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NFL Playoff Picks: FanHouse’s ‘Experts’ Predict Wild Card Round Results
by November 30, 1999 @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Jan 2nd 2009 1:30PM by Tom Mantzouranis (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Ravens, Vikings, NFL Playoffs

It’s an interesting week to begin shaking the Magic 8 Ball here, as these games each have interesting storylines but no clear-cut favorite. Not only are, shockingly, all of the road teams favorites in Vegas, but none of the spreads venture past three points.

That indecision amongst oddsmakers and bettors is reflected in our picks; very rarely is the same four-team combination picked, there’s a nice variety in the selections. It’s hard not to imagine a myriad of possibilities in all of these contests, and that’s the way the playoffs should be — competitive and intriguing.

See who we all picked, and add your own predictions, after the jump.Continue Reading

NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Guide
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Jan 2nd 2009 3:45PM by Matt Snyder (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Panthers, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Vikings, AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West, Fantasy Football, NFL PlayoffsThere are several different fantasy playoffs models, so it’s difficult to accommodate everyone when doing any set of fantasy advice for the real playoffs. Most common models require you to do a bit of prognosticating as far as the actual game winners. To that, I say good luck. This isn’t like last year, where we all knew the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl. This season the playoffs are wide open, and no, I don’t think the Giants are a sure thing to make the big game. They are the surest bet, but it’s still a bet.

Anyway, we’re going to analyze some of the players.

First, here are the regular-season defensive rankings for the teams playing this postseason.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1, 2, 1, 1)
Baltimore Ravens (2, 3, 2, 3)
Philadelphia Eagles (3, 4, 3, 4)
New York Giants (5, 9, 8, 5)
Minnesota Vikings (6, 1, 18, 13)
Tennessee Titans (7, 6, 9, 2)
Indianapolis Colts (11, 24, 6, 7)
Miami Dolphins (15, 10, 25, 9)
Carolina Panthers (18, 20, 16, 12)
Arizona Cardinals (19, 16, 21, 28)
Atlanta Falcons (24, 25, 22, 11)
San Diego Chargers (25, 11, 31, 15)Continue Reading

Arizona Area Facing Blackout for First Cardinals Home Playoff Game Ever
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Jan 1st 2009 6:35PM by Matt Snyder (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Falcons, NFC South, NFC West, NFL Fans, NFL PlayoffsSince moving to Phoenix, Arizona, the Cardinals have never hosted a playoff game. As a matter of fact, the franchise hasn’t played a home playoff game since December 27, 1975 when they played in St. Louis. Shockingly, people are not flocking to view the game in person, and that could end up being the only way to see the game.

With approximately 3,700 tickets remaining, the Cardinals must sell them before 2:30 Friday afternoon, or else the game will be blacked out in the greater Phoenix area, per NFL rules. “Based on the activity we’ve seen over the last couple days and particularly in the last 24 hours we’re very optimistic that this extension will get us where we need to be,” said Ron Minegar, the team’s Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer. Man, I really hope so. I know Cardinals fans are out there, and they’re having to endure a lot of talk about how much their favorite team doesn’t even deserve to be in the playoffs. Go out and support them, it’s not like a victory is out of the question. The Falcons pass defense is suspect, and the Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston connection has been stellar at home for the Cards.

It would be a shame to not sell out, especially if the Cardinals pull off the upset victory.

Good News, Scott Pioli: Rich McKay Isn’t Interested in Browns’ GM Job
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Jan 1st 2009 7:15PM by Ryan Wilson (author feed)
Filed under: Browns, Falcons, AFC North, NFC South, NFL Fans, NFL Coaching, NFL RumorsLast offseason, Falcons owner Arthur Blank stripped Rich McKay of his general manager duties, although he retained the title of team president. Thomas Dimitroff took over as GM, had a lot to do with bringing Matt Ryan to Atlanta, and some eight months later, the Falcons are headed to the postseason. Along with the Dolphins and Lions, it’s easily one of the most amazing stories of 2008.

Despite McKay having no say in personnel matters this season, he was Atlanta’s general manager from 2003-2007, and earned a Super Bowl ring during his nine-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in that same role.

