As the NFL Wildcard weekend comes to an end, here’s a look back on an instant classic, the Ravens rising and two young quarterbacks making their mark on history.
For me, the best game of the weekend was in Dallas. As I have mentioned before the Dallas Cowboys are known as ‘America’s Team’ and maybe they didn’t deserve it before but this year they have certainly lived up to their unofficial nickname. On Sunday Jerry’s World hosted a classic as the Cowboys came from behind to beat the Detroit Lions 24-20 with a little help from a very controversial call. With only 8:25 left on the clock Anthony Hitchens of the Cowboys was flagged for pass interference on Brandon Pettigrew. However, moments later referee Pete Morelli changed his mind, picked up the flag and changed to the call to no penalty. The Cowboys went and scored the game-winning points on the next drive. Controversy, drama and suspense – would you expect anything else from this team?
I was high on the Cowboys and predicted they would win the NFC East. Tony Romo is the most criticised QB in the whole NFL but he showed his credentials and put in a performance that may have put him with one hand on the MVP award. He takes them with their 8-0 away record to Lambeau Field to face the 8-0 home record of the Green Bay Packers. Two of the best offenses go head to head and it could come down to the big plays for who comes out on top. Dallas give up way too much after the catch and there’s no better partnership in the NFL than Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson at doing that very thing.
However, if the Cowboys were to make it to Arizona and the Super Bowl they would have to win at Green Bay and most likely Seattle. If they do that they definitely deserve to win the big one. Whatever happens, for me, Dallas are back.
Staying in the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals QB problems cost them dearly. Carson Palmer would have beaten the Carolina Panthers, Drew Stanton may have won it, Ryan Lindley just couldn’t do it. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton did what he had to do and we will see his ‘Superman’ pose again as they travel to maybe the hardest place in the NFL – the Century Link Field in Seattle. It’s a mismatch and if the Panthers are to have any chance, Cam will have to run the ball more. However, against the ‘Legion of Boom’ under the lights and with the Seahawks 12th man getting behind them, there’s only one winner for me.
Flipping over to the AFC the Baltimore Ravens caused somewhat of an upset beating the Pittsburgh Steelers with Joe Flacco, who has been called the ‘best quarter back in the game’ by Ravens coach John Harbaugh, throwing them to victory. When it comes to January time Flacco does the business. He has no fear and throws the ball it downfield for a big plays with consummate ease. Next up for the Ravens are the number one seeds in the AFC – the New England Patriots. This is the match up Belichick and Brady probably didn’t want. The aggressive style of the Ravens could cause problems and they won’t be intimidated going to the Foxborough. Can Flacco beat Brady in his backyard?
In the other Wildcard game the Indianapolis Colts got past Cincinnati Bengals easily as Andy Dalton had a game to forget. Next up for Indianapolis are the Denver Broncos so again QB Andrew Luck will have to deal with the shadow of Peyton Manning. Now, though, could be Luck’s time to step out of the shadows and stand alone by beating the all-time great. He will need his wide receiver T.Y Hilton to turn up, but I’m feeling an upset.
So for the play off weekend I’m going for New England to beat Baltimore, the Indianapolis Colts to take out the Denver Broncos in the AFC and Luck to finally step out of Manning’s shadow. Then in the NFC, Seattle to crush the Carolina Panthers and then Aaron Rodgers to seal up the regular season MVP award, prove he is the best QB in the league and lead the Packers past the Cowboys with a late win. You heard it here first.
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