For a change, all four wild card matchups look like good games

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Good news, football fans: We appear to have four good games coming this weekend.

One would hope that would always be the case during an NFL playoff weekend, but the reality is, that’s usually not what happens. Just take a look at some of the wild card games we’ve had in the last four postseasons:

2017: The Jaguars and Bills played a game that was expected to be ugly, and went exactly as expected, with the Jaguars prevailing 10-3.

2016: All four wild card games stunk, with an average margin of 24 points. In the worst of the four games, Brock Osweiler‘s Texans beat Connor Cook’s Raiders.

2015: The 8-8 Texans showed they didn’t belong in the playoffs, as Brian Hoyer threw four interceptions in a 30-0 loss in the wild card round.

2014: The Cardinals were stuck with Ryan Lindley at quarterback and they turned in one of the worst offensive performances in NFL history, gaining just 78 total yards in a loss to the Panthers.

There’s no guarantee that the four games we’ll see this weekend will be great, but there are positive indications. None of the games look like terrible mismatches. None of the teams are playing incompetent quarterbacks. All of the games look like good ones. For a change.

44 responses to “For a change, all four wild card matchups look like good games

  1. Yes, I too remember when Wild Card weekend was the cute “aww, they let THEM into the playoffs” weekend.

  2. You are right, MDS, I was thinking the same thing the last few days. Can’t remember when all 4 games looked to be competitive. Usually count it fortunate if 2 are worthwhile.

    BTW, Texans will again show they have no business in the playoffs.
    They can’t help it.
    It’s just who they are.

    So make that 3 competitive games and one dud, although it too will be a pleasure to watch.

  3. Except dallas and seattle…seahawks win by 10 or more for sure. Dallas can not win a playoff game.

  4. BIG difference between a great defensive struggle and pathetic offense. I offer the Cheez-It bowl this season between Cal and TCU as proof. Wasn’t great defense as much as god-awful offense.

  5. mrplow3 says:
    January 4, 2019 at 10:02 am
    Why is 10-3 ugly? I love a good old fashioned defensive beatdown
    ——————————————
    When the starting QBs are Blake Bottles and Tyrod Taylor, the game is ugly. When neither QB manages to even throw for 150 yards, the game is ugly. There’s a difference between a defensive contest and a game between two teams that still struggle with the concept of the forward pass.

  6. vesh31 says:
    January 4, 2019 at 9:51 am
    I forgot defensive games are ugly not competitive right?!
    ++++++++++++++++++
    Refs and the NFL do not allow defensive games to be played.

  7. Philly going versus my Vikings made it a good game in Chicago.

    Vikings would’ve been hammered in Wild Card round the way they were playing.

    Still think Chicago wins it, but it will be a good game for sure.

  8. Remove the defense altogether, and turn it into a judged offensive skills competition, like team synchronized swimming, or timed three point shooting, or the pro-bowl QB competition.

    The reason the league capitulated to demands for a more “fair” overtime with “equal opportunity” at offense is because too many people cannot recognize that DEFENSE is half the game.

    If you want a healthy post season, then play flag 7’s, like the former legends game during pro bowl weekend.

    If you want a more competitive post season, then expand it to 8 berthes per conference, no bye week. Then turn the last 3 games of the reguler season into division flex games with final week between top 2 teams per division. First playoff week is conference seeded, then playoff weeks 2-3 are LEAGUE seeded. This would greatly help the super bowl be the most competitive contest possible.

    So, stop whining, and write the rules committee to change the playoff format or to eliminate defense altogether.

  9. Its almost hard to believe how well Da Bears have been doing. I hope we can keep it up. This eagles team is getting hot at the right time.

  10. “All of the games look like good ones. For a change.

    I disagree with the premise. They frequently look like they’ll all be good games. Any assertion to the contrary is built on a massive pile of post-facto knowledge. The actual results so impact our perception of the games that it’s really hard to avoid this kind of comment, but there’s very, very rarely a reason to expect non-competitive games during Wild Card (or, really, any other) weekend, and we very often get them.

  11. The pressure involved if the Seahawks Dallas game is close at the end will be palpable for the Dallas side. I can just see Jerry pacing around and the camera shots of Jason Garrett on the sidelines shaking his head if they are losing.

    I’m not so sure the pressure will get to Russell… in fact I know it won’t. If the Seahawks lose it won’t be because of the pressure.

