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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No need for change

With two weeks left in the regular season, the hunt for October is in full swing, and numerous teams are hoping to add at least one more game to their schedule.  The second Wild Card allows another team to have a shot at winning it all, which has created additional buzz and excitement, but not all of the buzz has been positive.

"I hate it," Nationals manager Davey Johnson told USA Today a year ago when asked about the Wild Card format.

Not only has Davey Johnson been critical of the Wild Card format, where the two Wild Card teams face off in a one game playoff series, but players have also voiced their displeasure.

"Hopefully, that's one of the things they'll change," Pirates All-Star relief pitcher Mark Melancon told the Boston Globe.

While some managers and players might not be in favor of the current format, I love it.  It puts an emphasis on winning your division, while rewarding the division winners with an extra day to prepare and allow them to set their pitching rotation for their first series.

This format also creates additional excitement to the end of the season.  Right now in the American League there is six teams within 3 1/2 games of each other for their right to extend their season by just one day.  In the National League, the Central is going to come down to the final days of the season with the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds all competing to win the divisional crown.

If it was not for the one game Wild Card playoff series, there would be little importance on winning your division.  Instead, it would be a best two out of three series, causing division winner to have to wait an extra two to four days just to play their first playoff game.  This would cause teams to play for the Wild Card spots instead of their division, which would eliminate the excitement of division races that come down to the wire like we have this season in the NL Central.

Although some people might not be in favor of the current Wild Card playoff format, it is the best thing for baseball.  It creates excitement with multiple teams competing to the end for the possibility to extend their season by just one game.  The hunt for October is an exciting time in baseball, and with the current playoff format it adds even more.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Must win game for the Packers

Could the season be over already after Week 2?  The Washington Redskins will head to Lambeau Field on Sunday to take on the Green Bay Packers in what will be a crucial game for both teams.  Although it is only Week 2, this will be a must win game for the Packers who look to avoid starting the season 0-2.

It was a closely contested four quarters of football last week against the San Francisco 49ers, but the Packers could not hold the lead late and lost 34-28.  The defense did an excellent job limiting the 49ers to only 90 yards on the ground, but they allowed Colin Kaepernick to throw all over them.  In 39 passing attempts, he through for 412 yards with three touchdowns.

Not only did the defense struggle, but the Packers running game did as well.  This offseason the Packers said they were going to be more committed to the run, and drafted Eddie Lacy to be the guy to lead their rushing attack.  In only 19 carries the Packers running backs only rushed for 63 yards.  This was a major disappointment, and needs to improve quickly if the Packers want to win.

Speaking of winning, the Packers need to win this week if they want to make the playoffs.  While it is only Week 2, Green Bay has never made the playoffs after they started the season 0-2.  Not only has the Packers struggled when they got off to a 0-2 start, but the entire NFL has as well. Since 1990, when the current playoff system went into effect, teams who started 0-2 have only made the playoffs 12 percent of the time.  These numbers are not in the Packers favor, and with a team who struggles to run the ball, and plays below average defense, it will be a major concern if they Packers cannot secure a victory at home.

The Packers come into Sunday's matchup between the Redskins needing to get a win to avoid a 0-2 start.  Their running game and defense needs to be improved from last week in order to even have a chance at securing the "W" at home.  Expect this game to come down to the wire with both teams trying to avoid an 0-2 start, but the Packers will have the advantage playing at home.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Defense has to be improved

Is this the game the Green Bay Packers finally slow down Colin Kaepernick?  The Green Bay Packers open the 2013-14 NFL season against the San Francisco 49ers for a second consecutive season, but unlike last year, the Packers will have to face dual threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  It was not until the playoffs that the Packers got their first taste of Kaepernick, and boy was it a disaster.

Kaepernick had a mind-blowing game with 263 yards passing for two touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for an additional 181 yards and two touchdowns.  The Packers defense looked terrible, and it will have to improve against the 49ers this season if they want a chance to win.  

The Packers defense will be the key to the Packers success against the 49ers.  They have had months to prepare for the 49ers offense, and they need to come out early and quiet all the critics.  In order for the Packers to do this, they need to play smart, by not playing to aggressively and force the 49ers to throw the ball early.  

The 49ers and Packers are two of the best teams in the NFL, and it will not be an easy game for either side to start the season.  Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers ran all over the Packers defense in the playoffs a season ago, and things will have to be different this time around if the Packers want to win.