Wild card weekend review, Eli & more @ NFLRT 1/13

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Some playoff chatter… a Wild Card weekend review and how long ha Eli got left to add to his NFL resume and a whole lot more this week for the roundtable to talk about…

1) The Atlanta Falcons are the #2 seed in the NFC and there is hardly any news at all about them in the media, on any of the social media sites or at the water cooler at work… Why?  And, since we’re on the topic… in your opinion what are their chance of making the Super Bowl? 

Chad: Their Offense is as good as anybody’s and they wouldn’t have to deal with the elements the rest of the postseason. I will mark it at a 20% chance of making the Super Bowl.

Dan: I think Atlanta is one of the most under rated teams in the league. Granted they were easily able to move out of the South and into the playoffs, but that doesn’t take away how talented their offense is. They’re almost unstoppable on offense.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan

You saw Julio Jones explode for 300 yards in a game. They’re playing Seattle. While Seattle can shut down Julio Jones with Richard Sherman, they’re going to be in for a long game because they can’t stop everybody. While I don’t think Atlanta has a good shot at making the Super Bowl, they’re a good enough team where they can. They just need their defense to start clicking better. Their offense can take them, but I think their defense is a liability. They can beat Seattle at home. But against Green Bay? I think GB will win this match-up, especially with how recent history of post-season play has been. I think Dallas will beat Atlanta by 2 scores.

David: The Falcons have snuck under the radar, Matt Ryan has always been a tease, and the one player anyone knows about Julio Jones has been quiet on the biggest stage. The Falcons are the Washington Huskies of the playoffs.

The media has to generate reasons to make us care, and with Dallas, NE, GB, Eli, etc, there simply isn’t time for a soundbite media to care.

Earl: It is weird how little buzz the Falcons are getting. The Cowboys, Packers, and Seahawks all have more buzz and Atlanta could be the best team of the four.

With that said, they are going to have to make a statement this weekend against the Seahawks. I think the only way to make the NFL world sit up and take notice, will be to beat the Seahawks. Problem with that is that their defense isn’t that great. The Falcons offense has carried their season, and they will be matched up against a tough Seahawks defense.

So, that lack of buzz, might be justified, if,l they lose this weekend to the Seahawks.

2) The NY Giants just got lambasted in their Wild Card game match-up with Green Bay. They scored only 13 points. For the season they averaged 19.4 points barely… it was actually 19.375. 

Part 1: QBs generally get the credit when a team is going good so does Eli Manning (36-years-old) deserve the “credit” when his team can’t score? 

Part 2: Is it time for the Giants’ front office hierarchy to seriously start hoping that there is a Dak Prescott buried down in the 4th round of this year’s draft? 

Chad: Odell did not have a good game in a big spot which definitely hurt but Eli should start to be blamed for bad offensive performances as he is the 2-time (MVP) Super Bowl Champion that is looked upon to help his team win the big games.

NY Giants' QB Eli Manning
NY Giants’ QB Eli Manning

I would say that it is indeed time for the NYG to start looking at a backup/replacement/QB in waiting to make the transition from Eli to a new team to help the Giants stay competitive especially with the talent that is in Dallas.

Dan: I think Eli Manning does need to shoulder some of the blame, but, also the defense needs to be held accountable for allowing Rodgers to do what he did. The receivers need to be held accountable as well due to all their drops.

While Rodgers is an awesome quarterback, he has shown that he can be stopped. And, they had good pressure on him in the first half. They just couldn’t finish the job. I don’t think a lot of the blame should just fall on Eli, just like most of the credit shouldn’t fall on Rodgers. I do think NYG should look into a quarterback later in the draft as a possible back-up to Eli Manning, but it’s not a crucial need right now. They have some time. Eli still has his active consecutive games streak going currently at over 200. He’s on pace to break Peyton Manning’s record. He just doesn’t miss games. And, that’s why it’s a lot more difficult to justify reaching for a QB this year.

David: P1: If, Eli played anywhere but NY or had another last name he’ed be gone. Is he that much better than Andy Dalton?

P2: EVERY team wants to find a starter in the 4th round. EVERY team would give away it’s Super Bowl allotment for a Dak Prescott in that years NFL Draft. The question for Dak is what happens when the best O-Line in football is wanting to get paid.

Earl: Eli had a great start to the game. The Giants offensive line gave him time to throw, but his receivers did not get the job done.

