If you were hoping to spend a cold and snowy weekend staying in and watching good, quality NFL playoff football last weekend, you were surely disappointed. Four games played and all of them were complete duds to say the least (unless you were one of the lucky ones who’s actually a fan of one of the four teams that advanced).
For starters, the Texans – Raiders game became somewhat of a joke even before the opening kickoff, considering that the Raiders were another quarterback injury away from having the Dr. Pepper vendor at Houston’s NRG Stadium become their next starting QB.
The Texans are nothing to write home about, but even their starter, Brock Osweiler, looks good when compared to the other team’s 3rd string rookie.
Next, it was on to the Saturday nightcap in the “Cars vs. Computers” bowl (Detroit vs. Seattle). The game was actually close for three quarters, before the Seahawks turned it into a romp, but this contest was boring from the start and totally lacked pizzazz, technology and innovation. The Lions, after being 9-4 at one point, ended their season with four straight losses and looked like they’re in dire need of an economic bailout.
The following day brought sunshine to the weather but still a dreary day on your television screen. The Miami Dolphins walked out of the tunnel at Heinz Field, saw their breath, and probably thought, “Well folks, it’s been fun…maybe we should head back to South Beach and hang out with Justin Bieber instead?” And why not, the guy must be feeling lonely since all of the New York Giants receivers left him.
The Steelers took full advantage, winning easily in a blowout. The game got so bad that at one point, I sincerely considered switching over to C-SPAN to watch classic congressional hearings from the Jimmy Carter era.
Speaking of those New York Giants receivers, they left the sun and fun of South Beach for the frozen tundra of Lambeau field and its hotshot gunslinger host, Aaron Rodgers, in the Sunday marquee matchup.
Rodgers showed why Wisconsin is considered “flyover country”, as his passes flew over the Giants countless times for completions in a 38-13 victory, including a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half. Rodgers has become an expert in the Hail Mary, and it will only be a matter of time before it is renamed to the 1) Hail Aaron or the 2) Buck Rodgers….or something like that.
We now move on from the Top Twelve to the Elite Eight of the NFL, and for the fans sake, even one competitive playoff game would make for a better weekend than the last one.
Seahawks at Falcons 4:35 PM FOX (Saturday) – Rumor has it that the only reason Falcons fans will be at this game at all today is because they were tricked into believing that Georgia Tech was playing in another bowl game.
Such is the nature of all professional sports in Atlanta. While the Seahawks have the “12th man”, the Falcons fans decibel level will probably be at “minus 12”. No wonder why Dan Reeves, when he was coaching the Falcons in a home playoff game, actually had to incite the crowd to get loud.
The Falcons win because they’re playing at home, but frankly, Atlanta doesn’t deserve a Super Bowl championship, and much less a playoff victory.
Texans at Patriots 8:15 PM CBS (Saturday) – Fear not if you have plans on Saturday night – this game is set to kickoff at 8:15 PM, but will probably be over by 9:00 PM, giving you ample time to hit the 1) Hair O the Dog, 2) Harp & Crown, 3) Plough & the Stars 4) Name your favorite bar/event here.
Okay, so the “Hair O the Dog” was last week but you get the picture. This game may give you flashbacks to the 2011 Divisional Playoff game when the Patriots walloped the Broncos (with Tim Tebow at quarterback), 45-10, which coincidentally was also a Saturday night 8:15 game.
Brady and the “Emperor” (Bill Belichick) move on and continue to build the Death Star.
Packers at Cowboys 4:40 PM FOX (Sunday) – This week’s marquee matchup features the old school Packers and the new school Cowboys, in what is a traditional rivalry from the days of Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.
The Packers have won seven straight and are poised to make another Super Bowl run, much like they did in 2010. Last time the Cowboys were in a playoff game, they lost to these very same Packers at Lambeau Field in this very same round two years ago, on what was a controversial call at the end of the game.
The Cowboys have had a great season and have a strong nucleus that the Eagles need to be weary of going forward. But the ‘Boys are not yet ready for Primetime, and the Packers advance.
Steelers at Chiefs 8:20 PM NBC (Sunday) – This game was originally scheduled for 1:05 PM Sunday, but an ice storm that is blanketing the Kansas City area pushed it back to Sunday night. At least this means that Al Micheals can say “Sundayyyyyyy Night Football” one last time this season.
The Steelers pushed aside the Dolphins last week as if they were melting snowmen in searing heat. This week should prove to be a much tougher test since they are on the road, but it’s hard to decipher the Chiefs.
Kansas City is a good team, and Andy Reid is a good coach, but in my opinion, he is the millennium version of Marty Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer, as some of you may recall, always had the ability to make a bad team good, but always seemed to come up short in the playoffs. And Andy Reid is no different…
Something inexplicably happens and Reid’s teams always fall short. Often, as it was with the Eagles, the playoff losses could be blamed on strategy, play calling, or clock management..all things that fall upon the head coach.
But while Reid always fell short of his ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl, he also won a ton of playoff games. He adds to that total today as Kansas City advances.
Enjoy the games everyone. Let’s hope that last week’s “Wildcard duds” turn into this week’s “Divisional playoff dandies”…