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NFC Playoffs - The Good, Bad & Ugly

by Eric Tellez /Jan 14, 2010 / sfreport15@gmail.com

I try to keep things strictly 49er related when I write but with everyone talking playoffs it has gotten me in the spirit to do a little playoff analysis of my own. I'm not going to give predictions, based on what we've seen lately who would, but here's some thoughts that are on my mind.

Game 1: Dallas at Minnesota

DALLAS COWBOYS
The Good: The Cowboys are the hottest team in the NFL after winning their last four and beating Philly in consecutive weeks. The team is healthy, WR Roy Williams is catching the ball, and the pass rush might be as good as it was in the Jimmy Johnson days. To top it all off, I can't recall any game in Brett Favre's career when he amazed against The 'Boys.

The Bad: 3 of their last 4 wins were against Washington and Philadelphia. I'm not talking about the Philly that beat the Niners 27-13, I'm referring to the Eagles that lost to Oakland in week 6. If you find out that Eagle QB Donovan McNabb had off-season surgery you heard it here first. He did not look healthy or comfortable the last two weeks. The win against New Orleans was big, but they almost gave that one away.

The Ugly: The secondary is playing amazingly well for being such a young group. This game is going to come down to Brett Favre throwing the ball and if Mike Jenkins and Ken Hamlin aren't ready they're going to have a long day.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The Good: The Vikings can stop the run, the Vikings are at home, Dallas hasn't faced a pass rusher the caliber on DE Jared Allen in a long time. If Dallas wants to defend the pass they can see a steady dose of RB Adrian Peterson. Dallas doesn't have a linebacker that can cover TE Shiancoe and if they use a safety someone is open upfield.

The Bad: The Vikings have looked like a team about to implode at times with some serious concern coming from Vikingland over who is running the team; the coach or the quarterback? Before beating the New York Giants, a team with nothing to play for, the Vikings had lost to Carolina and Chicago. This is a solid group of players that have somehow managed to form an unsteady team.

The Ugly: Brett Favre. If you want to make a case that Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback in history I wouldn't argue against you. But if you had one game to decide the fate of the human race where does Brett Favre rank for you?
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Game 2: Arizona at New Orleans
ARIZONA CARDINALS
The Good: There is no better team in "one game seasons" than the Cardinals. This team can win the shootouts and WRs Steve Breaston and Early Doucet are emerging as capable compliments to WR Larry Fitzgerald. The team runs just enough to keep you honest.

The Bad: The defense looked bad against Green Bay. Safety Adrian Wilson seems more interested in ripping at the ball than making tackles and nickelback Michael Adams got picked on repeatedly all game. I don't know why they picked on Adams, they must have gotten tired of picking on CB Bryant McFadden is all I can figure.

The Ugly: Cardinals had it easy all season with 2-wins against Seattle, 2-wins against St. Louis, and wins against Chicago and Detroit. The #2 team in the division, San Francisco, beat them twice. How will Cards do against quality opponents in back-to-back weeks?

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Good: The Saints had three wins against playoff teams while winning 13 in a row. The Cardinals had trouble covering the Packers on passing plays and the Saints can spread the ball around better than any team in the league. This defense can create turnovers and pressure the quarterback.

The Bad: The loss against Dallas did more than end the perfect season. Since the Dallas game New Orleans has lost their last two to the Bucs and Carolina. The Saints haven't shown much of an ability to blitz the quarterback dropping their linebackers into coverage. If there is a weakness in their secondary Arizona will exploit that faster than you can say "former arena league quarterback".

The Ugly: It's hard to be excited for a team that lost its last three before going into the playoffs. The Saints can score a lot of points but what are they like against a team that can match them score-for-score. The game may depend of RB Reggie Bush, LB Jonathan Vilma, or Safety Darren Sharper making a play in the end.



Thats's it for now! I'll be back Monday on the 49ers beat going over Free Agents and weekend signings. I know it's a bit of a layoff but I'm trying to get the most up-to-date 49er info for all my readers. You can also email at sfreport15@gmail.com to talk Niners or football in general.


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