The TBD TBD (you can still change the name if you want. Drop me a suggestion on Twitter @BenRosener or @knowhitter272 or in the comments, providing it’s not vulgar, spam or offensive) finally won a game! Week 3 around the NFL was kind to the TBDs as the team won 106-77. Despite underwhelming fantasy days from a number of starters, the team pulled through thanks to monster days from Joseph Randle and Randall Cobb. The duo combined for 55 points while Andrew Luck and Dion Lewis chipped in with 16 and 12 respectively.
While Week 3 was a solid result for the team, Week 4 is fast approaching. Lewis’s New England Patriots have a bye this week, so Lewis won’t start. The options are to slot Marshawn Lynch into the other running back slot and field a different FLEX, or start someone like Arian Foster, or another bench option in Lewis’ spot.
Should Foster start for his team, the Houston Texans, he would provide an appealing fantasy play this week against the Atlanta Falcons—the team that allowed Randle to run for 87 yards and three scores. Todd Gurley is another option to start. The rookie has massive potential, but could be stuck in a timeshare situation in St. Louis. Arizona’s David Johnson has been effective in limited touches for the Cardinals. Should he surpass Chris Johnson on the depth chart, he’ll have plenty of upside.
Voice your opinion below.
Be sure to voice your opinion. Vote in one of the polls, send me a Tweet @BenRosener or@knowhitter272 or comment below. I want to hear from you!
I’m going to try something a little different in this space. Normally I’ve posted analysis pieces, YouTube videos and snippets from Vine. I’m going to switch things up. Don’t worry, I’ll still keep the pieces/videos/Vines coming, but I’m going to write about my fantasy football team. I’m going to draft a team in an ESPN draft room in a 10-team league and provide weekly looks at the team. These updates will include roster decisions, starting lineup choices, etc. It’s my hope that some of these decisions help you in some way with your fantasy team, or just provide an entertaining read.
I’d also like to evolve you, the reader/football fan. Until further notice, my team will be called the TBD TBD. I want you all to pick the name, so leave suggestions in the comments—you know, providing the names aren’t spam/vulgar/offensive.
Additionally, I want your input on roster decisions throughout the season, so I’ll be posting polls and asking you to comment in the comment section with your suggestions and opinions. If you don’t feel like responding to any of these methods, give me a shout on Twitter at any one of these accounts with your lineup/roster advices: @BenRosener, @knowhitter272, @kingdomeSEA.
So, without further ado, here are my draft results.
(Note: I was out of the office during Week one, so everything will start from Week 2. Also this is a real draft on ESPN.com.).
First Impressions/Pre-Draft Strategy
I lucked out and received a high draft pick. I’ll be picking third overall.
(Another note, I’ll have to change my name after the draft. It’s “Team Ben” for now simply because of default. I’ll change it right after the draft.)
RB Le’Veon Bell Pit
RB Jamaal Charles KC
As you can see, I like running backs, my draft strategy is to hoard as many top running backs as possible. I go with Marshawn Lynch with my first pick. The logic is pretty simple, Seattle’s offense is run-dominant and Pete Carroll and company will feed ‘Beast Mode’ the ball until the cows come home. My hope is that I can snag another elite RB in the second round.
RB Marshawn Lynch Sea
RB Adrian Peterson Min
RB Matt Forte Chi
TE Rob Gronkowski NE
RB Eddie Lacy GB
WR Antonio Brown Pit
RB Jeremy Hill Cin
QB Aaron Rodgers GB
Mid-Round 1 Update
After taking Lynch, I see a number of players I wanted to fall to me get taken. These include Matt Forte, Rob Gronkowski, Jeremy Hill and Aaron Rodgers.
RB LeSean McCoy Buf
WR Julio Jones Atl
RB DeMarco Murray Phi
WR Demaryius Thomas Den
RB C.J. Anderson Den
WR Emmanuel Sanders Den
WR Dez Bryant Dal
Second Round Pick
I’d like to hoard running backs, but with the top back on the board being Mark Ingram, I need a quarterback. I take Andrew Luck.
