2008-09 NFL Football Playoff Game Previews
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Saturday, January 10, 2009
Baltimore Ravens (12-5) at Tennessee Titans (13-3)
Time: 4:30PM (EST)
Spread: Tennessee -3 (@ Oddsmaker)
AFC Divisional Playoffs Preview: The Tennessee Titans host the Baltimore Ravens this Saturday in a AFC rematch featuring two of the top defenses in the NFL. The Titans beat the Ravens earlier this season in grudge match 13-10. However, the Ravens offense has matured into a more effective unit and they will try to grab the victory this time around in a game to determine who moves on to play in the AFC Championship. Tennessee has been the class of the AFC all season with a perfect 10-0 start and owns the best record in the NFL this season at 13-3. The Titans running game has been the key to the success this season for the offense behind the legs of tailback Chris Johnson. Johnson has racked up a solid 1,228 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. Power tailback LenDale White has also been very effective this season as well in short yards situations pounding through defenses and has a team-high 15 touchdowns on the season. The Titans will attempt to run the ball and play solid defense as they have all year. The Titans defense is a very strong unit that ranks 2nd in scoring defense holding teams to 14.6 points per game and they are the real reason behind the Titans breakout season. Baltimore has a tremendous defensive unit as well. The Ravens defense is ranked 2nd overall in the NFL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. The difference from their earlier meeting this time with the Ravens is QB Joe Flacco. The rookie quarterback has really matured in the 2nd half of the season completing 60% of his passes and limited the interceptions that plagued the passing game earlier this season. Flacco and the Ravens offense seem to be improving every week and the Titans defense will have to stand strong as they did in the first meeting to earn the victory. Turnovers could play the story in this epic battle for AFC supremacy. Both quarterbacks threw two interceptions in the first meeting and each turnover could be huge in this game. Baltimore and Tennessee have been very effective forcing other teams to turn the ball over this year. Baltimore’s turnover margin stands at +13 while Tennessee holds down a +14 margin that ranks 2nd in the NFL. Which ever defense that can force turnovers when the two collide this Saturday will have a big advantage considering this could be a field position type game.
Arizona Cardinals (10-7) at Carolina Panthers (12-4)
Time: 8:15PM (EST)
Spread: Carolina -10 (@ Oddsmaker)
NFC Divisional Playoffs Preview: The Carolina Panthers are the only team to be double digit favorites in the 2009 playoffs and they will attempt to hold off a strong aerial assault from Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona captured a big victory last weekend at home when they defeated the Atlanta Falcons 30-24. Warner led the Cardinals offensive attack to a big day and they will need a similar performance this weekend. This season Warner has thrown for a mind blowing 4,583 yards this season with an electrifying 30 touchdowns through the air. The Cardinals rank 2nd in the NFL in passing averaging 292 yards per game. Star wide outs Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are big time playmakers and will give the Panther secondary a very hard time. The Panthers have been a question mark on the defensive side of the ball this season and they will face a big test from the talented Arizona offense. The contest features two of the top scoring offenses in the NFL as both teams are averaging a strong 25+ points per game. However, the Cardinals defense is allowing 26.6 points on the season as well and they will need to slow down the balanced Carolina offense. The Panthers ended the year playing as well as any team in the NFC winning 8 of their last 10 games and are one big win away from the NFC Championship. The Panthers own the 3rd best rushing offense in the NFL with two solid running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart. Williams ranks 3rd individually in rushing this season racking up 1,515 yards on the year and a stout 18 touchdowns. Stewart has been very effective as well with 10 TDs and 836 yards. However, the biggest playmaker for Carolina will be lining up at the WR position in superstar Steve Smith. Smith missed the first two games of the year, but still racked up the 3rd most receiving yards in the NFL with 1,421 yards on the season. Both teams will showcase strong offenses, but the big difference could be the Carolina defense. The Panthers defense has played well at times and has not showed up at times as well. It will be interesting to see which defense shows up this Saturday night if the Arizona offense has a chance to pull of the upset.
2008 NFC Championship Game Preview
Philadelphia Eagles (11-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (11-7)
Date: Sunday January 18, 2009
Time: 3:00PM (EST)
Spread: Philadelphia -3.5 (@ Oddsmaker)
NFL Football Preview: Talk about an NFC Championship of unlikely opponents. The 5th seeded Arizona Cardinals will host their first playoff game since 1947 against the 6th seeded Philadelphia Eagles. Arizona surprised everyone beating Atlanta and then Carolina. The Cardinals have the passing game back top performance and it is presenting a lot of problems for opposing secondaries. Kurt Warner averaged 292 yards per game during the regular season that was 2nd most in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald has been the most important offensive weapon for the Cardinals in the playoffs. Fitzgerald had a huge performance against the Panthers catching 8 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. Each time Fitzgerald caught a pass it was for nearly 20 yards and he is a big reason the Cardinals are having so much success. Another star WR Anquan Boldin has been hampered by a hamstring injury and having him on the field will be big for Arizona. All early indications appear that Boldin will play this Sunday in the NFC Championship game. Philadelphia has literally risen from the dead. The Eagles started the season 5-5-1 and seemed to have no chance at making the playoffs. However, Philadelphia would come on strong and now has won 6 of their last 7 games. Donovan McNabb has played well in recent weeks after suffering a lot of mid-season criticism. Since being benched for underperforming, McNabb has thrown for 1,663 yards 11 touchdowns and only 4 picks in the last 7 contest. However, the real success behind the Eagles late season surge lies in the play of the defense. The Eagles defense has been absolutely outstanding not allowing over two touchdowns in 6 straight games. Philadelphia beat Arizona in week 13 convincingly 48-20. Arizona appears to be vastly improved this time around with the offense back to performing well and receiving some help from the defense that has been missing all season. The Eagles out gained the Cardinals in total yards in that meeting 437-260. Arizona will try to attempt to have a better defensive performance this time around and make a few more plays behind the arm of veteran QB Kurt Warner. Philadelphia’s Michael Westbrook is a big time back that can be equally dangerous catching passes. Westbrook had 110 rushing yards along with 20 receiving yards and tied a team record with 4 touchdowns in the last meeting. Westbrook could likely be the difference maker again this Sunday when the two teams collide for the second time. Arizona will need to step up and shut down Westbrook and the emerging Philadelphia offense to earn their first ever trip to the Super Bowl.
