Analyze this: Playoff pressure is special for both Seattle and Philly

Analyze this: Playoff pressure is special for both Seattle and Philly

Eagles

Analyze this: Playoff pressure is special for both Seattle and Philly

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There are three other NFL wild card games going off before we get to the Seahawks vs. Eagles on Sunday evening. My theory is the pressure to perform mounts with each preceding playoff game the Seattle and Philly players will observe on TV’s just like the ones we watch. So both teams will be wired pretty tight at kickoff on Sunday night.

A lot of coaches and sports psychologists have studied the difference in “playoff pressure” vs. regular season pressure, or trying-to-make-the-team pressure. They all seem to agree there is a special quality called “mental toughness” which brings out the best possible outcome in playoff games, but none of them agree exactly on the definition of the “mental toughness” term.

After spending way too much time researching these folks, I can give you an impression of what I heard and provide you with a combo plate:

“Hit hard, hit clean, let the opponent know you are bringing it physically. But remember to stay calm and businesslike—don’t go nuts out there. Conrad Dobler tough-guy stuff (like gouging and biting?) just won’t work in a playoff game. You’ve got to have the sixty-minute vision in focus. You have to believe, really believe in your preparation for this moment. You’re physically ready, you’re emotionally under control, you’re focused only on your assignment and the guy in front of you who is trying to beat you.”

So I guess that is what “mental toughness” is about in the playoffs.

Probably applies to the head coaches, too, in that their in-game decisions will be affected by just how mentally tough they believe their players are… calling a play on 4th down, changing tempo on offense, flipping field position with confidence, trusting your FG kicker, using timeouts to extend scoring opportunities, getting adjustments made if you’re down, that sort of thing.

I heard the term “keeping their cool” used a lot by the coaches and psychologists. This is what winners do, they say. I guess what they mean is the ability to know you’re playing on a bigger stage, but you still stay within yourself and allow yourself a certain freedom to express your talent as if you were playing in a small club game.

Maybe it’s the difference between making a fingertip interception and having the ball bounce off your chest?

I don’t know where I’m going with this “mental toughness” topic other than to point out about half the players on the field Sunday evening have zero NFL playoff experience.

NFC Wild Card Playoff

Seahawks

11-5
Sunday, 4:40 PM
NBC
@

Eagles

9-7
SEA favored to win
Line: SEA -1.5 · O/U: 45

Cloudy, 42°F at kickoff

· Lincoln Financial Field

Speaking of toughness, this game is difficult to predict. But I’m going with this guy:

Zack Rosenblatt: Eagles reporter, NJ Advance Media:

“It feels like it would be crazy to pick the Eagles considering all the injuries (Zach Ertz, Brandon Brooks, Miles Sanders, Lane Johnson) they’re dealing with, but yet this team is well-coached, playing its best football and Carson Wentz hasn’t been this good in two years. As long as Doug Pederson is coach, they can overcome any strenuous situation, and having the game at home against a banged-up Seahawks team is just about the most ideal first-round matchup for them.—- Eagles 27, Seahawks 17.”

Both teams are health-challenged, here are the Friday injury reports:

Seattle Seahawks

Did not participate in practice

T Duane Brown (knee/biceps)
WR Jaron Brown (knee)
G Mike Iupati (neck)
WR Malik Turner (concussion)
DE Jadeveon Clowney (core)
LB Mychal Kendricks (knee)

Limited participation in practice

C Joey Hunt (fibular)
G Phil Haynes (head)

Full participation in practice

S Quandre Diggs (ankle)
TE Luke Willson (hip)

Philadelphia Eagles

Did not participate in practice

WR Nelson Agholor (knee)
RB Miles Sanders (ankle)

Limited participation in practice

DE Derek Barnett (ankle)
DT Fletcher Cox (triceps)
TE Zach Ertz (ribs/back)
T Lane Johnson (ankle)

Full participation in practice

CB Sidney Jones (back)
CB Avonte Maddox (abdomen)
CB Jalen Mills (ankle)

Also regarding the playoff scene, Don Pardo is reviving his “Powerhouse Pardo Playoffs” contest in the Comments Section below. Basically you have to assign a number between 1 and 12 to each team in the playoffs. I assume “12” would mean you think that team is going deep in the playoffs. It may be too late to get in this year, but check with Don down below.

I only have one recorded past winner from the PPP or P-Cubed contest as it is known, and that was T-Boner in 2016.  Feel free to fill me in on who may have won in 2017 and 2018. I may be slipping.

There used to be a “Dark Horse” contest too. I’ve got winners in the Dark Horse as follows:
2012…….Don Pardo
2013…….Dutch Rubb
2014……South Philly Ben
2015……Bird Crazy
2016……T-Boner

Again, I have no record of the Dark Horse contest having been played between 2017 and 2019.  Is it me, or is it Memorex?

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