    After preseason expectations the Seahawks are pretty much playing on house money and it’s all good at this point they will be free and loose.

  12. Agreed, but…this is the playoffs and things don’t always go as they would seem on paper.

    On paper Chicago should win…and maybe by the largest margin of all the games. They’re the better team and they’re playing at home. But…how will Trubisky handle the pressure of his 1st post-season game? And can Nick Foles continue the greatest stretch of post-season quarterbacking in NFL history? I doubt it, but I doubted last year too!

    On paper, I think the Ravens/Chargers game has a great chance to be a close game since neither team was the victim of a lopsided loss all season. But again…how will an inexperienced rookie handle the pressure of his 1st post-season game?

    On paper, the Cowboys/Seahawks should be very close. The Seahawks haven’t had a double-digit loss all season. But…the Cowboys have been victims of 3 double-digit losses. Including a 23-0 shutout!

    And finally there’s the Texans/Colts. This one has to be close, right? They played each other twice this year with each team winning at home by a field goal. I see absolutely no reason whatsoever why this wouldn’t be close again…so watch this one be the biggest blowout of the weekend!

    So for all of the chest-puffing, Kool-Aid drinking, football experts that are on here guaranteeing their team’s victory, none us really has a clue what’s gonna happen this weekend. Anything can happen in the NFL. And surely, if your team loses this weekend, you won’t be on here on Monday saying how wrong you were!

  13. If Dallas-Seattle or Philly-Chicago plays out the exact same way the Bills-Jaguars game played out last year, I can guarantee it will be labeled as a “defensive classic” or a “throwback game”. Where as because it is Buffalo and Jacksonville, it is considered ugly.

  14. The Keener Observer says:
    January 4, 2019 at 10:07 am
    BTW, Texans will again show they have no business in the playoffs.
    They can’t help it.
    It’s just who they are.
    ———————-
    Go 11-5 and win division = You belong in the playoffs! That is, unless the NFL changes the qualifiers.

  15. Seahawks are playing on house money because of preseason expectations?

    How many people had Cowboys going 10-6, winning the division, or making the playoffs?

    The Cowboys are playing with house money too.

  16. J V says:
    January 4, 2019 at 12:04 pm
    If Dallas-Seattle or Philly-Chicago plays out the exact same way the Bills-Jaguars game played out last year, I can guarantee it will be labeled as a “defensive classic” or a “throwback game”. Where as because it is Buffalo and Jacksonville, it is considered ugly.

    ——————————-
    The difference is that the Jacksonville-Buffalo game featured 2 horrible quarterback. Fair or not, the offensive ineptitude overshadowed the defensive performances. We’re talking about 2 quarterback who will probably never start another NFL game (injuries aside). If the Jaguars-Patriots game had ended with the same score, it would’ve been considered a great defensive game.

  17. I think that Cardinals vs Panthers wildcard game in 2014 was the most frustrating playoff game I’ve seen in recent memory. The Cardinals raced out to a nice lead in the division that year only to lose Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and the division title at the end of the year with an 11-5 record. All the Cardinals had left at QB for the wildcard game was 3rd string Ryan Lindley and project QB Logan Thomas. The Cardinals defense kept them in the game as long as they could but Lindley just couldn’t complete passes to save his life. Poor guy. Panthers and a great defense go on to win 27-16.

  18. Should be a good weekend of games and really the entire playoff field is pretty solid this year. I think you could make a case for any of the 12 teams being able to go on a run to win it all this season. Normally not the case as normally some team really has no chance of making a run for one reason or another (mainly because their QB is horrible)

    Who is the worst QB in the playoffs this season? Probably Foles but he obviously gets a pass. Jackson is questionable but obviously brings something to the table and is winning. Mahomes, Brady, Watson, Rivers and Luck are solid in the AFC. Brees, Goff, Tribisky, Prescott and Wilson also solid. Any of these 12 QBs could lead their teams on a playoff run. Unlike last year with Bortles and Taylor and whoever else in the playoffs.

  19. J V says:
    January 4, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    If Dallas-Seattle or Philly-Chicago plays out the exact same way the Bills-Jaguars game played out last year, I can guarantee it will be labeled as a “defensive classic” or a “throwback game”. Where as because it is Buffalo and Jacksonville, it is considered ugly.

