Posts about RG3

49ers take down the Redskins; figuring out the AFC’s second wild card spot

11-26

It was only a matter of time before San Francisco bounced back from their recent two-game skid. Last night was the perfect opportunity for the 49ers to get back on track and they did just that, overwhelming the Redskins for the entire game. Colin Kaepernick was on point for much of the game, finding Boldin and Davis for the big plays and scores. The running game wasn’t especially impressive but Gore and Kaepernick did enough to keep the Washington defense on it’s heels. The Redskins were able to keep up with the Niners in the first half but their inability to make plays happen in the red zone really hurt them. That and the pass rush of the 49ers, keeping the pressure dialed up on RG3 for pretty much the entire game. It was seemed like every other play on offense featured RG3 on the ground or taking unnecessary hits. When you mix a bad offensive line with a QB that’s going to give up his body to make plays, that’s what the Redskins offense is. RG3 is going to have to learn sooner or later that getting a first down for a regular season game isn’t worth risking an injury that could set him back for an entire year. So this guarantees a .500 or worse record for Washington while the 49ers are back in the driver’s seat for the second wild card spot in the NFC. It’s going to be interesting battle between the Cardinals and Niners for that second spot, assuming they both don’t slip enough for the Eagles/Cowboys or a North team to take the spot. It could very well come down to the final game of the season with the 49ers in Arizona but there’s still plenty of football to played before that.

While there’s still a lot of football to play, there isn’t a more interesting race than the race for the second wild card spot in the AFC. Barring a catastrophic injury or crazy meltdown, it’s pretty much a sure thing that either Denver or Kansas City will take first wild card. But the other wild card spot, well, every other team in the conference is mathematically in the hunt. We’ll spare the bottom five teams (Texans, Jaguars, Bills, Browns and Raiders) because I don’t see any of those teams reeling of winning streaks while the other teams lose enough games. So that leaves us with the Titans (pole position), Steelers, Ravens, Chargers, Jets and Dolphins all at 5-6. The best shot obviously being the Titans as they own various tiebreakers over the other teams. Miami has the easiest of the schedules but have looked very shaky when they have the lead in a game. The Steelers and Ravens are clashing on Thanksgiving and I have a feeling that the loser has their chances minimized to almost zero. The Jets are impossible to predict but Geno Smith’s play as of late doesn’t indicate that any sort of progress is in the near future. So that leaves the Chargers. Usually a team with so much potential that just seems to lose games that they’re supposed to win and win games that they’re supposed to lose. Their victory in Kansas City was certainly the most impressive out of any of the wins all these teams have. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out with only five weeks left in the season.

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Vikings hold off the Redskins; what to look for on Sunday

11-8

What a good Thursday night game and what a good night for sports in general. The Redskins were in Minnesota to take on the Vikings but it wasn’t supposed to be a good game. The Vikings only had one win to date and questions loomed around the Redskins and RG3 about their consistency from game to game. By looking at the box score, you would think the Redskins came out on top. Washington had more possession, more yards both rushing and passing, didn’t have a turnover and so forth. Not the case as the Vikings not only rallied from behind but were actually able to hold on to their lead for the remainder of the game. It’s something that has been a problem for Minnesota all season but behind Peterson’s running (75 yds, 2 TDs) and their defense, they were able to do finish strong last night. Washington had a chance to send the game into overtime late in the 4th quarter but were unable to convert on three straight attempts from the 4 yard line. The only downside from last night’s game for Minnesota is that QB Christian Ponder had to leave the game late in the 3rd quarter due to a separated shoulder. I haven’t seen a credible report as to the extent of the his injury so i’m assuming he’s still getting test done by team doctors. It feels like that loss might have been one that Washington can’t recover from but since they’re in the NFC East, they still have some life this season.

Lots and lots of early games this Sunday. There are 8 total and since my Cowboys are playing at night, it’s definitely going to be a red zone channel afternoon for myself. But if I were to pick one game from the early slate to watch, it would definitely have to be Lions-Bears. Jay Cutler is back for the Bears and the division lead is on the line when they square off in Chicago on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles in Green Bay could get interesting but without Rodgers, it just doesn’t have the same potential. It’ll be interesting to see how Nick Foles does after last week’s performance. I also like Bengals at Ravens because for whatever reason the AFC North’s division game always provide some drama, especially in Baltimore. Game to avoid? I don’t know of a non-fantasy football reason for a neutral fan to watch the Jaguars in Tennessee. While there are only three games in the later slate, two of them are great and one has the potential to be great. The Broncos in San Diego always provides great entertainment while the Texans in Arizona should also be good. Case Keenum seems to have that football gene in his game that make any of his games interesting. Both solid games but i’m most interested in Panthers at 49ers. Both have teams have been red hot for the past few weeks, beating up on some bad teams in an impressive fashion. There’s also the “dual threat” capabilities for both QBs. Should be a great game and a solid test for both teams.

