NFL Wild Card Round Review

Posted: 01/08/2013 by levcohen in Football

With just four games on slate, none of them was really all that close, with the exception of Seahawks-Redskins, a game in which the Redskins were leading into the fourth but blew the game and lost by ten. Their loss couldn’t be squarely placed on the ‘Skins players, because they were playing with a clearly hobbled and ineffective QB. In fact, Griffin III was hit hard midway through the fourth quarter and was assisted off the field. Early reports say he has a partially torn ACL and PCL, which isn’t news that bodes well for the Redskins long term, as this is a knee he has previously injured (Griffin tore the same ACL in his sophomore year at Baylor). As for my prediction in the Hawks-Redskins game, I picked only the over/under correctly, partly based on my assumption that Griffin’s leg had healed since leading the Skins past the Cowboys last week. I was wrong. Even with Griffin re-affirming that his leg had improved, he looked worse than he did on Sunday Night Football against Dallas.

Final Score: 24-14

Besides the Seahawks, the most impressive team to me on wild card weekend were the Ravens. With retiree-to-be Ray Lewis back from a torn triceps (really, it takes that man less than three months to recover from that type of gruesome injury?) and a reinvigorated bend-but-not-break defense (the Ravens gave up three scores, all field goals. A fourth field goal missed.) Lewis had 10 tackles, but what really impressed me was the combo of Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin. In my opinion, Flacco had the best performance of any QB over the weekend, high praise when you consider QB’s such as Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck all played. Boldin caught five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown from his veteran signal caller, all in the second half. Boldin seems like a better receiver in tight coverage than he is open, as he made several almost superhuman long catches. The Colts were kept in single digits, but really their offense looked a bit better than that. Luck made some plays, and would have made a lot more if not for some key drops by Colts receivers (TY Hilton, I’m looking at you). Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians was sidelined with an illness, but I really didn’t see much that would make me want to point fingers at the Colts interim OC. As for my prediction, I correctly picked the winner and the Ravens to cover, but I guessed wrong on the over (interestingly enough, all four games went under).

Final score: 24-9

The game that ended up the closest was probably the most uninteresting game in NFL Playoff history, a 19-13 Houston Texans win over the Bengals. Really, I don’t think Texans fans have much to cheer about after this win. Their defense played well, as did Arian Foster (although, again, he needed 32 carries to gain 140 yards for an unspectacular 4.4 yards per carry). Matt Schaub, however, looked very uncomfortable again. This does not bode well for the Texans matchup against the Patriots this weekend. They’ll need to have their aerial attack going (basically Andre Johnson) if they want to have a chance to beat the Pats. The Bengals failed again to win their first playoff game since 1992. Andy Dalton was bad, and so was the offense in general, even though their defense was good enough to win them a football game. This prediction of mine brings to mind another prediction of mine. Don’t look too far back into your memory. Just like the Ravens-Colts game, I picked the over, but also picked the Texans to win and cover. Both happened.

Final score: 19-13

The last game was one that I had high hopes for, but one that really failed to meet them, in Packers-Vikings. A lot of this had to do with Christian Ponder being out with an injury (I’ve criticized Ponder, but he is a better QB than Joe Webb). Ponder at least meshes well with Adrian Peterson. A more mobile QB, Webb didn’t truly hand Peterson the keys to their offense, often scampering around before making a dreadful throw. Thankfully, the Packers decided not to keep piling on, and the score ended up 24-10. Coincidentally, if the Vikings had connected on a last second Hail Mary and gone on to make the extra point, I would have correctly guessed the score: 24-17. As it is, I got 2 of 3 right, correctly picking the winner (Pack) and over/under (under) but incorrectly picking the Vikings to cover.

Final score: 24-10

Interesting fact: 3 of the 4 winners scored 24 points

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