    ==================

    It was considered ugly because it was ugly. It was an awful display of offensive incompetence and buffoonery. When the Cowboys beat the Saints earlier this season, it was an excellent defensive performance against arguably the best offense in the league with a HOF QB. And the Eagles have a great offense as well. So even if those games end up low-scoring, they likely can’t end up the exact same way as Bills-Jags.

  20. NFC #5 and 6 seeds both win, both close games 3 or less. Eagles then get crushed by the Saints, but Seattle going to Rams, they could make the title game.
    What’s interesting (much as I hate to say it), if Cowboys get out of the WC round, they can beat both NO and LA on a good day, enough D and can run the ball and control clock (again on a good day).

  21. I’m usually very good at picking winners weekly.

    I wouldn’t bet on any of these games because I think everyone of them could go either way. Looks like great match ups to me.

    I just hope the refs let them play.

  22. That 10-3 game was NOT a defensive game. It was a game with 2 incompetent offenses. That’s why it was ugly. A good game features a mix of good defense & good offense.

  23. Seahawks are playing on house money because of preseason expectations?

    How many people had Cowboys going 10-6, winning the division, or making the playoffs?

    The Cowboys are playing with house money too.

    ————-

    Okay, sure. Whatever…But I would say the big difference between the two teams is one has a QB and HC that has already won many playoffs games including a SB. They have a little less to “prove” to their boss.

    If Seattle wins is Garrett’s job safe? Is Dak’s?

    Nobody gets fired if Seattle loses. We will only be slightly disappointed after an unexpectedly fun year.

  24. I don’t bet on these games, but if I did, I’d say there’s at least one blowout…There’s almost always one on WC Weekend.
    I’d pick Seattle to thrash Dallas

  25. The Keener Observer says:
    January 4, 2019 at 10:07 am
    You are right, MDS, I was thinking the same thing the last few days. Can’t remember when all 4 games looked to be competitive. Usually count it fortunate if 2 are worthwhile.

    BTW, Texans will again show they have no business in the playoffs.
    They can’t help it.
    It’s just who they are.

    HOPE THEY MAKE YOU EAT CROW!!

  26. None of the four team have “incompetent quarterbacks”? The Ravens Lamar Jackson is a RB that takes the snap. He’s only played against one defense in the top 10 in points allowed per game, the Chargers at #8. The rest were bottom of the heap. Three of the teams he faced were ranked 30, 31 and 32 in points allowed per game, the others were 24th, 25th 26th. I bet even Ryan Lindley would do well against that competition.

  27. Just for reference Dak has 14 game winning drives since his rookie year in 2016, Russell has 27 total but only 10 since 2016. In four less years (or 48 less games), Dak has a much higher percentage of games won on final drives than Russell does. Not to mention Dak has won 31 games since that timespan, as opposed to Russell who has won I believe 29 games since 2016.

  28. The only teams I think could lay an egg are the Chargers and Texans and only because of late season injuries, but both have great QB’s who could overcome those with enough explosive plays. Every team is capable of winning it all, making this maybe the best season I’ve seen (other then 2013).

  29. a few stats…

    1 – Newest ESPN power rankings have Hawks at 9, Dallas 11
    2 – Dallas has given up 20.2 PPG this year but scored only 21.2 (a 1 pt delta)
    Seattle has given up 21.7 but scored 26.8 (a 4.9 point delta)
    3 – Seattle has a +15 turnover ratio, Dallas has a +3
    4 – Dak has won 0 playoff games, Wilson has won 8
    5 – Wilson’s passer rating is 110.9, third in all the NFL among full time QBs, Dak’s is 96.9, trailing the likes of Kirk Cousins.
    6 – Hawks don’t only lead the NFL in rushing yards, they are third among playoff teams in yards per attempt, behind only the Rams and KC.
    7 – Hawks average 8.1 yards per passing attempt; Dallas 7.4.
    8 – Hawks average 12.3 yards per completion; Dallas 10.9
    9 – Hawks were second in the NFL with 9.3 points per game in the fourth quarter (they had raised that to 10 points per game in the last three); Dallas was 10th with 7.3 points in the fourth quarter (it fell to 5 points per game the last three)
    10 – Of starting QBs in the NFL, Wilson has the highest win percentage when trailing in the fourth quarter vs teams with a winning record. Better than Brady. Better than Rothlisberger or Rivers or Brees or Luck or Rodgers. Better Wilson’s average deficit was 9.4 points while second place Brady’s avg deficit was 7.3 points. Dak wasn’t listed (N/A

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