Wild-Card Weekend full of surprises

By Steve Sell
January 07, 2019

At least I was consistent — consistently bad.

I was 4-for-4 in my NFL playoff picks — if I was picking losers. I have to say I didn’t see these results coming as the road team won three of the four games on Wild-Card weekend.

The festivities certainly got off to a clunker of a start as surging Indianapolis jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead over Houston on the road and then turned to its defense to protect it in a 21-7 final.

This was a game where both offenses appeared to be sleepwalking. Houston couldn’t protect DeShaun Watson, who spent the entire game running for his life.

The victory moves the Colts into the semifinal round where they’ll play at Kansas City.

I’m not sure how Chiefs fans feel about playing the Colts. Indy is white-hot and there are many memories of Andrew Luck shredding the Chiefs’ secondary a few years back.

I’m hoping the Colts used up their one good playoff performance. I’m sure Luck is salivating at the thought of going up against that porous Kansas City defense, which to its credit has played better at home.

Saturday’s second game was Dallas with a 24-22 victory over Seattle. Again, I didn’t see this coming as Seattle had been playing so well entering the game, but it couldn’t run the ball against an aggressive Dallas defense that didn’t allow Russell Wilson to use his legs to make plays. When Seattle can’t run the ball, its offense is basically useless.

Dak Prescott managed the game and didn't make mistakes to pick up a playoff win, which should give him confidence moving forward since some consider him the weak link.

Dallas now travels to Los Angeles, which to me peaked at midseason and has been in a bit of decline down the stretch as quarterback Jared Goff has regressed after a hot start.

On Sunday, what I thought would be the best game of the weekend was a snoozer for the most part.

The Los Angeles Chargers, who lost to Baltimore a few weeks back, made all the right adjustments to take away the running game of the Ravens, reducing them to the arm (sidearm) of Lamar Jackson, whose buggy-whip throwing motion is tough to watch. The ball almost squirts out of his hand when he throws the long ball and for as fast as he is, he was sacked more than you would expect. 

To his credit, he did hang tough in the fourth quarter to make the game interesting, but again it was a surprise considering how well the Ravens had been playing.

The Chargers certainly will make life uncomfortable for immobile Tom Brady and the Patriots. I’m not sure, however, they have one more big-time game left in them.

The last game of the day produced the best ending as Philadelphia held off Chicago 16-15 when beleaguered Bears place-kicker Cody Parkey once again clanked the goal post and then hit the crossbar, with the ball kicking back toward the field.

Give Philly a ton of credit for hanging in behind more Nick Foles magic. I thought the Eagles did an incredible job of keeping him upright and with a clean pocket. It was the defensive slugfest that was anticipated.

Now Philly gets New Orleans and at this point, how can you bet against Foles? His legend  continues to grow.

It should be a better weekend of games coming up. I had the Bears and Patriots making the Super Bowl at the start of the playoffs and right now I can’t say who is the NFC favorite is. The playoffs are all about the hot team at the right time, not the best team for the entire season.


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