Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers kicked off the 2011 NFL season with three touchdown passes in the first quarter to lift his Green Bay Packers past the New Orleans Saints 42-34 Thursday night at Lambeau Field. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees brought his team back to create an offensive heavy battle, throwing for 419 yards and three TD’s from 32 passes completed. (more)
Super Bowl XLV is less than a week away. It will only be a few more days until Aaron Rodgers gets his shot to jump out of Brett Favre’s shadow and win as many Super Bowls as Farve has in his entire career, while Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger will attempt to match the three titles won by New England’s Tom Brady. While the two quarterbacks are the biggest draw of the game, there are plenty of other aspects of the game to be excited about. The two teams feature the two best defenses in the NFL, with the Steelers giving up a measly 14.5 points-per-game, while the Packers are right behind them at 15.0.
Both defenses are built around a great pass rush, as they are also the league’s top two teams in sacks. The pressure generated by brilliant defensive schemes and elite pass rushing talents like Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews have made both of these defensive units an absolute terror for their opponents all year long.
The major difference in the two defenses is in the secondary. While both teams have excellent safeties, with a slight edge going to Pittsburgh with Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu, on the outsides Green Bay has a huge advantage. The Packers have last year’s Defensive Player of the Year in Charles Woodson on one corner, and opposite of him is arguably the league’s most underrated player in Tramon Williams, who actually outplayed Woodson this season.
That tandem will give the Steelers’ wide receivers trouble and will force Roethlisberger to look for other options, and thus, limit the potential for a big play. Meanwhile, the Steelers will trot out Ike Davis, who is a good corner in his own right, and Bryant McFadden, who is merely average. In most cases, the Steelers strength elsewhere on the defense makes up for what they lack on the outside, but with Green Bay’s extremely talented group of receivers combined with a quarterback who can keep the play alive under pressure, the Packers should be able to move the ball through the air all night long.
The game will undoubtedly be a great Super Bowl, but in the end it is just a bad match-up for the Steelers. In three of their four losses their weakness at the cornerback position has been exploited, most notably against New England, when Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns. The Packers have just as many weapons as any team the Steelers have faced this year and should be able to attack the outsides at will. Expect Rodgers and the Packers to march to a tough, but somewhat comfortable, 10 point victory and claim the Lombardi Trophy. Purchase your Super Bowl XLV tickets with us at Ace!
The long-time rivals will meet in the playoffs for only the second time, and the first time since 1941, when the Green Bay Packers travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears. The Packers are fresh off of an impressive win over the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons, 48-21, on Saturday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Packers carved up Atlanta’s zone defense all night long and were able to move the ball at will, especially through the air. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers only missed on five passes as he threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns.
Rodgers wasn’t the only one who played his best game of the year, as the Packers were firing on all cylinders as they outplayed and outcoached the NFC favorite. Coach Mike McCarthy’s game plan was among the best the league has seen all season, as the Packers wide receivers were seemingly wide open throughout the entire game, finding holes all over the zone defense that the Falcons had played so well up until that point.
This week they will have a tougher task at hand when they have to brave the elements and play in the heart of winter in Chicago as opposed to playing in a comfortable dome setting. Once they get outside, they will also have a tougher team in front of them, as the Bears will bring one of the league’s best defenses out on Sunday. Their defense, led by Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, allowed only 17.9 points-per-game in the regular season and held Green Bay to 10 points in week 17. (more)
If you are a football fan, you have heard the old phrase “defense wins championships.” The Baltimore Ravens really made that a point when they won the Super Bowl in 2000 behind what some call the best defense in league history and a borderline inept offense. Now, more than a decade later, the league has migrated to a more offensive style. Passing numbers have never been as high, and various league records have fallen in recent years, many right here in New England.
But even with these offensive trends, it is still a great defense that will bring home a championship under most circumstances. Just look at the final four teams remaining this season. They are all ranked in the top six for points allowed, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers being the top two. As for total yardage allowed, which is the criteria by which NFL defenses are ranked, only the Chicago Bears, who are ranked ninth, were outside the top five.
So knowing that defense is still what wins in the NFL, is it any surprise that the top seeds in each conference will be watching the championship games on Sunday? Both the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots had great scoring defenses, in fact, they are the two who are missing from the top six, but when you look deeper you will find that they are not nearly as strong as the others.
