Not a Wild Weekend
Not a Wild Weekend
By Bryan Power
For a league built on drama and storylines, there weren’t many to be had on NFL Wild Card Weekend. All four favorites won and covered, and all four games went Under the total. None of the games went down to the wire and I’m not sure I learned a single thing about any of the winners or losers that I already didn’t know.
I feel that there were three teams that overachieved this season by getting into the playoffs: Minnesota, Indianapolis and Washington. All three were exposed over the weekend and had unfortunate circumstances affect them even before the ball was kicked off.
How in this age of Twitter and 24-hour sports coverage did no one know about the severity of Vikings QB Christian Ponder’s elbow? As soon as the shocking announcement was made Saturday afternoon that Ponder would be inactive, bettors immediately jumped on Green Bay, betting the favorite from -7.5 to -10.5. We almost had a situation where Minnesota pulled out a back door cover as they had the ball in Packers territory down 24-10 in the final seconds, but that situation never materialized.
Not knowing that Ponder wouldn’t be playing, most of my analysis (I played Green Bay as *10*) centered around the tremendous edge the Packers had at quarterback with Aaron Rodgers. With Joe Webb under center, the Vikings didn’t have a chance. And why didn’t Minnesota run the ball with Adrian Peterson more? I realize they trailed for much of the game, but 22 carries is unacceptable, particularly with a backup quarterback in the game.
Indianapolis lost Bruce Arians to the flu bug the morning of the game, and that clearly had an effect. Arians is my choice for Coach of the Year as he filled in so admirably for Chuck Pagano, and it was somewhat of a cruel twist of fate that after missing Pagano for the balance of the year that Arians absence is what sealed the Colts’ fate.
The only real storyline coming out of the weekend is the Robert Griffin III “situation.” Was RG3 left in the game “too long?” Probably. But, I’m here to tell you that with an injured Griffin, the Redskins had no chance to beat the Seahawks no matter what coach Mike Shanahan would have done. When he finally did get in the game, Washington backup QB Kirk Cousins was ineffective at best, completing only 3 of 10 passes for 31 yards. For what it’s worth, the Skins were LEADING heading into the fourth quarter. And as you’re likely to see this week in Atlanta, pocket passers aren’t a very good option against a Seattle defense that was the best in the league during the regular season. Washington gained only 74 yards total in the final three quarters!
The weekend’s first game was Cincinnati at Houston. The Texans didn’t so much impress me in this one (though they did finish with a 420-198 edge in total yards) as the Bengals really disappointed me. Quarterback Andy Dalton was just awful. He missed wide open throws that if given the opportunity next week, Tom Brady will not against a vulnerable Houston secondary. Cincinnati’s only touchdown was scored by the defense, yet they still had a chance to win the game.
Three of this weekend’s games are regular season rematches and the team that won is favored the first go-around is favored this weekend. Could that mean another drama-less weekend? Perhaps. Does anyone see either AFC underdog (Houston and Baltimore) winning straight up? Not me. Over in the NFC, San Francisco beat Green Bay all the way back in Week 1 at Lambeau. Seattle at Atlanta is the only matchup that’s not a regular season rematch, and that’s the one game where everyone is going to give the dog the best shot.
After winning 17 straight seasons in the Divisional Round, the top seed in the NFC has been one and done four of the last five seasons. The top seed in the AFC had lost three straight years before last season.
- LA Angels
- April 18, 2014 - 7:08 PM
- Matt Fargo
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The Angels avoided a sweep with a win over Oakland on Wednesday and they bring in a 4-2 road record in their three-game set at Detroit. They have won nine straight meetings against the Tigers and I expect that to continue with a big advantage in the starting pitching matchup. It is rare getting Jered Weaver as an underdog but when we do, we have to take advantage. He has not gotten off to a very good start this season but that only helps us here as he is coming off consecutive non-quality starts after opening the season with a quality outing against the Mariners. He has posted three straight quality starts against the Tigers and all of those have come in Detroit. The Tigers won yesterday against the Indians in their rain shortened series but after a 4-0 start to the season, they are just 3-5 over their last eight games. They send Drew Smyly to the hill tonight for his first start of the season and his first start since 2012. He was awesome last season out of the bullpen but his starting record has not been very good and he will be limited tonight as he has pitched only six innings the entire season. Only two of his last 12 starts have been quality performances and the Angels are hitting .284 on the road against left-handed pitching this season. Play (915) Los Angeles Angels