Posted on: January 9, 2009 4:23 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2009 8:35 pm

UPDATED: MADDEN '09 Divisional Round Sim RESULTS!

BigBluGeekazoid: The Results are in!

 "Great football is - is - is about great football *players* playin..' ya see... you need good football players in - in a big game and then ya -ya get great football, and - and - and that's what *that's* all about."

Semi-sim #1: BALTIMORE @ TENNESSEE - Saturday 4:30pm ET

*Prediction: Section_725: "It doesn't appear so cut and dry. (Titans) on a coin flip - How is that for a scientific method?"

*Prediction: BigBluMasochist: "Kerry Collins has to win this one for Tennessee, which doesn't bode well for them."

                                                                             31                   34 



  • TEN: McCareins 437yard TD Pass from Kerry Collins; Bironas PAT (BAL 14 - TEN 10)
  • TEN: Chris Johnson 1-yard TD Run; Bironas PAT (TEN 17 - BAL 14)
  • BAL: Matt Stover 40-yard Field Goal (TEN 17 - BAL 17)
  • TEN: Rob Bironas 52-yard Field Goal (TEN 20 - BAL 17)


  • BAL: Willis McGahee 64-yard TD Run; Stover PAT (BAL 24 - TEN 20)
  • TEN: Bo Scaife 3-yard TD Pass from Kerry Collins; Bironas PAT (TEN 27 - BAL 24)


  • TEN: Chris Johnson 1-yard TD Run; Bironas PAT (TEN 34 - BAL 24)
  • BAL: Willis McGahee 2-yard TD Run; Stover PAT (BAL 34 - TEN 31)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:     BAL - 1           TEN - 4
  • TURNOVERS:              BAL - 2           TEN - 0
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):   BAL - 27:06   TEN - 32:54


  • PASSING:      BAL - Flacco 11 of 20, 180 yds, 0TD, 1 INT... 
  • PASSING:     TEN - Collins 16 of 24, 231 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT
  • RUSHING:     BAL - McGahee 19 for 128 (2 TD)... McClain 10 for 36 (TD)... Flacco 3 for 19... Neal 2 for 5 
  • RUSHING:    TEN - C. Johnson 17 for 106 yards (2 TD)... L. White 8 for 53... Collins 2 for (minus) 2
  • RECEIVING:  BAL - Fitzgerald 7 for 91.. Breaston 4 for 67 (TD).. Urban 4 for 19.. Doucet 3 for 15.. Pope 1 for 6
  • RECEIVING: TEN - M. Clayton 5 for 141... D. Mason 3 for 22... Heap 3 for 17



Semi - sim #2: ARIZONA @ CAROLINA - Saturday 8:15pm ET 

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "My head tells me to take the Panthers, but I think the Cardinals will eek this one out..."

*Prediction: Section_725: "...ultimately, the more balanced Carolina offense will win the game for them."

                                                                             15               24


  • NOTE: Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin removed from starting linups due to his Hamstring injury.
  • CAR: John Kasay 51-yard Field Goal (CAR 3 - ARI 0)


  • ARI: Neil Rackers 42-yard Field Goal (CAR 3 - ARI 3)
  • ARI: Neil Rackers 27-yard Field Goal (ARI 6 - CAR 3)


  • CAR: Jonathan Stewart 77-yard Run TD; Kasay PAT (CAR 10 - ARI 6)  
  • ARI: Neil Rackers 37-yard Field Goal (CAR 10 - ARI 9)


  • CAR: Jonathan Stewart 29-yard TD Run; Kasay PAT (CAR 17 - ARI 9)
  •  ARI: Steve Breaston 43-yard TD Pass from Kurt Warner; 2-point conversion failed (CAR 17 - ARI 15)
  • CAR: DeAngelo Williams 3-yard TD Run; Kasay PAT (CAR 24 - ARI 15)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:     ARI - 4            CAR - 1
  • TURNOVERS:              ARI - 3            CAR - 0
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):   ARI - 27:57    CAR - 32:03


  • PASSING:       ARI - Warner 19 of 27, 198 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT... 
  • PASSING:     CAR - Delhomme 8 of 20, 65 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
  • RUSHING:      ARI - E. James 13 for 33... Hightower 8 for 9
  • RUSHING:    CAR - J. Stewart 12 for 110 yards (2 TD)... D. Williams 19 for 114 yards (TD)... Hoover 3 for 1
  • RECEIVING:   ARI - Fitzgerald 7 for 91.. Breaston 4 for 67 (TD).. Urban 4 for 19.. Doucet 3 for 15.. Pope 1 for 6
  • RECEIVING: CAR - S. Smith 2 for 24... D. Hackett 2 for 13... Muhammad 2 for 11... D. Williams 2 for 14 



Semi - sim #3: PHILADELPHIA @ NEW YORK - Sunday 1:00pm ET


*PredictionThe Muffin Man: "I have to go with the Giants, as I am angry at the Eagles for beating the Vikings."

