Latest posts by Raphael Haynes (see all)
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Wildcard weekend is usually unpredictable with surprise endings, unsung heroes and unbelievable action. We can say the same for this year except the only difference is the turnouts and theatrics are what we are accustom to seeing from all eight teams.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Houston Texans
The Chiefs came into Saturday’s playoff game on a 10-game winning streak. They have been looking invincible during this abnormal span. Meanwhile, the Texans fought their way into the playoffs by grinding wins at the end of the season with backup quarterbacks, backup running backs and injured star players. The visiting Chiefs were heavily favored and of course delivered an old fashion beat down to the Texans. Why was this expected you might ask.
The NFL Gods blessed the Chiefs with another easy opponent. During the streak, they only beat two teams (Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers) with winning records. The win against the Broncos was a result of the infamous game where Peyton Manning was benched for his bad play and the Steelers win happened because Michael Vick started for Ben Roethlisberger. The other eight wins were against teams with a combined record of 34-63. The Chiefs were 1-4 against the other playoff teams they faced during the regular season (they beat Houston week 1).
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cincinnati Bengals
This game turned out to be an old “Central Division” game between the two. Low scoring with bad weather and bone-crushing tackling which caused major injuries that affected both teams is usually how this reoccurring battle turns out. It started out slow with no action until the dramatic second half. AJ McCarron played a solid yet inspiring game. His big-game experience from his college days payed off as he lead the Bengals back from a 15-0 deficit. The Steelers came back to kick the game-winning field gold after a bizarre 1:50 seconds left in the game. Why was this expected you might ask.
Yes, we know both teams hate each other so there were going to be personal fouls and unsportsman like conduct penalties that would affect the game, which brings me to the Bengals. They went back to the future or the past by turning into the “Bungles”. Meltdown after meltdown with the fumble and penalties on the defense during Pittsburgh last drive lost this game for them. We expect a Marvin Lewis team to lose a playoff game whether by injuries or mistakes. It was also expected of “Big Ben” to come back in the game after an injury only to drive them down for the win. Roethlisberger might be the only QB in the NFL who is able to become Superman after getting injured and lead his team to victory on a consistent basis.
Seattle Seahawks vs Minnesota Vikings
This might have been the only game which might have had unexpected results as far as the flow of the game. Both teams came into the playoffs playing exceptionally well. The Seahawks blew out the Vikings 38-7 four weeks ago in Minnesota. Although Seattle was favored by many, the Vikings dominated both sides of the ball for two quarters and a half by driving down the field and playing outstanding defense. The Seahawks defense kept them in the game and caused a game-turning turnover (fumble) which lead to the game winning field goal. Why was this expected you might ask.
We’ve seen Russell Wilson pull a rabbit out of his hat numerous times and sure enough, he did it again. He turned disaster into something great by recovering a botch snap and throwing a pass down the field to get to the Vikings’ three yard line. We saw this last year against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Late in the game, the Seahawks got lucky by the Packers making careless mistakes that gave them a chance to win. The Vikings on the other hand lost in similar fashion from a missed field goal late in the game that would have won taken them to the Super Bowl (1998 NFC Championship Game, Gary Anderson missed a field goal). It seems like the Vikings aren’t able to win the big games throughout their existence in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers vs Washington Redskins
Most of the football world picked the Redskins to so call upset the Packers. Washington came into the playoffs on a amazing hot streak and Kirk Cousins was one of the hottest quarterbacks to enter the playoffs. The Packers entered the playoffs on a downhill spiral and Aaron Rodgers looked as if one of the monsters from the movie “Space Jam” took his soul. Washington jumped out to a quick and demonstrative lead but sizzled out. Green Bay weathered the storm by getting the mojo back including their ace Rodgers. The game ended up as a one sided victory for the Packers. Why was this expected you might ask.
Washington hasn’t won a playoff game in 10 years. We’ve seen them squander away leads in the last two playoff loses at home. And again, who has Washington beat that was so impressive? Green Bay is a familiar site in the playoffs making it the last 7 years. And we all know that No. 12 lights teams up in the post season. All it took was the bright lights of the playoffs to get one of the best offenses in the league to get going. Did you really think that an inexperienced team would defeat the team with Rodgers at the helm who’s been int this situation time after time?