No mention of the Cowboys-Saints game? Well, I saved it for last because it’s my upset pick of the week. Call me a homer but I really think the Cowboys are going to win Sunday night. The Saints are dealing with just the right amount injuries that the Cowboys can take advantage of it. Cowboys over the Saints 31-28.

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More surprises and more close games in NFL’s second Sunday

9-16
As usual, the first Sunday had people jumping to conclusions left and right. Teams are too hyped up, losses feel like the end of the world and most notably, they affect how everyone predicts week 2 of the NFL season. It’s probably the hardest weekend to prepare for and that’s why the second week of the season brings so many surprising results. I have to say, I did see the Dolphins-Colts game going that way and I almost nailed the Titans pick as well. But aside from Arizona handling Detroit and the 49ers completely face-planting in Seattle, the game that surprised me the most was the Chargers and Eagles. Fresh off their Monday night meltdown, the Chargers basically turned the table on the Eagles. San Diego was able to control the ball and the clock, keeping the Eagles offense that dazzled everyone last week off the field. The Eagles offensive weapons (Vick, McCoy, Jackson) all had nice games but their defense wasn’t able to control Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers offense. Who knows, maybe the Chargers are a solid team and their meltdown was just a prime time anomaly. Along with the Chargers, I was most impressed by the Packers, Broncos, Bears and Seahawks.

So while I feel that Aaron Rodgers had the best performance of the day (34-42, 480 yds, 4 TDs) there were some teams that were not so impressive. We’ll begin with the team that Rodgers beat handily, the Washington Redskins. Not being able to score until 4 minutes left in the 3rd quarter? That’s signs of a team that doesn’t know what they’re doing on offense and are not on the same page. Which is weird to say because offense shouldn’t be that big of a problem when you have a young star like RG3 at quarterback. Despite only loosing by 2 points, I thought the Bucs looked very underwhelming and as a matter of fact, that game was very boring to watch. It wasn’t on the level of Raiders-Jaguars (felt like every other play was a punt with them) but I figured it would be better. At least from the Saints on offense because Drew Brees with only 1 TD pass is very weird. I know the Jaguars are the clear favorite for worst team in the league but the Panthers are very frustrating to watch, especially when they’re trying to close out a game with the lead. Yes, I loved EJ Manuel leading a game winning drive. It was exciting to watch but the Panthers can’t let a rookie QB beat you like that.

Tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football has the Steelers in Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. The Steelers looked REALLY bad last week and we’ll have to see how much the injuries they suffered will affect them even further. Despite being 0-1, I’m expecting a big win from Cincy tonight as they play their first game on their home turf. I’m still on the Bengals wagon and believe they will win their division.

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Lingering questions, comments and concerns about the NFL’s wild-card weekend

1-8

My initial plans were to post my comments yesterday, with the action from Sunday still fresh in my mind. Unfortunately, my body decided to get a flu sometime Friday night so I ended up watching the wild card games huddled in blankets. Now i’m back on track to 100% so I can post some thoughts that are still on my mind from Sunday’s games. Before I get to that, I know i’m not the first person to say that the games were a bit underwhelming as a whole. That changed Sunday so all is well that ends well.

How effective can the Texans be with Schaub? I picked the Bengals mostly because I thought the Texans were in a major rut, particularly at the QB position. Foster was much better (32 car, 140 yds, 1 TD) and defense was solid but even after all that, the Bengals still had a strong chance to win game at the end. Dalton and the Bengals weren’t able convert on 3rd down the entire game but it always felt like the Bengals were in. To Schaub’s credit, he did convert a nice pass to basically seal the game for Houston but how much further can they advance?

Are the Packers the scariest team in the NFC? Poor Adrian Peterson, I really feel bad that a RB of his caliber has to be stuck with such mediocre play at QB. The Packers threw absolutely everything at him, daring the Vikings pass game to keep up with the Packers and it ended up working for Green Bay. What surprised me the most about the Packers offense was how effective their running game was. The Packers used a Harris-Kuhn combo very well, particularly in the red zone to further open up the passing game of Aaron Rodgers and co. The result was Rodgers being able to find 10 different receivers. Scary.

Is Joe Flacco taking that next step? Flacco gets a lot of crap for calling himself “elite” and among the top quarterbacks in the league but he played very well against the Colts. It doesn’t hurt when his best receiver Boldin (145 yds, 1 TD) is able to catch any bomb that’s thrown his way. Yes, the Colts secondary isn’t known for shutting teams down but it’s the kind of game that any quarterback can use as momentum heading forward. Oh yeah, we get it Ray Lewis, it was your last home game. Stop dancing and save the energy for when you’re in Denver this weekend.

