Saints 45 - Cardinals 14
As most may have surmised by now, except for when the Colts play I am usually for the underdogs and the old men of the league. In this game, the second oldest active starting QB didn't have a good day and the score reflects it. Because, as Warner goes so does Arizona and he didn't really get it into gear as the game progressed.
A tough hit after a NO interception may be partly to blame. But I think this NO defense was playing as it had earlier in the year and up the level it was capable.
As silly as I thought it was trying to make a play after the pick, I must give Kurt credit for having raw guts. It was pure instinct, he didn't flinch. But it cost him and his team a chance.
But even had he stayed healthy, I think the Saints were just too good on this particular day. In one word, it was "defense". The Saints had it, the Cardinals didn't. NO made plays when they needed to, AZ didn't.
Colts 20 - Ravens 3
Indy did exactly what they needed to do in this game. They didn't run the ball particularly well but made up for it with a good west coast style passing attack, and they limited Baltimore's running game to only 87 yards.
The Ravens needed to play ball control on offense like they did last week. They needed to win the time of possession battle to keep Manning on the sideline, like other teams who have had success against the Colts. They didn't.
They needed to get to play close in the secondary, which they did, But they often played too close and were hit with penalties. They were lucky though, they got away with more than were called.
They needed to get Flacco more involved downfield. It looked like they were going to do that at first. But as the game unfolded, they didn't. (It's just too hard for the Ravens to get their passing going without the running game being established first.)
Vikings 34 - Cowboys 3
Old man Brett Favre is one step away from another Super Bowl. Without him under center, Minnesota is at home right now.
The Viking defense also deserves a lot of credit, for shutting down Romo and company. They were pressuring him more than he's used to and at the same time, causing major disruptions in the running lanes for the Cowboy running backs.
I think this game went to the team that had the most talent on the field, and the better overall athletes.
Jets 17 - Chargers 14
Pure guts won this game, with pure smash-mouth physical football. The Jets played the game they needed to, they needed to keep it close and play each series one at a time. Defense and rushing, rushing and defense ; but more than anything, they needed to show patience.
SD fans will no doubt point to their kicker for missing key FG attempts. And while this is true, they need not place all of the responsibility for this loss on him, for there was enough blame to go around.
1. Penalties - SD committed them and many were very stupid and unbecoming of a playoff team. Kicking the challenge flag resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct, totally unnecessary and a sign of immaturity. False starts, personal fouls, 10 penalties for 87 yards; it may be the kind of play that gets you through a weak division, but not the kind of play that wins championships.
2. Philip Rivers - QB Rating in this game: 76.9. This overrated choke artist likes to talk smack during the game to opposing fans and the opposing team. I guess talking smack to the other team isn't too unheard of, but only if you can back it up. They didn't/couldn't.
3. LaDamian Tomlinson - Yards gained: 24.
4. SD Offensive Line - Total Rushing Yards: 61. Sacks Allowed: 2. Countless hurried passes.
5. Norv Turner - Going onside kick with the way the Jets failed to move the ball late in the game, clearly stupid. He is the most overrated coach in the NFL and showed us why.
6. The Entire Chargers Team - Whiners and complainers. Totally blew the Jets off and did not take them seriously. They deserved to lose this game.
Bottom line, the Jets earned this victory and will be taken more seriously, next week. They are the most dangerous team left in the playoffs, because they aren't supposed to be here. If the Chargers would have believed this, they would be traveling to Indy next week.
AFC: NYJ at Indy
NFC: Minn at NO