Archive for the 'Jacksonville Jaguars' Category

10
Jan
08

NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions: Jags at Pats

Every year, there are, interspersed amongst the games whose outcomes we are unsure, positive, or uncaring of, those games which seem to transcend all that we normally think, care and feel about football. For many, from what I gather after having read pretty much this entire Internet on the subject, one of those games will happen this weekend when the Jacksonville Jaguars enter Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, just outside Boston, for their NFL Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots.

This game has even given my friend Lee, over at Football Jabber, fits of Bushillariness [booshhiluh-ree-nis] – where he says one thing, then completely contradicts his thoughts, then, in the end, he picks what you would not expect him to from reading what he says. When done, in describing what he has chosen to do, he makes it sound like he would have picked the opposite, but maybe next time. [Yes, Steven Colbert, you may use this word. In fact, you can have it. You’ll put it to better use, I am sure. But you must give acknowledgement to FanYard, as I am sure you already would have. It is kind of like truthiness, personified.]

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The talk, of course, is all about whether or not the Jaguars can beat the Patriots in this game. Can they exploit the perceived weakness of the 16-0 Patriots: their run defense? Is it possible that the Jacksonville defense can contain Randy Moss and Wes Welker and hurry Tom Brady into making a few mistakes, and then capitalize on those mistakes enough to hand the Pats what would be their first and last loss of the season?

Much of what is out there says, yes, the Jags can do it. They have the second-best running game in the league and the best in the AFC. Bill Belichick actually thinks it is the best in the NFL, and I would go with his evaluation over the paint-by-numbers rankings gotten when you go simply by yards alone, as NFL rankings do.

What happens after many people think to themselves, “Well, hey, yeah, the Jaguars can beat the Pats.” is that they then extrapolate can into will, and that is where this madness must be brought to a screeching halt.

People, you have the coach of the year…nay, the coach of the decade, leading the team of the…one of the best teams ever assembled in any sport, into the first playoff game after an unprecedented 16-0 regular season. With two weeks to prepare…for a good, young, upstart team with a new quarterback with a very interesting and heart-warming, feel-good story and an excellent running game, and a head coach who is just now learning that sometimes you must have the cajones to take risks in this league before you are going to come across as smart.

Yes, that young team could come into New England and beat the Patriots, of course. Anything can happen in a football game, we all should know by now. But the chances are slim. So slim that I find it truly amazing how many people are saying it is going to happen.

And, if these naysayers are being that way because they just really hope to see their hated Patriots lose so badly that they can’t seem to allow logic into their thought processes, here is a hint for when the Pats play in the AFC Championship game against either San Diego or Indianapolis: pick New England. No matter what you think, pick New England to win and write it everywhere you can.

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New England thrives on bulletin board material, or so we are led to believe, in order to keep focused on proving everyone wrong. It is too late for this weekend’s game, you’ve already given them all the firepower they need to be pumped up. The will beat down the Jags 35-17. The Yardstick for this game calls for just a ten-point Patriots victory, but it is a little low.

Next week, think about it before you write it…if you want them to lose, that is. Or give the Jaguars a ‘blueprint to win‘, like the Wall Street Journal has, thanks to Mike Tanier from Football Outsiders.

Before all that, though, join FanYard and add your two cents to the Yardstick for this game and every major football and basketball game in America.

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08
Jan
08

Early NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

A quick, early look at the Yardsticks for this weekend’s NFL Divisional Playoff matchups reveals very few surprises, except for the closeness of FanYard user opinion on the Giants at Cowboys game. Up to this point, which is obviously a bit early in the week, the Packers are favored to win by six points over the Seahawks; the Patriots are favored to win by eleven over the Jaguars; the Colts are favored to win by nine over the Chargers, and the Cowboys are slim, one-point favorites to beat the Giants of New York.

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Last night’s BCS National Championship game was correctly called by FanYard users, as the LSU Tigers erased an early 10-point deficit to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes by a final score of 38-24.

05
Jan
08

Saturday Wild Card NFL Playoff Weather

The weather report for game time in Pittsburgh and in Seattle is almost the same report. The temperature at Heinz Field will be hovering somewhere just above freezing, while it should be a few degrees warmer in the Emerald City. Winds will be around 8-9 mph and it will be blowing SSW in both Wild Card games.

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According to meteorologists, there will be light rain showers for both games today, which should make for some interesting plays, especially on that thing they call a field in Pittsburgh.

The Yardsticks for today’s NFL Wild Card playoffs call for a slim Redskins road win and a field goal victory for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

04
Jan
08

NFL Playoff Predictions: Jaguars at Steelers

The common thinking in this game is that the Steelers are going to be too tough to beat at home. They don’t lose at Heinz Field. Their defense is too strong. Big Ben is leading a great offense. Jacksonville’s offense is pretty good, but mostly just OK, definitely not strong enough to beat Pittsburgh twice in a row at home, especially considering that the Steelers defense is one of the best – if not the best – in the NFL.

