Saturday Wild Card Preview

Scratch off the records, and erase the negativity that is being brought up by the media. Wild card weekend in the NFL, is one of the most exciting weekends in football. St. Louis and Seattle don?t give a damn that they have the worst winning percentage combined to face each other in a playoff game. They just know that they have an equal opportunity, as the other five teams do in their conference to get to the Super Bowl. Playoff life is going to be yanked away from eleven of the twelve teams, but until then no professional athlete is going to give up that goal. Let?s take a look at Saturday?s matchups.

St. Louis vs. Seattle
St. Louis surely has Seattle?s number, but both of the games they played were early in the season. Their first matchup was a blown game by Seattle that they lost in overtime, and week ten?s loss by Seattle looked like the Seahawks would falter into the Pacific Ocean. Both teams have had the same problem all season, and that?s poor game planning with horrendous defense. Game planning shouldn?t be a problem since both teams know each other, but defense will continue to be a problem. That?s why the team that does win, better shape up for round two. Vick or McNabb will tear up these defenses, and both teams possess capable defenses to hold either from getting over 20 points.

It boils down to which team will effectively run the football better, because that will ultimately lead to two to three big plays for the passing game. The Rams have the attack to do it, but will Mike Martz decide to throw the ball 45 times instead. Mike Holmgren knows that Shaun Alexander is a difference maker no matter the situation, and there is no doubt that he?ll get 25 carries. Also don?t forget Koren Robinson is back, even though Holmgren or the Seahawks organization is emphatic about it.

Key Fact: The Rams have been in the playoffs every year since 1999. Will their veteran leadership be key, or is a transformation needed.

NY Jets at San Diego
Quick advancement in the NFL is no better displayed example than this years San Diego Chargers. Their subsequent quick turnover was a combination of player development at the right time, a great coach, and key additions to the defense. This team has the most potential of any wild card team to do some damage, because they have mismatches to throw at any team. On the flipside they?re also amongst the youngest teams, which could show weakness in a playoff atmosphere. Playing at home usually helps that cause, even if they get off to a slow first quarter.

Another good sign for the Chargers is that the Jets aren?t a serious offensive threat, which will keep them in the game even if they play sloppy through the first three quarters. Still, if the Jets can control the ground game and keep the ball out of the Chargers offense it could throw off the patience of Drew Brees. A lot of quarterbacks tend to feel pressured to do something quickly, rather than realizing there is still plenty of time left. One mishap will be gobbled up by the Jets, and could be the quick demise of a great year by the Chargers.

Key Fact: Chad Pennington hasn?t won a big game all season long.


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