Sunday, January 4, 2009

What I Learned Today

So I have my first day back at school tomorrow, and what better way to prepare than spending all day watching sports?

I was able to watch the Baltimore Ravens dominate the Miami Dolphins to advance on to the next round of the AFC race, while my Philadelphia Eagles held on and used a late Brian Westbrook touchdown to beat the Minnesota Vikings. I also caught the final ten minutes of Boston College's upset of #1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Now, the Ravens-Dolphins game showed me once again that the Ravens' defense is back and as dominant as it was in their Super Bowl run of 2001. Every year this defense just seemingly reloads with talent, though when Ray Lewis takes his final bow his replacement will have some giant-sized shoes to fill. The game also reminded me how freakishly good Ed Reed is. You will undoubtedly see the highlight of his two picks on the day. Also, the Ravens clearly made the right pick of Joe Flacco. It seems like they finally have a quarterback who can pilot an offense well enough that the defense is no longer the sole means of scoring.

What surprised me with the Eagles-Vikings game was that the Eagles went into halftime with a two point lead thanks to three David Akers field goals and an Asante Samuel pick-six, and did not let that lead shrink anymore. They kept up their solid defense against the run, and did not allow Adrian Peterson any other big plays. The Birds also put more pressure on Tarvaris Jackson, who kept up the trend of young quarterbacks showing great poise thus far in the playoffs, and forced several wild throws and should-be-interceptions. Bravo, Birds, and on to the Meadowlands and the New York Giants.

Finally, I'm still shocked that Boston College knocked off unanimous #1 North Carolina. It will be interesting to see how far the Heels fall, though I do see this as being a "wake up" moment that will spur the Heels on for the rest of the season. The loss, combined with Pitt's drubbing of Georgetown, should ultimately give the Pittsburgh Panthers some much-needed exposure as the new #1.

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