Hear that sound? It is a bubble bursting on every Steelers fan out there. I hate to do it, as I have two very, very good friends who are huge Steelers fans…but I have to.

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(Here, I tried to find a Steelers fan blog to link to, but it seems they all stopped typing sometime between the start of the 2006 season, and the realization that their team wasn’t going to make the playoffs last year. If the Steelers do anything in these playoffs, I’ll bet one could make a killing driving a bandwagon around full of Steelers blog URLs.) In lieu of Steelers fan blogs, I had to find a good piece about this Steelers / Jaguars game.

Myth 1) Steelers too tough to beat at home: In general, this is the case, yes. But this is no general. This is the playoffs, and it is very specifically Jacksonville that needs to be taken into account. Since the start of 2K, the Jags have played in Pittsburgh four times. Three of those games have been losses for the home team, including the past two.

Myth 2) Steelers defense is too strong: This should read “was” too strong, as the Pittsburgh defense has gone from being tops in the NFL to being ranked just 14th since Week 10. The Jaguars defense, meanwhile, is the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL since Week 10. Injuries have happened to both teams on this side of the ball, but Jacksonville’s depth is obviously greater.

Myth 3) Jaguars offense just OK: If you call being the best offense not quarterbacked by Tom Brady since Week 10 “just OK,” then that is just what the Jaguars offense is. Big Ben’s offense in that same span has been worse than 17 other teams in the NFL; at the midpoint of the season, they were fourth.

Truthiness: This game is the meeting of two teams headed in completely different direction over the stretch run of the season and, though anything can happen in a football game, the Steelers just don’t match up well in this game in many aspects.

Of course, Ben Roethlisbberger has pulled rabbits out of his arm before and surprised people and I know he can do it again. Same with Hines Ward. The man is simply amazing. These two are the reason I will be glued to this game and expect a close, hard-fought battle. Best of luck to both teams.

At FanYard, the Yardstick for this game is calling for a three-point Jaguars victory. And what do you think?

Join FanYard today and have your say on this game. Get your own Yard. It’s free, easy, fun and you can track your predictions over time, too, in football and basketball.

Gimme My Yard now!

24
Dec
07

Monday Night Football Predictions – Broncos at Chargers

The San Diego Chargers have more to play for in Week 17 of the 2007 NFL regular season than they would like. But, considering the fact that ten weeks ago it looked like they would fall prey to Norv Turner’s lack of coaching abilities, they should just be happy that they have a division crown and a chance to be in the playoffs at all. It will be a testament to the futility of having Marty Schottenheimer on the sidelines in a playoff game if the Chargers manage to win even one postseason matchup this year.

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The biggest reason the Chargers have to win this game is to try to avoid having to meet the Jacksonville Jaguars in their first playoff game in January. They would much, much rather have the Titans – who are in the postseason, somehow, with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts backup squad next Sunday night – or the Browns, who are in the playoffs no matter what they do next week; the Browns need the Titans to lose to make the playoffs.

The Denver Broncos will finish the season in a disappointing fashion, but hardly unexpected. Quarterback Jay Cutler might have the goods and he might not, but it was obvious from last year’s pretty decent performances that he needs a bit more time to develop before we are to know for sure.

The Yardstick for this Monday Night Football game favors the Chargers by eight points, at the time of writing.

16
Dec
07

Upset Week in the NFL

Lots of upsets this week, starting with the Thursday night game when the Houston Texans beat the Denver Broncos 31-13, then continuing last night when Shaun Hill stepped up in his first NFL start to lead the 49ers to a 20-13 victory over the Bengals. The Yardstick had called for three- and seven-point wins for the Broncos and Bengals, respectively.

Today, the trend went on.

The Panthers beat the NFC West-champion Seahawks 13-10, an indication of the weakness of the NFC West division in general. Then, the Miami Dolphins scored on a 64-yard toucgdown pass by Cleo Lemon in OT to beat the Ravens and grab their first victory of the 2007 NFL season. Should Billick be fired?

In Pittsburgh, in the wind and snow, the Jacksonville Jaguars ran the ball down the throats of the supposed best defense in the NFL and beat the Steelers at Heinz Field 29-22, making things very interesting in the AFC North, as Cleveland held off the Bills 8-0. The Browns and Steelers now have 9-5 records at the tyop of their division, with Pittsburgh having a leg up in tiebreakers.

Oh yeah, and Brett Favre is now the leading passer in yardage in NFL history, surpassing the record owned by Dan Marino today in a winning effort as Green Bay manhandled the Lambs in St. Louis.