Before we get into how the Packers let the one player who could beat them amass over 440 total yards of offense by himself, we need an extensive look at the worst blown home playoff game since the Schottenheimer era. Denver went out of its way to lose that game, and most of the admiration I had for Denver’s coaching staff is gone. I don’t understand how you spend that much money to go out and get Peyton Manning, and in the one situation you absolutely need him don’t use him. Positively inexcusable game management. The biggest reason you go out and get an elite quarterback is to score quickly at the end of halves. With 31 seconds, two timeouts, a bad defense in front of them and the thin Denver air all around them to kick through, John Fox took a knee and took his chances, completely ignoring the fact that his offense was outscored by 14 and his defense was just burned to bits by a bad safety read to tie things. There was no reason to think that they wouldn’t continue to get outplayed in overtime, and despite Joe Flacco begging for a pick six multiple times in the extra session, that’s exactly what happened. The elongation of the game, brought on both by playing it way too safe in regulation and then running, RUNNING THE FOOTBALL ON 3RD DOWN IN OVERTIME, when you have a potential game ending drive headed by Peyton Manning opened way too many doors for an old weakened quarterback to make one last mistake.
The Niners game was won in the off season, when Jim Harbaugh selected his offensive line. I still get fuhclempt watching a great line take over a game like a bunch of bullies. The Packers defense that won Super Bowl XLV and led the league in several statistical categories most certainly did not think it would have this many holes up front 2 years later. The Giants set the blueprint last year, and any team that can physically beat them up and disrupt the timing of their passing beats them handily now.
Seahawks at Falcons – Simple game with a simple question. Did Seattle get it together or did Washington fall apart. Amidst all the effusive praise everyone gave Russell Wilson last week, it got lost that the Redskins are still run by Dan Snyder, and they still blew a 14-0 lead. I think the Seahawks will very much look like a team that hasn’t been here before, and the team that has their whole organization on trial mans up and takes it. Falcons 31, Seahawks 21.
Texans at Patriots – I had this game and the Packers Niners games as parallels. Which team that got its ass kicked in the first meeting is going to respond in the playoff meeting. If Aaron Rodgers couldn’t respond, what makes you think Matt Schaub will? The Patriots untold strength is how well and how often they’ve ran the ball this season. These teams aren’t as different in style as you think. New England is just better. Patriots 35, Texans 24.