Saturday, January 7, 2012

Your assigned Wildcard week reading

I love playoff football. So, so much. January is my holy month.

Here's what I'm reading, and you should to, to prep for this week's games:

Smart Football

Start with Chris Brown's brief but useful preview post, and I strongly encourage you to click the the links to the older posts that get into the meaty scheme stuff.

Football Outsiders

Like every year, they use their unique stats to tease out the playoff teams' true strengths and weaknesses. NFC Preview, AFC Preview.

Pro Football Focus

These guys, of course, study individual player performances as closely as anyone. They identify three key matchups for each game that ESPN (excluding NFL Matchup of course) would probably never notice while fixating on which teams' veteran leaders want it more. Texans-Bengals, Saints-Lions, Giants-Falcons, Broncos-Steelers.

The Players' Page

Old friend Matt Bowen over at NFP gives us his usual brief but focused and substantive work, first with a "Five Things to Watch" post covering all the games, then with a diagram-y bit about how the Lions will attack Gregg Williams' defense when he goes into Cover-2.

Happy football everyone.

Update: Apparently circumstances didn't permit Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar to do his usual podcast with Matchup's Greg Cosell this week, but when they return for the second round it will be a mandatory listen. It was great during the regular season, so I'm eager to see what they can do with only a few games to focus on.