Wednesday Morning QB (Wild Card Playoffs)

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The Wild Card weekend has come and gone with four teams moving on the divisional playoffs and one step closer to the Super Bowl. The week was full of great games as superstars faced off and the best teams in the league faced off in winner take all battles. That was not the dominant story though as the biggest story of Wild Card Weekend was the retirement of one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history. Ray Lewis has been playing in the NFL since 1996 when he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens at the end of the first round. Lewis is a different breed of football player and one that does not come around very often. The most intense player on the football field every Sunday in the entire league, Ray Lewis was always ready to play. His signature dance before the game would be something to laugh at if it wasn’t done by Ray Lewis. He was the type of player to go out and give his everything for his team as the true expression of giving 100% every time he stepped out on the field. Lewis was in a unique spot on his team as he was only the second player to put on a Ravens jersey being drafted in the first round, 26th overall by the expansion Ravens. Lewis was the Raven as he would never leave the team in his entire career and would be the undisputed leader from the time he started. Loyalty and passion were his trademarks as he would lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl in 2001 as the Super Bowl XXXV MVP. In his 17 years as the Ravens defensive captain and best player on the field Lewis decided to hang the cleat sup announcing this week that these playoffs would be his last. It would immediately start the debate over his eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With all that he accomplished there is no question that he deserves a spot in the hall but it could be his off the field issues that could keep him out. Early in 2000 Ray Lewis would attend a Super Bowl party in an Atlanta club Lewis would be involved in a fight that would end with two deaths. Lewis and his two companions would be arrested for suspicion of murder. After a plea agreement Lewis would be charged with only obstruction of justice in exchange for testifying against the other two men. In the end all involved would be acquitted of any charges while Lewis would reach private settlements with both families for an undisclosed amount of money. Lewis’ involvement would mean that he would be labeled as a bad boy with ties to some very bad people. The traditional “I’m Going to Disney World” line that every Super Bowl MVP would say was not given to Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis instead going to Trent Dilfer for the image issues that Lewis would present. After this unfortunate event Lewis would seem to change as he would no longer hang out at clubs and hang around with those type of friends. Instead who would solely focus on his play and his family. Changing his attitude must mean something as he became a symbol for what to do right rather than the symbol for what can go wrong. Ray Lewis is a great ambassador for the game of football and what he was involved with should never be forgotten but what he did afterwards should be remembered as well. He will make the hall of fame when his time comes but it may not be the first ballot that he certainly deserves for his play on the field. For now though fans will get to see Ray Lewis for one more Super Bowl run which is all that anyone could ask for. The biggest question though will be whether or not this will be an inspiration for them to push this team into the Super Bowl.

 

Wild Card Playoffs 

American Football Conference:
Houston Texans 19 – 13 Cincinnati Bengals
– The Texans were coming into the game on a pretty cold streak putting their Super Bowl run in serious doubt but the defence picked themselves up to shut down the sophomore tandem of AJ Green and Andy Dalton for the win

Baltimore Ravens 24 – 9 Indianapolis Colts
– The Ravens were just on another level in this game as the defence looked like the old Ravens defence led by Ray Lewis playing his first game in almost half the season and in his last playoff run ever to push the Ravens into the divisional playoffs

 

National Football Conference:
Green Bay Packers 24 – 10 Minnesota Vikings
– The Packers had lost to the Vikings just one week before but without Christian Ponder to provide some semblance of balance to the Vikings offence the Packers defence would shut them down and move on to the next round

Seattle Seahawks 24 – 14 Washington Redskins
– The matchup of super rookies would see Russell Wilson come out on top with Robert Griffin III close to leading a comeback until dropping in the beginning of a potential game winning drive and ending a great rookie season

 

Divisional Playoffs

American Football Conference:
Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos (Saturday January 12th; 4:30 pm EST)
– Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis will be the story in this one as Ray Lewis looks to continue his last ride into the Conference finals while Peyton Manning looks to continue his amazing comeback year to move into the conference finals

Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots (Sunday January 13th; 4:30 pm EST)
– The Patriots are the old guard and are still one of the most dominant teams in the NFL as their top ranked offence takes on one of the best defences in the league as Tom Brady will match wits with JJ Watt to see who comes out on top

 

National Football Conference:
Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers (Saturday January 12th; 8:00 pm EST)
– The Niners beat the Packers in the opening game of the 2012 but both teams are very different as the Packers defence will see a new QB under centre and the Niners will see a very hot team with some new feature players including Randall Cobb

Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons (Sunday January 13th; 1:00 pm EST)
– Seattle has come out of their matchup between super rookies and now they will get their next challenge as they travel to the Georgia Dome and take on the #1 team in the NFC in the Atlanta Falcons who are looking to erase memories of playoff failure

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