Banks gives some color on the Wild Card weekend and what’s ahead with Joe and Evan on WFAN.
1) The Jets are what the Giants used to be- a “ground and pound” team as evident with their running game performance in the 2nd half. To Banks the Jets handled Freeney well as they got him “on ground and cut blocked him to the ground.” The Offensive Line of the Jets “probably had a lot of input for going to the run game in 2nd half.” Banks went on to relate that their offensive line must have seen the potential given some of the flashes of success they had in the trenches in the 1st half. Schottenheimer did a good job in “managing Sanchez’s shoulder” by calling for plays that were to the receivers back shoulder and limiting go routes.
2) In a testament to the effectiveness of Revis. Evan goes on to state that “(Reggie) Wayne was upset and wondered why (he) even dressed up” given that they didn’t give him a sniff in their play calls.
3) Banks quipped, “how big was that Cromartie kick return” on their last possession? Banks, however, goes on to point out that the “Colts were not a good cover team all year.” And “those are the things that come back to haunt you when you need them (most).”
1) Joe and Evan move on to the upcoming rematch with the Patriots, of which they call the “Evil empire.” An opponent who has a recent history of success and a franchise that gets it is called the Evil Empire? Banks immediately states the obvious with the fact that the Jets “can’t allow the Patriots to get up 10 points” on them. The Jets have “gotta’ control the line of scrimmage,” especially their defensive line, who “can’t allow Brady to have a clean pocket.” This is something Wonder alluded to earlier on the limitations of the Jets in their playoff chances. Bottom line they need to “make the Patriots defend the run” and “make it an ugly game.”
2) An interesting take from Banks on the Patriots defense. Look no further than what “the Ravens did to KC, as the Patriots are very similar considering the Crennel connection.” The Chiefs “gave them a lot of space stuff and the Ravens were flooding the zone making these guys come up and tackle in space.” By the time Chiefs “rallied to the ball it was 5-6 yards per gain and then they beat them over the top.” This is an area “where Dustin Keller can be a major factor” against a slower Patriots defense. Banks goes on to add that the “Patriots are a big defense but not fast especially up front and with their linebackers.” Does this sound familiar Giant fans? Of course, excluding the defensive line aspect.
1) On the Seahawks upset Banks feels the Saints just “didn’t prepare well. If you’ve got Drew Brees throwing the ball over 60 times you definitely failed to game plan on how you were going to run the ball and Sean is too good a playcaller to fall into that.” In addition according to Banks the Saints defense “was horrible.” Banks wondered aloud “where was their safety play?” And, the obvious, with how their “tackling was poor.” To Banks, this “was a trap game,” in the playoffs no less! To pile on the Saints Banks goes on to state that there’s “not much difference” between a depleted Seahawks roster we saw earlier in the season and a fully healthy Seahawks roster. Banks predicts that “the slipper will fall off this weekend” and “doesn’t think they can beat Chicago.” However, “Jay Cutler is their quarterback, so you never know.”
What does this past weekend and Banks comments have to say about the NFC, much less the NFL? This is a very mediocre group of teams and they all have chinks in their armor, more so than what we have witnessed in the past. Surprising that Payton's Saints were poorly prepared. Seahawks? Well, let’s leave it at that. Chicago has Jay Cutler.. you never know what you’re going to get from him. Falcons? They have yet to be really challenged and have an underwhelming defense. Everyone felt the Packerswere the team to watch, and so far everyone is right. The only question is whether Starks' performance this past Sunday was an anomaly.
Andy mentioned in yesterday’s post how the matchups of the Ravens-Steelers and Jets-Patriots are great for football. How about an old school NFC Championship of the Packers versus the Bears at Soldier Field?
I’m going out on the limb, but my prediction is Steelers vs. Packers in North Texas.