Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The AFC Championship Game Brady vs Manning

   With New England's victory over the Chiefs and the Denver victory over an out-manned Pittsburgh Steeler team, pits the two premiere  future Hall  of Fame QB's in the AFC. Tom  Brady and Peyton Manning. This will be the fifth meeting in the playoffs between these two quarterbacks and each has won 2 of 4 games. This will be the most any two quarterbacks have met in the playoffs. This game will certainly provide the winner with playoff bragging rights for the winner. Most of the supporting casts have changed from the earlier match ups and even the team and city have changed for Manning but because previous match ups were so entertaining It will be worth watching this time around. 
   In his first playoff postseason game against the Patriots, Manning was intercepted four times and the Patriots came out on top with a 24-14 win. Although Manning has averaged only one interception per playoff game for his career, he has a 5.1 interception rate this season. A telling sign for Manning's success or failure will be whether he gets intercepted early on in this encounter. If Manning does not hold on to the ball and control the flow of the game Brady will certainly take advantage and the game of possession will favor the Pats and a possible Patriot win. 
   Manning was able to finally beat the Patriots and Brady in the 2007 AFC championship game by a 38-34 score when he played with the Colts and then they  went on to win the Superbowl. That game proved that Manning can come from behind to win as the Colts came from a 21-3 deficit to finally take the lead at the end of the game. However, Brady has the upper hand on comebacks and game winning drives if it ever comes down to that scenario. Lately, it looks like the last two times these two quarterbacks have met and three of  the four match ups have been in the AFC Championship Game, with Manning having won two of the three. Moreover, Manning is 2-0 versus Brady in the playoffs since 2006. 
   In the latest installment of Brady vs Manning head-to-head in 2014, the Patriots simply fell behind by too much against Denver, losing the AFC title by a score of 26-16. Brady didn't do bad in this game and went 24 of 38 passing with 277 yards but couldn't get into the end zone until the  fourth quarter and it was too late for a comeback. Home field is definitely an advantage for the Broncos and Manning and it seems that Manning's passer rating is much better at home and results in wins. 
   Both quarterbacks have done well in playoff games and both of them have started in more than 20 postseason games. Only 10 quarterbacks have won at least 10 postseason games in NFL history. Manning has 23 postseason games under his belt and has won won 11 and lost 13 at is at a .458 clip.  Brady on the other hand has appeared in 27 playoff games and the only player with more playoff appearances is Jerry Rice with 29. Brady has a respectable 19 playoff wins with 8 losses which gives him a .704 winning percentage. 
In head-to-head matches between the two, Brady leads Manning by an 11-5 margin in the 16 times that these two have faced each other. They have 2 wins each in the playoffs and wins have gone in Manning's favor in their most recent encounters in 2006-07 and 2014-15. Brady's team beat Manning's Colts teams in 2003-04 and 2004-05. The duo's stats in the playoffs have been exceptional with throwing at a 62.3 clip with 6,791 and 46 TD's with 23 interceptions for Brady. Manning on the other hand in his 23 playoff games has a 64.3 passing percentage with 6,589 yards, 37 TD's but has 24 INT's. That's why if Manning is not on target, it could spell trouble for the Broncos. 
   As for SuperBowls. Manning has made the Big Show three times and has won one and lost two Brady seems to be head and shoulders above Manning on that subject. Brady has been to the SuperBowl six times, winning in 2001-02, 2003-04 and 2004-05 while losing 2007-08 and 2011-12. Four of Brady’s Super Bowl appearances were decided by three points. the most recent in 2012 was decided by four points (21-17 loss to the New York Giants). Brady's four wins ties him with the most wins in a SuperBowl with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. 
It looks like the betting line on this AFC Championship game between these two premiere QB's is favoring the New England Patriots but the  Broncos are at home and Manning plays better at home. It should be another prelude to the next game for the winner and another disappointing season for the loser as these two teams are geared to get to that last game, The SuperBowl. I'll be glued to the tube with my weary eyes taking in the game.

