So much for do or die games. In the AFC, both the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos lost their games and backed their way into the playoffs Sunday. The Houston Texans lost as well and it certainly looks like they will have a tough time doing any serious damage in the playoffs. Injuries to key personnel on both sides of the ball have simply taken away any realistic chance of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Frankly, Wild Card Weekend in the AFC isn’t exactly what you would call “must see TV.”
In the NFC the San Francisco 49ers locked up a bye with their win over the St. Louis Rams who don’t get the #1 pick after being teased with the opportunity as the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Niners win means that arguably the team that’s playing the best football at the moment, the New Orleans Saints, has to play a Wild Card Game. At least it’s not on the road to an inferior team like last season.
Like the Texans, the Detroit Lions they knew they were going to be in the playoffs anyway. With Matthew Stafford throwing for 520-yards and five TDs it’s hard to say that Detroit backed their way in. Also scoring 41 points and still losing is tough to do, but their loss to the Green Bay Packers did drop them all the way to a six seed. The news here though is Packers backup QB Matt Flynn…..
Brett Who? Aaron Who?
You’ll recall last year when Matt Flynn filled in for an injured Aaron Rodgers against the New England Patriots in a prime time game and almost pulled off the win. Sundays 31 for 44, 480-yard, 6TD performance was one for the record books. Between last year’s start and yesterday’s prolific performance, one now has to ask the question, “Is it the system, or is he just that good?” That’s not a knock on Aaron Rodgers, it’s simply that Flynn’s two career starts have been so impressive that if it’s not the system, as an unrestricted free agent in 2012, Flynn will have a starting gig and a big fat new contract next year, just not in Green Bay.
As for the winner-take-all Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants Sunday night matchup, Eli Manning has in fact beyond a shadow of a doubt proven that he’s an elite quarterback and manning to Victor Cruz has become as big of a threat as there is in the sport. On the other side of the coin, one would think some changes are in order in Big D as the talent on the roster once again did not match the overall record.
Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, Jan. 7
AFC: No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at No. 3 Houston Texans (10-6), 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
NFC: No. 6 Detroit Lions (10-6) at No. 3 New Orleans Saints (13-3), 8 p.m. ET (NBC)
Sunday, Jan. 8
NFC: No. 5 Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at No. 4 Giants, 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
AFC: No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at No. 4 Denver Broncos (8-8), 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
After being down 21-0 to the Buffalo Bills in the first quarter Sunday, the New England Patriots ran off 49 unanswered points. Forty Nine! In the process Tom Brady finished the regular season with the second most yards passing in NFL history, 5,235, after throwing for 338. Drew Brees, who last week broke Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 with the Dolphins in 1984, added 389 Sunday for the Saints and ended with the new record of 5,486.
If the Lions can get any defense at all in the playoffs they are going to be a tough out. As evidence by Sunday’s 11 catches for 244-yards, Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson is simply unstoppable. It’s almost like they shouldn’t even bother running any other play other than “Calvin, you run down the field and I’ll throw it to you. Everyone else, make like you’re doing something…”
The New York Jets season ended in fitting fashion as Santonio Holmes was benched late in the 19-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins for “quitting on the team.” Rex Ryan’s decision to name Holmes a team Capitan before the season started has to come under scrutiny and the love affair in NY for Rex in general is now officially over as an 8-8 season has to be considered a complete failure, particularly since they had their fate in their own hands with just two games left to go. With the bloom now off the rose in Jets Nation, it will be interesting to see what roster moves, including the coaching staff, that NY makes this off season.
If the Cleveland Browns shut out the Pittsburgh Steelers, some in Cleveland who had purchased new cars would have gotten them for free. The Browns lost 13-9. No word on what the car buyers got if Cleveland gave up 13-points… maybe free floor matts?
The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.