In yardage allowed the Falcons and Patriots ranked 16th and 25th respectively, which will not get the job done in the playoffs in most years. They were both teams who relied on turnovers and employed the “bend but don’t break” strategy. Defenses like that have won before, such as the New Orleans Saints last season, but most of the time it takes a truly strong defense, one that can stop the league’s best offenses in their tracks, to win a championship. Neither the Falcons nor the Patriots had that. Now they have to sit at home and watch four teams that do fight for a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
NFL post-season play is just around the corner with all Week 17 results in the books. The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-20 in OT to win their seventh Division title in eight years. They will first matchup against the New York Jets in the wild card round Saturday, January 8th at Lucas Oil Stadium. Other first round games next weekend include Baltimore at Kansas City, Seattle at New Orleans and Green Bay at Philadelphia. The New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears have earned a bye and home field advantage for the Divisional round. View all NFL Week 17 scores below!
Sunday, January 2, 2011Atlanta Falcons 31, Carolina Panthers 10 – The Falcons notched 14 points in the first block and harnessed the Carolina offense from there to clinch the NFC’s top seed.
New England Patriots 38, Miami Dolphins 7 – Rob Gronkowski caught one in the end zone to break the New England touchdown receptions record for tight ends.
Oakland Raiders 31, Kansas City Chiefs 10 – Michael Bush rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown for the Raiders to finish 6-0 in the AFC West. (more)
After yet another convincing win, the New England Patriots will look to continue rolling towards the playoffs when the Green Bay Packers come to Foxboro on Sunday night. The Patriots (11-2), became the first team to clinch a playoff spot after their complete dismantling of the Chicago Bears (9-4). The Patriots’ next test comes in the form of the 8-5 Packers, who missed out on a golden opportunity to take a share of the lead in the NFC North by losing to the Detroit Lions 7-3.
Perhaps an even more devastating loss is that of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers left in the first half of Sunday’s game with a concussion, his second of the season. Matt Flynn relieved Rodgers, but was ineffective at-best, throwing for 177 yards and an interception and no touchdowns. Rodgers’ status for the game is unknown, but if the Packers are going to have a chance they will need him under center. Rodgers is the fourth highest rated quarterback in the NFL at 98.5, and has thrown 23 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Flynn has yet to throw a touchdown in his career, and has a career completion percentage of 54.3. That won’t get it done against a Patriots defense that is drastically improving and is developing a knack for forcing turnovers. One potential issue for the Patriots, especially if Rodgers plays, is the health of cornerback Devin McCourty, after leaving Sunday’s game with a rib injury. McCourty has emerged as not only a candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but also as a true shutdown corner and one of the key parts of the team’s defense. (more)
The AFC East currently features two of the NFL’s top three teams between the New England Patriots and New York Jets. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the only other team to share a 5-1 regular season record so far with the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens just behind in the AFC North. The New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons currently lead the NFC standings at 5-2. The once heavily favored Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings are now struggling to gain any ground in their respective Divisions. Bye week teams included the Lions, Colts, Jets and Texans. All Week 7 scores are listed below!
Sunday, October 24, 2010Atlanta Falcons 39, Cincinnati Bengals 32 – Roddy White caught 11 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Washington Redskins 17, Chicago Bears 14 – Jay Cutler gift wrapped four interceptions for the Redskins to close out the Bears.
Tennessee Titans 37, Philadelphia Eagles 19 – Kenny Britt racked up 225 yards and three TD’s from just seven receptions.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Jacksonville Jaguars 20 – The Chiefs scored 28 points to win big at home. (more)
Veteran QB Kurt Warner outdueled Aaron Rodgers yesterday in Glendale as the Arizona Cardinals went on to defeat the Green Bay Packers 51-45, advancing them through to the Divisional Round next weekend against the NFC leading New Orleans Saints. Warner completed 29 of 33 throws for 379 yards and five touchdowns.
“We knew how tough it was going to be on our defense with all the weapons they have offensively and how they’ve been playing,” said Warner after racking up more TD’s than incomplete passes. “It was just one of those games where I felt great. I loved our playing. I felt like I was seeing everything well and it accumulates to 51 points.”
The Packers evened the score at 45 with 1:52 left in regulation. From there Warner rallied the Cardinals back up field for a chance to win, only for Neil Rackers to miss a 34 yard FG attempt wide left. Things were looking up for Green Bay heading into OT after winning the coin toss. Three plays later the Arizona defense forced a fumble and coasted into the end zone to live another day.