*Prediction: BigBluMasochist: "I don't predict Giants games."

*Prediction: Section_725: "Ah, the matchup everybody is looking forward to, well... except for fans of those other teams."

*PredictionImJustLazy03: "Not sure home field helps much in this one, but that extra week off (for NY) sure will."

                                                                            37             3


  • None


  • PHI: David Akers 22-yard Field Goal (PHI 3 - NYG 0)
  • PHI: L.J. Smith 18-yard TD Pass from McNabb; Akers PAT (PHI 10 - NYG 0)
  • Note: Giants OL Shaun O'Hara left the game with a knee injury
  • PHI: David Akers 35-yard Field Goal (PHI 13 - NYG 0)



  • PHI: Brian Westbrook 4-yard TD Run; Akers PAT (PHI 27 - NYG 3)
  • PHI: Correll Buckhalter 3-yard TD Run; Akers PAT (PHI 34 - NYG 3)
  • PHI: David Akers 44-yard Field Goal (PHI 37 - NYG 3)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:    PHI - 5           NYG - 3
  • TURNOVERS:             PHI - 1           NYG - 4
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):  PHI - 40:54   NYG - 19:06


  • PASSING:      PHI - McNabb 20 of 30, 294 yds, 2 TD, 0 INT... 
  • PASSING:    NYG - Manning 15 of 26, 128 yds, 0 TD, 4 INT
  • RUSHING:    PHI - Westbrook 22 for 97 (TD)... Buckhalter 4 for 19 (TD)... McNabb  3 for 16
  • RUSHING:   NYG - B. Jacobs 9 for 38... D. Ward 4 for 14... Bradshaw 6 for 26
  • RECEIVING:  PHI - D. Jackson 6 for 96 (TD)... Baskett 4 for 83... Curtis 3 for 21... R. Brown 2 for 26...
  •                                    L.J. Smith 2 for 29 (TD)  Avant 2 for 21... Westbrook 1 for 18
  • RECEIVING: NYG - Boss 2 for 42.. Hixon 2 for 38.. Jacobs 1 for 19.. Manningham 1 for 18.. Smith 1 for 11 



Semi - sim #4: SAN DIEGO @ PITTSBURGH - Sunday 4:45pm ET


*PredictionImJustLazy03: "Big Ben in for a Big Game here, probably a pass heavy 'O' for the Steelers."

*Prediction: NFL_Solomon: "Eli Manning sucks."

                                                                            14                19                                                                     


  • NOTE: Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson removed from starting lineups due to groin injury.
  • PIT: Willie Parker 13-yard TD Run; Reed PAT (PIT 7 - SD 0) 
  • Note: Steelers WR Nate Washington missed the remainder of the half with a head injury


  • PIT: Santonio Homes 62-yard TD Pass from Roethlisberger; Reed PAT (PIT 14 - SD 0)
  • PIT: Jeff Reed 37-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 0)
  •  SD: Nate Kaeding 45-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 3)


  • SD: Nate Kaeding 55-yard Field Goal (PIT 17 - SD 6)


  •  SD: Chris Chambers 19-yard TD Pass from Philip Rivers; Darren Sproles 2-pt conversion (PIT 17 - SD 14)
  • PIT: Safety - Philip Rivers sacked in SD end zone (PIT 19 - SD 14)


  • SACKS ALLOWED:    SD - 3          PIT - 3
  • TURNOVERS:             SD - 2          PIT - 1
  • TIME OF POSS (X3):  SD - 33:12   PIT - 26:48


  • PASSING:       SD - Rivers 18 of 29, 209 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT... 
  • PASSING:       PIT - Roethlisberger 16 of 19, 248 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • RUSHING:      SD - Sproleses 18 for 119... Hester 6 for 21... Rivers  2 for 9
  • RUSHING:      PIT - Parker 19 for 76 (TD)... M. Moore 4 for 8... C. Davis 1 for 3
  • RECEIVING:   SD - A. Gates 8 for 100.. V. Jackson 5 for 46.. Chambers 2 for 23 (TD).. Sproles 2 for 15..
  •                                    Manumaleuna 1 for 25
  • RECEIVING:   PIT - H. Ward 9 for 107.. Holmes 3 for 85 (TD).. Washington 2 for 34.. H. Miller 2 for 22 


Thanks for the input, everyone! I'm looking forward to next week's Conference Championship matchups! Enjoy the games this weekend.




