Written by John Edward Betancourt
For a brief moment this weekend, it seemed as though the National Football League had returned to normal during the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. After all, Saturday featured two home team wins, and a blowout for that matter as well, so perhaps the wild surprises that the regular season featured were about to become a distant memory. But as it turns out, that was simply not the case, Sunday once again brought about some jaw dropping moments that taught us so much about the teams featured during this weekend’s games. So, with that in mind, let’s not waste any more time and get right down to breaking down what we learned from the Divisional Round.
The Philadelphia Eagles silenced every doubt surrounding their team.
Let’s be honest. Every single football fan out there, myself included, had our doubts about the Philadelphia Eagles heading into Saturday’s game. After all, they seemed like a different team with Nick Foles at the helm, almost as if the squad didn’t quite jell around him once he took over for Carson Wentz. But, all of those doubts and concerns were put to bed on Saturday, since this team played as one, and Foles demonstrated precisely why the team put their faith in him as the starter as he led this squad to an incredible victory, one where they utterly shut down the Falcons on both offense and defense and at this point, it’s inherently obvious that not only do the Eagles have one another’s backs no matter what, but they also have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl this year.
The Tennessee Titans utterly melted down against the Patriots.
Things were supposed to go differently for the Titans on Saturday night. They should have once again put on quite the show, and given Tom Brady a run for his money in Foxboro. But instead, the Titans completely and utterly fell to pieces against the Patriots, letting New England take control of the tempo of the game and well, I hate to say it, but the blame for this failure needs to be placed squarely on the coaching staff. They didn’t settle this team down when it was necessary, they didn’t adjust the game plan in the slightest and unfortunately for the Titans, they get to spend their offseason wondering what could have been, had they been properly prepared for this matchup, and oddly enough, the franchise and head coach Mike Mularkey parted ways this morning, and while the team called the move a mutual separation, one has to wonder if the end result of this game had anything to do with Mularkey’s exit…
The Jacksonville Jaguars proved to everyone that they are a tough team.
Once again, I think it’s safe to say that the collective mentality of football fans everywhere when it comes to this game was that Pittsburgh was probably going to win. However, the Jaguars once again shocked the football world by beating Pittsburgh at home to advance to the AFC Championship in tough and thrilling fashion. Teams that can overcome adversity are the ones we deem the cream of the crop and the Jaguars are just that. They executed some incredible plays, and survived a shootout with Ben Roethlisberger and well, I’m done doubting this team. They’re for real. They’re tough and battle tested and if they tighten up that run defense and play like they did on Sunday against the Patriots, there’s a solid chance they can punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
The New Orleans Saints reminded us of the importance of not making mistakes in football.
Sometimes in football, victory can come down to a single play, and for proof, look no further than yesterday’s Saints/Vikings game. Because a blown tackle, on the final play of the game, ended the Saints’ season in utterly heartbreaking fashion and really, that served as an incredible reminder as to just how important it is to execute on every single play in this sport. But, mistakes aside, I do need to take a moment to say that holy cow, this matchup was one for the ages. That’s the kind of game we tune in to watch during the playoffs, and while New Orleans was sent packing, at least they didn’t go down without a fight and I also have to tip my cap to the Minnesota Vikings, for not panicking when the going got tough and for taking advantage of every opportunity that came their way.
Written by John Edward Betancourt
After months upon months of surprise after surprise in the NFL, it would seem that some balance was restored during the first day of the Divisional Round. Because often times in the playoffs, the home team truly has an advantage, and both of them definitely enjoyed that to the fullest yesterday. But, Saturday still had its share of surprises, since another underdog enjoyed the wonder of victory and as Day Two prepares to get underway, I think we’re all curious as to what treats today will have in store for us, and with that in mind, let’s take a moment and preview what to expect from Day Two of the Divisional Round.
AFC DIVISIONAL MATCHUP