QB Andrew Luck Ind
WR DeAndre Hopkins Hou
WR Odell Beckham Jr. NYG
WR Calvin Johnson Det
RB Carlos Hyde SF
Third Round Pick
I’ve got a number of receivers available to me with the third pick in the third round, including A.J. Green,Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffrey, T.Y. Hilton and Mike Evans. I go with Cobb. Top wide out in a top offense, no brainer. Hilton was my second choice, but with Jordy Nelson missing the year due to injury in Green Bay, Rodgers is going to lean on Cobb a lot.
I’m looking at Joseph Randle, Jimmy Graham, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and Russell Wilson with my next pick.
WR Randall Cobb GB
WR A.J. Green Cin
WR Brandin Cooks NO
WR Alshon Jeffery Chi
RB Mark Ingram NO
RB Alfred Morris Wsh
WR Mike Evans TB
WR T.Y. Hilton Ind
RB Lamar Miller Mia
QB Drew Brees NO
WR Keenan Allen SD
QB Peyton Manning Den
WR Jordan Matthews Phi
QB Tom Brady NE
TE Jimmy Graham Sea
Fourth Round Pick
Graham goes the pick before. I need another running back so I go with Randle. He’s going to dominate behind Dallas’ offensive line.
RB Joseph Randle Dal
QB Ben Roethlisberger Pit
RB Justin Forsett Bal
QB Russell Wilson Sea
WR Jarvis Landry Mia
Fifth Round Pick
Arian Foster is going to be a top-five running back once he’s healthy—and that will sooner rather than later. Another no brainer. Having Lynch and Randle affords me the opportunity to stash Randle on my bench until he’s healthy. Johnson, Todd Gurley, Gore, Davante Adams and Ameer Abdullah are next on my list. Abdullah gets taken just as I write this. I’ll try and trade for him after the draft or during the season.
RB Arian Foster Hou
RB Melvin Gordon SD
RB DeAngelo Williams Pit
RB Jonathan Stewart Car
RB Ameer Abdullah Det
WR Julian Edelman NE
RB Frank Gore Ind
WR Davante Adams GB
Fifth Round Update
There goes Gore as well. He has the potential to be a touchdown machine in Indy. He isn’t going to run for 1,500 yards, but in an Andrew Luck-led offense, he’s got huge potential. Adams goes right after Gore. I’ll try trading for them along with Abdullah.
TE Jason Witten Dal
TE Travis Kelce KC
WR Brandon Marshall NYJ
D/ST Broncos D/ST Den
WR Vincent Jackson TB
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB
WR DeSean Jackson Wsh
Sixth Round Pick
Todd Gurley is the best player available and atop my list. It’s risky taking two injured running backs, but Gurley has massive potential, especially on a St. Louis team who will rely on the run.
RB Todd Gurley StL
TE Martellus Bennett Chi
RB Joique Bell Det
TE Greg Olsen Car
WR Kendall Wright Ten
Seventh Round Pick
It’s a tough call here between Johnson, Sammy Watkins and Amari Cooper, but with Hilton out, Luck is going to have to rely on Andre Johnson. It doesn’t hurt that the former Texan had ten targets in Week One. Even with Hilton healthy, Johnson has the potential to haul in double-digit touchdowns. He’s essentially a receiving version of Gore in terms of value. Lot’s of TDs, not a ton of yards.
WR Andre Johnson Ind
WR Amari Cooper Oak
WR Danny Amendola NE
RB Latavius Murray Oak
RB LeGarrette Blount NE
RB Chris Ivory NYJ
D/ST Seahawks D/ST Sea
WR Sammy Watkins Buf
D/ST Titans D/ST Ten
RB Bishop Sankey Ten
RB Giovani Bernard Cin
WR James Jones GB
WR Golden Tate Det
D/ST Bills D/ST Buf
RB Andre Ellington Ari
Eighth Round Pick
I need a defense here. J.J. Watt and the Texans D is the pick. I don’t love some of the options at this point to I feel fine reaching for a defense.
