The NFL postseason is set after an improbable Week 17. The Dallas Cowboys came into the week as the last wild card team for the NFC. Dallas’s hope for the playoffs was thwarted by the Philadelphia Eagles. It was clear before the game began that the Cowboys that their fate would be determined in a game that was without question the primetime game of the second afternoon game.
The Tampa Bay Bucs were the first team waiting to knock off the ‘Boys. They lost to the lowly Oakland Raiders 31-24. Some may say that the Raiders were exciting to find some meaning in playing a game with some contrived meaning. I do not think the Raiders were excited to possibly keep a team out of the postseason, rather I think they were just happy to be playing without the ghastly shadow of Al Davis looming from the owner’s box.
Then the Chicago Bears start strong and finish pitifully weak in a 31-24 loss to the Houston Texans. Looking at the stats and watching the game it is really quite unbelievable that Coach Lovie Smith has not figured out that is helpful and necessary to stop the best player on the other team. Andre Johnson had 10 receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns. He was not double teamed and sometimes he was not even covered.
In the end it was up to Dallas to put their differences aside and find the fortitude to win and go into the playoffs strong. Tony Romo managed to complete a mere 21 passes in 39 attempts and average 4.7 yards and throw one pick with zero touchdowns. The Philly defense forced five turnovers on their way to a 44-6 bombastic win.
The AFC was much less of a whiplash inducing turnstile trip. The Baltimore Ravens completed their amazing run with a 27-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joe Flacco continued to defy his rookie expectations with 17 passes completed on 23 attempts for 297 yards.
New England must be crying in their beer after finishing 11-5 with a 13-0 win over the Buffalo Bills. The other playoff game was Sunday Night Football. The San Diego Chargers made it four straight wins and the Denver Broncos made it three straight losses. The last loss was a huge 52-21 blowout. Philip Rivers threw two touchdowns, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for three touchdowns and averaged 6.9 yards a carry, Darren Sproles ran for 115 yards and scored a touchdown, and fullback Jacob Hester scored as well.
The NFL playoffs tickets are set and the weeks ahead are promising to be as unpredictable as the regular season. This has been a pleasant surprise every since Tom Brady went down in the first game of the season. This year has been cinematic genius so far and the postseason should have just as any twists and turns.