Noonan: NFL Divisional Playoff Predictions

Can Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos keep their playoff magic going on Saturday against New England? (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By Matt Noonan 

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 Brees clearly 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 Tebow has 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 Flacco completed 20-of-33 passes for 305 yards and one touchdown, while Billy Cundiff kicked 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.

NFL Postseason Schedule Announced

By NoontimeSports.com 

The NFL announced the 2011 playoff schedule on Sunday, and here are the potential match-ups.

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 – Wild Card Round 

* (No. 6) Cincinnati at (No. 3) Houston Texans — 4:30pm eastern 

* (No. 6) Detroit at (No. 3)  New Orleans — 8:00pm eastern 

Sunday, January 8, 2012 — Wild Card Round 

* (No. 5) Atlanta at (No. 4) New York — 1:00pm easter 

* (No. 5) Pittsburgh at (No. 4)  Denver — 4:30PM eastern 

Saturday, January 14, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Atlanta/New York/New Orleans at (No. 2) San Francisco (Afternoon) 

* Cincinnati/Denver/Pittsburgh at (No. 1) New England (Evening)

Sunday, January 15, 2012 — Divisional Round 

* Denver/Houston/Pittsburgh at  (No. 2) Baltimore (Afternoon)

* Atlanta/Detroit/New York at (No. 1) Green Bay (Afternoon) 

Sunday, January 22, 2012 — AFC/NFC Championship Games

* AFC Championship — 3:30pm eastern 

* NFC Championship — 6:30pm eastern 

Sunday, January 29, 2012 — NFL Pro Bowl

* AFC vs. NFC — Time TBA 

Sunday, February  5, 2012

* AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion — Time TBA 

Breaking Down The NFC Playoff Picture

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

By Brian Willwerth 

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?

Noonan: Quick Thoughts on Week 15 of the NFL

Reggie Wayne pumps his fist on Sunday to celebrate the Colts victory on Sunday! (Photo Credit: SB Nation)

By Matt Noonan 

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 Manning won’t play for the remainder of the season. Hmm… I think that was an obvious, right?

* Sunday was also the first time that New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco caught a touchdown, as well as provided some necessary blocks on offense too. Ochocinco then took to Twitter a few hours after his team’s game against Denver concluded, and wrote, “Never look down on people. My grandma always said whatever’s on the bottom is holding you up.” I guess his grandmother provided the inspiration for his first official touchdown in a New England uniform, eh?

* 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.  

Kansas City Upsets Green Bay, Indianapolis Earns First Win Against Tennessee

Kansas City Chiefs interm head coach Romeo Crennel earned his first win on Sunday! (Photo Credit: Kansas City Star)

By Brian Willwerth 

The last unbeaten has fallen. The last winless team is winless no more.

Welcome to “Upset Sunday” in the NFL.

With all the hype surrounding the Patriots/Broncos epic matchup in Denver, the first big headline of the day came from Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs, who fired head coach Todd Haley less than a week ago, pulled off the shocker of the year: a 19-14 victory over the previously undefeated Packers.

Kyle Orton threw for 299 yards – 64 more than Aaron Rodgers. Jackie Battle scored Kansas City’s lone touchdown of the game to seal the deal.  Rodgers pulled Green Bay to within five in the closing minutes, but the Chiefs were able to run out the clock. The end result: the Packers’ first loss since Dec. 19, 2010, and a Gatorade bath for interim Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel.

The Packers still have the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but Sunday’s result gives other teams hope.

Meanwhile, at Lucas Oil Stadium, another long streak ended. The Indianapolis Colts finally won a game. With a 27-13 victory over the Titans, Indianapolis avoided becoming the second 0-16 team in NFL history, (Detroit is alone in that regard). The Colts’ defense forced three turnovers, and Donald Brown rushed for 161 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal.

Indy’s defense held Chris Johnson to just 55 yards on the ground.

While those were the most notable upsets of the day, they weren’t the only ones.

The Panthers beat the Texans. Houston was one of four teams that came into the day tied for the No.1 seed in the AFC.

The Seahawks beat the Bears at Soldier Field. Chicago hasn’t won since losing quarterback Jay Cutler to an injury.

The Redskins walked into the Meadowlands and put a dent in the Giants’ playoff hopes.