D/ST Texans D/ST Hou
D/ST Rams D/ST StL
RB T.J. Yeldon Jac
WR Jeremy Maclin KC
K Matt Prater Det
Ninth Round Pick
Cardinals receiver John Brown is the pick here. Carson Palmer is going to throw a lot in the desert and Brown will be on the receiving end of a high-volume of those throws. He’s got breakout written all over him.
WR John Brown Ari
WR Mike Wallace Min
K Matt Bryant Atl
QB Matt Ryan Atl
K Brandon McManus Den
QB Tony Romo Dal
RB Rashad Jennings NYG
RB C.J. Spiller NO
RB Isaiah Crowell Cle
WR Allen Robinson Jac
TE Jordan Cameron Mia
WR Larry Fitzgerald Ari
WR Eric Decker NYJ
K Stephen Gostkowski NE
WR Nelson Agholor Phi
Ninth Round Update
People are starting to take kickers. Think I’ll wait on that.
Tenth Round Pick
Martavis Bryant is the pick here. Another stash player (given his suspension), but one with high upside and value relative to the draft spot.
WR Martavis Bryant Pit
QB Carson Palmer Ari
WR Charles Johnson Min
RB Ryan Mathews Phi
RB Danny Woodhead SD
Eleventh Round Pick
I need a tight end. Zach Ertz has the chance to shine in Philly’s offense.
TE Zach Ertz Phi
WR Torrey Smith SF
QB Cam Newton Car
WR Michael Floyd Ari
WR Roddy White Atl
RB Darren McFadden Dal
WR Steve Smith Sr. Bal
RB Tre Mason StL
RB Doug Martin TB
K Steven Hauschka Sea
TE Delanie Walker Ten
WR Terrance Williams Dal
RB Shane Vereen NYG
D/ST Jets D/ST NYJ
RB Tevin Coleman Atl
Eleventh Round Update
I don’t love a lot of the options left at this point. I’ll be going for upside/lottery tickets with the rest of my picks.
Twelfth Round Pick
Donte Moncrief. Someone besides T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson are going to catch passes in Indianapolis. Moncrief has chance to be successful.
WR Donte Moncrief Ind
D/ST Dolphins D/ST Mia
WR Marques Colston NO
RB Devonta Freeman Atl
D/ST Ravens D/ST Bal
Thirteenth Round Pick
I really like the Colts offense. They’re going to score points in boatloads. That’s why I’m taking the team’s kicker, Adam Vinatieri.
K Adam Vinatieri Ind
RB Duke Johnson Jr. Cle
TE Dwayne Allen Ind
RB Andre Williams NYG
TE Tyler Eifert Cin
QB Marcus Mariota Ten
QB Tyrod Taylor Buf
RB Alfred Blue Hou
WR Anquan Boldin SF
D/ST Cardinals D/ST Ari
QB Philip Rivers SD
D/ST Chiefs D/ST KC
RB Charles Sims TB
K Justin Tucker Bal
QB Ryan Tannehill Mia
Fourteenth Round Pick
Another lottery ticket. Percy Harvin is the pick.
WR Percy Harvin Buf
WR DeVante Parker Mia
RB Knile Davis KC
D/ST Lions D/ST Det
WR Pierre Garcon Wsh
Fifteenth Round Pick
I need a backup QB. I’ll take Sam Bradford. Something tells me he’ll do well in the Eagles’ offense. He’s much better than a number of the quarterbacks Philly has trotted out.
