With the Wild Card Round in the books let us look back and go over some things I learned from this recent round of the NFL Playoffs:
1. The Houston Texans are playing with a “chip on their shoulder”
I’ll be the first to admit that I was one of many Football fans who disrespected the Houston Texans in recent weeks. Now this wasn’t because I am some sort of “Houston Texans hater,” because I am not since I picked them to make it to Super Bowl 47, but because they crumbled down the stretch heading into the playoffs. You can’t enter Postseason play stumbling and be successful in my opinion but the Texans proved otherwise as they have advanced into the NFL Divisional Round.
Now as I watched the game I got the feeling that Houston was playing with a huge chip on their shoulder. The Texans had something to prove Saturday night and while it wasn’t pretty, they got the job done and that’s all that ultimately counts. That “chip” that Houston is playing with is only going to get bigger as they look to avenge their horrible Monday Night loss against their Divisional round opponent, the New England Patriots.
2. If Green Bay can get any type of running game going they become extremely deadly
Everyone who’s watched a Green Bay Packers game this season knows of their “Achilles heel,” their running game. Everyone also said that if Green Bay could get that running game going it would open up their offense and allow 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers do what he does best. That’s exactly what Green Bay was able to do in the Wild Card round against the Minnesota Vikings and it was starting to look very reminiscent of their latest Super Bowl run from two seasons ago.
During that Super Bowl run the Green Bay Packers were able to take the name “James Starks” and turn him into a household name for a short period of time. It appears they could be doing that once again as DuJuan Harris is really starting to impress me with how well he has played for the Green Bay Packers lately. While not amazing numbers from Harris, he was able to carry the ball 17 times for 47 yards with a touchdown. Thanks to DuJuan Harris’ production it was able to allow Aaron Rodgers to go 23-of-33 for 274 yards with 1 TD and of course, the victory.
3. Baltimore’s defense knows this is the last time this group will be playing together and they are making the most of it
This is the “farewell tour” of this current crop of Baltimore Ravens defensive players that have dominated the NFL for some time. This defense features Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and of course, the soon to be retiring Ray Lewis. If this group wants to ever win a Super Bowl Championship together they need to do it now or never, it is literally make-or-break for this defensive unit.
With that said the Ravens defense was able to hold this young Colts offense to just 9 points and was able to disrupt Andrew Luck’s game all day long as he never looked comfortable with his receivers. Granted it was a rookie quarterback and an overall young team, but the Ravens defense looked as dominant as they have in the last decade. A motivated, “back up against the wall” Ravens defense could be very dangerous right now.
4. RGIII became more of a hindrance then a help and Seattle took advantage of it
As I sat and watched the 1st quarter of the Redskins/Seahawks game it really was starting to look like it was Washington’s game to lose. Well Washington found a way to lose as their rookie franchise quarterback, RGIII, got dreadfully hurt as time went on. At one point in the 1st half it really looked like the Seahawks knew they were dealing with a “wounded RGIII” and took full advantage by putting pressure on him & even taking a penalty for a “roughing the passer” call.
Call it “dirty,” call it “seeing blood in the water,” but the Seahawks defense was able to capitalize on a wounded Robert Griffin III and took full advantage leading their team to the Divisional round to face Atlanta. Yes it’s “Monday morning quarterbacking it” but I really believe Shanahan should’ve taken RGIII out in the 3rd quarter when the Redskins still had the lead. The Seahawks knew they had RGIII right where they wanted him and took full advantage. By the time Washington reacted (because RGIII was too hurt to play) it was just too late.
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