What a weekend. It’s Thursday, and people are still wondering how we got to this point.
The first game of the weekend included the Kansas City Chiefs playing at the Houston Texans. The Texans kicked the ball off and Kansas City scored a touchdown. Knile Davis took the ball 106 yards to the house and just like that, the route of the Texans was on. The Texans’ offense was not even close to good. Bryan Hoyer threw for four interceptions and it seemed like the Texans were gasping for air as the Chiefs’ defense absolutely smothered them. They even tried to put J.J. Watt as running back in order to punch his way into the end zone. He was tackled for a one yard loss. Watt was also not on his A-game being that he suffered a groin injury during the third quarter that required surgery. The Chiefs on the other hand put on another great all-around game and couldn’t be stopped. Final Score: 30-0
The second game of the playoffs included the Pittsburgh Steelers playing at the Cincinnati Bengals. This was the most embarrassing game I’ve ever seen. It is pretty well-known that the two teams hate each other. To ensure that there was no fight before the game, the officials all stood around the 50 yard line and didn’t allow players to mingle before the game. The first half wasn’t as chippy as what it was thought out to be. Yes, a Steelers’ coach pulled a Bengals player’s hair, but that could have been an accident. The first half ended with the Steelers leading 6-0. The second half was much worse. Cincinnati was in the red zone. Giovani Bernard (Bengals’ running back) caught the football and began to run up field. Ryan Shazier of the Steelers delivered a huge hit that happened to knock Bernard unconscious. No flag was thrown since Bernard was not defenseless. The helmets just happened to collide. Bernard fumbled on the play and the Bengals were not happy. The crowd started throwing debris on the field and the Bengals almost started a fight. It just got worse from there. In the fourth quarter, Bengals’ linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, sacked Ben Rothlisberger (QB) and caused Ben to have a sprained AC Joint and torn ligaments in his shoulder. As Rothlisberger was carted off the field, he was hit by a beer can and was showered with cheers from the Bengals’ fans. While Ben was gone, the Bengals took a 16-15 lead. Landry Jones ( Steelers’ back-up QB) came onto the field to lead a game winning drive. Yeah, right. Like that happened. Jones was intercepted by Burfict on his first throw and the Bengals ran off the field in celebration. Game over, right? You don’t know the Steelers. On the Bengals’ next play, Jeremy Hill (RB) fumbled the ball. The Steelers recovered and here came Ben Rothlisberger with his injured shoulder. Ben had less than two minutes to complete his comeback. The Steelers moved the ball pretty quickly and were close to field goal range. With 23 seconds left, Ben threw a ball over the middle to Antonio Brown. Brown missed the ball and was knocked unconscious on the play. Burfict came at Brown full speed and ran his shoulder into Brown’s head. Brown was knocked out before he even hit the ground. A 15 yard penalty was handed out and Burfict was later suspended three games for violating player safety rules. Adam Jones of the Bengals proceeded to push a Steelers’ coach who came on the field to help Antonio Brown off. Another 15 yard penalty was handed out. Jones later posted a video of him yelling obscenities at the official who flagged him. Boswell (Pittsburgh’s kicker) then kicked a chip shot field goal with 14 seconds left. Final Score: 18-16
The third game of the weekend included the Seattle Seahawks playing at the Minnesota Vikings. The game time temperature was a blistering -6 degrees with a wind chill of -25. After the Vikings were destroyed by Seattle earlier in the season, they approached this game with a different mentality. The Vikings’ defense held the Seahawks to zero points through three quarters, while scoring nine. The fourth quarter then happened. It seemed as if the Vikings would easily close this game out. The Seahawks were driving down the field. The ball was snapped and it flew over Russel Wilson’s (Seattle’s QB) head. After most Vikings gave up on the play, Wilson picked the ball up and threw it to Tyler Lockett for a 35-yard completion and got them into the red zone. They soon scored a touchdown. The Vikings just needed to run out the clock. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota’s RB) then fumbled the ball. The Seahawks took the lead with a field goal. But here come the Vikings again. With 22 seconds left, the Vikings set up for a 27-yard field goal. It is shorter than an extra point and should have been easy for a kicker that has kicked a 70-yard field goal before. “Snap good, spot down. Walsh’s kick is up and it is no good! He missed it. Are you kidding me? The Vikings’ season can’t end like that. He missed it left. And the Seattle Seahawks are off to Charlotte.” Final Score:10-9
The final game of the Wild Card Weekend included the Green Bay Packers Playing at the Washington Redskins. There isn’t much to say about this game. Aaron Rogers returned to his MVP type self and dominated the Redskins’ defense. Washington put up a good fight, but the Packers were just too much. Final Score: 35-18
All four road teams won. That is an NFL first and it was also a first that three out of the four teams were shut out at half time. This causes some interesting match-ups.
Saturday 1/16 4:35 p.m. Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The Patriots get back their wide receiver, Julian Edelman, from injury this week. The Patriots went 3-4 without him at the end of the season. The Chiefs on the other hand may be without their star receiver Jeremy Maclin. Jeremy was injured during last week’s game and was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain. The decision whether or not he will play will be made on game day. Even with the Patriots almost completely healthy, they still face a tough road. Kansas City’s eleven game winning streak is on the line, especially with them learning how to possibly play without a star wide receiver . The last three Super Bowl winners have played in the first game of the Divisional Round Playoffs.
Saturday 1/16 8:15 p.m. Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
Both teams seem pretty healthy at this point. The Packers’ Eddie Lacey may return, but don’t count on him rushing for 200 yards. He’ll be lucky to get 75 off of the Cardinals’ defense. The Packers have more momentum going into this game, but if the Cardinals that showed flashes of greatness show up, Green Bay will be in trouble.
Sunday 1/17 1:05 p.m. Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
In their regular season meeting, the Panthers barely beat the Seahawks 27-23 after a fourth quarter comeback. The Panthers won when Seattle wasn’t good at all. Now, they are red hot. Seattle will be sure not to waste the opportunity they’ve been given with Blair Walsh missing the field goal. There aren’t any major injuries for either team and it will be a fair fight.
Sunday 1/17 4:35 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
This is not a fair fight at all. After last weeks’ win against the Bengals, the Steelers’ offense is not healthy. Ben Rothlisberger will most likely play, but he will probably shoot up with anesthetics before the game, so he isn’t in as much pain as he has been. Antonio Brown is still in concussion protocol after Burfict’s hit and is labeled as doubtful for the game. The Steelers won’t receive their back- up running back in Deangelo Hall, either. They are forced to remain with their third and fourth string running backs. The Broncos on the other hand are pretty healthy. Their defensive end, Demarcus Ware, will be in a knee brace, but all of their main players are healthy. It looks like the Broncos will have an easy win on their hands, unless the Steelers’ defense channels their inner Steel Curtain and shut out the Broncos’ offense.
It’ll be hard to top last week’s excitement, but with two future hall of fame quarterbacks playing and with how hot some teams are, there might possibly be more NFL records broken.