Posts Tagged ‘QB’

04 NFL Playoff Team Profile

04 NFL Playoff Team Profile

Best Offensive Player:Stephen DavisHe’s not the type of QB that’s going to carry a team to victory, so Delhomme must play mistake free football and consistently convert on third downs. During the regular season, he threw 19 touchdown passes, but was picked off 16 times. During the playoffs, he must avoid the turnover.

Best Defensive Player:DT Kris Jenkins

Pivotal Defensive Player:DE Julius Peppers

Peppers has regressed a bit this season, and he needs to step it up in the playoffs. If he can consistently get in the quarterbacks face, he’ll take a lot of pressure off the secondary.

Strengths:The Panthers have one of the best defenses in the league, which is complemented by the ground game of running back Stephen Davis. Look out if the Panthers get on top, because they can grind down the clock with their ball control offense and stingy defense. Their special teams are among the best in the league as well.

Weaknesses:Delhomme has shown the ability to come from behind this season, but he’s not the type of QB that’s likely to come out on top in a shootout. He must keep the turnovers at a minimum in the post season. Also, the production of Davis has been down over the second half of the season, which could add more pressure to the passing game.

Overview:The Panthers have a solid defense and ball control offense that could take them deep into the playoffs, but they must play mistake free on the offensive side of the ball. Davis must make defenses respect the running game, and the special teams need to start making plays again.

On the defensive side of the ball, they must get after the QB to protect the secondary. The defensive backs are adequate, but could struggle if they don’t get the ball out of the quarterback’s hands as soon as possible.

NFL Playoff 2013 Power Rankings

NFL Playoff 2013 Power Rankings

Seattle Seahawks (13 3)

Was the Week 16 home loss to Arizona merely a blip on the radar or a sign of this team being vulnerable? A bounceback win over St. Louis would point to the former. Home field advantage, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch . sure, sure. The real reason this might be the team to beat is that it led the league in points allowed (14.4 per game), yards allowed (273.6) and turnovers forced (39). If the 49ers sidestep that landmine in Green Bay this weekend, it likely will be on the strength of their Colin Kaepernick led offense, which has shredded the Packers in two prior chances. Losing Von Miller for the year could be just as critical, particularly for a Denver team already with questions on defense. For all their record setting success on offense, there’s going to come a point when the Miller less D must come up with a key stop. Can it get it this year after failing in 2012?Carolina Panthers (12 4)

The Panthers, along with the Packers, drew the NFL’s earliest bye week this season: Week 4. When that rolled around they were sitting at 1 2, then lost coming out of it to fall to 1 3. From there, they rolled off 11 wins in their final 12 games to capture the NFC South. How they deal with another, long awaited week off could determine their fate. The Patriots are no longer built like a juggernaut and dealt with significant injuries all over the field, only to win 12 games, take the AFC East and grab a first round bye. Having Tom Brady naturally provides this team with a little bit of an edge come playoff time, almost regardless of matchup. Though he’s had his rough moments in the postseason, no QB in NFL history has more wins there.

Even after 16 games, there’s still an element of mystery surrounding the Eagles. They demolished Chicago in Week 16 with one of the most impressive showings from any team all season, then showed their mettle with a Week 17 win at Dallas. But they also let Minnesota hang 48 points on them and have allowed 350 or more yards in six of their last eight games. Inexperience could be a factor here, too. This will be the first playoff go round for Chip Kelly and his quarterback, Nick Foles. Their opening matchup pits them against a coach QB combo Sean Payton and Drew Brees that’s seen it all.

Joe Flacco proved rather emphatically last playoff season that a QB only needs to strike it hot at the right time. So Andy Dalton’s playoff struggles in 2011 and ’12 not to mention the four picks he threw last Sunday against Flacco’s Ravens would be moot if he settles into a January groove. Surrounding Dalton is the type of talent to make Cincinnati a real AFC threat. The defense finished top five in both scoring and yards, while the offense established a needed run pass balance. The Bengals could run the table . So history tells us that running off three straight away from home to reach the final is a bleak proposition for the Saints. And yet, there’s that Drew Brees guy. As with Manning or Brady, it’s hard to really bet against Brees, knowing what he’s capable of when he really locks in. He’s coming off a 381 yard, four touchdown showing in Week 17, so Philadelphia’s 32nd ranked pass defense could be sitting directly in the crosshairs.