Tag:7PointPlayoffPreview
Posted on: January 6, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Chiefs vs. Ravens: 7-Point Wild Card Preview

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. Baltimore Ravens (No. 5, AFC, 12-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (No. 4, AFC, 10-6)

Despite the fifth seed, the Ravens have to be considered one of the favorites for the AFC title. The Chiefs catch a break by playing Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium – where Kansas City is tough to beat – but Todd Haley’s squad will be considered the underdogs in this one. The Chiefs aren’t as healthy, they’re not as experienced in the postseason and they’re simply not as talented as the Ravens. Simple as that.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



After such a hot start to the season, Kansas City wasn’t quite as impressive in the final, oh, 13 games of the season, going an unremarkable (though by AFC West standards, phenomenal) 7-6. But you have to remember, the Chiefs went 2-4 in division play, and, in case you didn’t know, that’s not real good. Besides, in the playoffs you like to see top QBs go head to head (Manning vs. Brady; Favre vs. Vick; etc.). Matt Cassel vs. Joe Flacco isn’t quite as enticing and therefore, only worth 3/5 Moras.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Ravens RB Ray Rice vs. Chiefs LBs

In the Chiefs 3-4 defensive scheme, Kansas City’s LBs are counted on to help stop the opponent’s run game. Overall this season, the Chiefs were pretty average in this regard, ranking 14th in the league by allowing 109.4 rushing yards per game. And Rice is anything but average.

You already know about the 1,220 yards gained this season and the five rushing touchdowns to go with it, but Rice has become of the league’s premier rushers in part because he doesn’t lose fumbles. That’s right. This season, despite 307 carries and 63 catches, Rice fumbled the ball exactly zero times. The Chiefs, by the way, caused 15 fumbles this season, the eighth-best mark in the league.

Kansas City has gotten good production out of LB Tamba Hali – he’s been the most explosive of his career this season with an AFC-best 14.5 sacks – and LB Derrick Johnson on the inside has been more than solid for the Chiefs.

If Hall and company can slow down Rice and make him less effective, that will allow the Chiefs to target Baltimore QB Joe Flacco, who doesn’t play great under constant pressure from the defense. But even then, Rice is still a big part of the team’s offense, catching a variety of passes out of the backfield.

He’s not easy to stop – the Steelers are the only squad this season to make Rice irrelevant – but if the Chiefs linebackers can slow him down, that’ll be a big help in pulling the upset.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

When Chiefs DE Shaun Smith played in Cincinnati, one of the local scribes nicknamed him "Hamburglar." In fact, one day, the reporter asked him if it was OK to call him by the new nickname, and Smith responded, "That’s fine. I like it." That’s why this video is so relevant.



Besides, the McDonald’s gag is better than any number of videos that the infamous Smith could have been involved with this season.

Like this one where, before viewing, you must turn your head to the side and cough.



5. The Chiefs will win if ...

They can continue to rely on their running game. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones have combined for 2,363 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, and with their help, Cassel hasn’t had to be the one to hoist the team on his shoulders.

6. The Ravens will win if ...

They force Cassel to have to beat them. Baltimore ranks fifth in the league against the run, and if they can force Kansas City into third and longs – or better yet, build a big enough lead that would turn the Chiefs into a pass-heavy offense – the Ravens will earn their third road playoff victory in the past three seasons.

7. Prediction: Ravens 20, Chiefs 7
Posted on: January 6, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 11:11 am
 

Seahawks vs. Saints: 7-Point Wild Card Preview

Posted by Andy Benoit



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. New Orleans Saints (No. 5, NFC, 11-5) @ Seattle Seahawks (No. 4, NFC, 7-9)

The 2010 Saints essentially became the first wild card team in history to get a bye when they drew the matchup against the hapless/fruitless/pathetic/laughabl
e/embarrassing NFC West Champion Seahawks. Seattle can obviously play the “nobody believes in us card”. It’s not even a card to play – it’s more just a fact. But it doesn’t matter because nobody believes in their ability to play the “nobody believes in us card” anyway. And nobody cares if the Seahawks have a chip on their shoulder or something to prove or are out for respect or whatever it is bad teams say before big games. So you say nobody thinks you deserve to be here, Seattle? You’re correct. And all the nobodies are correct, too.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking (On a scale of 5 'Jim Mora Faces')





3. Key Matchup to Watch: Drew Brees & Sean Payton vs. Seahawks D

It’s simple, really: the Seahawks don’t have the firepower to keep up with the Saints. Which is why you can expect the Saints to look to establish a big lead early. Obviously any team would like to establish a big lead early. The difference with New Orleans is that they have a coach who is willing and knows how to do it. The Saints are arguably the best play-scripting team in football. Don’t be surprised if you see 15 different formations in New Orleans’ first 15 plays. Most of those formations will be of the spread variety, given that Drew Brees prefers to get as many weapons as possible involved, and given that New Orleans has all but ignored the run the last three weeks.