QB Sam Bradford Phi
K Cody Parkey Phi
D/ST Eagles D/ST Phi
K Dan Bailey Dal
QB Matthew Stafford Det
K Dan Carpenter Buf
TE Antonio Gates SD
WR Devin Funchess Car
K Mason Crosby GB
K Blair Walsh Min
D/ST Vikings D/ST Min
TE Ladarius Green SD
D/ST Patriots D/ST NE
RB Toby Gerhart Jac
D/ST Packers D/ST GB
Sixteenth Round Pick
Owen Daniels. Known fact: Peyton Manning likes throwing to his tight ends.
TE Owen Daniels Den
TE Kyle Rudolph Min
K Phil Dawson SF
Just to recap, here is my starting lineup and bench. (Note, because of the draft’s time, I was unable to make changes to my team, hence Gurley being in the lineup even though he is out).
My Fantasy Football team starting lineup.
My Fantasy Football team’s bench.
If you have any ideas for the team name, motto, color scheme, etc, please leave them in the comments section below. Same goes for roster and lineup decisions, trades I should propose, etc. I want your input.
Zero—the number of QB hits the Seahawks recorded versus Kansas City. By comparison, the Chiefs hit Russell Wilson nine times.
11—tackles by former Seahawk and current Kansas City safety Ron Parker. Parker’s 11 tackles tied him with Earl Thomas for the game high.
Four—the number of games Russell Wilson has now gone without reaching 200 passing yards. Seattle’s QB has partly offset this by rushing for 244 yards over the past four games. Still, Willson could use another monster passing game like he had against St. Louis when he threw for 313 yards. Even moderate passing numbers like he posted against Denver would be a nice change.
108—passing yards allowed by the Seahawks. 108 is also the fewest number of passing yards the team has allowed this season and the fourth time they’ve held an opposing QB under 200 yards. Of course, the team was done in by Jamal Charles more than the passing game. Charles ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
124—the rushing yardage compiled by Marshawn Lynch. It marks Beastmode’s second straight superb rushing performance. The former Cal running back averaged 5.3 yards per run. He now has 264 rushing yards over the last two games after managing only 243 in his previous four games.
Next up for the Seahawks is a home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
You can find more about the Seahawks on Kingdome of Seattle Sports here. Additionally, you can follow Kingdome on Twitter here. You can view the original piece on Kingdome here, or if you’d just like to check out what else Kingdome has to offer on Seattle Sports, you can check that out here. Kingdome can be found on YouTube here. Don’t forget to subscribe! You can also follow Ben on Twitter here. Knowhitter is also on Twitter. You can follow the site on on Twitter here.
It’s really not a joke. The Seahawks aren’t pulling the wool over the eyes of everyone who seems to miss their games (i.e. everyone who lives outside of the great state of Washington.) Yes, Buffalo is a bad team, and Arizona was/is too, but you can’t ignore 50-plus points in consecutive games.
The Record Book just won’t go away. Russell Wilson continues to take records and break them as if he was eating a sandwich for lunch. After strong play last week, Wilson now holds the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game for the Seahawks. Something he did in the first half with three rushing scores. No Seahawks QB has ever rushed for that many touchdowns in an entire game.
Read Option. The Seahawks continually used the “Read Option” to their advantage on Sunday. On the play, Wilson receives the snap with Marshawn Lynch to his right in the backfield. If it looks better for Wilson to run it himself, then he fakes the handoff to Lynch and goes behind Lynch with the ball. If the play looks like the team would get more out of it if Lynch ran it, then Wilson simply hands off the ball. The point of the play is that the QB makes the split-second decision on what would work best. Hence it being called the “Read Option.” The Seahawks used this play to continually rip off huge gains versus a porous Bills’ defense.
Passing Dan Marino. Last week I told you with one more touchdown Russell Wilson would pass Dan Marino in terms of number of passing touchdowns in a rookie season. With his TD pass to Zach Miller, Wilson moved his total to 21, passing Marino’s 20.