Should RG3 have kept playing? One of the hottest topics around the league yesterday and that was before it was being reported that he partially tore ligaments in a previously injured knee. The field was terrible and is part of blame but how much should land on head coach Shanahan and the rest of the Redskins staff? Chances are that this won’t be the only time RG3 is in the postseason so why would the Redskins risk a “do or die” playoff attitude right now? One of the biggest reasons people are questioning this decision not bench RG3 is because back up Kirk Cousins has shown the capability to lead them to a victory.

Ps. How great was it that Russell Wilson sprinted past Marshawn Lynch to block for him (pictured above) on the go ahead TD for the Seahawks?

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Taking a closer look at the wild card round: NFC

1-4

Now it’s time to look at the better conference this round. No offense to the AFC but there’s a reason both of the NFC games were scheduled at the second game, they’re the match ups that are going to attract more viewers because they both hold potential to be classic games. Quick tangent: do fans realize that there’s a chance that the Packers and Seahawks can meet in the conference championship game? That’s pretty crazy considering what happened earlier in the season between those two teams. I’m getting a little ahead of myself but I just wanted to point that out. Let’s take a look at this side of the tournament.

Key match ups: In the Packers-Vikings game, the key to each team is pretty simple: how much can you stop the other team’s best player? Adrian Peterson is clearly the best RB in the league and Aaron Rodgers is arguably (definitely on Brady/Manning level) the best QB in the league so the defenses for each team will have their work cut out for them. This was the last game of the regular season and the Vikings won the game but this time it will be at Lambeau. It’ll be cold so who does that benefit more? Peterson breaking the record of rushing yards in a single playoff game (248) is definitely in play.

The final game this weekend will feature two rookie QBs that have been incredible for their own teams throughout the season. Redskins-Seahawks in the nation’s capital will surely have fireworks and i’m very excited for this game. These teams play a very similar style on offense. Both have an excellent running game, they take care of the football AND both RG3 and Russell Wilson are dual threat style QBs. How much will RG3′s injury hold him back? It was evident against my Cowboys that he’s not 100% but still remained somewhat effect on the ground. Can Seattle play at elite level when they’re on the road? They’re weren’t good outside of Seattle for most of the season but they did have a signature road win against the Bears in early December.

Prediction: This is a quarterback driven league and as much damage as Peterson can do, I don’t think it will be enough to overcome how good the Packers are at home. The Packers are going to throw everything at Peterson and dare Christian Ponder to carry more of the Vikings’ offense throughout the game. Would you bet on Ponder? I’m putting my money on Rodgers. Now the other game was harder for me to pick. Essentially the Redskins and Seahawks are the same team on offense with the exception of RG3 not being 100% healthy. The biggest difference is that Seattle has been playing MUCH better on defense than the Redskins have and I think that will be the determining factor in this game. I’m taking the Seahawks on the road but I think it will be a very close game filled with excitement.

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Playoff picture begins to take shape after week 13 in the NFL

Carolina Panthers v Kansas City Chiefs

Amid impossible circumstances, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to take the field and come out with a victory. There was a question of whether or not the game would even be played but coaches and players decided among themselves that it would be best to play. If only to take their minds off the tragic circumstances even for a few hours. The Chiefs handled and responded as well as anyone could ask for but as always, the show must go on. This weekend featured upsets, great rookie performances and some of the more elite teams clinching division titles along with playoffs berths. We’ll start with the rookies because Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson were the the definition of clutch when their teams needed them the most, on the road. Both rookies weren’t exactly lighting it up but they were both able to manage the game and made the plays, both executing on the last play of their respective game. Of course, last night featured RG3 and while he didn’t dazzle by his terms, Griffin did enough to take a key divisional victory to keep the Redskins playoff hopes alive.

Teams that are officially in the playoffs (Falcons, Patriots, Texans and Broncos) with the Texans being the only one that didn’t clinch their division but odds are they will clinch eventually. Although, if you look at their schedule (Pats, Colts, Vikings and Colts again) there’s an outside shot that the Texans don’t win their division. However unlikely, it’s amazing that the possibility of the Colts winning the AFC south is out there. With the surprising victory of the Steelers, the AFC north just got much more interesting and even more so because out of the three contenders, the Ravens have the toughest schedule. The NFC north is just as interesting after Bears were upset at home and gave the division lead to the Packers so anything is possible with those two teams. And of course the Redskins won last night, making the NFC east a tighter race and giving Cowboys fans like myself false hope of making the playoffs. 

I fully expect the Broncos (-10) to annihilate the Raiders on Thursday. The Broncos continue to roll and the Raiders are one of the five worst teams in league with little improvement in sight.

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