Hello, my fellow quarantined friends! I hope this finds you well, or well-ish!
Because it’s Draft week, I was going to go around to the various teams that I cover for OTFB to find out who wants who, what needs were, etc. However, because I’m in grad school, and finishing up the semester, and working at home, and helping my kids with virtual school, oh yeah, and potty training a new puppy, that didn’t quite happen!
But – I was able to talk to Minnesota Vikings fan, John (@MikeZimmersEars), and Detroit Lions fan, Kevin (@4Lawson4) a couple of weeks ago to get their thoughts on what they think their respective team will do, and what they think their team’s biggest need is.
It was the first playoff game played in Levi Stadium and it was a great one for the home team. It started off being sorta close. It really seemed like the Niners had some rust to dust off, and the Vikings were holding on to the momentum from their win against the Saints.
After a dramatic and controversial win over the New Orleans Saints, the Minnesota Vikings now head to the Bay Area to take on the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers who were enjoying a first-round bye.
The last time the 49ers played the Vikings was the first game of the 2018 season, and the Vikings came away with the win, however, you and I both know that the 49ers were a much different team last year. The Niners finished last year with a record of 4-12 and not expected to make any noise this year. Ahh, but they did.
This year’s NFC Wildcard Round of the NFL Playoffs will start on Sunday, January 5th.
The first matchup will feature the New Orleans Saints (13-3) hosting the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) at 1:05pm EST.
Then, we’ll have the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) heading to Philadelphia to face the Eagles (9-7) at 4:40pm EST. Frankly, I’m still not sure how the Eagles get home-field for this game but that’s how it worked out.
As you are well aware, it’s Christmas time. One of my favorite times of the year. Hopefully, your Christmas (or insert whatever holiday you celebrate around this time of year) isn’t too stressful for you, and you’ve got a chance to rest and reflect on what’s past and what’s to come.
Another hallmark of this time of year is the Christmas carols and songs. My all-time favorite Christmas song is Sleigh Ride. (side note: I didn’t realize that there were actual words to the song until I was like 10. Tweet me, we’ll talk about it!) It’s also time for me to write my article about the NFC North, and I figured that I’d incorporate Christmas into it.
But not your typical Christmas List for Santa type of article. NOPE….I’m going to look at what carol reflects what team in the NFC North. Now, of course, there are only 4 teams and a bazillion carols. So, if you think I could have done better, by all means, let me know.
With last weekend’s Green Bay Packers (ugly) win over the Washington Redskins, they now sit at 10-3 and are one step closer to a first-round bye and are pushing for the NFC North title. Today, the Packers hold the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
Of course, I, along with every other loyal Packers fan, would like their chances to be a bit stronger – there are a few too many teams affecting the Packers desired outcomes currently.
Let’s take a look at the possible playoff scenarios and how they might come out ahead.
The Vikings had a bye, the Bears won, and both the Lions and Packers lost. Yet another lackluster week for a division that I’m reporting on. I think maybe the universe is telling me something. I digress.
But just like in the NFC East, despite the fact that only 1 team won a game, there were still some players that performed well. Come with me as I head around the division to find out who were the top performers.
**Disclaimer: This article was written prior to the Vikings/Cowboys game on Sunday Night Football**
In the 2012 NFL draft, the Washington Redskins chose Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick. “RG3” was a dual-threat QB out of Baylor and was pegged to be the team’s franchise leader for years to come. Then in the fourth round of the same draft, Washington made an interesting pick, taking Kirk Cousins, a quarterback out of Michigan State.
Cousins threw for over 9,000 yards with 66 touchdowns against 30 interceptions in his college career. Maybe the Redskins were just covering their bases in case RG3’s style didn’t work well in the NFL. The Cousins pick turned out to be a prudent one. In 2015 after RG3’s three injury-marred seasons, Jay Gruden made Cousins his starting quarterback. Up to that point Cousins was 2-7 in his limited starts. Once installed as the regular starter, Cousins put up solid passing numbers. He completed 67% of his throws amassing over 13,000 yards with 81 touchdowns against 36 interceptions. Despite his numbers, the Redskins managed just a 24-23-1 record and Cousins got the reputation for being unable to win the big games.