Win and You’re In. The Seahawks can clinch at least a wild card berth with a win on Sunday against San Francisco. The Seahawks would clinch the number two seed in the playoffs, and receive the first round bye that comes with it, if they beat the Niners and Rams to close out the year. And, if the 49ers lose both of their remaining games, and if Green Bay loses one of its last two games. Plus, they would get home field advantage at home in the divisional round (they’re 6-0 at the Clink this year.)
50-50. The Seahawks are now one of three teams in NFL history to score at least 50 points in two straight games. This feat hasn’t been accomplished since the 50’s. This is fantastic for a team who was 28th in the league in total offense last year. Other quarterbacks who have yet to accomplish this or haven’t: Tom Brady (very surprising,) Peyton Manning (equally surprising,) Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Steve Young, Joe Montana, John Elway ( I think you see my point.)
Winning. The Seahawks now have tied their highest win total since 2006, the year before they went to the Super Bowl. That team was 9-7.
Super Bowl Worthy? I posed this question last week, and now it should be a given. The Seahawks are Super Bowl worthy. Finally.
In Greek mythology there is a Titan named Atlas who held up the world, or held up the sky so that it didn’t crash down on the Earth.
In the world of sports, each team has its own “Atlas” who keeps the team from falling flat.
Some of the best “Atlases” in recent sports memory:
LeBron James- Cleveland Cavaliers. During LeBron’s tenure the Cavaliers were essentially James and a never-ending roll call of role players. Shaquille O’Neal and Ben Wallace were the only really good players who James played with in Cleveland. And at that point both were in the respective twilights of their careers, and Wallace wasn’t scoring much (as per usual). Cleveland was so bad without “King James” that they set an NBA record for the longest losing streak: 26 games after he made the decision to go to South Beach.
Derrick Rose- Chicago Bulls. A small sample size, but while Rose dominated Game One of the first round of the playoffs versus Philly, he tore his ACL towards the end of the game. After holding on for the win in that game the Bulls went on to lose the series 4-2 to the eight-seeded 76ers. As a follow up, this year with Rose out for an extended amount of time, most pundits and talking heads have Chicago in the 6-8 seed range in the playoffs. Quite a drop-off for the team who had the best record in the East last season.
Luis Suarez- Liverpool. If you take away Suarez’s fantastic production, the Reds would likely be in the relegation zone if not in last.
Dwight Howard- Orlando Magic. Orlando is so bad without Howard it compelled me to write an entire piece on it, you can see that here. Orlando is going nowhere fast.
Steve Nash- Phoenix Suns. Obviously earlier on in Nash’s career he had Amare Stoudamire and friends, so the team wouldn’t be that bad off without him. However, the Suns of the past couple years have needed Nash to help them stay out of the cellar. With him they were camped on the stairs going to the cellar; now they’re the cellar’s likely tenants.
Mike Trout- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trout supporters love overusing the stat about the visible improvement of the Angels’ record with him, as opposed to their record without him. Take away Trout and a lineup that includes Albert Pujols, Kendrys Morales, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells goes nowhere offensively. Continue reading →
I’m probably not the first to write about this, nor will I be the last, because to put it plainly, Peyton Manning is a free agent. PEYTON FREAKING MANNING IS A FREE AGENT.
As noted, everyone is writing about this. From teams who need a quarterback like the New York Jets or Arizona Cardinals, or teams who don’t and would like to see him as a backup so their team doesn’t have to play against him (cough New England cough).
Maybe this is a pipe dream at best, and Peyton Manning might be considering only AFC teams or whatever the case may be. But the underlying theme here is that he would be a good fit in Seattle.
For that matter any of the NFC West teams with Manning probably jump to division favorites. (With the exception of maybe St. Louis, sorry Rams fans.) That being said, it would seem like the NFC West would make sense in the fact that Peyton could probably win right away, where as in a place like Miami, there could be issues with facing Tom Brady as well as the Jets defense a combined four times a year.
