Wednesday Morning QB (Wild Card Weekend)

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The NFL began another march towards the Lombardi Trophy as the Wild Card weekend kicked off the 2012 playoffs. Wild Card weekend can be some of the best football that you see all year with plenty of upset potential. Teams that just made it into the playoffs take on the division winners as the home vs. away theory is tested. This year it was different though as some of the division winners were considered the underdogs this year. The teams travelling this year found themselves in the favoured spot but the big question was whether they would be able to match the hype. Nothing is unseen in the Wild Card Weekend as anything can happen when the playoffs start and the win or go home games begin. 8 teams faced off during the weekend as every team started with a blank record and an equal chance at marching into Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.

 

AFC Wild Card

The AFC Wild Card saw three teams play their first playoff games in years while another team was in a familiar, yet somewhat unfamiliar spot. First the two of these new teams faced off as Houston and Cincinnati made new appearances in the playoffs. Houston had made it in as division winners but were down to their 3rd string QB TJ Yates who was given the responsibility of guiding the Houston Texans through their first playoff appearance in franchise history. Meanwhile the rookie combination of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green took the Cincinnati Bengals into the playoffs as they looked for a win. The game started with the teams trading scores as the score saw a 10-10 tie in the second quarter. Then everything changed as rookie JJ Watt put his hands up off of the line and knocked down an Andy Dalton pass. The pass went right into the hands of Watt as he knocked it down and he kept control as he took the ball in for the TD putting the Texans up. More importantly the momentum had shifted as the Texans took control of the game and got the hometown crowd into it before the half. The Bengals could not recover as they were shut out the rest of the game while the Texans added two more TDs by Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. The Bengals were sent home while the Texans would get ready to take on Baltimore in the divisional round. In the second AFC game the Pittsburgh Steelers came back to the playoffs but were in an unfamiliar spot as they would play an away game in the playoffs as a wild card team. They would take on the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow who had barely made the playoffs thanks to an Oakland loss that gave them the division. The game started with Pittsburgh taking a tentative lead in the first quarter and then Tebow taking control as he passed for a TD and ran for one. The half saw Pittsburgh Struggling and the Denver Broncos looking good ahead 20-6. The Steelers mounted a comeback in the second half though as they were able to limit Denver to only a field goal and tie the game up with a late TD. The game went in to overtime as the fans would see the first time the new overtime rules would come into practice. The new rules did not matter much though as Tim Tebow took the ball and with one pass to Demaryius Thomas went 80 yards for a TD that ended the game. With the win Denver saw the Tebow magic carry them to the divisional round against New England while the Steelers would go home and fail to repeat as AFC Champions.

Scores:

Houston Texans 31 – 10 Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos 29 – 23 Pittsburgh Steelers (OT)

 

NFC Wild Card

The NFC Wild Card saw two of the hottest teams going into the playoffs against two inconsistent wild card teams. The first game saw the Detroit Lions go into the Louisiana Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints were riding a great finish to the season behind the record-breaking season of Drew Brees and the best offence in the league. The Detroit Lions were coming off of a loss against the Packers but had also ridden some great play by their QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson. The game started with both defences showing that they were not to be overlooked. Detroit broke through first though as they went ahead in the first quarter. The Saints got on the board early in the second quarter as the offensive shootout started with the defences taking a back seat. The Saints slowly started to take control behind Drew Brees as the second half saw the home team score two TDs early to put them ahead. The Lions tried to fight back as the offence continued to score but they could not keep up. Brees kept his torrid pace that they have become known for as they continued to score TDs by throwing and even one by running. New Orleans proved that they were a team to look out for as they continued to put up points against a good, not great, defence. The Saints took the win with a score of 45-28 and move on to face the San Francisco 49ers. Detroit took the loss after starting a promising season and failing to finish strong. The second game would feature another matchup of a hot team and a very inconsistent team. The New York Giants came on late for yet another season behind the arm and clutch play of Eli Manning along with the dominance of their defensive front four. The Atlanta Falcons were expected to be much better this year as they struggled to make the playoffs but after a few key wins they were able to grab a wild card spot. The Falcons started off with the Atlanta Falcons taking an early lead thanks to a great defensive play that gave the Falcons a safety and put them ahead. From then on the Falcons seemed completely outmatched. The Giants responded to the safety with a passing TD to put them ahead and that was the end of the game. The Giants took over from their first TD on as their defence was able to stifle the Falcons offence and not allow them to score any points. The Giants offence continued to roll adding two more TDs and a field goal to put the game away. The Giants offence looked good but they did not look lights out as the question begins as to whether or not they can keep up with the top offences or if they just played to the level they needed to in order to win. The Giants will put this theory to the test as they will go to Green Bay and play the defending champions in the divisional round. The Atlanta Falcons disappointed again as Matt Ryan is now 0-3 in the playoffs.

Scores:

New Orleans Saints 45 – 28 Detroit Lions

New York Giants 24 – 2 Atlanta Falcons

 

AFC Divisional Playoffs:

Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots (Saturday January 14th; 8:00 pm)

– Tim Tebow will test his worth against the 31st ranked defence in the league but will need to keep up with Tom Brady and the #2 offence in the league in a rematch of a 41-23 win by the New England Patriots in Week 15

 

Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday January 15th; 1:00 pm)

– The Texans will look to continue their success in their first playoff appearance in franchise history but will have their work cut out for them against the 3rd best defence in the league and the running game of the Ravens

 

NFC Divisional Playoffs:

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers (Saturday January 14th; 4:30 pm)

– The classic matchup of offence and defence as the #1 offence of the Saints led by record breaker Drew Brees takes on the #2 defence of the Niners who had only allowed 3 rushing TDs in the season but they will need to stop the pass to stop the Saints

 

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday January 15th; 4:30 pm)

– The Giants will look to continue their strong play against the defending champions and the 15-1 Green Bay Packers in a rematch of week 13 matchup that saw the Packers only win by a field goal

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