Atlanta Falcons vs Arizona Cardinals Playoff Preview

NFL Wildcard Saturday (one of the best days of the year for football fans) kicks off with the gem game of the weekend perhaps. Fresh off the news that Matt Ryan has won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Atlanta takes their high flying offensive attack to meet another high flying offensive attack in the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Falcons were a team I didn’t think would amount to much. They didn’t interest me. You know what? Not only are they a fun team to play with on Madden 2009, but they really have some things that interest the casual football fan.

They’ve got a young QB with a big arm in Ryan. He makes big throws during clutch moments and he’s a tough young leader. They’ve got a running back who is half big play half grinder in Micheal Turner. They’ve got a big wideout in Roddy White. Their defense features players like Jonathan Babineaux and Curtis Lofton. Although Lawyer Milloy and Jamal Anderson have some injury questions they still have enough on defense to cause some problems for the high flying Cardinals.

The Cardinals boast one of the most prolific passing attacks in the league with Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston taking in passes from Kurt Warner. They don’t have any semblance of a running game and it will probably keep them from advancing far in these playoffs. Still, they’ve made the playoffs for the first time in 10 years and they won’t go down easily.

Who I want to win: Falcons. A team like this that added a few pieces and a new coach is very intriguing to me. It gives hopes that a team like the Browns can make a quick turnaround next season. I like Matt Ryan, he’s quiet and he just shows up and plays. If it weren’t for the G-Men, the Falcons would be my playoff horse that I’d ride all the way through.

Who will win: Atlanta is going to take this game by a score of 31-27. It is going to be a high scoring boat race. Should be a lot of fun to watch and an excellent game to open up a slate of playoff games. Atlanta moves on in a tight game with a touchdown late in the 4th quarter.

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It’s Christmas

So another Christmas has arrived. No football on tonight except for those Golden Domers of Notre Dame (big win). Hope every reader and their family had a wonderful Holiday and realized what the holiday is all about. So watch Bad Santa or Christmas Vacation and steal a frozen Christmas cookie from the freezer before they’re put out. It’s the best holiday on earth. Plus the upcoming weekend is going to go down like a shootout in the O.K. Corral.

He’s already been to my place; and 2008 will always be remembered as the year of the Santa Tracker:

Champions Until the End

What a game that went down at the Land of the Sopranos (the Meadowlands) this past sunday. It doesn’t get much better than that. Eli Manning leads his team back from deficits of 21-10 and 28-20, hitting a key 2 point conversion pass beautifully to Dominic Hixon to tie the game.

The missed field goal by Carney in regulation to allow the game to go to overtime. This was the first game all season I found myself screaming at the television and actually getting into it.

WHAT A GAME.
You could tell that even the players knew what they were part of in the moment. The anouncing team of Madden and Micheals knew they were taking in a classic. The fans there saw one of the better regular season games to be played in the past 25 years. So much was at stake. No hotter team in football at the present than Carolina. It felt a lot like last year’s championship run in the playoffs didn’t it? Felt a little bit like the rallying cry the Giants had against the Pats in week 17 last year where they just kept hanging around and hanging around. So the Giants deliver an early Christmas present to so many with this win. It didn’t look good at times but they hung tough and they’ve the talk of football again, or at least the NFC.
There should be concerns as far as a few things go but for now this team has proven that you can’t “put them on paper” or talk x’s and o’s (at least not every week), and sometimes with teams that are special like these Giants I don’t think you can measure the character they have against the things against them. They are champions in every sense of the word. They’re under-manned and they just keep swinging.
A few things that will always stand out:
-Derrick Ward’s effort and the way he couldn’t be stopped on the ground.
-Justin Tuck getting through the game barely, sick as a dog but still gutting it out.
-Eli Manning had a nice night: 17/27, 181, TD, 0 INT. The converting of some key third downs were huge by Manning.
-Corey Webster’s play on Steve Smith to save the Panthers from getting into close field goal range with no time left.
-Kevin Boss showed up to play.

Eli Manning, Pro Bowler

Finally, Eli Manning is a Pro Bowler. Manning in his 5th season was named to his first Pro Bowl along with 6 other Giants players (Tuck, Snee, O’Hara, Feagles, Carney).

Eli and Peyton Manning become the first set of brothers to ever play in the Pro Bowl. Eli has completed 60.3 % of his passes for 2938 yards and 20 TD compared to only 10 interceptions. Manning’s passer rating is 86.4 for the season.

Pretty happy that Eli has accomplished this, beating out other passers in the NFC like Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Donovan Mcnabb. Hopefully this is the first in a long line of Pro Bowl selections for Eli.