs his team's, and then at a certain point Phillips will blink somewhere, some cookie will crumble. The way it stands right now, ON PAPER, the Cowboys are the best team out of the 10 left. I heard Trent Dilfer last night on ESPN, he said the same thing. The Vikes are -2 at home vs the Cowboys. It will take the Vike's A game to beat this team.
The 3 play calls vs the Bengals were awesome. Two were play action, one was a Wonder special, where Wonder specifically gave the exception to Rule # 5 (Pitchouts don't work in the red zone). The exception he noted (see 3a) was when the offense uses a two back set, fakes the immediate handoff to one side with the first back and then does the pitchout the other (mis)direction the other way. Well, you can see from the replay of yesterday's call that it would work in the red zone or anywhere on the field IF the quicker halfback (Bradshaw) can get past that one defender. Greene did it and the result was (one of the reasons) why it was a NECESSARY part of the win.
Also note the quantity of misdirection: THREE. This is the puncher vs boxer. Misdirection is boxing. And do not EVER underestimate how it simultaneously HELPS your generic PUNCHING. It keeps defenses off balance, so if the misdirection is not effective, at least it is helping you on your general attack by not allowing the defense to OVERPURSUE. The difference between the Jets (Schottenheimer) and Gilpukey is that Gilpukey will do misdirection maybe once in a game, whereas other teams will use it a little more to make it workworkwork.