And now, the newly GM-less Browns are interested in talking to McKay. According to FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer, however, McKay is quite content with his current set-up. … [D]espite reports that the Cleveland Browns will interview … McKay, FOXSports.com has learned that McKay has rebuffed Cleveland’s overture. McKay is slated to fly to Phoenix with the Falcons and not New York to meet with Browns owner Randy Lerner.

There were talks between the two sides, but McKay informed them he is happy where he is and did not want to interview for the job or consider it until after the rest of the candidates had run their course in Cleveland. After surviving (figuratively, not in the dog-fighting sense) the Michael Vick melodrama, I’m guessing McKay wants to enjoy Atlanta’s resurgence. Whatever the reason, this is good news for Patriots vice president Scott Pioli.Continue Reading

Chris Johnson: It’s Bogus That Matt Ryan Beat Me for Rookie of the Year
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Jan 1st 2009 6:52AM by Michael David Smith (author feed)
Filed under: Falcons, Titans
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL Rookie of the Year award, receiving 44 votes from the 50-member media panel that selects the winner.

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson came in second, with three votes. He tells the Nashville City Paper (via PFT) that he’s not happy about that.
“He’s a good player, and he played quarterback and did a good job this year,” Johnson said of Ryan. “But the whole thing is bogus, because people are voting for it that are not on the same field as the people who are playing.

“I’m disappointed. I did all I could to win it. I feel I did the best. I feel I did all I could do to win it; it just didn’t come my way.”
Johnson believes that Rookie of the Year voting should be done the same way as Pro Bowl voting: one-third from the coaches, one-third from the players, one-third from the fans. And since Johnson was the only rookie Pro Bowler, he thinks that if the voting were done that way, he would have been Rookie of the Year.

But what he doesn’t seem to have considered is that the Pro Bowl has to choose exactly three running backs and three quarterbacks from each conference. Rookie of the Year voting doesn’t have those constraints. So maybe Ryan was the fourth-best quarterback in his conference, while Johnson was the third-best running back in his conference. That doesn’t mean Johnson was a better rookie than Ryan.

Sorry, Chris. You had a great season. But any way you slice it, Ryan was the Rookie of the Year.

Michael Turner Involved in Domestic Dispute
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Dec 31st 2008 12:08AM by Sportz Assassin (author feed)
Filed under: Falcons, NFC South, NFL Police BlotterAtlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner was reportedly involved in a domestic dispute. Gwinnett County Police responded to a call Monday evening that involved Turner and the mother of his infant child, though no arrests were made.Gwinnett County Police Corp. David Schiralli said police responded to a call between 7 and 8 p.m. EST Monday, but he would not identify the woman or the site of the incident.

Police made no arrests and do not plan to file charges.

“There is not enough probable cause for us to proceed any further,” Schiralli said.No charges is good news for Atlanta. Turner was the NFL’s second-leading rusher this year with 1,699 yards and 16 touchdowns. His Pro-Bowl effort help earn the Falcons an improbable wildcard berth. Only Eric Dickerson and Ricky Williams rushed for more TDs in their first season with a new team.

When Falcons Punt, There Are No Happy Returns
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Dec 31st 2008 8:44AM by JJ Cooper (author feed)
Filed under: Falcons, NFC SouthOne of the lesser noticed aspects of the Falcons success this year has been the team’s special teams play. Harry Douglas has proven to be a solid punt returner, while Jerious Norwood’s speed make him a threat every time he returns a punt. And Jason Elam has missed only two field goals all season.

But the one you’ll likely hear the most about this weekend is whenever the Falcons line up to punt, you’ll hear the commentators mention how the Falcons gave up an NFL record 49 yards on punt returns all season. In 16 games, the Falcons allowed a total of 49 yards in punt returns. No opposing returner ever ripped off a return longer than 12 yards.To put it in perspective, there were 28 punt returns of 40+ yards this year and 119 punt returns of 20 yards or more. Atlanta allowed none of them. A league high 27 of Michael Koenen’s 47 punts were fair caught.

But while all of that is true, this is truly a case of a junk stat. There’s some value in the fact that Koenen’s high arcing punts ensured that no team ever got a game-changing return. But at the same time, Koenen was only averaging 40.7 yards per punt, which was 34th out of the 35 NFL punters with 20 or more boots. His net average of 37.5 is 20th in the league.