But Seattle looks like the best fit, at least from my position. The Seahawks have some promising bullet points for Manning to consider:
One, the Seahawks have a running game that Peyton didn’t have recently in Indianapolis. (Not that Peyton Manning needs a running game to lean on. He’s Peyton FREAKING Manning.)
Two, the Seahawks defense is a piece (read pass rusher) away from being a top-10 and/or elite defense.
Three, and this may surprise people, but the weapons are there in Seattle. The receiving core is an underrated one. Sydney Rice thrived with Brett Favre and even Tavaris Jackson before he was hit with injuries. Think of the potential with Peyton throwing to him. Doug Baldwin was quietly one of the better rookie receivers in the league last season. Zach Miller will look to be more of a pass catching threat after spending bulks of playing time helping the pass protection area. Mike Williams also thrived with a good QB (read Matt Hasselbeck) and could regain that form if Peyton comes to Seattle. John Carlson will be back from injury if the team chooses to re-sign him (they should look into it.) Leon Washington is a game changer, plain and simple.
Four, the offensive line. The Seahawks have a really good young offensive line. The whole line, with the exception of Robert Gallery, has less than four years of experience in the league. While that may be a downside to some, it’s a plus here. The Hawks line is going to be good for a long time. The other key to the QB’s protection here is that the O-Line is surprisingly deep. Breno Giocamini, Paul McQuistain and Lemuel Jeanpierre provided and still provide Pete Carroll with invaluable depth up front.
Lastly, win now. The Seahawks, despite the 7-9 mark, are going to compete. The aforementioned defense is there. So is the running game. So are the receivers. Look, San Francisco isn’t going to go 13-3 again. (If they do, jokes on me.) Things are going to be more level this year. Even more so than last year. Now obviously Peyton Manning makes just about every team a winner, but to have a team that’s on the cusp of being a very good team, and add one of the best QBs ever. It makes for a very nice dilemma to have.
By process of elimination to get to Seattle, here are places where Peyton isn’t a good fit:
Miami- Lack of established running game could make for iffy situation. Then again he succeeded in Indy.
New York Jets- Media circus and uncertainty with team might be disastrous. Also lack of weapons and locker room questions.
Washington- Redskins don’t have much in the offensive weapons department outside of Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Chris Cooley. Also an equally tough division to play in.
Arizona- Larry Fitzgerald and a closed arena. There are the only draws in Zona. Good luck selling it outside of that.
So there you have it, Seattle and Peyton Manning, makes a lot of sense.
Tebow-Mania, Big Blue, the Frozen Tundra, Houston’s First Playoff Appearance and Drew Brees’s passing records.
That’s what you’re going to hear a lot about this week as the NFL playoffs take somewhat of a center stage. Your ears will also tend to pick up a lot of the entire Josh McDaniels situation with New England, Baltimore’s surging defense and the offensively challenged San Francisco 49ers.
The first game that the nation, and world for that matter, will see is New Orleans versus San Francisco. The Saints have a prolific offense led by the record-setting Brees as well as big receiving threats Jimmy Graham and Robert Meachem. Devery Henderson and Lance Moore provide very good fourth and fifth options for a team that can also role out a stable of talented running backs with speed man Darren Sproles, talented back Pierre Thomas and slam back Chris Ivory. All those weapons plus an underrated D make the Saints a sneaky Super Bowl pick.