Brees will take a keen interest in the Seahawks cornerbacks, neither of whom matches up well with Robert Meachem (expect Meachem to be the No. 1 target given that Marques Colston is questionable after having arthroscopic knee surgery last Tuesday). Kelly Jennings lacks size and Marcus Trufant is inconsistent in deep man-to-man coverage. Seahawks fourth-round rookie Walter Thurmond will also be tempting to pick on, especially if he has to handle the precise route running of Lance Moore.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

If the Saints watch this video sometime during the week, don’t be surprised if Sean Payton, out of support for an angry Reggie Bush (and inside word is Bush is definitely angry) giddily runs up the score on the former USC head coach.



5. The Saints will win if ...

They show up and nothing ridiculous happens.

6. The Seahawks will win if ...

They are on the fortunate end of a fluke turnover (or two…or three) and can gather energy from the home crowd that they don’t deserve to be playing in front of.

7. Prediction: Saints 35, Seahawks 13
Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:35 am
Edited on: January 7, 2011 11:14 am
 

Colts vs. Jets: 7-Point Playoff Wild Card Preview

Posted by Andy Benoit

CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point playoff preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. And as an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. New York Jets (No. 6, AFC, 11-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (No. 3, AFC, 10-6)

Rex Ryan is getting yet another crack at a legendary quarterback who is 5-0 all-time against him (counting Ryan’s days as the Ravens defensive coordinator…and NOT counting the Week 16 Curtis Painter Game from last year). Ryan calls his matchup with Peyton Manning “personal” – almost like it’s a foot fetish issue or something. Or maybe by “personal” Ryan means that he takes the losses personal (yeah…probably that one). In that case, someone can inform Ryan that Manning isn’t making it personal – he tries to exploit the holes of every opposing coach’s system.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking (On a scale of 5 'Jim Mora Faces')



AFC Championship rematch? Definitely worthy of primetime slot and 5/5 Jim Mora Faces. (And any game that follows an NFC West-related game is going to naturally look great by comparison.)

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Jets DB's Drew Coleman & Dwight Lowery vs. Colts Blair White & Jacob Tamme

The winner of this weakness-on-weakness matchup could very well determine the outcome of the game. About 10 seconds after they learned they were playing the Colts, the Jets announced that shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis would shadow 111-catch wideout Reggie Wayne. In the past, Manning has had no problem going elsewhere with the ball when Wayne is bracketed by safety help or facing a superstar cover artist.

Manning’s No. 2 option Saturday is Pierre Garcon, though Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie poses a tough challenge. Cromartie does not have the physicality or technique to grind with the über-strong Garcon, but his lanky 6’2” frame and ball skills give him lethal playmaking prowess. Manning knows all about that playmaking prowess – he’s been picked off four times by the ex-Charger (three coming in an ’07 Sunday night contest).

And so we get to Manning’s third read: wideout Blair White or tight end Jacob Tamme (depending on the formation). Both are better options than you’d guess but, of course, worse options than their injured predecessors (Austin Collie and Dallas Clark). What makes White’s and Tamme’s wild card contributions significant is that the Jets ancillary pass defenders have struggled mightily at times this season. The 45-3 shellacking from the Patriots, for example, was a product of Tom Brady throwing repeatedly to whichever receiver New York’s backup corners lined up against. That said, White and Tamme are not as dynamic as Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez.

As defensive backs go, Coleman and Lowery are both very good blitzers. Though he hasn’t done so nearly as often this season, perhaps Ryan will elect to gamble. Manning, however, is revered around the league for his ability to punish a blitz (he has mastered “the little things”). In all likelihood, the Jets are going to have to rely on their backup defenders winning their man-to-man matchups. Ironically (and fortunately), those matchups are against Indy’s backups.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

There is a certain video involving a certain member of the Jets coaching staff circulating around the internet these days, but at some we have to commit to having maturity and class. So, we’ll pass along something else. Because interceptions were a bit of a bugaboo for Indy’s quarterback this season, and because this game (like all playoff games….and all games in general) will probably come down to turnovers, we’re going with The Manning Face.



5. The Colts will win if ...

Their defense can hold an opponent to 80 yards rushing or less for a fourth straight game. In fact, keeping the Jets’ sixth-ranked rushing attack under 125 yards would probably do the trick.

6. The Jets will win if ...

They can maintain a simplistic, ball-control oriented gameplan for Mark Sanchez. Doing that involves playing for field position, keeping the score close by limiting the Colts’ possessions early and banking on at least one big play (think Brad Smith kick return, Santonio Holmes catch-and-run or a turnover that leads to immediate points).

7. Prediction: Colts 24, Jets 17
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com