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Recapping NFL Wild Card Weekend

If you were looking for a great game to watch where you would be on the edge of your seat until the final whistle, I hope you were watching Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

To put it mildly, the games over the weekend were, well, bad. Ultimately, they were 3 ½ non-competitive games, the other half being the first half of the Giants – Packers matchup late Sunday.

So what exactly went down? Lets take a look…

I was dead wrong on Oakland

I figured the Raiders would come out swinging against a weak Texans team but being down to a rookie third string quarterback certainly will prevent most offensive success. Brock Osweiler led the Texans in what seemed to be a comeback performance in some sort of fashion. The stats weren’t pretty: 14 of 25 passing for 168 yards and a TD. However, he ran for another one and did not turn the ball over on a day where the Raiders needed their defense to play a near perfect game. DeAndre Hopkins also finally got involved in the offense once again as he hauled in 5 catches for 67 yards a touchdown.

The Texans certainly have potential for the future if Osweiler is just competent because Lamar Miller has been more than capable as the lead running back and the defense was tremendous on Saturday…WITHOUT J.J. Watt. Former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney certainly seems to be stepping up, especially with his acrobatic interception.

As for the Raiders, it was a tough break losing Derek Carr and seemingly the entire team dropped as well after the injury. Better luck next year in perhaps…Las Vegas of all places.

Matthew Stafford’s injury derailed any hope for the Lions…weeks ago

It may seem small, but the finger injury to Stafford forced him to wear a special glove and seemed to take all zip and velocity off of his throws and the Lions were forced to keep him in shotgun and never under center. Detroit dropped 3 games in a row en route to the 6th seed and a road trip to Seattle. The Seahawks were going to be tough to beat at home anyway but they always seem to find a new niche once they hit the postseason. In this case, the emergence of wide receiver Paul Richardson who made two highlight reel, one handed catches, including one for a touchdown on 4th and goal when they took all of the momentum away from the Lions defense.

Stafford just could not get anything going and the Lions barely crossed the 50-yard line. 205 yards through the air just is not enough to beat the vaunted Seattle defense. An injury so small but so deadly to the success of the Lions who were once 9-4 and sitting in the No. 2 spot in the playoff seedings.

The Big 3 cannot be messed with

The Steelers for the first time fielded Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown at the same time. And boy did it work versus the overmatched and scrappy Dolphins. Brown took two passes for 50 and 62 yards, each for touchdowns in the first quarter and the game looked over from there. It just shows the game changing ability he has and the speed was certainly on display. Bell did some work too. Just another average day at the office for him: 29 carries, 167 yards, and 2 TD.

Now, Pittsburgh dispatched a injured Miami team missing it’s starting quarterback and a few defensive backs but the offense can hang with anyone. A big test will come next week at Kansas City against a tough Chiefs defense. We’ll take a look at that later this week but Pittsburgh sports 3 of the best in their specific positions and can singlehandedly win a game themselves.

Aaron Rodgers is a bad man

There was no rhythm and there was seemingly no hope for the Packers to get anything going against a top ranked defense sported by the Giants. But then, in the span of a little more than 2 minutes, Rodgers led two touchdown drives. Well and a touchdown drive and ANOTHER Hail Mary touchdown. How does he do it? We will never know considering Randall Cobb was only one Packer receiver around four Giants defenders in the back of the end zone and still came down with a rainbow throw. A few times throughout the game, Rodgers was able to extend plays and stay in the pocket for about 8 seconds, which is absurd. Rodgers is the hottest quarterback in football and quickly defeating the Giants gets the Packers kryptonite out of the way and a trip to Dallas next.

The Giants were hampered by the lack of explosive plays from Odell Beckham Jr. and also a few drops from him and fellow receiver Sterling Shepard. Eli Manning could not overcome the lack of offense early on and the game ended in, what most feared, a blowout.

I say, good riddance to Wild Card weekend.

Predictions update

I wasn’t totally wrong. Three out of four ‘ain’t’ bad.

Oakland over Houston: Wow, way, way wrong

Seattle over Detroit, Pittsburgh over Miami, and Green Bay over New York: All correct and my NFC bracket is still intact

Looking ahead

Here are the games for Saturday and Sunday listed in order:

Seattle at Atlanta

Houston at New England

Pittsburgh at Kansas City

Green Bay at Dallas


Fresh off an instant classic of a National Championship, here is to hoping Divisional Weekend is much better than Wild Card Weekend with quality football games. It’s considering the best football of the year…but that remains to be seen. Hopefully no wide receivers take a day trip to a boat in Miami.

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Nick is an NFL Analyst at as well as the Philadelphia Soul Beat Writer.
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