2008 AFC Championship Game Preview
Baltimore Ravens (13-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4)
Date: Sunday January 18, 2009
Time: 6:30PM (EST)
Spread: Pittsburgh -6 (@ Oddsmaker)
NFL Football Preview: Anybody say defense? The two best defenses in the NFL will collide for the 2nd time this season when the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens. Earlier this season, Ben Roethlisberger led a game winning drive with 43 seconds left in the game to capture a 13-9 victory over the Ravens in one of the best old school style football games we have seen in a long time. Both teams enter the game playing extremely well and whoever wins will likely be a favorite to win the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh owns one of the best defenses to take the field in the last decade. Pittsburgh ranks 1st in scoring, total yards, and passing defense. The Steelers are only giving up 14 points per game this season and they will look to hold the Ravens to low numbers as they did in the first meeting. Last time these two teams met, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with WR Hines Ward often and they proved to be the difference in the ball game. Roethlisberger threw for 246 yards with 107 of them being pulled in by Ward. The Pittsburgh offense has not performed extremely well this season and they will need a big performance this Sunday. In a game that will likely be controlled by defenses, it will be interesting to see which offense can rise to the challenge. Baltimore has been improving on offense every week and this is not the same team that played the Steelers earlier in the year. Rookie QB Joe Flacco is maturing behind center. Flacco was plagued by interceptions early this season, but the rookie has not thrown a single pick in 5 games. Baltimore can not afford to turn the ball over in this game considering they gave two away by interceptions in the last meeting. Field position will likely be a big factor in this defensive battle and every mistake will be crucial for both teams. Baltimore ranks 2nd in the NFL in total defense behind the Steelers. The Ravens defense is only allowing 10 points per contest in their last 8 games. The Ravens look to take control of a Pittsburgh offense that has struggled at times this year and capitalize in a game that means the most with the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. Early weather forecast are calling for snow showers with frigid temperatures meaning this game could turn out to be another very low scoring affair. It has been proven that defenses win Championships and both of these defenses are among the best in the NFL. Which defense will be able to cap off the season with a Super Bowl appearance?
2009-10 NFL Superbowl Preview
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (12-7)
Date: Sunday February 1, 2009
Time: 6:00PM (EST)
Spread: Pittsburgh -6.5 (@ Oddsmaker)
NFL Football Preview: Tampa Bay, F.L will be the site of Super Bowl XLIII between the AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFC Champions the Arizona Cardinals. The Super Bowl is the most anticipated sporting event every year, not to mention the biggest betting event of the year as well. Super Bowl XLIII promises to be an exciting match-up highlighting a high octane offense from the Arizona Cardinals and the extremely dominant defense from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh appeared to be the best team throughout the year in the AFC and they were also favorites entering the playoffs. The Steelers have yet to disappoint during the postseason with two solid wins and have yet to be really challenged. Arizona on the other hand was a huge underdog coming into the Playoffs. The Cardinals sneaked into the postseason with a lousy 9-7 record benefiting from the weak NFC West. However, once the postseason got under way the powerful Cardinal offense that started the season and then slowly vanished came back like a strike of lightning. Arizona sported the 4th best offense in terms of total yards during the regular season averaging 376 yards per game. Kurt Warner has been absolutely incredible leading the team as an experienced veteran would do late in the season. Warner has produced over 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns on the year and appears to be the perfect fit for the Cardinal offense in this type of situation. Warner will be trying to lead Arizona to their first ever Super Bowl victory, something he did with the St. Louis Rams back in 2000. Larry Fitzgerald has been magnificent in the last few weeks breaking a post-season record with 419 receiving yards. Fitzgerald also became the first wide receiver to catch 3 touchdown passes in the first half of the NFC Championship. Fitzgerald will be the difference maker on offense for the Cardinals and hopefully be effective enough to find some ways to foil the Steelers impeccable defense. Pittsburgh defense has gotten the most attention this year. However, they have deserved it ranking 1st in almost every major defensive category holding teams to 13.9 points and 237 yards per game. The Pittsburgh defense can be argued as one of the greatest 11 to ever step on a field together. However, lately the Steelers offense has really been striving despite their struggles much of the regular season. The Steelers are averaging 30 points per game in their two games in the playoffs and including the season finale against the Browns. QB Ben Roethlisberger threw as many interceptions as anyone in the NFL this season, but has yet to throw a pick during the playoffs. Pittsburgh will likely try and run the ball a good bit behind tailback Willie Parker in attempt to control the pace of the game and keep the Arizona offense off the field. Parker had 146 yards in the first game of the playoffs and if he could have another similar performance it would be huge for the Steelers. As mentioned before this is the biggest betting game of the year. Statistics show that slightly over half of the betting public around 55% are favoring with the Cardinals to cover the 6.5 point spread and nearly 70% of the public is favoring the over 46.5 total due to both teams surging offenses. Oddsmakers has also got a ton of prop bets that bettors have the luxury of placing a wager with. There are a ton of different spreads with different odds to bet on from Arizona favored by 3 (+300) to Pittsburgh being favored 20.5 (+400) and there will be plenty of more to chose from leading up to game time that will give everyone exciting ways to place a wager on this year’s Super Bowl.