Now to the other sideline: San Francisco. Due to my heavy biased approach to Seattle I have to bash the Niners a little bit, or a lot. I’d be an idiot to say San Fran’s D isn’t good. It’s a very good defensive team with some excellent linebackers like NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis. Carlos Rogers and Donte Whitner were and are excellent free agent finds for Jim Harbaugh. Then we get to the other side of the ball, ehhh. Frank Gore is a perennial Pro Bowl player who consistently racks up big games. And he’s great, don’t get me wrong. But he’s the Niners’ crutch. Everything runs through him. If he’s off then the 49ers will have a lot of problems. Alex Smith is a game manager. I know it, you know it, hell even Harbaugh probably knows it. He isn’t going to light up the score board, more or less he’s going to lite it up. Smith hasn’t topped 300 yards once this year. That includes a schedule with teams like Tampa Bay, Washington, St. Louis (twice), Cleveland and the Eagles. Yikes. He has only put up 3 TDs once in a single game this season. That was in a 48-3 win over Tampa in which he managed only 170 yards. When you score 48 points you should probably have a little more than 170 passing yards. Vernon Davis is a solid tight end, Michael Crabtree is a viable option, but is likely only the third or fourth option if he were on the Saints team.
Prediction: Saints 48 49ers 21
Now we finally get to Mr. Tebow. Tebow prevailed against the defending AFC champs in round one. Granted the Steelers were banged up, a win is a win, especially in the playoffs. Denver takes its rag tag bunch into New England to face a Patriots team that made a hiring that is curious to say the least. First, let’s set it up for people who have lived under a rock for the last couple years. Denver’s head coach is John Fox. Denver hired him after firing Josh McDaniels. McDaniels went on to run the offense in St. Louis this season before he was hired by the New England Patriots as their Offensive Coordinator for next year seeing as they will lose their current one to be the next head coach at Penn State. Did I mention that McDaniels was hired after the season ended? And he will serve as an offensive assistant or something of the like for the rest of the playoffs. You make the call on the shady-ness of that one.
New England, amid all that hoopla, has a guy named Tom Brady. Not sure if you’ve heard of him. They also roll out an offense that might only be rivaled by those in New Orleans and Green Bay (certainly not San Francisco). The Pats do have a porous D that could pose problems for New England.
Denver has the underdog factor. That, Tebow, a resurgent Willis McGahee and a strong defense makes for a nice upset pick of sorts. The underdog’s luck has run out in the divisional rounds in recent years. It’s also hard to pick against Tom Brady and a full arsenal of weapons with the man they call Gronk at the forefront.
Prediction: New England 35 Denver 23
Houston and Baltimore, your playoff rookies and playoff vets, this one probably screams blowout for a number of reasons. One, the Ravens have one of the better defenses in the league. Two, Houston is down to their third string QB and has been forced to sign Jake Delhome and Jeff Garcia as a result. No typo there, Jeff Garcia is the Texans third string QB. But they do have a very effective running game with the dynamic duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. That also gives them an extremely efficient play action attack that is one of the better ones in the league, TJ Yates or no. Oh yeah, Andre Johnson is also their number one receiver.
Baltimore’s defense is very good. Their offense is the key. Ray Rice, is the key to their offense. So to boil it down, Ray Rice is the key. In a loss in Seattle, Rice got five carries and lost 22-17. Rice needs to get it going if Baltimore is going to have any chance at winning. This is going to be a grind it out game, lots of running and lots of defense. Look for the Ravens running and D to prevail.
Prediction: Baltimore 23 Houston 17
The defending Super Bowl Champs are taking on the G-Men. The Giants held, or rather gave, the Falcons all of two points in the opening round. The Packers on the other hand sat and watched the wildcard round in the comforts of their own homes. New York has a lot of weapons to surround Eli Manning, while they aren’t near the level of the weapons that Aaron Rodgers has, they’re good weapons. Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, upstart Victor Cruz and the two-headed running back monster of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.
The Packers roll out tons of weapons that go right at the other defenses: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, (go ahead catch your breath, there’s more) Donald Driver, Randal Cobb, James Starks and John Kuhn. So to sum that up, the Pack can score. Their defense on the other hand is the key. Their D has been a struggling unit. They are good against the run (14th), but their passing defense is last in the league. Yep, last.
This is going to be a passing clinic. The Packers are last in pass D and the Giants are 29th. It doesn’t help when the two guys at QB are both pro bowlers. Like I said, this is going to be a shoot out.