If you are a fan of the NFL like myself, you had to be thrilled with what happened during the past weekend. I got a chance to spend some good quality time on my favorite recliner and was thrilled to watch some very exciting nail biters. A few of the games were among the best games of the year. They will be talking about the Denver, Baltimore game for years to come as well as the great finish between Seattle and Atlanta. There are only 4 teams left and I would like to share some of my personal observations from the playoffs so far.
1. Be sure to hug a Bronco fan. Being a Minnesota Viking’s fan, I can understand how every Denver Bronco fan must feel right now. I have been through the same disappointed with the Vikings. Your team is the top ranked team in the AFC, expectations to go to the Super Bowl are very high. Your team has a 7 point lead with 35 seconds left in the game and the other team has the ball on their own 30 yard line. Seems like your team is in the drivers seat right? Then the unimaginable happens. How can your team give up a 70 yard touchdown pass in that situation? There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for that to happen. Sure Peyton Manning threw the pick later on but the real goats of the game were the Denver Bronco’s secondary. They will probably have nightmares all during the offseason for that bad breakdown in coverage. Did anyone really think Denver would bounce back and win that game in OT? I certainly did not!!
2. Lost opportunities for Seattle. The runner ups for fan hugs is for those Seahawk fans. That was a crushing defeat as well. A sequence of plays, that really stood out in my mind, were the ones just before halftime. Seattle was driving for what appeared to be a touchdown or the very worst, a field goal. A score would of been very huge at that point in the game and would have given the Seahawks some momentum heading into halftime. Instead, they fooled around with the clock running down and could not even get off a field goal attempt. Those missed points came back to haunt the Seahawks. In a playoff game, every point counts, and of all the missed opportunities Seattle had, that one seemed to stand out the most.
3. The Packers D fails to show up again. I think Green Bay is the one team who really underachieved this weekend. I honestly thought they were the best team remaining in the NFC, but once again, I was wrong. Their defense is horrible, pure and simple. How can you allow an opposing quarterback to run for 180 yards? That is totally unacceptable and the blame has to be spread around by both the coaches and the players. I have seen the Packers play numerous times this year and they might be the worst tackling team in the NFL. Sure they have a great offense but come playoff time when you are no longer playing against the weak sisters of the poor, you need to play a little D and the Packers, for the second year in a row in the playoffs, have failed miserably in that area. It is time for some changes because your team is not built to win in the playoffs anymore.
4. The era of the new quarterbacks. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick were playoff newbies this weekend and both were totally outstanding. They join a list of exciting new quarterbacks in the league. These new guys are all outstanding runners as well as passers and offer a lot of nightmares for opposing defenses(see Green Bay). It will be interesting how teams come with ways to stop a quarterback who can not only pass well but also run. I am personally not a fan of having my quarterback run all over the field but it sure is a tough offense to handle and might force teams to evaluate quarterbacks in a different way. Good 40 yard times might be a must for any future NFL quarterback.
This weekend’s conference championship games should be good ones. I agree with people who feel San Francisco would rather play Atlanta. Seattle should have won that game and would probably beat Atlanta 3 out of 4 times in a playoff series. Just my opinion!! In the other game, I cannot honestly predict what will happen. New England look very impressive yesterday and their offense seems to be more balanced this year. But Baltimore has the defense that can shut down the Patriots or at least hold them down. I wonder how the injury to Rob Gronkowski will affect the game. He sure is a valuable part of the Pats offense but they seem to have so many weapons to chose from. Sometimes I wonder if fate is on the Ravens side this year. When a team wins a dramatic game, it sometimes gives the team that added momentum in the playoffs. Maybe Baltimore is that “come out of nowhere team” this year.
I look for San Francisco and New England to advance to the Super Bowl. In the meantime, I am getting my favorite recliner warmed up for another day of NFL playoff football. I can hardly wait!