NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round Observations
What a great weekend. The Packers and Tim Tebow get knocked out within a 24 hour span. Let’s look at each of the games for a quick snapshot:
Niners 36, Saints 32
I have to admit, I was rolling with the Saints this post-season. But without any real skin in the game, I love a great game and this was an instant classic. When did Alex Smith go from decent to downright good? How about Vernon Davis? When he broke down, I couldn’t help but think of former 49ers coach Mike Singletary’s “I want winners” rant. He is sitting somewhere with his khaki pants around his ankles thinking, “where did I go wrong?”
Another former Chicago Bear, Jim Harbaugh, has turned this team around. As much as their formula is from the old “run the ball and stop the run” mold, they ended up out-shooting Drew Brees and the Saints. Nicely done!
Patriots 45, Tebows 10
Here’s another team that I wouldn’t necessarily be rooting for, but for the love of Tebow, I couldn’t stand another minute of Tebus coverage. Brady and his tight ends dismantled the Broncos team while the Mile High Messiah ran out of miracle.
Ravens 20, Texans 13
Ray Lewis and his squad head back to the AFC Championship following their tried and true formula – D with just enough O to get the job done. I’m not going to call Joe Flacco Trent Dilfer 2.o, but he’s not anything all that special. I really wish Matt Schaub hadn’t gotten hurt this season because the moment was just too much for rookie TJ Yates. I like this Texans team down the road.
Giants 37, Packers 20
Saving the best for last, the Giants busted the Packers in the mouth in Green Bay to knock out the 15-1 Packers. Cheeseheads all around were making Super Bowl plans, so it’s especially satisfying to see them get their legs taken out from under them. I’ve said all season long that their defense would be their undoing. Add Eli Manning and a surging Giants team to an uncharacteristically bad performance from Rodgers and the Packer offense and you’ve got a recipe for fried Cheese.
Overall, you can’t help but notice how the league is changing after watching these games. Look at what the tight ends are doing around the league. Gronkowski and Hernandez for the Patriots, Graham for the Saints and Vernon Davis for the Niners were incredible this weekend. Do the Bears have anyone close to that? For the record, I don’t think Greg Olsen could have carried any of their jocks, so don’t complain about trading him away. But it’s yet another hole the Bears have to fill this offseason. Don’t you wish you had that Brandon Manumaleuna money back???