Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from the Wildcard round of the playoffs in the National Football League!
– Houston may have not done it towards the end of the season but they did it when it mattered most in the playoffs and that was showing up & winning. This was a team that you did not know what you were going to get as a #3 seed in the AFC and they showed that despite the injuries to their starting & backup QB they can still win against playoff teams. Andre Johnson is healthy and the defense looked good in making the rookie QB make a ton of mistakes, this team could surprise us against Baltimore being that it will be a defensive matchup.
[adinserter block=”2″]- The terrific run for the Cincinnati Bengals came to an end in Houston and they never really came out in this one looking like a Wild Card team that could make an impact in postseason football. Andy Dalton got a learning lesson thanks to the Houston defense and looked like a rookie quarterback in the Wildcard round. It would not surprise me if this team is a consistent playoff team with Andy Dalton & AJ Green playing on the field. This is going to be a team to watch for in 2012.
– New Orleans is looking like more & more like the favorite for “team to beat” in the NFC. Drew Brees threw for close to 500 yards and the running game was explosive & dominating. If those factors continue to happen week-to-week from here on out then they are a Super Bowl favorite. They played extremely well in the 2nd half against Detroit and proved why they are one of the best in the NFL. They have a huge chip on their shoulder after last year’s exit and I really like the Saints chances right now. That battle against San Francisco is a very intriguing matchup in the divisional round, two completely different teams.
– Sure Detroit didn’t pull off the upset and beat the New Orleans Saints in the Wildcard round but there is nothing this team should be ashamed of in their early playoff exit. They made a huge step forward in making the playoffs and for at least half of the game they had the New Orleans Saints on their toes in their house. This loss to me can be compared to when the Green Bay Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 playoffs; you knew they would be a great team for years to come but needed a playoff loss as a learning experience to make them a more humble/wiser team. Detroit should not be hanging their heads after their loss to New Orleans; I really like what they accomplished this year, I’ve been saying for the last couple of years that Packers/Lions will be a divisional rivalry NFL fans will be talking about.
– The New York Football Giants continue to gain momentum into and thus far, throughout their playoff run as they defeated the Atlanta Falcons convincingly in the Wildcard round. The defensive line looked fantastic and the running game gained some terrific confidence heading into Green Bay next week, who I might add has a rush defense that is struggling. The Giants are the “Cinderella” team to watch out for in these playoffs and in the NFC. They deserve all the comparisons to that Super Bowl team from ’07-’08, tremendous victory for Big Blue against a good Atlanta Falcons team.
– Another playoff game for the Atlanta Falcons and another horrible playoff loss. Matt Ryan clearly does not show up in the playoffs and when it matters most & this will not plague him for the rest of his career until he does so. The Falcons never looked like got going at all in this game against the Giants and the 4th down calls were gutsy but proved to swing the momentum in the favor of the Giants every time. I never thought I’d be saying this but I would not be surprised if Mike Smith gets axed after another playoff exit and horrible performance when it counted, especially after they spent their entire draft on Julio Jones.
– The Denver Broncos have been underdogs the entire season and entered their Wildcard game with the Pittsburgh Steelers as yet again an underdog. They were on a losing streak, backed into the playoffs and there was word that Tim Tebow was on a tight leash in this one. Despite all those negative intangibles the Broncos walked onto their home turf and beat the defending AFC Champions. The Broncos defense played well and Tim Tebow threw for over 300 yards. Yes Tim Tebow threw for over 300 yards! The Broncos have another uphill battle as they enter the divisional round against the New England Patriots who blew them out a couple weeks ago, the Broncos backs are up against the wall and the most dangerous thing of all is that I think the Broncos like it.
[adinserter block=”1″]- For a banged up team the Steelers gave everything they had in trying to advance to the next round of the playoffs and to take on the New England Patriots but failed. Plain and simple the Steelers defense just did not show up and control this game had they it would’ve been a different story. You would figure that a great defense would know how to control an offense that ran the ball most of the time but they did not. I believe we are starting to see the decline of the years of domination from the Pittsburgh Steelers, they are getting older and slower on the field & just aren’t the same team that used to be. I’ll be really interested to see how the Steelers front office addresses this in the off-season, if at all. Tough exit for the defending AFC Champions who had a very good chance to at least making it back to the Super Bowl this season, the health of their team clearly played a major part in how far they went this season.
– Don’t forget to check out my NFL Divisional Round preview & predictions blog later this week here at Camelclutchblog.com!
Join Bower, “The Sweet Nasty” Chris Cause & myself every Sunday for more NFL & Fantasy Football talk over at www.wheelhouseradio.com!
Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday at www.wheelhouseradio.com.
Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site.
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