Welcome one and welcome all to my recap of Wild Card weekend. The Divisional round is among us, and while we get ready for another two solid days of doing nothing but sitting on the couch (three if you count the national title game), let’s reflect on the week that was.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
What I Thought was Going to Happen: The Panthers would become the second team with a losing record to win a playoff game. Their defense would be too much for the Cardinals to handle and they would win with ease.
What Actually Happened: Thanks to not one, but two Cam Newton touchdowns, and Arizona being held to only 12 yards in the second half, the Panthers dominated Arizona, winning by a score of 27-16. Carolina now travels to Seattle where they will play the #1 seeded Seahawks.
What I Learned: He can do it. Cam Newton got his first playoff win. Seattle definitely shouldn’t underestimate this team because they play great defense and have a great back in Jonathan Stewart. Stewart rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on the day. Arizona is left with glimpses of what might have been had Carson Palmer stayed healthy.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
What I Thought was Going to Happen: The Steelers behind their stellar offense would roll to an easy victory over the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger would play mistake free football and Pittsburgh would move on to Denver.
What Actually Happened: I was wrong, apparently the Steelers can lose to the Ravens in the playoffs (FINALLY). Sorry a little Super Bowl XL rage, cough cough. Roethlisberger threw two interceptions and the Steelers threw their concussed quarterback back into the game. Joe Flacco had 259 yards and two touchdowns, proving that he is “Joe Cool” under pressure. The Ravens won 30-17.
What I Learned: The Ravens move on to Foxborough to play the Patriots and they are a very dangerous team. DO NOT underestimate them. Should they advance far enough, and the Seahawks as well, we might get our first Super Bowl matchup between the two previous champions
Cincinnati Bengals at Indinapolis Colts
What I Thought was Going to Happen: Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was going to have a hard time scoring and would fall to 0-4 in playoff games. The Colts would advance and the Bengals would go home once again.
What Actually Happened: Dalton fell to 0-4 in playoff games and the Bengals went home once again. Indianapolis won by a score of 26-10.
What I Learned: Let’s look at the Bengals offseason. Do they get another QB in the draft, do they dump Dalton, does Marvin Lewis get fired? This is a team that needs to make a lot of moves in the offseason to turn them into a contender. The Colts meanwhile are right where they need to be. Andrew Luck is primed to be one of the NFL’s greats at the quarterback position. The Colts now head to Denver.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys
What I Thought was Going to Happen: The Cowboys would get a statement win over a Lions team that struggled on the road in Week 17 against the Packers.
What Actually Happened: I watched this game with fellow Sports with Neil writer Neil Roberts, and it felt like the Lions were the better team. You can say what you want about the pass interference penalty late in the 4th quarter that went against Detroit, but Tony Romo did perform really well under pressure. Despite being down 14-0 early in the game, Dallas was able to respond and overcome adversity in a 24-20 win. They might pull off a road upset in Green Bay this Sunday (they are undefeated on the road this season).
What I Learned: Tony Romo proved he isn’t a chocker…for now. Actually he has 28 career game-winning drives, it is a very common misconception that he’s a quarterback who doesn’t do well under pressure. We’ll see how Sunday against Green Bay turns out. As for Detroit they still have some work to do. They’re a good team, but they need at east one or two more skill position players before things can start to get really serious.
Well I’m 3-1 in playoff picks so far this year. We’ll see what happens in this next round. I will be posting a recap of that later, as well as a national title game preview sometime in the near future, so stay tuned. Remember to stay classy everyone.