Posts Tagged ‘Peyton Manning’

Boldin and Fitzgerald will show their class during the crazy Wild Card weekend

Boldin and Fitzgerald will show their class during the crazy Wild Card weekend (Pic Lacy Atkins/The Chronicle)

This is where it all matters, where all the effort means death or glory, over four or maybe even five quarters.

I for one did not expect to see the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins or the Minnesota Vikings in the post season.
As for the Eagles, Colts, Chargers and Ravens – I thought they were capable of making it to part 2. I also had a degree of expectation that the Arizona Cardinals could scrape a wild card, but with such a weak division they surprised many and won a home playoff game.
Here are my predictions for the crazy crazy Wild Card Weekend………..
AFC
Sat., Jan. 3, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Indianapolis (12-4) @ San Diego (8-8)
Colts to win 31-27 – This will be some revenge for Peyton Manning and his Colts, who were killed off by the Chargers in the playoffs last season. I have a feeling the Colts will jump out to an early 14-0 lead but the Chargers will then dominate right up until the final drive, where Dominic Rhodes punches the winner in from 3 yards away.
Sun., Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Baltimore (11-5) @ Miami (11-5)
Baltimore to win 23-10 – This will unfortunately be a proverbial wicked witch coming down from her broomstick to spoil the fairytale Dolphins season. Not a pretty game to watch the Ravens will rely on their running game with Rice and McClain showing that they have plenty left in the tank. Pennington will again be accurate but he will not have the time to get big 10 play 80 yard drives.
NFC
Sat., Jan. 3, 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Atlanta (11-5) @ Arizona (9-7)
Arizona to win 27-24 (OT) – This is my upset special even if the Cardinals are the division winning home team. Atlanta will look to establish the run with Michael Turner and the underrated Jerious Norwood (who I think could start somewhere like Denver). Kurt Warner will be expecting the pass rush from John Abraham, but with 3 1000 yard wideouts in his arsenal this will be the time for Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to show that they are the top tandem in the NFL.
Sun., Jan 4, 4:30 p.m. ET, FOX
Philadelphia (9-6-1) @ Minnesota (10-6)
Philadelphia to win 29-16 – Brian Westbrook will show the entire NFL world that he is the best all purpose back in the NFL, as he goes for 175 all purpose yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Petersen will show some potential, but the playoff pressure will get to him and he will ultimately be the second best back on the field. One of the no name Eagles wideouts will get a huge td – someone like Hank Baskett or Jason Avant – and that will kill off the Vikings.
Cue the counter arguments……….
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Chris Horton (right) had an impressive NFL debut - photo by Greg Burmann

Chris Horton (right) had an impressive NFL debut - photo by Greg Burmann

OK its only the pre-season, with the likelihood of Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison or Dwight Freeney even suiting up for the Hall of Fame Game the same as Elvis Presley doing the half-time show at the next Superbowl.

It doesn’t¬†matter however as we have seen our first collective glimpse of the 2008 season, albeit an artificial one, with undrafted free agents, obscure rookies and third string quarterbacks steering their ships.¬†

I for one will eat my own Art Monk Hall of Fame commemorative hat (ordered directly from Canton) if Jared Lorenzen gets as many regular season snaps as an Indianapolis Colt as he did on Sunday.  

It may surprise all you non UK based blog readers that in England (and Scotland) we actually get to see about 7 or 8 NFL pre-season games live over here on satellite television (Sky Sports). Its only the second year that Sky Sports have shown these games, but to all UK fans it is a big bonus getting to see the rookies that were drafted in April try to prove themselves in what are essentially games that you want to get through without injury more than you actually want to win.

So what were my impressions of the Hall of Fame game between the Washington Redskins and the Indianapolis Colts….

1) Redskins rookie free safety Chris Horton¬†managed to recover a fumbled onside kick, get two sacks on Jared ‘the human barrell’¬†Lorenzen and even register 5 tackles. The 23 year old from UCLA is fighting for a roster spot and in my eyes played his heart out. With Stuart Schweigert cut from the team today and Reed Doughty just not good enough to become a pro-bowler it is up to Horton to prove that this game was no fluke.

2) Redskins quarterbacks only managed two incompletions in the game, up until they bought on 4th stringer Derek Devine, who went 0-1.¬†Skins head coach Jim Zorn must like Devine as he was a Seahawk in 2007, but with Jason Campbell looking confident tossing an early to to Antuwan Randl El, Todd Collins looking like a prototypical¬†veteran backup and Colt Brennan¬†and his bizarre side slinging action looking mightily impressive against the Colts backup db’s Devine may not be seeing a lot¬†of action very soon.

3) The Colts are true poker players, like most of the NFL teams in the early pre-season they will not reveal their hand at such an early point in August. It was good to see Dominic Rhodes back in the blue and white uniform of¬†Indy, and judging by¬†his cameo appearance he will play an important role in 2008. As for any real analysis it’s bloody hard as 8 different¬†Colts ran the ball and 13 Colts caught passes.

Above all we have NFL football back on our tv screens in England and America, and aside from the Brett Favre nonsense,¬†I’m enjoying every minute of NFL pre-season action, even¬†though it does not in any way reflect the potential of any of the 32¬†NFL teams.

Coach Zorn knows that this game means nothing, but he will have a small smile on his face this week knowing that the season is a month away and his team are already clicking.