Wild Card Weekend, Not So Wild

Staff Writer: Ramon Elortondo

The NFL Wild Card weekend wasn’t as wild as advertised. All four of the games proved to be non-competitive contests as two of the four games were over by the end of the first half, and the other two were over by the end of the third quarter. In a year where NFL ratings went down due to a multitude of factors, mostly due to the election where Donald Trump and debates were taking away the spotlight of football, a weekend where all four playoff series were non-competitive is not necessarily a good thing for the NFL. On both Saturday and Sunday, the early game was a complete blowout where the winning team took control within the opening minutes and cruised to victory. The later games were a bit closer, with the winning team waiting until the 3rd quarter to pull away.

“I was sitting at home watching the games and I found myself on my phone a lot, with my mind on everything but the game. I wasn’t entertained.” Matthew Sanchez, a sophomore at Woodstock.

Raiders at Texans: The Texans handed an expected loss to the 3rd string rookie quarterback lead Raiders. With the final score of 27 14, the Texans lucked out that the Raiders MVP candidate QB got injured in one of the last games of the regular season. Before then, that team looked in good position to make a deep run in the playoffs with their high caliber offense.

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Oswelier trotting onto the field for the first of four games in the wild card weekend. Photo Courtesy of creativecommons.com

The game started with the Texans kicking a field goal to go up three points then capitalizing on a Clowney interception to go up a 2-score lead in the first quarter. With the Texans up a comfortable lead, all Osweiler had to do was not lose the game. Conservative play, along with horrendous play from opposing rookie QB Connor Cook, the game was well over before the fourth quarter. The Texans cruised to the semifinals of the AFC playoffs to face the New England Patriots where the Pats are favored to win.

Lions at Seahawks: Lions 6, Seahawks 26. Thomas Rawls had his way with the Lions defense, rushing for over 160 yards and taking advantage of a bad Lion’s defense. The Seahawks did let the Lions stay in the game a bit too long, but fortunately were able to get out of their own way long enough to let the Lions beat themselves. The Seahawks took advantage with a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns. I have the feeling Seattle is going to have a tough time keeping up with the Falcons high powered offense this up coming Saturday.

Dolphins at Steelers: Dolphins 12 Steelers 30. This game was not close from the start. The Steelers went up 20-0 in the first 3 possessions of the game on offense. Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown took over scoring four total touchdowns for their team. Those two players combined for a total of 298 yards, and that told the story of the game.

“How can the Dolphins let the two players they had the most emphasis to stop, absolutely man handled their defense.” Justo Elortondo, a Dolphin fanatic.

What’s even more impressive about that stat line is that the Dolphins as a team put up 305 yards. At the end of the first half, it looked like backup QB Matt Moore and the Dolphins had a chance to be in the game as they dink and dunked down the field to cut down the lead to one score, but the drive ended up in a strip sack from James Harrison, who is only two months younger the Dolphin Head Coach Adam Gase.

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Adam Gase looking on as his team battles the Pittsburgh Steelers. Photo courtesy of creativecommons.com

At the end of the game, the Steelers forced three straight turnovers and the Steelers closed the door to make it into the next round. They will be playing at Kansas City, where Head Coach Andy Reid is 19-2 all time coming off a bye week, including the playoffs. I don’t think even Bill Belichick is better putting together a game plan off a bye than the Chiefs coaching mastermind. Although this stat is astonishing and could maybe bribe you into choosing you to take the Chiefs, this is the one game where I think the away team has a chance to pull off an upset.

Giants at Packers: Giants 13 Packers 38. Drops. That was the story for the New York Giants. Was this the result of the boat trip taken by Giant receivers who were out partying in Miami instead of preparing for a big game in Green Bay, Wisconsin? Odell Beckham was a complete non-factor after being considered one of the best or the best receiver in the NFL. The Packers offense didn’t show up until 5 minutes to go in the first half, but they were unstoppable for the final 35 minutes. The Giants dominated the first 25 minutes of the game, but only put up a 6-0 lead thanks to inopportune drops by the Giants WRs, that turned TD opportunities into FG tries. The Packers put up a pair of quick scores to end the first half, most notably a hail mary from a Aaron Rodgers cannon to Randall Cobb in the back of the end zone. After a stupid coaching decision by Mike McCarthy that made it only a 1-point game, the Packers offense hammered away for the game’s final 24 points. The second half was an exhibition for MVP-caliber Aaron Rodgers QB as he picked apart the game’s best secondary. The Packers will draw the NFC’s top seeded Dallas Cowboys in a battle of two offenses playing secondaries besieged by injuries.

Overall, this weekend was a massive L for the NFL. The wildcard weekend was boring, lopsided, and the games were as predictable as possible. There was very little drama and the games were well over before the final 5 minutes of the game. The road teams came out flat and every single one of them lost. The Raiders were on their third string quarterback, the Lions played poorly as they have been when Matthew Stafford dislocated his middle finger in the regular season, the Miami Dolphins were on their backup quarterback as well behind an injured offensive line and a defense that was basically on crutches struggling to finish the year. Finally the Giants failing to give Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are test at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. If there was one thing to take from this weekend, we know that it only matters how well your team is playing at the end of the season, when the good teams separate from regular season crowns that don’t peak at the right time.

 

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