Friday, January 13, 2012

PLAYOFFS?, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. Divisional Playoff games start tomorrow with the Saints and the 49ers at Candlestick Park. In Jim Harbaugh's first year as the San Francisco head coach, he has led the 49ers to their first playoff appearance in nine years. The Saints have never won a road playoff game, and San Francisco's weather is a far cry from the Super-dome. This season, New Orleans was 5-3 on the road and the Niners were 7-1 at home. The Saints aren't particularly stout in the rushing department and it won't be any easier facing the 49ers #1 rush defense in the league. As far as the quarterback match up goes, it's obvious that Drew Brees is the better quarterback of the two, but Alex Smith is a good game manager and will be able to keep it close throughout the game. If the Niners want to make it to the NFC Championship Game, they need to get Vernon Davis involved. Davis was a huge part of their offense for the majority of the season, but as of late, he hasn't been much of a factor.
Moving on to the AFC, the Broncos take on the Patriots for the second time this season in New England. Last week Tim Tebow pulled off a big upset over the Steelers at home, and Tebow looked like he was playing his best ball in a while. In order to beat the broncos again, the Pats are going to need to keep Tebow in the pocket, and restrict him from extending plays. New England will have former Duck Patrick Chung back from an injury, so that will be a boost to the defense. If the Broncos want to keep their fairy tail season going, they need to get the big plays like they got last week vs. Pittsburgh. Denver receiver Eric Decker is not expected to play after suffering a sprained knee, so Demaryius Thomas will need to step it up like he did last week. Once again, no one is expecting the Broncos to win, but that's when Tim Tebow thrives.

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