Wednesday Morning QB (Divisional Weekend)

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The 2018 NFL season was an interesting one if only because of the way things fell into place at the end of the season.

It isn’t a rare sight to see a clear division between great teams and good teams but what is rare is the amount of great and good teams in the playoffs.

This season saw a number of teams separate themselves from everyone else and it wasn’t just that they were a little better.

They were a lot better than the rest of the teams as none of the big four teams had any more than 4 losses on the season.

That is not something that is seen very often and so heading into the playoffs the questions was always going to be whether or not that translated into the second season.

The New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers were all great teams this year.

All four had a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl and all putting together regular seasons that would have made them favourites all alone in a normal season.

This was far from normal though as these teams didn’t all get to take the usual path to the divisional round.

The Chargers were forced into the wild card thanks to a slightly better season by Kansas City, by slightly being a tiebreaker, and were forced to play road games.

They got through their first and after establishing themselves as the best road team in the league throughout the season were going to take on a challenge in New England.

The Patriots have been the best playoff team in the last decade as evident by the multiple trips to the Super Bowl and the crown of the most dominant franchise in the last decade.

Los Angeles was a great team throughout the year and their road record was impressive throughout the season

It wasn’t enough to get past the Patriots, who were still one of the best teams in the league but did finish with an 11-5 record, not among the biggest teams in the league.

With one of those dominant teams down it was up to the other three great teams to show if the difference was truly all that much.

The Chiefs have been one of the teams that have been great throughout the year and have been a team bringing the offensive revolution to the NFL.

They were taking on the hottest team in the playoffs with the Indianapolis Colts riding high on their four-game winning streak.

That offence of the Chiefs was too much and the defence stepped up at home to shut down Andrew Luck.

It was an easy win for the Chiefs putting up 31 points and only allowing 13 to take their divisional round win.

Another team riding that offensive wave has been the Los Angeles Rams who were the hottest team to start this season and ended with a 13-3 record on the year.

They were taking on the Dallas Cowboys who were another team coming into the playoffs riding a wave of momentum.

A close wild card game had many thinking that they might just be able to give the Rams a challenge but it wasn’t to be.

The Rams put up 30 points and although the Cowboys fought back throughout the game they were never really seemed to be in it from the start.football-sidebar

Los Angeles took the win and proved once again the difference between the great and good teams.

The Saints were one of the few big teams that had to scratch their way to the end as they took on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles were looking to build yet another underdog story after barely making the playoffs and winning their wild card game.

They were going to give the Saints a fight and they did just that as they took an early lead but let the Saints climb back.

After a last minute drop the Eagles hopes at a miraculous comeback were gone and the Saints were the third of the big four teams from the season to move on.

What that leaves now is a group of four of the best teams in the league both this year and in recent years.

Although this was an off year for the Patriots, even though 5 losses is a great year for some, they are still one of the best teams in the league.

They have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick which immediately makes them a potential Super Bowl winning team.

They take on the offensive powerhouse led by young gun Patrick Mahomes and a home advantage that makes the defence different.

On the other side, the offensive powerhouse of the Rams looks to bring Los Angeles back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1984.

They take on the originators of the offensive mindset in the New Orleans Saints who have put together one of their best seasons since 2009 when they won the Super Bowl.

The Conference Championships are built for these matchups as this is truly the best of the best and should produce some interesting games.

 

Fifth Quarter

Moving On

The Philadelphia Eagles were so close to extending another magical season and a lot o that would have had to do with Nick Foles. For two straight years, Foles was forced to fill in at the end of the year and guide the team through the playoffs. A year ago that led to the legend of “Saint Nick” who helped the Eagles to a Super Bowl win. This year he looked like he was doing it again but that magic just seemed to run out this time around. Another great performance filling in led to the debate about whether or not he deserves the starting role over their top draft pick, Carson Wentz, and as a free agent, the Eagles were going to need to make a decision. After their divisional round loss, the Eagles confirmed what most people thought saying Wentz was their QB for the future essentially making Foles one of the biggest free agent names this year.

Shifting the Focus

There was a debate going on and some uncertainty around the level of quarterbacks available in this year’s draft. Most of that uncertainty was around one of the biggest names as Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray had yet to decide on his future. As a member of the Oakland Athletics, Murray already had a future in professional sports but the longevity of baseball could be overlooked thanks to the pay available in the NFL. This week after reports that he had requested a big payday from the A’s to stay in baseball, Murray declared for the draft. That has immediately upset the rankings as Murray now becomes one of the top names in the draft and team in need of a QB will have one more name to consider.

Getting a Taste

Fans are quick to jump on players when they screw up and often they like to declare that whatever they were doing was easy. It is an easy thing to say for fans who don’t have to deal with the pressure or the skill it takes to do something like throw or catch a football. In the Wild Card games, this was herd easily when Cody Parkey missed a 23-yard field goal that lost the game for the Chicago Bears. This week a local brewery gave the fans a chance to prove something when they let 100 fans try to kick a 23-yard field goal. Although the weather was not the same only a handful came close but everyone missed proving that it isn’t as easy as everyone might think.

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