I really love Wild Card weekend.
I mean, what is not to love? Four games over two days, with no conflicts? Meaning we can actually watch all four games ideally without missing anything.
How fun is that?
That said, this was a pretty boring first weekend of the playoffs during a time when upsets and strange plays have sort of become the norm.
I am trying to figure out why the first round of playoffs was so one-sided, and I think a lot of it has to do with the regular season. And, well, that leaves me in a quandary.
For, I loved the fact that one week Tampa beats the Saints, and the next week they cannot score a point against the Niners while allowing 8 million. Or, how the Ravens can beat anyone just about, and then roll over for the Chargers, a team not really known for their defense.
Or how those same Chargers cannot beat the Chiefs, but the Raiders can beat Kansas City, but Kansas City can beat the Packers who clobbered the Raiders. And, then at crunch time, the Raiders cannot beat those same seemingly anemic Chargers.
It is fun. But, it is maddening. Kind of like love, I suppose, which is kind of how our relationships with sports and teams go anyway.
The playoffs in football, not unlike their cousins in baseball, do offer a sort of oasis, though. One where watching games is almost pure, with virtually no fantasy points or counting stats or anything riding on a pass or a sack beyond what happens on the grid iron, or screen, respectively.
So, does the fact that Houston bascially had their way with the Bengals, despite the presence of the Texans third string quarterback pulling the strings. I mean, we have seen teams with great second stringers, like Doug Williams and Earl Morral calling signals with success, but a third stringer? Amazing, and maybe a testament, for better or worse, as to how deep Houston really is.
Worse, the lover of the underdog in me wants to root for the Lions and Bengals, and to a degree even those Broncos. The same .500 8-8 Broncos whose own essentially mediocre season outshone the mediocre one put forth by those same Raiders, a team I wish I did not care about (and, as noted, this is a lot like love which means beyond understanding).
Still, Drew Brees is as much fun to watch at the helm as anyone, and the Lions gave him so much time that it was not really much of a contest. Not that it mattered, for the Lions are a young team with their first post-season experience. I have to think they will be back next year, leaner, and way meaner, and we will need to watch out as the resurrection of Detroit continues on all cylanders.
On the other hand, if someone can tell me what happened to the Falcons, who marched the ball down the field first possession, then walked away from three points only to nab back two on a safety. And then, Matty Ice's corps simply checked out. Or as my friend Steve Chattler pointed out, "Ryan cannot throw the ball and catch it. His receivers have to help him a little."
So, finally we get to the big kahuna, and the Steelers taking on Tim Tebow and those Broncos who simply refuse to go away. And, just like Seattle last year, who if memory serves disposed of the Saints, Denver beat Pittsburgh.
Well, Denver did not so much win as Pittsburgh, a better team on paper lost. Like the Raiders, a better team on paper than the Chiefs, Broncos, or Chargers lost. Like the Falcons Sunday, who were a better team on paper than the somewhat erratic Giants. But they lost.
Ultimately, I think it matters not, for in the end the Saints will beat the Niners, another new team who needs a little more experience, while the Pack will beat the Giants, and then the Saints will beat the Pack.
Like the Patriots will beat the Broncos as handily as they did before and the Ravens will shut down the Texans, with the Pats besting Baltimore, and then losing to the Saints in Indianapolis.
Because nobody will beat Drew Brees.
At least not this year.