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'07 Game-byGame Breakdown: Keys to Winning
By no means am I a football guru. I cannot predict the complete rosters for any team, nor how each team will look on the field. I can look at the teams on paper as they are today, and get a 'feel' for what has to happen for us to get the win. So, here's what I think it will take to get us a "W" each week: (preseason not included, of course)
'Zona - One of the team's greatest handicaps is gone, that being the infamous Denny Green. Now, these guys have some guy named Wisenhunt as a coach. A lot of people laugh at the Cards due to the lack of a winning record lately, but I can't. The one thing these guys have lacked is consistency on both sides of the ball. This is about to change, as Wisenhunt doesn't show the signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder his predecessor did. Therefore, the team won't have quite as many dismal performances, or as many surprising wins. Instead, I foresee a "steady" approach to the games this season, resulting in a sane style of play.
Defensive Keys: The way to beat these guys is to capitalize on Lienart's sophmore slump. Yeah, he had games last year where he looked impressive. But, as far as I know, most NFL QB's have a problem in the second year, getting overconfident and sloppy. Putting pressure on the guy will only increase those mistakes. Lienart depended on James to win against us in St. Louis, so forcing him to throw will give our secondary an opportunity to stop the Cards.
Offensive Keys: Last season, the Cards D showed that they could get to Bulger with Okeafor. Of course, our O-line was still in disarray, but their strategy worked well. Using McMichael to block for Jackson will help the ground game, and Bennett, Holt, and McMichael will let Marc be more succesful in the Red Zone. However, unless the O-line stops the rush, Marc's going to have a couple of really long games.
ST Keys: SuperGlue an eye patch on Rackers so his depth perception is non-existant, or find a way for Tony Romo to be the holder...
Result: W - W
San Francisco - These guys make me wonder. Admittedly, Frank Gore is a good RB, in the same league as Jackson (not starting a debate here, folks!). Vernon Davis also looked good in a few games. Alex Smith, well, he didn't look that good unless Davis was playing. Picking up Banta-Cain and Clements helped them out a lot, but losing Norv Turner will haunt them in an equal way.
Defensive Keys: Contain Gore and Davis. A healthy Pisa, as well as utilizing Little and Hall to their full potential, will do a lot to slowing down the whiners.
Offensive Keys: Going with two TE's won't be as effective against the whiners as going "Martz" on their D. Look at it like this: You know they will double up on Pace, trying to get to Marc. Matching up to the rest of our O-line will take 4 more defenders. This ties up a total of six defenders. They know one guy can't stop Steven Jackson, so this ties up two more, total 8 defenders too busy to do anything else. This leaves THREE defenders to cover Bruce, Holt, Bennett, and McMichael. Or, they can try to rush past Pace with only one guy, or only cover Steven with one guy, but somehow, I see their D guessing as to who they should cover. The more potential recievers we have on the field, the better our odds of gaining a lot of ground.
ST Keys: Not screwing up.
Result: L - W
Seattle - The slow process of age-related degeneration of some players and non-adaptation by the coaching staff are continuing this off-season. Supposedly Hasselbeck will be back at the top of his game this year, but something tells me that he will still have some lingering problems left over from last season. Alexander is almost 30, and whether he admits it or not, his game is going downhill as he ages. WalrusMan is consistent in his coaching, even though the rest of the NFL knows his style and most teams are adapting to counter this style. (Remember how the Martz style was 'read' by other teams after a couple of seasons?)
Defensive Keys: Pressure, Pressure, Pressure. Hasselbeck will be a bit gun shy this year, remembering his knee injury. Personally, I'm not too worried about our seconday's abilities to cover the passing game. The weaknesses we had last year was stopping the run. Stacking the D-line would help, but only if our secondary covers their WR's like flies on two-day old Quarter Pounders.
Offensive Keys: First, praying that Kerney listens to every bit of advice that Marmie has to offer. Other than that...strike first, strike hard, and put up some points fast. Last year, our Red Zone offense was lackluster against their D, but utilizing two TE sets inside the 20 might give us an advantage.
ST Keys: Running back the ball better, giving us better field position is the one thing I think would help. For some reason, I feel like Seattle hates us having a short field. Maybe it's just the memories of Bruce and his helmet on the 20 in Quest Field....
Result: W - L
Tomorrow (or maybe later) I'll cover the next three teams, and continue until I get them all.
Re: '07 Game-byGame Breakdown: Keys to Winning
Well according to your "Crystal Ball" that's 4-2 vs our own division. I'll take that.:r :l
Re: '07 Game-byGame Breakdown: Keys to WinningThe way to beat these guys is to capitalize on Lienart's sophmore slump. Yeah, he had games last year where he looked impressive. But, as far as I know, most NFL QB's have a problem in the second year, getting overconfident and sloppy.
You know they will double up on Pace, trying to get to Marc. Matching up to the rest of our O-line will take 4 more defenders. This ties up a total of six defenders. They know one guy can't stop Steven Jackson, so this ties up two more, total 8 defenders too busy to do anything else. This leaves THREE defenders to cover Bruce, Holt, Bennett, and McMichael.
Pressure, Pressure, Pressure. Hasselbeck will be a bit gun shy this year, remembering his knee injury. Personally, I'm not too worried about our seconday's abilities to cover the passing game. The weaknesses we had last year was stopping the run. Stacking the D-line would help, but only if our secondary covers their WR's like flies on two-day old Quarter Pounders.
Re: '07 Game-byGame Breakdown: Keys to Winning
I'm back for the next team on the list:
The Falcons - Ron Mexico has lost his biggest fan...Mora. In his place is Petrino, who is an unknown quantity as of now. However, it is doubtful that Vick is going to be coddled by the new coach, so we'll likely be entertained at some point by watching Michael throw a fit because he can't get his way. Add the fact that Vick is more of a RB than a QB, and there should be some real drama now that Schaub is gone. I will give their front office some credit, the loss of Schaub will hurt, but if Atlanta makes the right moves in the draft with the picks they recieved in the trade, well, they might end up ahead. When Mora left, he didn't devestate the team, but his leaving will probably hurt more this year than the Falcons would like.
Defensive Keys: Vick isn't a great passing threat, so blitzing will have limited benefits. This game will be one that shows how well we did in FA and the draft, because a lot of good tackling will be needed to stop their running game.
Offensive Keys: Once again, this game will require our O to take the wind out of their sails by striking hard and fast. Atlanta isn't a great team, as evidenced by the flogging they got from Detroit last year, but Bulger is much better than Vick can ever dream to be at passing, so expect to see a lot of 3 WR plays, as well as the TE's being used to block for Jackson. Atlanta's D was barely ahead of ours in the NFC last year, but our offense is clearly better.
ST Keys: Wilkins and our punter will be the key factors here. We'll need a punter who can bury the Falcons deep in their own territory, and Wilkins will need to keep doing what he does best.