playoffs for the NFL started in 1967 and fans haven't looked back since. The
football playoffs for 2008 shocked New England fans with the playoff absence of
their beloved New England Patriots. New York football fans were angry at Mangini's
weak coaching of the Jets in the latter games of the season, and no tears were shed when he was
quickly dismissed. There was cheers in Detroit as the winless Lions let coach Marinelli go, as did the beleaguered Browns dismal 4-12 record led to coach Crennel
being led out the door.
But, that's the past. As we march towards the
Football Superbowl 2009, familiar faces will take the field this month. You'll see the
Manning brothers at quarterback, and I'm sure you'll be treated to plenty of shots
of their parents huddled in a sky booth watching their son's games (rumor has it the
NFL has offered them a contract if they'll have more sons).
Here's my take on the NFL Football Playoffs for 2008:
NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS
After a widely popular Superbowl win, everyone's going to be looking for another
exciting post-game season from the Giants. This is the Giant's fourth playoff
appearance in a row. All with Eli Manning as quarterback, who completed 60% of his
throws and connected for 21 touchdowns. Giants running backs Derrick Ward and
Brandon Jacobs both broke 1,000 yards rushing this season. Also, a Giants team
record was set by kicker John Carney who made 35 out of 38 field goals this season.
After winning a hotly contested AFC East, quarterback Chad Pennington is ready to
show the Jets that they were wrong to cut him. Pennington threw for 19 touchdowns
and completed 321 out of 476 passes this season, finishing with a "passer rating" of
97.4. Pennington was once again voted the NFL Comeback Player of the Year (the first
time was in 2006). Both the Dolphins and the Giants tied for the lowest turnovers
this season with just a lucky 13. Running back Ronnie Brown ran for a solid 916
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, the Vikings seems to be eternally in the
playoffs and almost destined to never win the big game. Quarterback Frerotte passed
for only 178 of 301 attempts but managed to make 12 touchdown passes and achieved 2157
passing yards. Running back Adrian Peterson ran for a most impressive 1760 yards.
So, expect the Vikings to march down the field with steady precision. Defensively,
the Vikings are strong, with the No. 1 defense against the run.
The team that took the original name of the Jets went lossless for much of this
season. They ended this regular season with an impressive 13-3 and quarterback
Collins completed 242 out of 415 attempts and an awesome 2676 passing yards with 12
touchdown passes. Running back Johnson broke 1,000 yards with 1228 yards running,
averaging almost five yards per run!
Always the team for real men, the Steelers finished 12-4 as veteran quarterback Ben
Roethlisberger is expected to play the full playoff season despite receiving a
slight concussion in the last game. Did I say that the Steelers are the team for
real men? Roethlisberger threw for a breakout 3301 yards by completing 281 out of
469 passes. The Steeler's rushing isn't as impressive, as running backs Parker and
Moore ran for only a combined 1379 yards. The Steeler's defense was #2 against the
run (the Vikings beat them by 54 yards).
With a name that sounds like a high school football team, the Panthers are going to
be interesting to watch in the playoffs. In the past six games their struggling defense has
given up an average of 29 points per game and 395 yards PER GAME. In their defense's
defense, they've had a very tough schedule. They need the first-round bye they
earned for these playoffs. Quarterback Jake Delhomme completed 15 touchdown passes
and 246 out of 414 passes. Running back DeAngelo Williams ran for a curious 1515
yards this season.
Quarterback Peyton Manning completed a whopping 27 touchdown passes this season.
Manning also completed 371 out of 555 passes for a completion record of 67%. And
manning completed for a star-studded 4002 yards. And the Colts ended the season with
a nine-game winning streak. Running backs Addai and Rhodes ran for only a combined
total of 1082 yards, but so what?
Although finishing just 9-7, the Cardinal's quarterback Kurt Warner led the
Cardinals to their first playoff appearance in 10 years this season by throwing a massive 30
touchdown passes. He also completed 401 out of 598 passes, equaling
Peyton Manning's 67% completion percentage. Running backs Hightower and James ran
for a combined total of a disappointing 913 yards. It remains to be seen if the
Cardinals won't have the first playoff game blacked out, as they still had 6,500
unsold tickets five days before the first playoff game.
Chargers won the AFC West with a curious record of 8-8. Huh. And quarterback Philip
Rivers passed for 34 touchdowns and 4009 yards, so you'd expect a better record,
right? Running back LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 1110 yards. That's all there
really is to say, other that the Chargers may have the hottest cheerleaders in the
The Falcons average 152.7 yards rushing per game, which is the second-best record in
the NFL. Quarterback Matt Ryan is 8-0 when he takes the Falcons for an opening score
in their first drive of the game, so watch for that. Ryan threw for 3440 yards this
past season, completing 265 out of 434 passes, managing 16 touchdown passes in the
process. Running back Michael Turner rushed for 1699 yards and scored 17 touchdowns.
Wide receiver Roddy White set a new franchise record with 88 catches for a grand
total of 1,382 yards. Seven of those were touchdowns.
Once upon a time, the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis and are now known as the
Indianapolis Colts. At another time, the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore
and are now known as the Baltimore Ravens. Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco completed
257 out of 428 passes, 14 of them touchdowns. The Ravens running backs did well,
with 902 yards by fullback Le'Ron McClain, 695 yards by Willis McGahee, and 454
yards by rookie running back Ray Rice.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb, though often criticized by the media and fans, threw for
23 touchdowns and completed 345 out of 571 passes. In McNabb's last five games of
the regular season he only had one interception. The Eagles were fourth in the NFL
against the run this past season, giving up more than 122 rushing yards only three
times. Running back Brian Westbrook ran for 936 yards this season.