Divisional round dotted with rematches

Joe Theismann previews the NFC portion of the divisional round of the playoffs.

Originally Published: January 2, 2006
By Joe Theismann | ESPN Insider
This is rematch weekend in the NFL, as the Divisional Playoffs feature teams that already have played each other this season. That adds another level of excitement to these games because these are teams that know each other and have already done the bulk of the studying necessary for these games.

In a way, that takes the game out of the hands of the coaches, because there isn't nearly as much prepping needed to be done by the coaching staff. The players already have most of the necessary information already in hand. While there are going to be some adjustments made by the coaching staff, none of these teams will completely change its way of doing things because it's just too late to change the basic philosophies of a football team.

Now it comes down to how well the players can execute those philosophies, and that's what makes these games exciting. Every team is going to be prepared and will know what is coming down the pike from the other team, but now, instead of preparation, it's going to come down to which teams have the players who make the big plays. It's going to come down to things like big field goals, field position and turnovers, and that's the way football is supposed to be.


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Joe Theismann

Football analyst
Former college and pro football star Joe Theismann has served as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Football since 1988. He also is frequently heard on ESPN Radio, regularly contributes to ESPN.com and has contributed to the NFL Draft.