Monday, January 18, 2016

NFC Championship Game

Sunday's big NFC championship game should be a doozy. For the first time two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks will face each other in the championship game. First let's look at the final year in each of the two Heisman Trophy winners' college years and then look at this seasons' performance and try and decide which one should come out ahead in this game.. Usually Heisman Trophy winners are a bust in the NFL, a most recent winner comes to mind and that was that first round quarterback for the Cards, Matt Leinart.  
Palmer who played for USC and was a five year red-shirt freshman and played for Coach Paul Hackett for the first two years of his college career and played his final two seasons for Coach Pete Carroll. Palmer finished the last college season of his amateur career with 309 completions in 489 attempts with a completion percentage of 63.2%. He had 3.942 passing yards and 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He broke the school record for most completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season while winning the Heisman in 2002. His career totals at USC were 72 passing TD's, 49 interceptions, 927 completions on 1.569 attempts with a total of 11,818 passing yards.Palmer also broke the PAC-10 records for completions, attempts and passing yards.  
Palmer became the number 1 overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft and was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals. He learned the pro quarterback position in practice his rookie season as he took no snaps from center during that first year. Palmer is in his 13th season in the NFL and in his two previous appearances in the playoffs before the most recent one, Palmer has not fared well. But losing in the first round both times. Last year the Cardinals played the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs but both Palmer and his Backup were injured and they lost to CarolinaBut this year could be the season that he finally breaks through but he has one more hurdle to jump over and that hurdle is Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. 
Cam Newton was a highly recruited high school quarterback and he chose to attend the University of Florida. As a freshman in 2007 he won the backup job to starter Tim Tebow and played in 5 games going 5 for 10 passes for 40 yards and ran 16 times for 106 yards.The following year 2008, he was red-shirted with an ankle injury in the Gators opener against Hawaii. Then came the problems, in November Newton was arrested for buying stolen property after he purchased a stolen laptop computer which was found in his possession. After being suspended and the charges dropped after a court completed diversion program he withdrew from the University of Florida just 3 days before the Gators won the national championship. 
Newton then transferred to a Junior college, Blinn College in Brenham, Texas. During the season with Blinn his team went on to win the NJCAA National Football Championship. Newton turned out to be the most high recruited quarterback from either high school or JC.As a result Newton chose to attend Auburn University. 
In his initial season with Auburn in 2010 Newton finished with a national championship, the Heisman Trophy and many other honors and decided to forgo his senior year. His stats for the Tigers were 280 passing attempts, 185 pass completions, 2,908 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 7 interceptions and had a 66.1% completion rate. His running was instrumental in many of Auburn's wins and during the season he had 285 rushing attempts and 1.586 rushing yards at a 5.6 yard average. 
Cam Newton was selected the 1st overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. Newton signed a $22 million fully guaranteed 4 year contract with the Panthers. Wven though his team went 6-10, he had an exceptional rookie sean and was named NFL Rookie of the Year and Pro bowl honors. 
Newton has led the Panthers to the playoffs the last three seasons from 2013-2015 and losing in the first round in 2013, and the second round in 2014. Could this be their year? We will sure find out coming this Sunday. They have been on a roll winning 14 straight games before losing one. It may look lke this is their year to go all the way. The only thing standing in their way in the NFC is the Arizona Cardinals and Carson Palmer.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

   It's a lazy Sunday morning and here I am watching the playoffs. Seattle is getting pummeled by Carolina by 31 to zip and it is two minutes till halftime and the Panthers have the ball yet again. Looks like lights out for the Seahawks unless they can muster a comeback to rival any ever in the playoffs. It's difficult enough to score 31 points in a game much less in one half. 
   I didn't see much of the games yesterday but it looks like New England made the AFC championship game for the umpteenth time with Brady at the helm. I think that's the fifth straight time they've made it one game away from a Superbowl. Almost reminds of the time that Jim Kelley took Buffalo to four straight Superbowls although Kelly was completely shutout and came up empty on SB's but at least Brady went to the Big Show and has won it at a 50% clip winning in 2011 and 2014The score in yesterday's game was  a one score margin in a 27-20 win but I didn't watch the game and maybe it was or wasn't as close as one TD. It's looks like Brady shredded the defense with his laser throw for 302 yards and two touchdowns.  
  The other game the NFC divisional playoff game was also a good game that I missed and it was tied at regulation and the Arizona Cardinals squeaked out a 26-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in overtime. This one will be called the 're-flip' coin toss playoff game. Apparently, when the captains were asked for "heads or tail", Rodgers called tails and the Referee tossed the coin up. The coin took a turn for the worst and stayed in a flat trajectory and didn't flip and it came up heads. The Packers complained so the referee decided to try that little trick again and this time it did flip and Rodgers lost the toss again. You would think that if you got two tosses and you came up short you have nothing to complain about but the Packers are complaining because on the re-flip he didn't ask the teams whether they wanted to change their selections of 'heads or tails'. There is nothing in the rule book that calls for a re-flip if the coin refuses to cooperate. I would assume that if you lose two coin flips the forces of nature are against you and there is no way you are going to win the game. The Packers came up short.  
   I am no longer watching the Seahawk-Panther playoff game and I'm watching the Barcelona-Athletico Spanish futbol game. Messi has scored on a free kick and Neymar just scored on a beautiful flip over the goal keepeer's attempt to come up and stop the charge. Barca is winning 2-0 before halftime. 
   There is the next AFC divisional game that pits the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Looks like Peyton Manning will have another rematch wwith his nemesis Tom Brady next week. The reason I say this is because the Steelers seem to be banged up with several key players either hurting or out of the game and the Broncos have the home field. The oddsmakers are making the Broncos a 7-point favorite although they have stumbled in this situation more often than they've succeeded. This time however they should get over the hump and they'll meet the Pats next week. 
   It sure looks like the Carolina Panther's are on a roll and the NFC should come out on top in the Big FinaleSuper Bowl XXX or whatever that number is. I think they are no longer using Roman Numerals for the super Bowl and I think this one is number 50. I remember they used to show all the Super Bowls starting with Super Bowl I, but now it would take three days to show all those games. During the week I will gave my predictions and a synopsis for both the AFC and NFC championship games leading up to the Big Kahuna, The Super Bowl

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