Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Playoffs: Wild Cards

Happy New Year and yes, I did take Week 17 off. There was way to much Holiday Spirit going around for me to sit down and blog. But it is a new year and with 2013 comes the beginning of the NFL Playoffs which will take us all the way to the Super Bowl on February 3rd. The first round of the playoffs is known as the Wild Card Round. Basically in this round the #6 seed (the Wild Card team) plays the #3 seed and the #5 seed (The Wild Card team) plays the #4 seed. If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Wild Card team in the NFL you can click here.In case you were wondering here is a snapshot of who is in the playoffs.
AFC teams are on the left, NFC on the right and they meet in the middle for the Super Bowl

- It should be noted that 3 out of 5 rookie quarterbacks have made it to the post season: Russell Wilson for the Seattle Seahawks, Andrew Luck for the Indianapolis Colts, and RG3 for the Washington Redskins.

- Texans quarterback, Matt Schaub, not only finally got to play in his first playoff game, but he managed to win his first playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals (the Wild Card team). The Texans started off the season tied for the best record in the NFL only to see their star fade at the end of the season when they went from being a potential #1 seed with a bye week to the #3 seed who needed to get past the Bengals to keep their post season alive. Schaub had some help from running back, Arian Foster, who rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown. Maybe more importantly, Foster was able to help his team hold possession of the ball for 38 minutes and 49 seconds. The Texans beat the Bengals 19-13 and face a real challenge when they take on the New England Patriots next week.

- The Minnesota Vikings (the Wild Card team) may have the bionic man on their side in Adrian Peterson, but it wasn't enough to take down the Green Bay Packers who they had played (and beat) just one week before. This week Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were on their home field and they were ready for the Vikings. To top it all off, the Vikings starting QB Christian Ponder was inured and they had to start their back-up, Joe Webb, who had seen one snap back in Week 5 against the Titans. The Packers won 24-10 and go on to face the San Francisco 49'ers next week.

-What I really love about the NFL are the stories off the field that make what happens on the field that much more exciting. And it was an emotional one when the Indianapolis Colts (the Wild Card team) travelled to Baltimore to take on the Ravens. A few months ago the Ravens' emotional center, Ray Lewis, went out with what was thought to be a season ending triceps injury. Well, it would take much more that that to end Ray Lewis' time on the field and he was back on the defense this week but only after announcing earlier this week that he would be retiring after this season after 17 years with not only the NFL, but the Baltimore Ravens. All that means that this game against the Ravens would be the last home game for Ray Lewis and it was a memorable one. The famed Baltimore defense, led by Lewis, held  Andrew Luck and the Colts to just 9 points and walked away with the 9-24 win. Not only was Ray Lewis' storyline an emotional one but there was also the issue of Indianapolis Head Coach, Chuck Pagano. Pagano, who missed much of the season to undergo treatment for Leukemia, spent 4 years as an assistant coach for the Baltimore Ravens. After the game Ravens players could be seen lining up to give their old coach a hug. Actually Pagano got a sideline hug while the game was still going on by Ravens' defender Terrell Suggs. The Ravens head to Denver next week to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

- With Andrew Luck out of the playoffs, there were 2 rookie quarterbacks left in the race and they faced off against each other with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (the Wild Card team) taking on RG3 and the Washington Redskins. All eyes were on RG3 who missed last weeks game with a knee injury and it was thought by many that he was not ready to play today. Those "many" were right. Despite a quick score on their first drive, RG3 did not look like his old agile self and in the 4th quarter RG3 fumbled a ball and went down again on that bad knee. The Seahawks recovered the fumble and walked away with the 24-14 win, their first road playoff win since 1983. The Seahawks head to Atlanta next week to take on the #1 seed Atlanta Falcons.

I'll be back next week with a recap of the Divisional Round of the playoffs. In the meantime, please let me know how you have liked the blog this season. What can I do more of? What can I do less of? Should I bother doing this again at all? I want to know! Hope everyone has a good week back at work...I don't know about y'all but it feels like years since I put in a full week, this one is going to be a doozy.

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