Jason Ross: Looking Back at the First Weekend of the NFL Playoffs
4 games down and 7 more to go before we have crowned our Super Bowl champion. The opening weekend of the NFL playoffs gave us a little bit of everything. We start with the first game on Saturday. The Chiefs came in as favorites knowing that they hadn’t won a home game in over 20 years. That didn’t seem to phase the Chiefs early. They built an 18 point halftime lead but in the process lost a key weapon in Travis Kelce. Kelce never returned and the Chiefs couldn’t recover. Tennessee played smash mouth football and eventually wore out Andy Reid’s squad. Bad loss for Kansas City and a great win for the visiting Titans. The game had a controversial call but it will still be remembered for another season in which Reid, Alex Smith and the Chiefs fell short. This team should still be good next year but may look very different.
Saturday night gave us a playoff return to Los Angeles. The inexperienced Rams against the team that lost the Super Bowl last year. The Falcons jumped on the Rams early and held off the Rams. A bright season for Rams football and all the young talent ended quickly. For Atlanta, they are still trying to exercise demons from last year. They got a quality win and will have to do all of their post-season winning on the road. So far so good for them.
Sunday morning was a snooze fest. The Bills and the Jaguars was probably the least anticipated game and we now know why. Points were hard to come by and even though it was a 1 score game throughout it failed to provide much drama. That game doesn’t necessarily mean that the Jags will play like that this week in Pittsburgh but they will have to ramp it up much more to get to the AFC title game. Buffalo made their return to the post-season after a long drought but they will have some talent evaluating to do at a lot of positions.
The finale of the weekend was filled with drama. New Orleans and Carolina know each other so well and it showed. The Panthers took away the run game of the Saints and New Orleans showed why they were good. They found another way. The relied on Drew Brees. Brees was good but Cam wasn’t going to go quietly. A risky 4th down call by Sean Payton nearly cost the Saints the home field win. They hung on and now get another crack at Minnesota. A perfect world for the Saints would be a win this week with Atlanta prevailing too so that the Saints could be home for the NFC title game.
We are underway and I already look forward to the next batch of games this Saturday and Sunday.