The Union Recorder

Local Sports

January 2, 2013

All 12 playoff teams have flaws to fix

(Continued)

ATLANTA —

—Green Bay: The Packers also have problems putting the ball through the uprights, but coach Mike McCarthy has steadfastly stuck with Mason Crosby, who was a less-than-impressive 21 for 33 this season. During one stretch he missed 12 of 24, including all seven tries from 50 yards or longer. But he has made his last four, including two from 50-plus.

"These last two weeks I've been putting them through the uprights and that's what I've got to keep doing," Crosby said.

—Washington: The Redskins' bend-but-don't-break defense has been bowing so much it's bound to snap, right? Opponents converted third downs an NFL-high 44.2 percent of the time against the Redskins, who finished 28th in total defense and 30th in pass defense and had to rely on Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to make up for all these defensive doldrums.

"We're good enough, right?" defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "Good enough to get to the playoffs. Good enough to win seven games in a row."

—Seattle: The Seahawks were the only team in the league to go 8-0 at home. The problem is they're hitting the road in the playoffs, where they were 3-5. They won't have their ear-piercing crowd nor will they have history on their side Sunday at Washington. The Seahawks haven't won a road playoff game since upsetting Dan Marino in Miami after the '83 season.

"If you want to be a good team you definitely got to be able to win on the road," pass-rusher Red Bryant said.

—Minnesota: Yes, the Vikings have Adrian Peterson, but their passing game is putrid. They were next-to-last in the league in total yards passing and in yards per pass attempt, and until Christian Ponder completed a 65-yard pass on Sunday, they had just one completion longer than 45 yards all season, a 54-yarder on Nov. 11 against Detroit.

"He's definitely playing more consistent," Peterson said of Ponder. "He's playing faster football, not thinking as much as much."

When it's all said and done, one team will be left standing and celebrating, warts and all.

 

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