NFL Playoffs: What We Learned From Wild Card Weekend
Someone once told me that you can learn a lot from losing. If so, I guess four teams in the NFL this past weekend learned something about themselves.
In fact, a couple may have learned enough to at least look at changing a few things going forward.
Here is a quick list of what we all learned, and some of us even knew, after this weekend's wild finishes.
The New Orleans Saints' Defense Just Wasn't That Good This Year
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Greg Williams might talk the most smack of a defensive coach who's last name isn't Ryan.
For all of his boasting during the postseason last year, Williams' defense could protect a 10-point lead against the 7-9 Seattle Sehawks.
Make all the excuses you want "Who Dat" nation, the fact remains you got your butts handed to you by a team that should not have been in the playoffs at all.
On top of that, your secondary made an aging Matt Hassleback look like Tom "Frickin" Brady.
Who Dat going to the Super Bowl? Not quite sure yet, but at least we know it's not the Saints.
Jim Caldwell Is in over His Head as an NFL Head Coach
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Back when the Colts lost down in Jacksonville mainly because of Jim Caldwell misusing timeouts on the Jaguars final drive, I called him out on it, and many a Colts fan foolishly hopped to their coaches defense.
However, he did it again.
In the closing seconds of Saturday night's game, with the Jets still not in field goal range, Caldwell called a timeout.
Honestly, I cannot fathom a reason why he'd do this. Apparently, he took a different kind of math in elementary school, and he thought he'd preserve enough time to let Peyton have one last chance to win the game.
What he really did was give a second-year quarterback enough time to think and discuss the next play over with his crafty coach.
The timeout allowed Rex Ryan to talk with his quarterback and calm his nerves.
A first-down pass that put the Jets well within field goal range, and Nick Folk drilled it home with a walk-off field goal.
Caldwell got out-coached in last year's Super Bowl in spite of having a far superior team, he was out-coached a lot of this year, and if he didn't have Peyton Manning, he would have no idea what the postseason looked like.
After all, did you see Peyton's reaction to that time out.
If Manning hasn't signed his extension yet, he should wait and tell the Colts brass he needs a new head coach because he won't win another Super Bowl with Caldwell under the headset.
The Ravens Are the Ravens
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
This was the easy game for me to pick this weekend.
I know what you're saying, "The Saints game should have been an easy one," but the Seahawks play well in the postseason at Qwest Field, and the Saints hadn't really looked like the team they were last season.
On the flip side, the Raven look like a possible Super Bowl contender, where as the Chiefs (much like the Seahawks) didn't really look like they belonged in the playoffs at all.
So the Ravens move on to meet their bitter rivals, the Steelers, for the third time this season. Should be a good one.
Aaron Rodgers Continues To Make Packer Fans Forget about Brett Favre
Al Bello/Getty Images
With each passing season, the Packers look smarter and smarter by letting Brett Favre go and keeping Aaron Rodgers.
Unlike his predecessor, Rodgers doesn't force the issue and lets the game come to him.
When Rodgers doesn't have anything open, he either runs with it or throws the ball away. Had Favre had that kind of cool in the pocket, he might have retired last season with a Super Bowl win.
Rodger looked completely calm amid the blitz-happy Eagles and scrambled just enough to buy himself time in order to find the open man.
The score was close, but you never doubted that Rodgers and the Packers were going to come out on top.
That's not to say that Philly didn't play a competitive game, but by the end of the first half, it looked like the only way the Eagles were going to win is if the Packers made several mistakes, but you knew that wasn't going to happen.
So Rodgers gets his first playoff win and takes his Packers down to play the first place Falcons in what could be a very winnable game for the Cheese Heads.
Looking at Next Week
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Here is what is on tap for next weekend.
The Jets travel to New England to take on the Patriots. The weather is suppose to be nasty, and the Jets better pray for a lot of wind so that Brady can't air it out.
Pray for wind Jets fans, not snow. Brady is a god amongst men in the snow.
However, I don't think the weather will matter much; I'm taking the Patriots by four.
The Steelers welcome the Ravens in what could be the game of the week. I think it will be low-scoring and just a dirty street fight.
This is a tough one to pick, but I'll give it to the Steelers who are playing at home. Steelers by three or less.
Your top NFC seed gets rewarded by playing the lowest ranked team in the NFC playoffs the Sea... I mean the Packers?
That's right, the Bears get off lucky and host the Seahawks while the Falcons get to play the hot Packers.
The NFL might not change the division to make them more competitive, but they should at least look at the playoff seeding.
There is no way the Falcons shouldn't be hosting a 7-9 team this week.
For the two NFC games, I got the Packers by four over the Falcons and the Bears by seven over the Seahawks.
So if I'm right, we'll have the Steelers at the Patriots for the AFC Championship, and the Packers traveling to face their divisional foes the Bears in the NFC Championship.
So enjoy the games next week.