Wild Card weekend has come and gone but will not be forgotten anytime soon.
There were many good match ups this past weekend and they did not disappoint.
Big Ol' Brandon Jacbos
Giants Pound Falcons 24-2 – This game was a combination of bad play from Atlanta and flawless execution from the Giants. Eli Manning led the way with 277 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. Besides an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, Eli played flawless. Another important note for this win was the re-emergence of the Giants running game.
Jacobs and Bradshaw combined for 172 yards on the ground. If the Giants can sustain a run game, look for this team to make a Super Bowl run.
Last but not least, the Defense showed up to play. Atlanta has one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL and the Giants completely shut down the pass and run. The Defense was also stout in 3rd/4th and short plays. Atlanta went for twice on 4th and inches and were denied both times, tipping momentum and the game in their favor.
As for Atlanta, another year without a playoff win. Matt Ryan was ineffective and the defense was soft. This marks the 3rd straight year the Falcons have been one and done in the playoffs under the Mike Smith/Matt Ryan era.
Matty “Ice” has not lived up to his nickname in the playoffs and questions will only get tougher to answer the longer Ryan does not win in the playoffs.
Saints Muzzle Roar, Defeat Lions 45-28 – After falling behind early, the Saints showed their championship pedigree and experience and completely outplayed the Lions. Drew Brees was outstanding throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns. The Saints displayed their offensive greatness by setting playoff records for total yards(626) and first downs (34).
The Saints offense has just been amazing this season and just looks unstoppable. This team is just unbeatable at home going undefeated so far this season (including playoffs).
Make no mistake about it, the Saints completely outmatched Detroit.
However, the Lions are coming. The Lions just happen to have run into the worst possible match up for their team. Stafford is the real deal, Calvin Johnson is a beast, and the defense will get better with time. 4 seasons ago this was an 0-16 team, since than this team has made significant progress and have only gotten better.
Trust me, the Lions will be good for a long time and the future looks bright.
Houston Outplays Cincy, Defeats Bengals 31-10 - Congratulations to Houston for their first playoff win in team history. The Texans won their first division title and playoff game and played like a team that has been there before. What made this so impressive is the journey this team has taken this season and winning the style in which they won this playoff game.
If you told me the Texans would lose Matt Schuab, Mario Williams for the season and not have Andre Johnson consistently this season , I would have thought you were crazy.
Arian Foster torched the Bengals defense with 24 carries for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Clearly Arian Foster is the MVP for this team. Ben Tate’s emergence gives the Texans an excellent two-headed monster in the backfield.
Another impressive point, the Texans defense was dominant with forcing turnovers and holding the Bengals to only 10 points.
These are not the same old Texans, with no defense and just a prolific passing game, this team runs the ball extremely well and has a dominant defense.
And to think, the Texans had one of the worst pass defenses in NFL HISTORY.
Wade Phillips is the best off season acquisition of the year.
The Bengals had an impressive year going 9-7 and making it to the playoffs.
Nothing was expected of this team pre-season.
However, they have found their quarterback of the future in Andy Dalton and their go-to guy in A.J Green. With two first round picks in this upcoming draft, look for the Bengals to improve and become a force in the AFC North.
Tebow Throws For 316 Yards
Mile High Victory, Broncos Defeat Steelers 29-23 – The first postseason playoff game in history under the new overtime rules did not come into effect.
Tim Tebow on the first play from scrimmage in overtime, threw an 80 yard touchdown pass to Demaryious Thomas to seal Pittsburghs fate.
This was by far the most exciting game of the weekend.
Besides Ike Taylor getting completely owned by Thomas to end the game, The Steelers just looked old and confused. Poor tackling and man coverage along with an unhealthy Big Ben and Pouncey also led to the Steelers demise.
Tebow threw for 316 yards (John 3:16 reference) and 3 touchdowns against the #1 RANKED DEFENSE.
I’m sorry Tebow Hater Nation, but now I am a believer.
The Defense stepped up also. They shut the door on Big Ben twice in the final minutes when the game was tied, so i give the Broncos defense an enormous amount of credit in this win.
Big Ben was sacked 5 times and threw an INT. This is not the Big Ben we are used to seeing in the playoffs.
Of course the Steelers would forget how to tackle and have important players out (Ryan Clark, Pouncey) against the Broncos.
Tim Tebow has GOD on his side
Despite my sarcasm, it is remarkable how Tebow has turned around this 1-4 team under Kyle Orton into one of the most talked about and inspiring teams of the year.
Matchup Ratings for Divisional Games:
1.) Saints At 49ers, 5 Stars - Great offense meets great defense. Old school versus new school football, this will be a great game in my opinion.
Can the Saints stop the run?
Can the 49ers contain Drew Brees?
Which philosophy will dictate the game and eventually win?
So many questions and such an intriguing match up, I “can’t wait” (Bart Scott reference) for this match up, it should be a great one.
2.) Giants At Green Bay, 5 stars – Both teams have suspect defenses and great quarterback play.
Which quarterback will have the better game?
Both Eli and Aaron have had historic seasons and in my opinion, which ever quarterback has the better game will win it in the end.
This match up gave us one of the great games of the regular season with the Packers staying perfect and edging the Giants 38-35 (the same score they lost to the Patriots to when they went on to win the Super Bowl).
So will history repeat itself for the Giants? or will Aaron Rodgers continue his dominance this season and lead the Pack to the NFC Championship game.
We’ll wait and see..
3.) Broncos At Patriots, 4 1/2 Stars - Literally 30 minutes after the Broncos win, the Patriots released an AP report stating that Josh McDanniels will be on the sideline for the Patriots as an offensive consultant.
Classic Belichek, congrats on your playoff win Denver, now i will hire your former head coach from last season that drafted both Tim Tebow and Damaryious Thomas.
Perfectly done, Mr. Belichek
It just seems that Patriots always have an edge and in this match up they are clearly the team with the edge.
Despite Tebow’s dramatics, Tom Brady is too good and rarely loses at home in the playoffs.
The biggest factor in this game will be if the Broncos can control the clock and keep Brady off the field.
Something that is very possible, the Patriots have one of the worst defense in the league. However, with the signing of McDaniels, the Patriots have gained an inside advantage on the Broncos most important offensive weapons, Tebow and Thomas.
The Road To The Superbowl
4.) Texans At Baltimore, 4 Stars – I love defensive struggles so this might be a high ranking depending on the style of football you enjoy.
The Ravens seem to have a clear advantage across the board on paper.
The Ravens are more experienced, have home field advantage, and are healthy.
I feel that the Texans have been a great story, but their end could be near.
Both defenses are stacked and are the clear strengths of both teams. Also both teams present excellent running back play (Rice from Baltimore, Foster from Houston).
Which quarterback makes the mistake to cost their team the game?
The pressure is all on Baltimore, with Pittsburgh out, this could be their best chance to finally obtain a Super Bowl birth.
On the other hand, Houston is playing with house money, they do not have their quarterback and best defensive player. However, they have played inspired football and i could see this backfiring on Baltimore with the pressures of finally being home in the playoffs.
Can Flacco perform at home and not lose it for his team? or Will Arian Foster carry Houston to an upset?