Here are my predictions for the second round of the playoffs.
Can Tom Brady get past the Ravens?
BALTIMORE (6) VS NEW ENGLAND (1)
The Ravens and Patriots seem to match up real well. Two years ago they met in the AFC Championship game and the Ravens won the right to go to the Super Bowl. A year before that, the Patriots won and went to the Super Bowl. This is in my opinion a very even matchup. Joe Flacco has found himself in the playoffs and continues to excel. The biggest concern for the Ravens is whether or not their offense can sustain and hold off Tom Brady from getting on the field.
Brady is playing extremely well despite not having the best supporting cast once again. However, he’s made the best of the situation and unlike last year, Rob Gronkowski is healthy and leading this offense. The team’s biggest factor is the running game. The rotation of running backs has helped keep them healthy and the return of Legarrette Blount is a huge addition to balance out the running game.
I look at the Patriots secondary and they are extremely opportunistic. It may come down to which defense forces the turnover and gives the offense a turn at the ball. It’s going to be a great matchup.
It’s time for the playoffs once again! Here are my quick predictions on today’s games.
The Panthers have never lost wearing white at home during the playoffs. They are wearing white today.
ARIZONA (5) VS CAROLINA (4)
This could be the biggest dud in the playoffs. The Panthers are not a winning team. But because their 7-8-1 record was good enough to win their division, they host the Cardinals. Arizona has played tremendously this year and their defense has been stellar. The concern, however, remains at quarterback. With Carson Palmer’s injury, the team did a rotation of quarterbacks for the remainder of the season. It has not been pretty but Ryan Lindley is the guy the team will trust to take them to the next round.
The Arizona defense has been phenomenal all year and that might be what gets them this win. Carolina still doesn’t have a great established offense and Cam Newton has been inconsistent many times this year. The young wide receiving group of Carolina is going to rely heavily on Greg Olsen to lead the way. If Newton and Olsen can get on the same page, then that opens up their running game. Jonathan Stewart has been averaging 5.3 yards per carry in the team’s final five games. He needs to continue that against the tough Cards defense to give them a chance.
Somebody knew about the tape. The NFL received it. But here are two things to wonder. The package was sent to an NFL executive. The voice confirming that the package arrived may have been an intern, a secretary, or something who after saw the video never gave the video to the proper persons.
That has to be the only thing the NFL has as a defense. But realistically, would you believe that story?
There are so many points to this story it’s hard to pinpoint what is real and what is very possibly fabricated. All I know now is that somebody has lied. Maybe multiple people. There’s a cover up somewhere. Trust is broken. I don’t know what to feel about the shield. I know it’s harder for me to believe anything from anybody from any side until this is resolved.
EDIT: Ravens release Ray Rice.
The NFL claims that they have never seen the full video of Ray Rice hitting his fiance Janay (now wife) before today. Do you believe that?
Now with this video out there, there was a major reaction around the NFL from people who believe Ray Rice deserves a harsher punishment.
Aside from me being an Anquan Boldin fan since his rookie year, this trade was a steal for the 49ers and who knows? Maybe it will work out. He possesses the same qualities like Michael Crabtree, so maybe that’s a sign of what passing game could look like in San Francisco.
Having covered the San Francisco 49ers as a beat writer for three seasons and having also cheered for them since my childhood, it’s sad for me to see them get this far, but fall short of the Super Bowl win.
It’s harder for me because in those three years, I met a lot of great players, coaches and staff members. I feel for them because I see them work hard every single day to get to their ultimate goal.
Even though I am emotionally invested in this team, it’s been almost half a day since the game ended and I don’t feel all too bad or sad. In fact, I feel OK. I am disappointed, but I’m not moping around.