Posted on: November 15, 2008 11:19 am

NY Giants "Things to Do" list for Sunday Nov. 16

Big Blue needs to remind Flacco, "this is what an elite defense looks like"

I love you Baltimore, every day's like an open door
Every night is a fantasy... Every sound's like a symphony

And I promise Baltimore, that some day when I take to the floor
The world's gonna wake up and see, gonna wake up and see
Baltimore and me...

-Tracy Turnblad's opening number from Hairspray

I imagine that Joe Flacco's outlook over the past two month's would resonate with the feisty lead character from the John Water's movie. Though his stats are average, at this point in the season it's clear that he's the Ravens quaterback of the future and deserves to be. He's a tall, lanky guy with a strong arm and keen awareness in the pocket. He's willing to do anything necessary for a Ravens victory - even running deep routes as a receiver when called upon.

What the Giants have that Flacco hasn't seen in some time is a top-notch defense; his last four games have been against the Dolphins, Raiders, Browns & Texans. Those defenses aren't exactly instilling fear in the hearts of quarterbacks this year. It's against those teams that Flacco has furthered his development and sharpened his skills. Before that he'd faced Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Indianapolis (the Colts couldn't stop the run if they armed the d-line with AK 47's but their pass protection ranks 7th in the league). Those consecutive matchups accounted for all three Ravens' defeats this year. In those three games Flacco was sacked five times and threw 5 interceptions to only 1 touchdown.

It's not to say that Flacco didn't learn from those experiences, and it would be unfair to suggest that less intense defensive opposition over the last few weeks has in any way relaxed Flacco. Just the opposite should be expected - which is why Steve Spagnuolo has to come out flying Sunday. The only hope Kevin Gilbride's offense can have is that they learned something against the Steelers and whatever adjustments made to go head-to-head with the Baltimore defense will be successful. The game will be won for the Giants if they can keep Flacco from putting points on the board.

THINGS TO DO for Sunday November 16th:

1. Don't abandon the run: Sure, Baltimore hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 28 straight games - and it's easy for me to sit at my computer and proclaim that streak won't last forever. The Giants can't run the ball with the express purpose of winning the "mine is bigger than yours" battle, but that shouldn't be a concern because Tom Coughlin is smarter than that. However, it's an element of the game that Coughlin can't avoid - nor should he want to. There's a reason the Giants are the #1 rushing offense in the NFL, and testing his offensive line and running backs against the best in the game will be strictly about getting the "W" and continuing the growth process of his team. Too many teams go to the pass when their worst nightmares are realized in the first half against the Ravens. Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward are not on those other teams - and Baltimore hasn't faced a running game like this (with the exception of Tennessee in week 4, but one could argue that rookies Chris Johnson & LenDale White were still finding their way around a formidable NFL defense).

2. Force the Ravens to abandon theirs: With all the talk about "Earth, Wind and Fire", it's easy to see why Baltimore's 149 rushing yards per game slips under the radar. Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain and the emerging first-year Rutgers standout Ray Rice provide the Ravens a nice little 3-headed monster of their own. The New York front four of Justin Tuck, Fred Robbins, Barry Cofield and Mathias Kiwanuka will have their hands full with the Ravens o-line. With field position and time of possession being the key factors in what should be a low scoring game, the Ravens running game needs to be stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Make Joe Flacco throw the ball and hope that Kenny Phillips, Corey Webster & company can do their jobs.   

3. Be smart, Eli: The Ravens are fully anticipating they'll stop the run this week. In all likelyhood, they'll go as far as to load up the box and challenge Eli Manning to beat them through the air. The one thing that concerns me in this game is Eli's penchant for having that one atroicious home game every year (last year's was the 4 interceptions against Minnesota - three of which were returned for touchdowns). Inexplicably, Manning's done this every season, and this game just screams of an encore performance. Eli will have had this in the back of his mind all week, but he won't have a fleeting thought of it come Sunday. No matter what he accomplishes, Manning's consistency and mental toughness will always be questioned. Time to show the league that the perennial model of defensive toughness can challange him, but not nake him flinch. It's not about stats or flash, it's about Manning making good decisions as he has the majority of the season. He has the weapons with Kevin Boss, Steve Smith, Amani Toomer, Domenik Hixon and Plaxico Burress. Someone will be open.


statistical sources: sportsline.com, pro-football-reference.com.

Posted on: November 13, 2008 11:39 am
Edited on: November 14, 2008 12:26 pm

Giants running game vs. Ravens rushing defense

King Kong vs Godzilla

What will happen when the Irresistible Force meets the Immovable Object this Sunday at the Meadowlands?

