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NFL Divsional Round Part 2
by ASA - 01/06/2009
NFL Divisional Round â€“ Rematch Rewind (Sunday)
After seeing all four road teams favored last week, weâ€™re now back to â€œnormalâ€쳌 in the NFL playoffs with all of the hosts laying 3-points or more. We donâ€™t see it very often, however all of the games to be played in this weekendâ€™s Divisional round are rematches from earlier this year. Can we take some things that happened in their first match ups and fast forward them to this weekend? Possibly. It definitely canâ€™t hurt. So letâ€™s rewind and see what took place in the first match for each of these games. This report is for Sundayâ€™s match ups.
NOW: NY Giants (-4)  vs. Philadelphia, Sunday, January 11th
THEN: Philadelphia (-3) [42.5] vs. NY Giants, Sunday, November 9th
NY Giants (-6.5) [40.5] vs. Philadelphia, Sunday, December 7th
WHAT HAPPENED: With both of these teams being from the NFC East, they obviously met twice this season. The Giants won the first meeting in Philly as an underdog, 36-31. In round two in the Meadowlands, the Eagles pulled the upset 20-14. On a sidenote, that seems to be a developing trend in this series as the underdog has covered eight straight. Not only that, the dog has won six of those eight games out right. New York dominated the first meeting much more than the 5-point margin might indicate. The Giants had 401 total yards to 300 for the Eagles. Even more impressive, they controlled the ball the entire game with nearly 20:00 minute time of possession edge. They rushed for 219 total yards led by Brandon Jacobsâ€™ 126 on the ground. That win in early November moved the Giants to 8-1 and 3-0 vs. the NFC East. The Eagles do everything back Brian Westbrook was held to only 59 total yards. In meeting number two in New York, we saw a 180 degree turn. Almost the direct opposite of what happened in the first game. The Eagles controlled this one even more than the final score of 20-14 indicated. Brian Westbrook, after struggling in game one, rolled up over 200 yards of total offense in this one. Brandon Jacobs who has a big day in Novemberâ€™s meeting, only carried the ball 10 times in the rematch. Philly racked up 120 more total yards than the Giants and had nearly a 10:00 minute time of possession edge. New York had 14 points, however one of their touchdowns came on a 71-yard blocked field goal return. The other came with just 15 seconds remaining in the game. Many times we can take things from early match ups and use them if the teams meet again. That really isnâ€™t the case here as one game tells us one thing and the rematch told us the exact opposite. Round three is ready to get underway on Sunday.
NOW: Pittsburgh (-6)  vs. San Diego, Sunday, January 11th
THEN: Pittsburgh (-4.5) [40.5] vs. San Diego, Sunday, November 16th
WHAT HAPPENED: Well, the first meeting will be forever tattooed on bettors minds for better or for worse. It was for worse for us. We had Pitt -4.5 and the Steelers won the game 11-10. That was the first time in NFL history that a game ended with that final score. However it almost didnâ€™t end that way. The Steelers looked like they were going to pull out a miracle cover when safety Troy Palamalu picked off a lateral on the final play of the game and took it in for a touchdown. The play was review and inexplicably overturned sending some San Diego bettors out to dance in the streets while Pittsburgh backers were ready to call for a conspiracy. After the game, head official Scott Green admitted the crew made a mistake and the TD should have been allowed which would have given the Steelers the cover. Oh well, now onto what happened in the â€œrestâ€쳌 of the game. Despite scoring only 11 points and did not score a touchdown, the Black & Gold dominated the match up rolling to 410 yards, nearly 200 more than the Bolts. The Steelers simply blew a number of key scoring opportunities. In fact, of their nine offensive drives in the game, the Steelers got inside the San Diego 33-yard line six times yet still put up only 11 points. The loss moved the Chargers all time regular season record in Pittsburgh to 0-13. However, the Bolts are 2-0 lifetime in Pitt in the playoffs. Weâ€™ll see if that perfect record holds up this Sunday.