Blount Freaks, Manning Holds Up, and Niners and Hawks Play Man Football. NFL Rundown.

Featured, Sports and Bets — January 13, 2014 at 3:06 pm by

We are set.  The weekend playoffs have spit out their final four, and it’s chalk city.  Granted, the Carolina Panthers lost and were a two seed, but it definitely feels like the four best overall teams of 2013-2014 are now going to play it out for a championship.  There are no Cinderellas this year, no big underdogs barking at the door.  These are the expected ones, the teams that “should” be here.  Well here they are, babes.

The Seattle Seahawks are a brutal football team.  They fly to the football on defense, and they hit for keeps.  They are a trash talking, extremely physical bunch and they have every intention of bringing pain to their opponents.  (Is Kam Chancellor the most underrated player in football, and how good are the Seattle linebackers in pass coverage?  Wow.)  They pounded the Saints Saturday, and even though they had to survive a fourth quarter comeback to advance, the Seahawks still had the look of an elite football team, Russell Wilson and his passing woes aside.  Meanwhile, the Saints just called another screen play.  The Saints WERE able to run the ball, and their defense came to play, but their biggest weapon failed them in Jimmy Graham ( he only caught one ball) and Drew Brees struggled with the weather and with the Legion of Boom in the first half.  (Brees only passed for 34 yards in the first two quarters.)  Those two stinkers were too much to overcome outside of the cozy Brees/Payton cocoon that is the Superdome.  Plus, what the hell was that play at the end of the game?  That was a called play, because Colston had exactly zero intention of stepping out-of-bounds.  It would have been interesting to see one more play into the end zone from that offense.

In New England LeGarrette Blout was freaking.  Blount gashed the Colts for 166 yards and 4 TDs.  The Tampa Bay cast off was running downhill in the first half, and along with cured fumble poster boy Stevan Ridley, was softening up the soft Indy defense for the big runs that would come in the second half.  In this era of spread offenses and pass happy quarterbacks, the Patriots went old school on the Colts, beating them into submission with the run.  In fact, it seems the run is making a big comeback this playoff season.  (See Beast Mode in Seattle, and Frank Gore and company in Frisco..)  This philosophical change from the Pats shows a coaching staff that knows their personnel and attacks the weakness of an opponent while maximizing that same personnel.  Even with injuries the Pats may have the best O-Line in football, and when you have that, you can become a versatile, shape-shifting monster anytime you want.  Blount’s effectiveness is a testament to that.  On the other side of things, the talented but overrated Andrew Luck was giving away gifts to the Pats right from the starting gun.  A pick 6 and three other interceptions were the other big story of this game.  Andy Dalton gets blasted for being a turnover machine in big games but somehow Luck escapes scrutiny for being the same thing.  Sure Dalton has more weapons, but Luck makes just as many dumb decisions and bad throws, even when his receivers are open.  This should have been a decent match-up for the Colts, and as evidenced as how they were able to move the football it was, but Luck gave it away, he couldn’t keep up in this high scoring affair.

On Sunday, the Forty Niners put the big boy pants on and sent the Carolina Panthers to their proverbial room.  The Panthers came out strong, and for a moment in the second quarter it looked like they were the superior team.  But the Niners scored to end the first half to make it 13-10, and they never looked back.  After the break, the Niners wore down the upstart Panthers with a grinding offense and a tough big moment defense.  Goal line stands, key sacks, and physical play held the Panthers scoreless after the break.  Cam Newton, after a phenomenal first half, suddenly looked lost.  Meanwhile Frank Gore, behind a tough O-Line (see a theme here Ravens fans?) wore down the Panthers between the tackles, while Mr. Bad Ass himself, Anquan Boldin, made critical catch after critical catch.  It was textbook playoff football, and now it’s official, the Forty Niners are playing the best football in the league.  We’ll see if it translates to a win up in Seattle, which has been San Fran’s personal house of horrors.  The Niners are playing the role of road warrior now, they dissed the Panthers in their own house, with Colin Kaepernick openly mocking Cam Newton with his TD celebration, and by intimidating Carolina down the stretch.  They look like a team on a mission. The trip to Seattle is going to be mean affair.

 

In the last game, the Broncos punched their ticket by surviving a furious San Diego comeback that may have been sparked when Denver CB Chris Harris left with a torn ACL.  Injury or not, the Chargers should have opened up their passing attack earlier.  They were too conservative early.  Meanwhile, weren’t you just waiting for Peyton to throw that pick late in the fourth?  I know you were, cause I sure was.  I thought it was sure as the sunrise babes, but Manning made two big throws to seal the deal at the end of the fourth quarter, including converting a 3rd and 17 to Julius Thomas.  Personally, I thought the Chargers should have attempted another onside kick, but they gave the ball back willingly and never saw it again because Manning got clutch.  The Broncos played a complete game, Manning looked strong, the run game was effective, and the defense took away the a San Diego run game.  Without it, the Chargers looked lost and confused.  Unfortunately for them they didn’t realize they had a good quarterback until the middle of the 3rd quarter.

Meanwhile, love Wes Welker’s new look, reminds me of Dark Helmet.

 

The lines are out, it’s currently Broncos (-5) and the Seahawks (-3.5).  It should be a fun day next Sunday.

 

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