So there are a lot of things to be impressed with about the Falcons special teams, but if you hear television commentators talk about how great their punting is, don’t believe it. It’s consistent, but the Falcons aren’t winning the battle of field position.

Between The Lines: John Abraham Should Be Cardinals’ Worst Nightmare
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Dec 31st 2008 9:00AM by JJ Cooper (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Falcons, NFC South, NFC West, NFL PlayoffsIn doing these Between The Lines posts, it’s always interesting to see if mismatches jump out, or if there is a player that seems either underrated or overrated.

Normally it doesn’t happen. The conventional wisdom on most teams is pretty accurate, and it’s really hard to find a stud on the offensive or defensive line that hasn’t been noticed at all. But as the Falcons get ready to play the Cardinals this weekend, there is a mismatch that jumps out from paying attention to the two team’s lines: if the Falcons are wise with where they line up John Abraham, he could dominate this game.

There are a lot of factors to consider in Saturday’s game: how will Matt Ryan react to his first playoff start, can the Cardinals slow down Michael Turner and is the Cardinals’ triple-threat at receiver too much for the Falcons secondary, but as I see it, this game will first be decided by whether the Cardinals can block Abraham.Continue Reading

Wild Card Week Preview
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Dec 29th 2008 6:00PM by Shane Bacon (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Ravens, Vikings, NFL Playoffs

With the playoffs less than a week away, here is everything you need to know about Wild Card Weekend.

Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals

— Saturday, Jan. 3, 4:30 PM EST
— University of Phoenix Stadium
— Atlanta, in a must-win against the Rams in Week 17 for a potential two seed, took care of business behind running back Michael Turner. The first-year Falcon had 208 yards and a touchdown in the 31-27 win over the Rams to secure a playoff bid. Arizona struggled down the stretch but won a lagging NFC West division that only had one team with a winning record.
— None
— Atlanta - 4-1. Arizona - 2-3.
— Atlanta taking down a hot Minnesota team in Week 16, 24-17. Arizona beat Dallas in Week 6, 30-24.
– For Atlanta, it is the rookie Matt Ryan. When the play-caller has a quarterback rating of 94 or higher, the Falcons are 8-1. For Arizona, it is the running game. With Edgerrin James being pushed out as the top back, Tim Hightower and J.J. Arrington have been asked to carry the load. Kurt Warner and his great receiving core will get theirs, so it is up to the running game to balance their offensive attack.
– In terms of least intimidating stadiums to play in, the one in Phoenix has to rack up. Living in the area, I know what Cardinals fans come to expect, and if the team falls behind 10-0 early, you can bet the Card hopefuls will be basically saying to one another, “No surprise here.” For Ryan, a playoff game is a different beast, but he has a pretty favorable match-up to get his feet wet. I think the Falcons go to Glendale and beat the Cardinals.
Continue Reading

Separating Playoff Contenders From Pretenders
by @ 12:00 am (Category : Uncategorized )

Dec 30th 2008 8:30AM by JJ Cooper (author feed)
Filed under: AZ Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Falcons, Giants, Panthers, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Vikings, NFL PlayoffsWe all know that NFL records are not always created equal, and life isn’t fair.

That explains why the 11-5 Patriots are sitting at home while the 8-8 Chargers are preparing for the playoffs. But now that the playoff pairings have been set, it is pretty easy to get a quick and dirty look at which teams were tested during the regular season and which teams skated into the playoffs thanks to very forgiving schedules.

To get a better look at how the playoff teams matched up, I compiled each playoff team’s record against the other playoff teams. It’s a look that has some flaws–a win against the 8-8 Chargers counts while a win against the Patriots doesn’t, but it is a very good, and quick, way to see how many tough games each team played during the regular season.

So which teams earned their way and which ones snuck in? Well, the Dolphins shouldn’t be too proud, while the Eagles didn’t exactly back their way in, even if they had to win on Sunday to snag the NFC’s last wild card spot.Continue Reading

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Todd McClure Name: Todd McClure
Position: C
Age: 31
Experience: 10 years
College: LSU
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