Home Teams Go 4-0
Most Teams Look Unprepared for Playoffs
Overall, Wild Card Weekend was a pretty awful 16 hours of football. Few teams looked like they were prepared -- or even wanted -- to be in the playoffs. In the end, all four home teams won for the first time since 1992, and that after back-to-back 1-3 Wild Card Weekends.
The first game saw Kansas City traveling to Indianapolis, and what a stinker of a game this was. Chiefs cornerback picked off Colts cornerback Peyton Manning twice, and safety Jarrad Page intercepted Manning once.
Law had a nearly clear path to the endzone on one, and only Manning was in his way. Why Law tried to dance around Manning, I'll never know. If he had run Manning down, he probably would have scored and probably would have put Manning on the bench.
But K.C.'s biggest problems were the ones I exposed in my preview: Herman Edwards and Trent Green. Edwards coached one of the worst games in NFL playoff history. Running back Larry Johnson should have gained about 200 yards in the game, but Edwards forced the run from the first series when Indy had eight or nine defensive players in the box. Instead of throwing a couple passes to loosen the linebackers and d-backs off the line, Edwards insisted on Johnson barreling into a wall, and the offense never got going.
To make matters worse, Green couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from the inside and made bad decision after bad decision. Edwards said before the game that he wouldn't hesitate to replace Green with Damon Huard, who never should have been benched for Green mid-season.
He's still waiting.
Meanwhile, outside of Manning's typically poor post-season play, the Colts did what they needed to do to dispose of a team that had no business being there.
Prediction: Colts, 35-31.
Result: Colts, 23-8.
If the early game was bad, this was terrible. Maybe it's just the way Seattle playoff games go. Remember that Super Bowl last year? One of the sloppiest games I can recall. Of course, that had horrible officiating, too. This one was just awful execution.
I'm sure you've heard it discussed from every angle by now. The last 5 minutes were wild, starting with Terry Glenn's fumble, Lofa Tatupu's near miracle (that turns out better to be a safety than a touchdown), the botched snap placement, Tony Romo's run, Martin Gramatica's matador-ial debut, Jordan Babineaux (the guy who Gramatica missed)'s shoestring tackle just a foot short of a first down.
I've seen many games that could be termed "The Game No One Wanted to Win", but this was about as close to true in this game than any other.
Prediction: Seahawks, 28-24.
Result: Seahawks, 21-20.
The best game of the week was, of course, your New England Patriots hosting the heathen New York Jets, and we all know how it turned out. I was fortunate enough to be there, and there were lots of Jets fans there. After the game, we wished each others' teams luck, and I told several of them that Eric Mangini would have that team ready for lots of great battles with the Patriots, and I believe that. As a matter of fact, I'll give you the 2007 AFC East right now: New England, New York, Buffalo, Miami. (Real tough, huh?)
Prediction: Patriots, 24-17.
Result: Patriots, 37-16.
Philadelphia wrapped up the home-team domination -- ok, not exactly a lot of dominance -- with a sound 3-point thrashing of the New York Giants. Both New York teams eliminated in a four-hour stretch. Not too shabby.
Both running backs had great games. Neither quarterback did.
Actually, I didn't see much of this game. It certainly better than both of Saturday's offerings.
Prediction: Eagles, 31-20.
Result: Eagles, 23-20.
So, despite my pre-weekend diatribe about visiting teams' success since the four-division realignment, I picked all four home teams, and they all won. Given how most of these teams played and who they're facing next, the home teams are definitely odd-on favorites this weekend, too.
I'll have my predictions later.