As per part 2 of the question, the Giants should have a decent QB in their backup Ryan Nassib who was drafted in the 4th round a few years ago. I do think they will need to bring in another young QB in order to keep pressure on Nassib, but, I wouldn’t worry about that in this year’s draft. What the Giants need more than anything is to shore up the running back position. They need at least two back there. A playmaker type and someone who can run for 25 to 30 carries a game when the weather gets rough.

3)Who makes the NFL playoffs first… the NY Jets or the Cleveland Browns? Why?

Chad: I’ll say the Jets just because I do not see any hope in Cleveland to turn it around soon.

Dan: I think the Jets. I feel like they’re closer, they have  a better team and they just need some execution from the coaches and solid quarterback play in order to squeeze into the playoffs.

Was the 1986 Jets vs. Browns game Marathon by the Lake the last time both teams played meaningful playoff football?
Was the 1986 Jets vs. Browns game “Marathon by the Lake” the last time both teams played meaningful playoff football?

The Browns need a LOT of work from quarterback to offensive line to defense to everything. That roster is horrible.

David: The Jets. They only have to get past the Dolphins, and with Tanny under center, that might not be that huge a gap.

The Browns have 2 well-run franchises the Ravens and Steelers to get past and the ALWAYS above average Bengals.

If, you told the Jets they are going 4-2 in the division they wouldn’t be stunned, the Browns fan would draw the 1 before the 2 and think it’s the year’s NFL record.

Earl: Good question. On paper you would think the Jets because their record was better than the Browns but when you break down their rosters, there are some big questions for the Jets future. What do they do at quarterback? What do they do with Brandon Marshall, Mo Wilkerson, and Darrelle Revis? How do they shore up the offensive line?

The Browns are young, but, if, they can get QB straightened out they might have the faster road back than the Jets. So, for the sake of answering this question, I’ll say that the Browns can make the playoffs first. They have the wealth of draft picks and they just need to hit on all of them.

4) Le’Veon Bell ran for a franchise postseason record 167 yards and two scores in the Pittsburgh Steelers Wild Card win over the Miami Dolphins. And, he did it by the 3rd quarter. On the Steelers’ third possession and eventual score, he carried on each of the 10 plays and gained 78 of the 83 yards with the other 5 of the drive coming on a Miami offside penalty.  

Is Bell starting to approach scary good status? 

Chad: Bell is definitely on the scary good status and is such a complete back that in my mind he perfectly complements Big Ben and the passing offense to make the Steelers a threat to put up 40 every time they step out on the field.

Le'Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell

Dan: I already think Le’Veon Bell is at the scary good status. He’s a monster and the best running back in the league. He’ll move at 1 mile per hour in the backfield, bounce off offensive linemen, then burst outside or through a gap for a 15-yard gain with no problems.

He’s scary good and very difficult to stop.

David: Not really. Individual game records don’t impress me. Doing it against a team that snuck into the playoffs and couldn’t move the ball against Clemson, much less Alabama doesn’t scare me.

Earl: Bell is already scary good.

Le’Veon is a patient runner and a tough one and the Steelers have no issues with feeding him the ball. He’s one of the best players in the game, regardless of position. With him the Steelers are a legitimate contender.

5) What was the biggest shock from the NFL Wild Card weekend? Why?

Chad: I guess the biggest shock for me; was the lack of competitive football during the entire weekend; which I think goes to show the disparity in the top teams in the AFC and NFC versus the fringe playoff teams.

Aaron Rodgers is Good at Football, too much Le’Veon Bell & more make for wild card weekend blowouts...
Aaron Rodgers is good at football, too much Le’Veon Bell & much more make for wild card weekend blowouts…

Dan: To me, it wasn’t so much anything specific as in a team or a player, but, it was the overall weekend. The average margin of victory was the highest it’s ever been in the history of the playoffs. No team came within a score. Each game was already decided and determined a victory for one side well before the 2-minute warning of the fourth quarter. That’s what was surprising to me.

Even though the spreads were kind of high, it’s the playoffs and with how the NFL has been in the recent years, anything can happen. Thought the games would be closer than they were. The closest game was 13 points (Texans 27 Raiders 14). And, that game wasn’t close from what I watched!

David: This is the best we got?

Detroit fell on it’s face, the Giants made Tommy Boy look like a Hall of Famer, The Dolphins were a fraud, and, I’m not sure the Texans could win the ACC right now. I was stunned by just how shitty the football was. True, we were missing Derek Carr, but DAYUM this felt like week 1 of the regular season.

Earl: The biggest shock was how un-competitive the games were. They all were not close, and with the exception of the Giants-Packers, they were all out of reach halfway through the second half.

Teams winning at home, which all four wild card winners did, was not a shock but it was a shock how it happened.

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