Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Nfl Playoff Wild-card Preview

January 07, 2006|SAM FARMER

WASHINGTON (10-6) AT TAMPA BAY (11-5)

Today, 1:30 p.m. PST, Channel 7

*--* THE OUTLOOK

*--*

* Redskin update: Making their first return to the playoffs since 1999, the Redskins are going back to the scene of their controversial 36-35 defeat to Tampa Bay on Nov. 13. Tampa is also the place where they lost their last playoff game, 14-13, to the Buccaneers in a second-round game. (And it's the place where Joe Gibbs suffered his worst postseason defeat, a 38-9 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII.) That said, these Redskins are on a roll. They've won five in a row and have had 17 takeaways and 17 sacks in those games, and they have knocked off three division champions: Chicago, Seattle and the New York Giants.

* Buccaneer update: Chris Simms has rounded into a good young quarterback. He has three fourth-quarter comebacks this season, and Coach Jon Gruden seems to be getting more comfortable with him by the week. But, as usual, the Buccaneers are all about their defense. They finished with a No. 1 ranking in that department, marking the third time in franchise history Tampa Bay has had the league's top defense. The last time, it won the Super Bowl. If the Buccaneers put a couple of touchdowns on the board early, look out -- they're 10-0 when they score 17 or more.

* Key stat: Washington running back Clinton Portis has tied a franchise record for rushing for 100-plus yards in five consecutive games. In his two games against the Buccaneers, he gained 148 and 144 yards on the ground.

* The scoop: Since being pushed to the brink of postseason elimination, the Redskins have been white hot. They match up well against the Buccaneers, and Portis can present real problems for Tampa Bay's often dominant defense. In the past, for the Buccaneers, falling behind hasn't been fatal. They're 3-0 in postseason games in which their opponent scored first.

* The line: Tampa Bay by 2 1/2 .

*--* TEAM LEADERS

*--*

WASHINGTON

*--* PASSING ATT COMP YDS TD Mark Brunell 454 262 3,050 23 RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD Clinton Portis 352 1,516 4.3 11 Ladell Betts 89 338 3.8 1 RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD Santana Moss 84 1,483 17.7 9 Chris Cooley 71 774 10.9 7

*--*

TAMPA BAY

*--* PASSING ATT COMP YDS TD Chris Simms 313 191 2,035 10 RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD Carnell Williams 290 1,178 4.1 6 Michael Pittman 70 436 6.2 1 RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD Joey Galloway 83 1,287 15.5 10 Michael Clayton 32 372 11.6 0

*--*

*--* THE MATCHUP

*--*

* Series record: Tied, 7-7.

* Last meeting: Bucs 36, Redskins 35, Nov. 13, 2005, at Tampa Bay.

* Last week: Redskins beat Eagles, 31-20. Bucs beat Saints, 27-13.

* Redskins Off.: Overall (11), rush (7), pass (21).

* Redskins Def.: Overall (9), rush (13), pass (10).

* Bucs Off.: Overall (23), rush (14), pass (25).

* Bucs Def.: Overall (1), rush (6), pass (6).

* Last playoff meeting: Jan. 15, 1999 -- Redskins 13 at Buccaneers 14. Tampa Bay converts two second-half turnovers into touchdowns as Buccaneers earn first trip to NFC championship game since 1979.

* Coaches vs. opposition: Gibbs: 3-1; Gruden: 1-2.

JACKSONVILLE (12-4) AT NEW ENGLAND (10-6)

Today, 5 p.m. PST, Channel 7

*--* THE OUTLOOK

*--*

* Jaguar update: Jacksonville might be the most underrated team in the playoff field. The Jaguars have beaten Pittsburgh on the road, and Seattle and Cincinnati at home. They're also getting quarterback Byron Leftwich back, which not only helps their offense but is a morale boost for the entire team. Those are the positives. On the downside, even though Jacksonville has won eight of nine games, those eight victories came against non-playoff teams. Against current playoff participants, Jacksonville is 3-3.

* Patriot update: It's playoff time and the Patriots look to be peaking. Surprise, surprise! The widespread speculation is New England was perfectly happy to lose its finale to Miami because that meant the Patriots would play host to Jacksonville instead of Pittsburgh. Although Coach Bill Belichick called that "ridiculous," the theory makes a lot of sense. In a rare move, Tom Brady played the disrespect card this week, saying his team hasn't received the credit its due this season. You'd better believe every AFC team in the playoffs is keeping one eye on the two-time defending Super Bowl champions.

* Key stat: Of the 53 players on New England's roster, 36 own Super Bowl rings and 30 have two or more.

* The scoop: The Jaguars might be a better team than many believe, but they'll be hard pressed to win at Foxborough. Brady is 9-0 as a starter in the playoffs, and he has completed at least two-thirds of his passes in his last four postseason games.

* The line: New England by 7 1/2 .

--SAM FARMER

*--* TEAM LEADERS

*--*

JACKSONVILLE

*--* PASSING ATT COMP YDS TD Byron Leftwich 302 175 2,123 15 RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD Fred Taylor 194 787 4.1 3 Greg Jones 151 575 3.8 4 RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD Jimmy Smith 70 1,023 14.6 6 Ernest Wilford 41 681 16.6 7

*--*

NEW ENGLAND

*--* PASSING ATT COMP YDS TD Tom Brady 530 334 4,110 26 RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD Corey Dillon 209 733 3.5 12 Patrick Pass 54 245 4.5 3 RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD Deion Branch 78 998 12.8 5 David Givens 59 738 12.5 2

*--*

*--* THE MATCHUP

*--*

* Series record: Patriots lead, 4-1.

* Last meeting: Patriots 27, Jaguars 13, Dec. 14, 2003, at New England.

* Last week: Jaguars beat Titans, 40-13. Patriots lost to Dolphins, 28-26.

* Jaguars Off.: Overall (15t), rush (10), pass (19).

* Jaguars Def.: Overall (6), rush (14), pass (7).

* Patriots Off.: Overall (7), rush (24), pass (2).

* Patriots Def.: Overall (26), rush (8), pass (31).

* Last playoff meeting: Jan. 3, 1999 -- Patriots 10 at Jaguars 25. Jacksonville rookie running back Fred Taylor rushes for 162 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown.

* Coaches vs. opposition: Jack Del Rio: 0-1; Belichick: 1-3.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|