BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
Everyone knows a lot of headlines surround the infamous NFL playoffs.
It’s up to us fans to sort through them to come up with which one is the most intriguing. Now, it would be easy to go with Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos or the matchup between the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals, which features to rookie quarterback going head-to-head. Those are simple, good topics, heading into wildcard weekend. And I like simple. I like easy. So I’ll be breaking down what I believe to be the most intriguing headline for the wild card round: The new faces in the playoffs. It’s the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions, which oddly enough both play on Saturday. Looks like I had better get started:
• Opponent: They’re at New Orleans to clash with the Saints at 8 p.m. EST
• Chances: Although the Detroit Lions have made the postseason before (15 times), the squad hasn’t played when it matters most since 1999. One could argue that the lack of experience will hurt Detroit when the Lions suit up for the Saints. But this Detroit team is different from those in the past. There is just a whole new swagger to the squad. I’m not going ot get fancy with the statistics here, but the Lions are what NFL teams are currently aspring to be. With young, athletic talent like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, DeAndre Levy and Titus Young there’s no telling what this team could do in the future. And Detroit may just start making its name for the years to come this weekend. A lot of people expect the Lions’ matchup with the Saints to be an offensive battle and it should be nothing short of that. I don’t see Detroit coming out on top, though, because New Orleans is my Super Bowl pick, but it should be the most exciting game Saturday. The Lions could sneak by, however, because of the Saints aging secondary players and because the Seattle Seahawks took down New Orleans last year in the first round.
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode of Couch Side, Co-Host Craig Paul makes his debut, joining Couchsideshow.com editor Wade McMillin in a NFL playoff preview. The pair breaks down each weekend wildcard matchup in the NFC and AFC and also examines the top seeds in both conferences. Keep listening and also see Couch Side’s take on quick NFL headlines that include the firing of Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, Bills defensive guru Dave Wannstedt’s promottion and Rex Ryan’s tears. You won’t want to miss this episode of Couch Side!
Also, don’t forget to send us questions, thoughts, comments or if you’re interested in becomming a part of the Couch Side team to our mailbag tab on our homepage. We’ll then take questions and answer them in next week’s podcast. So tune in every Tuesday for a new episode of Couch Side. Click on the link below to listen to this week’s episode:
BY TREVOR GOULD, Couchsideshow.com writer
At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, and boasting a 4.35 40-yard dash and 44 inch vertical leap, Calvin Johnson has always been a man amongst boys.
Ever since being selected No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2007 NFL Draft, the wide receiver known as “Megatron” has made opposing cornerbacks look like small children, compiling 5,628 yards receiving and 48 touchdowns since entering the league. For years he was the only legitimate offensive threat on a horrendous Lions offense that consistently ranked in the bottom half of total team offense every year. Johnson’s progression has been further hounded by minor injuries that plagued his first few seasons. Yet as the Lions emerge into relevance for the first time in over a decade, a healthy Calvin Johnson is reaping the benefits and establishing himself as the premier wideout in the NFL.
With one game left to play in the 2011 NFL regular season, Calvin has amassed 85 receptions, totaling a career-best 1,437 receiving yards with a league leading 15 touchdowns. In addition, he is 2nd in the league with 25 25-plus yard receptions and 1st in receptions of 40-plus yards with nine. Much of Johnson’s impressive production can be attributed to his stellar rapport with gunslinger Matthew Stafford, who has finally proved he can stay healthy over the course of a full season. Other offensive weapons include veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson, rookie burner Titus Young, promising tight end Brandon Pettigrew,
and the running back trio of Jahvid Best, Maurice Morris, and Kevin Smith (too bad they all keep getting injured). Now that the Lions offense contains other playmaking weapons, defenses cannot key in solely on Calvin, which has allowed him to take his game to a higher level.