When asked about future retirement decisions, Warner stayed focused on the task at hand, saying “right now it’s about another playoff game. It’s about New Orleans and then we’ll go from there.” Saints vs. Cardinals tickets are now available!
The Green Bay Packers (11-5) will prepare to repeat their last performance against the Arizona Cardinals (10-6) at University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday, January 10th at 4:40 PM. The contest will mark the third rematch from just one week ago. The Patriots vs. Ravens and Cowboys vs. Eagles are the other upcoming featured rematches. Many have questioned Packers head coach Mike McCarthy’s decision to leave his starters in last week knowing the squad had already solidified a Wild Card spot.
“We’re the youngest team in the league for the fourth year in a row.” said McCarthy following their 33-7 romping. “Our goal as a coaching staff was to keep these guys on track and get as much momentum and confidence going into the playoffs, because the other teams that we’re going to be competing against have more experience.”
Green Bay has dominated the Cardinals two different times this season by a total of 54 points. QB Aaron Rodgers has led his team to win seven of their last eight. The Packers shouldn’t be too sure of themselves on Sunday as they enter a new type of game atmosphere against experienced veteran opponents between Kurt Warner and the rest of the 2008-2009 NFC champs. Packers vs. Cardinals tickets are now available right here at Ace!
Week 16 clarified the fact that numerous teams can be looked to as major contenders heading into this year’s NFL post-season. The Indianapolis Colts showed their vulnerabilities against a New York Jets squad still trying to earn their playoff spot. After Indianapolis pulled QB Peyton Manning with other notable starters, the Jets took over with 26 second half points.
The New Orleans Saints suffered their second consecutive loss in overtime to the 3-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals clinched their respective Divisions to solidify a first round home game for the playoffs. The Broncos, Texans, Ravens, Steelers and Jets are still fighting for the remaining two AFC slots with only one week to go. Week 16 scores are listed below.
Friday, December 25th, 2009San Diego Chargers 42, Tennessee Titans 17 – Philip Rivers completed 21 passes for 264 yards and 2 TD’s as the defense harnessed Chris Johnson and the high power Titans offense.
Sunday, December 27th, 2009Atlanta Falcons 31, Buffalo Bills 3 – Atlanta was able to score 14 in the third quarter while holding the Falcons to just 3 points all game.
Cincinnati Bengals 17, Kansas City Chiefs 10 – Carson Palmer drove his men downfield for one last TD in the fourth to stay atop the AFC North Division at 10-5.
Cleveland Browns 23, Oakland Raiders 9 – The 4-11 Browns scored 17 in the first half to notch their third straight victory.
Green Bay Packers 48, Seattle Seahawks 10 – Aaron Rodgers threw for 237 yards and 1 TD from just 12 total completions.
Houston Texans 27, Miami Dolphins 20 – Houston was able to score all of their points in the first two blocks and hold the Dolphins off from there to win by 7.
New England Patriots 35, Jacksonville Jaguars 7 – Tom Brady from 26 attempts completed 23 passes for 267 yards and 4 TD’s to help the Patriots clinch the AFC East Division.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, New Orleans Saints 17 – Connor Barth sent in a 47 yard field goal to claim victory in OT against the heavily favored Saints.
Carolina Panthers 41, New York Giants 9 – Carolina posted 21 second quarter points en route to crushing the Giants by 32.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 20 – The Steelers earned the go-ahead score with a fourth quarter field goal to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Arizona Cardinals 31, St Louis Rams 10 – Kurt Warner outdueled his former team with 24 passes completed for 313 yards and 2 TD’s.
San Francisco 49ers 20, Detroit Lions 6 – Frank Gore hit the 1,000 yard rushing mark as the 49ers continued on to handle the struggling Lions.
New York Jets 29, Indianapolis Colts 15 – The Jets took over in the third quarter when the Colts packed it in and benched their top players.
Philadelphia Eagles 30, Denver Broncos 30 – David Akers sent one through the uprights from 28 yards out with just 4 seconds remaining.
Dallas Cowboys 17, Washington Redskins 0 – The Cowboys defense shut out Redskins entirely as the offense collected 17 in total.
Monday, December 28th, 2009Chicago Bears 36, Minnesota Vikings 30 – Jay Cutler connected with Devin Aromashodu for the go-ahead OT score to give Chicago their sixth win of the season.