Now that the undercard has a winner Alabama in a blowout to the surprise of very few and Nick Saban and his lads have savored the 24 hours he gave them to enjoy their most recent national championship, attention can turn away from A.J. McCarrons girlfriend and back to the NFL playoffs.
Eight teams are still standing and so, by the way, is Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who deserves another season here.
There were no great NFL surprises last weekend except for the fact that Seattles Russell Wilson, not Indys Andrew Luck or Washingtons Robert Griffin III, advanced to play another game.
Ill admit to having been a holdout on Wilson being an exceptional quarterback and heres why: I saw him play in person twice at N.C. State. Both games were against South Carolina and Wilsons team lost both games by a combined score of 41-3.
That tends to make you wonder what all the fuss is about.
I get it now, so save the emails.
On to the weekend:
SEATTLE at ATLANTA: The Falcons, as you may have heard, havent won a playoff game since 2004 (back when everyone went to see the movie Sideways). The Seahawks, on the other hand, havent won one since last Sunday.
The pressure, therefore, is squatting like a sumo wrestler on the Falcons, who have spent the season being as ignored as a 13-3 team can be. Theyre the pretzels on an appetizer bar that includes shrimp, crab claws and bacon-wrapped scallops.
That doesnt mean the Falcons arent very good. It just means, like Atlanta, they arent very sexy.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, have gotten more air miles than Hillary Clinton. They fly cross-country as routinely as some of us put on sweat pants at home in the evening. Aside from what happened to RG3 last Sunday, it was evident the Seahawks were just better than the Redskins.
And theyre not done yet. Seahawks 24, Falcons 20.
BALTIMORE at DENVER: Last weekend was about Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. He got to do his Ray Lewis dance twice and it was a nice touch putting him on the field for the final play in his final game in Baltimore.
Now its about Peyton Manning again.
Remember early in the season when Manning had a bad prime-time game and there were all these questions about whether hed lost the zip on his passes? Was he done? Had Denver blown it?
Thats the beauty of the never-ending news cycle. Its always something.
Theres nothing wrong with Peyton Manning but we know that now. The Broncos are the unofficial team to beat in the Super Bowl race.
Denver might get beat. But not this weekend. Broncos 31, Ravens 17.
GREEN BAY at SAN FRANCISCO: The regular season opened with the 49ers beating the Packers 30-22 but that was a long time ago.
Andy Reid was still in Philadelphia. Lovie Smith was still in Chicago. Alex Smith was still the 49ers quarterback.
Things are different now. Perhaps youve noticed.
Quarterbacks win playoff games. Aaron Rodgers plays for the Packers. I dont know if its algebra or geometry or just plain old math, but its easy to figure out. If A is better than B or something like that. Packers 28, 49ers 20.
HOUSTON at NEW ENGLAND: On Dec. 10, the Texans lost 42-14 to the Patriots in Foxboro. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots did what theyve traditionally done against an opponent with Wade Phillips coaching.
The Texans, naturally, are insisting this time will be different.
It probably will be. But not much different. Patriots 34, Texans 17.
Last week: 4-0
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