I had my Raiders hopes this past Wild Card Weekend, but the reality is I had not really thought of Oakland as a serious playoff team till next year. Still, I watched the Raiders on Saturday with my mates Jeremy and Bryan. Following that, I did indeed watch the remaining three playoff games, which were ok, but almost kind of ho-hum and well, predictable.
The reason that Wild Card weekend has been my favorite for so long is that weirdness has largely prevailed, with odd teams getting hot and upsets and the wonderful unexpected ostensibly shaking us from our routines and expectations. But this weekend I was kind of disappointed at just how routine all the games, which were really never close, were.
I cannot remember if it was at the end of the Raiders game, or during the Seattle game, that one analyst noted that it was good for a team to be hot going into the playoffs, which is surely true in my opinion as well. Furthermore, he noted that this year's playoff corps was hardly that, finishing 21-19 over the final four games of this season, and even mentioned that over the past few years, teams that have struggled really came through post-season contrary to previous seasons.
Further, I have written over the past few weeks about how tough it is to not just have a streak, but even tougher to keep it going. And, I also think that for a good team, there is a lot more to be gained week-to-week from a tough loss than there is from constant wins.
In essence, a lot of the Oakland streak of six games, for example, the Raiders pulled wins out of a magic hat right at the end of the contest, and while those victories were certainly satisfying, I knew all along that a really good and contending team generally controls the line and game more than at the last minute. Not that a good team is not also capable of pulling a win out of the ether, but that is often much more often from time-to-time, rather than six consecutive weeks.
So, as I wrote, I was happy with the Raiders success, but even with Derek Carr, I did not think the team could take Kansas City or New England or Seattle, anyway. But, because it was Wild Card weekend, and weird things usually happen, and since the one team I thought Oakland could take was Houston, I still had some hope.
But, the truth is I did not see the teams who won losing, and for sure this year there were no surprises, and that was kind of a bummer for it is always fun to have a Cinderella/Underdog team in the mix.
Maybe, though, because this year's teams struggled the last month, that had a sobering effect, and the good teams really kicked up the focus, learned from said struggles and proved they were the best teams in the league.
As for what lies ahead, again, I am not really expecting much beyond Seattle and the Patriots hitting Super Bowl LI, giving the Chiefs an outside chance. And, while I dig Dak and Zeke, and Aaron and Jordy, I am pulling for Matty Ice. Because as much as I love him, Ryan and the Falcons are not who I think will win. So, naturally, that is who I want to win.
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