The Seattle Seahawks hosted the Washington Redskins last Saturday night after the high school All-American Bowl. Here are some notes I had on the NFL playoffs, and all the teams involved.
- Shaun Alexander looks done. Although he’ll only be 31 next year, I doubt he’ll ever be the same. His first step reminds me of Eddie George during his waning years, and that only means Alexander may never be the same. Nothing real impressive about the play of either of these teams, but the reason differs on both sides.
- The Washington Redskins built a great team for this season, but lost to many pieces to still compete against the best. When Jon Jansen went down with a season ending injury (broken ankle) in the 1st game of the year, I knew the Dallas Cowboys just became the best team in the conference. The Redskins still had a chance, but the losses just didn’t end.
- Week 1 – Jansen (RT) goes down with an ACL tear.
- Week 2 – Randy Thomas’s (RG) season ends with a tear to his right bicep.
- Week 11 – Sean Taylor (SS) sprains his knee in a game against the Cowboys, he misses Week 12. Taylor dies on Monday November 26th.
- Week 14 – Jason Campbell (starting QB) comes out of the game with a dislocated knee; he doesn’t play in another game.
- Week 15 – Lose starting strong-side linebacker Rocky McIntosh for at least a year to an ACL tear.
- The Seattle Seahawks are just not that good. I like many of their pieces, but not the team that emerges from the players they’ve acquired. The Seahawks have many players that I’d love in Silver and Black: Brian Russell, Patrick Kerney, Lofa Tatupu, and Marcus Trufant. But there are two reasons why the Seahawks fail, Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander.
- Hasselbeck continues to show me that he can’t be the figurehead of an offense (I.e. Tom Brady, Brett Favre). I’ve always felt like he’s had the stuff to be compared to quarterbacks of Favre’s stature, but I have to say he’s more of a Jim McMahon. Hasselbeck has been the reason why Seattle has lost a few big games, including an overtime interception in Green Bay 4 years ago. Seattle only lost to the Chicago Bears in the Division playoffs last year by 3 points, a game I believe could’ve been won if any other playoff quarterback that year were to have led the Seahawks that day. McMahon only won a Super Bowl because he was on the same team as the best defenses of all time. I don’t see Hasselbeck winning anything without the addition of some of the games best players. Since lossing Steve Hutchinson, Hasselbeck has failed to make the Pro Bowl or perform at a high level. In return, no franchise or analyst believe they’re an elite team any longer.
- I see the Seahawks getting crushed this Saturday. The Packers are the better team, but the home field advantage will be the reason why it’ll be a blow out. The Seahawks do not play in weather anything like what they’ll experience on Saturday, but what really hurts them is that the players on their team have a history of playing in ideal football conditions. Patrick Kerney has played the first 8 years of his career in a dome (Atlanta). Although Matt Hasselbeck went Boston College, and was drafted by the Packers, he hasn’t lived, or played in the cold weather on a consistent basis in 8 years. Shaun Alexander went from the University of Alabama to the Seattle Seahawks; he’s going to be of little use. Julian Peterson has played the better part of his career in San Francisco. Brandon Mebane went to Berkeley. Alabama boy and Florida State Seminole, Walter Jones has been a Seahawk for 11 seasons. California native and San Diego State graduate Brian Russell is the only guy I see making a difference, and that’s only because he lived in Minnesota for 3 years while playing with the Vikings, and went from there to the Browns for 2 seasons, and always plays hard; so I think he’ll make a couple good plays. Final Score: Packers 34, Seahawks 17.
Continuing on with the NFC (got something in works for the Jaguars, and really don’t have any comments on the worst playoff game of the weekend, Charger-Titans).
- Only one person really stood out to me when I watched the Bucs and Giants play: Jeremy Trueblood. I thought this guy was overrated when I saw him at the NFL scouting combine 2 years ago. First of all, because of his lack of strength, he’s to tall for to play right tackle (6’ 8” 320lbs), (benched like running back 20 reps, Lorenzo Booker put up 6 more reps than him at last years combine, and at 5’11” 197lbs). It is so easy for a shorter guy to get inside the pads of a taller opponent, so if you’re that tall, you need to be able to remove the smaller man. I know he was going up against Michael Strahan, but nobody belongs playing in the NFL if it’s that easy to get overpowered.
- 6:10 left in the 3rd – Jeff Garcia reads the Giants defense well, and eyes an open Joey Galloway in the end zone, as Garcia enters his windup he’s hit by Trueblood (got shoved into the pass by Strahan). Trueblood and Strahan met right from the snap, hands to opposing shoulders, and with every muscle that’s used to bench press in play, Strahan forced Trueblood into a backpedal that ended with Garcia. The result; Garcia throws an interception that I feal sealed the game for New York.
- I think the New York Giants will travel to Dallas and play the Cowboys well, but I have no reason to believe the Giants will leave with a victory. Tony Romo will make a point to play well; with all the Jessica Simpson stories circling around him, and with his poor play while Terrell Owens was absent still lingering, I don’t think he’ll show up Sunday unprepared. All the analysts on ESPN keep saying the Cowboys need to focus on running the ball this Sunday, but I think the complete opposite. The Cowboys season opening (45-35) victory over the Giants was made competitive by the play of the two offenses. I think the play calling on Sunday from the sidelines of both teams will be more similar to Week 1’s contest than their November 11th meeting. Both Romo and Eli Manning will test the deep pass early and often, and though both running games will have their own vital roles, it will none the less come down to the two starting quarterback’s. Final Score: Cowboys 52, Giants 38.
I said that I found little to take note on while watching the Charger-Titans game, but I would like to mention how the hated Chargers will lose to the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are just too good at home to lose a playoff game to this San Diego Chargers team. Much like the loss of Jon Jansen for the Redskins, I knew the Chargers were not going to be able to make it far without Lorenzo Neal (out for the rest of the year). Neal brings so much to the Chargers offense, that all revolves around blocking. He is a perennial Pro Bowler for his exceptional run blocking, pass blocking, and open field blocking. The Chargers have ran the ball decently since Neal’s departure, but facing the Colts in the RCA Dome during the playoffs is nothing like what this team’s ever experienced. These Chargers have never played a playoff game outside of San Diego. The Chargers have had the luxury of losing in the playoffs at home in recent years, but now LaDanian Tomlinson and company get their first taste of being the visiting team; against the defending Super Bowl Champions, and inside a closed structure that is packed with screaming fans. I see the Colts and their fans taking the Chargers out early. Final Score: Colts 31, Chargers 13
Tomorrow I’ll get into the Jaguars-Patriots game.