We kickstart a brand new weekend with another edition of the Football Friday Notebook with loads of links from around the web about the New England Patriots to local high school football starting today/this weekend.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and make sure to circle back for more local football content over the next few days because football is officially back!
Here are my predictions for the NFC Divisional Round.
New Orleans 30, San Francisco 21: The Saints cashed in on five offensive series in the second half against the Detroit Lions last weekend, and are expected to keep their high-flying offensive attack going against the 49ers on Saturday. Drew Breesclearly is on a mission, which is why I believe they’ll defeat San Francisco, and advance to the NFC Championship game for the second time in three seasons.
New England 28 – Denver 16: The story of Tim Tebowhas been fascinating, but against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, I’m expecting him to struggle, and possibly throw two or three interceptions.
Baltimore 28 – Houston 21: Earlier this season, the Ravens defeated the Texans, 29-14. Joe Flaccocompleted 20-of-33 passes for 305 yards and one touchdown, while Billy Cundiffkicked five field goals. Can Baltimore duplicate their week five performance against Houston on Sunday? My answer… YES!
New York 24 – Green Bay 21: This is a total shot in the dark, but the Giants have gained a great deal of momentum over the past few weeks, and might have what it takes to knock out the defending NFC and Super Bowl champions. I like New York’s front seven on defense, especially since they could provide a great deal of chaos toward quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If the Giants pressure the Packers, and force a few turnovers, then expect Big Blue to walk away winners on Sunday.
With one week to go in the regular season, here’s the lowdown on the NFC playoff picture….
The Green Bay Packers will be the No. 1 seed. They’ve won the North, and have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers are champions of the West. They can clinch the No. 2 seed and first-round bye if they beat the Rams in St. Louis on Sunday.
The New Orleans Saints won the South last night, with Drew Brees’ record-breaking performance. They can still get a bye if they beat Carolina, and San Francisco falters.
The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons are the wild cards. That’s etched in stone.
The real drama lies in the NFC East, where the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will face off in a winner-take-all showdown in primetime at the Meadowlands. The winner wins the division; the loser is out. Think NBC is licking its chops?
Sunday was a wild day across the NFL, but now, literally hours after all the lights have been turned off, and fans have marched home, I, Matt Noonan have a few things to say about one of the most wackiest days in professional football, so here we go…
* The Chiefs-Packers game was quite intriguing, but so was watching the Colts earn their first win against the Titans. It was also nice to see Jim Isray smile too, as well as announce that Peyton Manningwon’t play for the remainder of the season. Hmm… I think that was an obvious, right?
* The Oakland Raiders celebrated Louis Murphy’s first score of the year, but sadly, they couldn’t control their exuberant emotions, which allowed Detroit the opportunity to rally and win their ninth game of the season, 28-27.
* In case you didn’t know, both New York teams, the Giants and Jets, lost. Yep, those losses will come back to haunt Big Blue and Gang Green at some point, but in the meantime, the city that never sleeps still has the Knicks and Rangers to follow.
* What’s the matter with Ryan Fitzpatrick? After signing a rather lucrative contract a few weeks ago, he hasn’t won a game. Doesn’t that bother Buffalo Bills fans?
* As mentioned above, I did find the Chiefs-Packers game intriguing, but also a great moment for interim head coach Romeo Crennel, who spoke rather highly of his team’s effort and performance against Green Bay. Yet, after this particular win, I have to ask the following… Should he be considered for the head-coaching job for next year? My answer… YES!
* The St. Louis Rams are in a world of hurt, and according to reports on Monday; head coach Steve Spagnuolo’s job is in serious jeopardy. He may not be coaching the men dressed in blue and yellow next year, but overall, I think it’s safe to say, he gave it his best shot.
* So, where have the San Diego Chargers been the past few weeks? Suddenly, they want to win? They’ll need a lot of help these next two weeks, but overall, their affair against Baltimore proved that the Ravens might not be the best squad in the AFC.