Wednesday Morning QB (Wild Card Weekend)

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The NFL regular season is fun and gets people exciting but it is the playoffs that every fan, player, coach, and executive waits for. The playoffs are the most exciting time in the NFL and they would come this week in the form of the Wild Card playoffs. The regular season would shape these playoffs as teams rose and fell and in the end 6 teams from each conference would get the chance to play in the extended season. The regular season would also shape where the games would be played as teams all fought for home field advantage. The regular season is essentially one long road towards trying to earn the top spot in the conference that will give you a first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. For many teams this is the goal as they hope to earn these advantages rather than just trying to make the playoffs. As these team try to get where they want to go the question is inevitably asked, how valuable are the bye and home field advantage. It is a debate that has been around for a while as home field advantage to some is everything and to others is nothing. Home field advantage is one of the biggest myths in football as it states that the home team will always have the advantage. The thought that one team is at home playing in front of their own fans and being able to stay where they live for the entire week makes them better suited to win doesn’t make a lot of sense. Professional players are used to traveling and being booed as they have been travelling and been booed for most of their lives. It rarely affects them because they are the players that have been able to put all of this out of their heads to become the best. The wild card playoffs would show just how useless home field is as four teams would host a wild card game and all but one would lose. In the AFC the only team to win at home would be the Indianapolis Colts who would have to overcome one of the largest deficits in Wild Card history. They would go down early in the game but would make a comeback that would put them into the divisional playoffs. The other game in the AFC would see the San Diego Chargers go into the cold of Cincinnati and pull off a win. It was supposed to be the most difficult game for the Chargers as the talk before the game would be that the Chargers could not deal with the weather in Cincinnati and would lose the game because of it. The Chargers would prove that the weather would not affect them as much as it would affect the Bengals as the cold weather team would make more mistakes and give San Diego the chance to win. A similar belief and result would happen in the NFC as well when the San Francisco 49ers would travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers in the coldest game of the weekend. The Niners would seem unphased by the unfamiliar conditions as they would beat the Packers in a tight game. The NFC would also see the notoriously road weary New Orleans Saints travel outside to Philadelphia. The Saints had been terrible this year on the road away from the Superdome but this was the playoffs and that didn’t matter. The Saints would earn a tight win against the Eagles but would become one of four teams to win away from their homes. Now all of these teams will move on to another road game where they will try to prove that road games do not matter. The Colts will travel outside to the New England Patriots where the team they face is more likely to beat them than the stadium. The Chargers continue their cold weather tour when they travel to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the offensive powerhouse Broncos. The Niners will travel to Carolina where they hope to keep their run going a long way away from home. The Saints meanwhile may face the only place that really has a home field advantage because you can literally not hear anything when the Seattle crowd gets going. It is the one place that can truly create enough noise to disturb opposing teams but the Saints will hope to debunk that theory. They will go into Seattle to show that they can play in the toughest place in the NFL and continue to change the thoughts on home field advantage in the playoffs just like the rest of the road teams in the Divisional Playoffs.

 

Fifth Quarter:
(Four Quick Thoughts on Wild Card Week)

Two Down
There are plenty of openings for potential coaches in the NFL but many are beginning to find themselves filled as Bill O’Brien would fill the Houston Texans job and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would announce Lovie Smith as their new coach this week

The Class gets bigger
With the end of the NCAA season coming this week the underclassmen draft class is beginning to grow with very talented players as potential top picks Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney already declaring and the NFL waiting to hear about Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel

Another Opening
The Miami Dolphins were somewhat happy with their performance this year as they have found a coach and a QB but need more playmakers and unhappy with their player selection so far they would fire GM Jake Ireland looking to not change too much for 2014

 

Wild Card:

American Football Conference:
Indianapolis Colts 45 – 44 Kansas City Chiefs
– The Chiefs looked like they would put all of the doubters away as they built up a 31-10 lead in the first half but behind the legs and arm of Andrew Luck the Colts would make up the difference and win the game in the great comeback in Wild card history

San Diego Chargers 27 – 10 Cincinnati Bengals
– Coming into the game the Chargers were told they couldn’t handle the weather but it was the Bengals who had trouble as Andy Dalton would throw 2 interceptions and fumble once to help the Chargers to a win

National Football Conference:
New Orleans Saints 26 – 24 Philadelphia Eagles
– The Saints had the worst road record for any team in the playoffs but they wouldn’t look like it when they took on the Eagles as two offensive teams would fight in a defensive battle that ended with a last second Saints field goal

San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday January 5th; 4:40 pm ET)
– The Niners have had the number of the Packers for the last two years and that wouldn’t change as missed opportunities would plague the Packers, while Colin Kaepernick would help once again to lead San Francisco to the win

 

Divisional Round:

American Football Conference:
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots (Saturday January 11th; 8:15 pm ET)
– The Colts won their first playoff game in the Andrew Luck era and for it they get the New England Patriots who after a week off will look to move on to the finals and prove that they are one of the best teams in the NFL

San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos (Sunday January 12th; 4:40 pm ET)
– The Chargers will continue to tour the cold stadiums as they move on to Denver where the offence led by Philip Rivers will have to keep up with the best offensive team in the NFL led by Peyton Manning

National Football Conference:
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks (Saturday January 11th; 4:35 pm ET)
– The Saints would not have their best offensive game in the wild card but they are hoping to get it back before they take on the best defensive team in the NFL as they travel to the one stadium that may have a home field advantage

San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers (Sunday January 12th; 1:05 pm ET)
– The Niners had another classic game against the Packers and are looking to continue their performance against what could be the hottest team in the NFL heading into the playoffs in Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers

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