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04 January 2009

Wild Card Playoff Weekend

Ravens (12-5)
Defeat Dolphins (11-6)
This was a defensive struggle that ended with several costly turnovers from the Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington. Miami set an NFL record with only 13 turnovers during the regular season, but it all came back when they turned the ball over 5 times during this game. The Baltimore offense was weak, but did what they needed to to win the game. The defense was potent as always, but did get exposed a little bit on the short passes over the middle. In the end, the Ravens were too much for the Dolphins and will now move on to Tennesse in the Divisional Playoffs. The Ravens lost to the Titans earlier this season 13-10 when they mounted an 80 yard drive at the end of regulation.

Eagles (10-6-1) Beat Vikings (10-7)
The Eagles went into Minnesota looking pretty confident after winning 4 of 5 at the end of the season and, with help from several teams, making the playoffs. Philadelphia's offense really did look terrible in the first half, but thanks to the defensive touchdown, they were up 17-14 at the half. Luckily they would not need a single point in the second half to win this game because the defense pitched a shut-out the last two quarters. The Vikings did look like they were going to get back into this game, but they just couldn't finish on this day. Now the Eagles are off to bigger and better things in New York to face their division rivals, the Giants. The Eagles and the Giants split the season series, each winning away from their home.

Chargers (9-8) Beat Colts (12-5) in OT
This was the most exciting of the four Wild Card games. It was the most unlikely victory from a team that brought dispute on how the playoff system is decided. The Chargers finished 8-8 and hosted the 12-4 Colts. The Chargers and the Colts went back and forth all game and with 31 seconds left in regulation, San Diego tied the game with a 26 yard field goal at 17. Overtime came along and the Chargers won the toss. It looked like San Diego was going to have to punt a few times, but the Colts decided to help them out a bit with a couple costly penalties resulting in first downs. In turn Darren Sproles ran it in from 22 yards to win it and move on. The Chargers now go into Pittsburgh and try to surprise all the football world with a win. San Diego lost a close, but not so close 11-10 decision in Pittsburgh earlier this season. This game was the first 11-10 score in NFL history, and also hurt alot of wallets in the gambling arena due to the fact that the Steelers returned a lateral 12 yards for a touchdown after an interception at the end of regulation that was reviewed and wrongly overturned.

Cardinals (10-7) Beat Falcons (11-6)
This was an unexpected win for the Cardinals. It was also unexpected how Arizona was able to run the ball when they weren't able to all season long. The Cardinals looked very much like the team earlier this season when they won the division. This team could be very dangerous once the get to Carolina next week. They could be the darkhorse in the NFC.

Overall, this was a great weekend for playoffs, despite all the dome games. The teams all sold out their games and didn't get blacked out for the playoffs and showed up to make them very exciting and complete games. I can't wait till next week to see how the teams matchup. It looks like the perfect setup for the divisional playoffs.


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