Posted on: January 27, 2011 1:33 pm
Pittsburgh's ability to run the ball and control the clock in the first half of the AFC Championship was the main reason they were able to build a big lead against the Jets and stamp their ticket to North Texas.<br /> <br /> In the Super Bowl next week, that formula could again translate to victory.<br /> <br /> In the regular season, the Packers allowed 4.7 yards per carry on the ground to their opponents. In the postseason, so far, that number has been lowered to 3.5 yards/carry. Part of the reason is because the Packers have built multiple score leads by halftime in all of their playoff games, so their opponents have had to abandon the run a bit in the second half. <br /> <br /> The Packers did not do well against Ben Rothlisberger's playaction in their 2009 meeting, and establishing a run game early could open up similar opportunities for the Steelers. <br /> <br /> A lot of the Steelers' success on the ground will rest on that Pittsburgh offensive line. If the Steelers have a weakness, it's the offensive line that has had to shuffle players through various positions, much like Green Bay's line last season. <br /> <br /> <br />
Posted on: January 5, 2009 1:45 pm
2 for 2 last week, I guess that's what I get for taking too many road teams.
This round is all about rematches. All four of these games took place at least once in the regular season, with the Eagles and Giants playing twice in the regular season.
Baltimore @ Tennessee
The Titans won in Baltimore by a field goal early in the season but I think that was before Baltimore found itself and started rolling. This time around is tough to call because of how impressive Baltimore has been. I'm thinking that the story going into the game is Baltimore's defense so I think people may overlook a Titans defense that should get its two best D linemen back. With no running game, Baltimore will be in trouble. I also think the Ravens had a lot taken out of them defensively, and although Ray Lewis will have them fired up, I think Tennessee could wear them down if they stick to pounding the run. The Titans will be fresh and just ask the Cardinals how much a good, wild crowd can help. I like the Titans, but I don't like them that much.
Arizona @ Carolina
Arizona got it's playoff home win and all is good in Phoenix. Now it's time for them to quietly exit the playoffs and let the real teams play on. This will be the least competitive of the four games this weekend even though their first meeting was only won by Carolina by four points. I keep hearing how Arizona found a run game in James and that their defense is playing inspired. After DeAngelo Williams runs all over them in the first quarter they won't be too inspired. Carolina's D will do just enough to keep Warner and the receivers under control and they will not be able to run the ball. I love watching Steve Smith in the playoffs, he is the consummate X-factor. Going with the rested home team again here.
Philadelphia @ New York
The Eagles are going to be tough to eliminate but the Giants may be the only team that can do it. It will be close because these two know each other so well. They split the regular season, each winning on the road. If the Giants can run the ball they'll be successful. If Philly's D continues to be dominate and do what they did to Adrian Peterson than they'll be going to Carolina next week. I'll take the Giants because they lost a few weeks back without Brandon Jacobs. With him, they're the team to beat in the NFC.
San Diego @ Pittsburgh
Big Ben's health is an issue here and so is the Steeler offense. The Chargers played inspired defense against the leage MVP last week and will have to do so again if they expect to move on. I don't think Darren Sproles will have as much success against the Steeler defense and Phillip Rivers will have to carry more of the load. Say what you want to about Rivers, but he's money in the playoffs. The Steeler D always gives them a chance to win, and the week off may have helped this team rest up, but in a game that will be determined by field position, I like the Chargers.