I have this vision in my head I can't shake: Brandon Jacobs being flown in by helicopter a-la "Operation Dumbo Drop" to the summit of Mt. Fuji, where awaiting his arrival - clenched teeth, fists securely on hips and head held high - is Ray Lewis. Jacobs is released from the harnesses and plummets to the ground, rolling as he lands to break his fall and taking cover behind a large boulder. Lewis begins to stomp towards the boulder when Jacobs grabs his legs from behind and the battle begins. Fire, lightning, and a whole lot of destruction ensues as the two rumble their way down the mountain and drag each other through the Atami Castle and crash into the Pacific Ocean. 

Anyone who's been around long enough to remember the epic battle that occurred in the climactic scene of Ishiro Honda's 1962 movie "King Kong vs. Godzilla" can relate to the story above. It's a ridiculous vision, but it's the one I have - my reoccurring theme whenever a much anticipated game is on the horizon that has a story line such as this one.  

The Baltimore Ravens have had the most dominating rushing defense in the league this season, allowing opponents a measly 67 yards per game. When Baltimore ceremoniously dismantled the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens defense was considered to be one of the best NFL fans had ever seen; at least since the days of Buddy Ryan's '46' of the Chicago Bears in the mid '80's. In the four seasons following that Super Bowl, Baltimore's run stopping ability struggled at times, but was still formidable (their worst ranking was 13th in 2002). But over the last three years, Coordinator Rex Ryan (Buddy's son) has roused the dormant beast - and the resurrection of  the Ravens defense is complete. His 3-4 scheme is thriving with such talents as Terrell Suggs, Bart Scott and of course Mr. Lewis. Ryan's squad finished 2nd in the league in run defense in 2006 & 2007; they're currently 1st in the NFL as they travel to New Jersey this weekend. Their travel companions are a 2.8 yards per carry average and a shot at sole possession of first place in the AFC North (they're tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who host a desperate San Diego Chargers team). 

The Giants - as an organization - have always placed more emphasis on the running game than the passing game. From the dissapointing Doug Kotar, Larry Csonka &  Bobby Hammond era of the mid 1970's to today, New york has fixated on the ground attack. It served them well in later years with the likes of Joe Morris, O.J. Anderson, Rodney Hampton and Tiki Barber. But what we've seen from the Giants backfield since the latter part of last season is an entirely different beast. It has three heads, and every head has it's own unique talent. Combined with a Pro-Bowl caliber offensive line that's opening holes to the tune of 169 rushing yards a game, the Giants are 1st in the NFL in rushing offense this year with 1,520 yards and a 5.2 average per carry.  Brandon Jacobs is 4th in the league with 806 yards, which is impressive when you consider he's 12th in the league in rushing attempts.

Ray Lewis and the Ravens will not be the only obstacle the Giants have to overcome on Sunday. A successful Giants' ground game will be reliant on the energy level of an offensive line that's been through the ringer the past three weeks. Three weks ago they faced James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and the Steelers. That contest seemed to take a lot out of them, because the Dallas Cowboys registered four sacks on Eli Manning a week later, which is the most they've allowed in a single game so far this season. They rebounded last week against the always physical and sometimes nasty play of the Philadelphia Eagles (not that there's anything wrong with that... it's a divisional game, both teams were ticky-tack), allowing just one shot on Manning while Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for a combined total of 219 yards.

You have to wonder how much gas is in the fuel tank, at least for this week's game. I have no doubt that the o-line is primed for the long haul. They're a stable, solid unit that is firing on all cylinders. Had the schedule makers constructed things differently - if the Giants last three games were against the Rams, Seahawks and 49ers for example - confidence in their energy and readiness would make this an even matchup. The reality may be - and Giants fans need to be prepared for this possibility - that the o-line has no more than a punchers chance in this one. It will take a herculean effort for them to get the job done on Sunday. Fortunately, these are the five guys who can do it if anyone could.   

King Kong & Godzilla's battle raged into the Pacific Ocean, as I previously mentioned. At the end of the film, Kong comes out of the water and pounds his chest before swinning off into the sunset toward his home on Faro Island. You're left to wonder what happened to Godzilla. Did Kong defeat him? Is Godzilla dead? Did he slip away, retreating to safety so he could live to fight another day? We already know the answer to that one - 40 years of lesser quality sequels (everything's relative) proved that Godzilla was not done, not by a longshot. Gojira - as the japanese call him - would be back as a force to be reckoned with for a very long time, wreaking havoc on evil monsters all over the eastern hemisphere.  

Whatever the outcome of the Ravens/Giants game on Sunday, I have a suspicion that the loser will be heard from later in the year and live to fight another day, a force to be reckoned with.


movie info source - Barry's Temple of Godzilla: www.godzillatemple.com ; statistical source: sportsline.com


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com