Who would have ever imagined all four road teams would win their playoff games this weekend? Betcha coulda got long odds on that. And there was certainly no shortage of weird things happening.
The Seattle Seahawks, though likely a better team, had no business -- NONE -- winning their game in Minnesota. But a couple freakish breaks went their way. For all his talents, Adrian Peterson once again coughed up a fumble on a routine play, which breathed life back into Seattle. Well OK, that wasn't so extraordinary. AP has a long history when it comes to fumbling.
But with the game on the line in the final seconds, the Minnesota placekicker missed a chip-shot field goal. Shorter even than an extra point. This, after he had drilled three previous ones from much further out. This is the sort of thing that can get a kicker cut. At any rate, the Vikes are done and the S-Hawks move on. More on that later.
As mentioned in my previous post, the Steelers either needed a last second miracle to beat the Bengals, or have a few of Marvin Lewis's looney tunes go berserk again. They did, and Cinci is out in the first round again after a game they all but had in the bag.
The Packers went into DC and thumped the Redskins. No big surprise there. Though the Cheesers have looked a little shaky of late, the Skins are no more than average. They won a very weak division to qualify for the playoffs in the first place. Best thing the Skins did all year was finally realize Robert Griffin III was a bust. Even when he can stay healthy, which isn't often, he's a terrible NFL quarterback.
Kansas City waltzing into Houston and drilling the Texans was only surprising due to the final score. 30-0 is pretty much a beatdown. Like the Redskins, somebody had to win the woeful AFC South division, and it turned out to be Houston.
That sets the table for some interesting match-ups next weekend.
The Seahawks go to Carolina to take on the #1 seeded Panthers. I've been saying for weeks to look out for Seattle. Yep, they caught a major break in Minnesota to survive, but they're certainly playoff and Super Bowl battle tough in recent years. Been there, done that. Plus they have the revenge factor against Carolina. The Panthers beat them in their own house earlier this year. Methinks the S-Hawks will capitalize on their lucky win against the Vikes and run roughshod over Cam and Co. down in NASCARville.
Green Bay goes to Arizona. The Cardinals trashed them earlier in the year, and the rematch should be no different. Top to bottom, Arizona is a far superior team. And Aaron Rodgers will once again be running for his life against the Cards' ferocious pass rush.
Pittsburgh @ Denver. Never count out the Steelers, but even with their QB position in flux, the Broncos are a tough out at home. Plus they have a pretty stout defense as well. On the other hand, if Big Ben's healthy (unknown), he likely has the finest corps of receivers in the entire league to throw to. Then again, it's also highly likely the Denver D line will be in his face all day. Who wins? If Roethlisberger's 100% good to go, give me the Steelers. If not, two things happen. Denver wins the game and Peyton Manning films another dozen or so moronic commercials.
The most interesting match-up of all is KC going to New England. Sure, the Chiefs will be underdogs. But like Seattle, don't sleep on KC. After a slow start to the season, they've reeled off 11 wins in a row, no small feat, including the 30-0 demolition of Houston mentioned above.
Once considered "expendable" or average at best, their quarterback Alex Smith has suddenly blossomed into a star. Over the last half of the season, he's quietly put up the best QB stats in the entire league. To boot, the Chiefs have a lights out defense of their own. In recent weeks this is the team that nobody wants to play. Andy Reid has them on a roll and they're confident as could be.
If anybody's going to go into Foxborough and knock off the Bellichick/Brady Patriots -- it's these guys. True, the Pats have got some of their key guys back from the injured list, and betting against them at home in a playoff game is a risky proposition indeed. Like Seattle, they definitely have the advantage of the "been there, done that" going for them.
Nevertheless, KC is hitting on all cylinders of late, and I'm predicting they'll pull off the "upset". Further, don't sell their Super Bowl chances short either. If they can beat New England on the road, yours truly would like their chances against whoever comes out of the Pitt/Den game.
Always did like Kansas City. A truly terrific town. Didn't they just win something in baseball a couple months back? Seems like longer ago, doesn't it? How soon we forget.....