The NFL playoffs have begun! With the expanded playoff field, there were two full days of football, with three games on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday featured two games for the NFC, bringing together two heated division rivals, a goat, and a hungry 7-9 team.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the expanded playoffs. I believe that the top two teams in each conference deserved a bye week. However, the expansion does let some of those fantastic teams who would just miss out on the playoffs in the old system, fight for the Lombardi. Let’s take a look at Saturday’s NFC battles.
In just a handful of plays, in a couple of different games, the waters got muddy in the NFC West. The Seattle Seahawks decided this week was the week to forget they were the best offense in the league, and the Los Angeles Rams took full advantage of it. The Arizona Cardinals, on a wing and a prayer (and the arm of their quarterback), threw a Hail Mary that was almost impossible to catch… until they did.
These two games created a log jam at the top of the NFC West. Three teams that are 6-3. We knew this was the best division in football, and this week proved it is going to be a fight to the end to win it.
Editors Note: With Dayna out on medical leave for a week, our good friend Pattie Cabrido stepped in to cover the NFC West. Give her a follow on Twitter! Thank you, Pattie!
If the season were to end today, the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Rams would be playoff-bound, with all three teams coming out of week 7 with five wins. The 49ers are not far behind, and by the true end of the season, it’s definitely a possibility that the entire NFC West finds its way into playoff spots under the new 7-team model. This is quite the stark change from the days when the Seahawks won the division with a 7-9 record.
Yes I realize we are going into week 6 so the first quarter of the season has already come and gone, but as I’ve always said, you don’t really know who a team will be until week 6, so I’m glad I waited.
The first few weeks in the NFC West was wild, but things are starting to settle in. We are starting to get a feel of what we can expect from these four teams, some good, some not so much. Is it still the best division in football? Well, it’s no NFC East (kidding) but I’d still have to say yes.
Let’s take a look at the NFC West and how they have fared after 5 weeks of the 2020 season.
(Editors note: A few times a year we have guest contributors add to our website. Please enjoy.)
There have been many debates over the years. Waffles or pancakes? Chocolate or peanut butter? Tastes great or less filling? Allow me to add one more related to the NFL draft: Best available or fill needs?
I decided to dig into which strategy works better by researching ten years of drafts from 2009 through 2019. I chose the best team in each NFL division based on the overall record from that same period. I first looked at statistics for each season for these eight teams.
Items such as points scored and allowed, offensive and defensive rankings in each season, sacks allowed and recorded, and depth issues formed the baseline for what I saw as team needs for each draft. Any player chosen that would help improve the team in any of these areas was seen as a need pick, not a best available. Here are the teams and my analysis:
I’ll start off by saying that once the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, all I could think was “We might get to see Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch on the same field again!” Yeah, I know, different teams, but still… those Seahawks teams were really fun to watch and even a bit of that nostalgia makes me happy. But it was not to be.
These two teams know each other very well. Their playoff battles have been some of the best around the league. And this year was no exception. The Packers wound up victorious, however, and will move on to face the 49ers in Santa Clara for the NFC Championship while the Seahawks and their fans will have to just sit back and watch.
This weekend, the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs will commence. The game on Sunday at 6:40 pm EST (tv: FOX) where the Green Bay Packers (13-3) will host the Seattle Seahawks (11-5) will feature two top-rated quarterbacks. A showdown between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson is always thrilling.
Odd-makers have the Packers giving up four points. Typically the home team gets a three-point advantage but since the Seahawks have been just stellar on the road this year, I’m surprised it’s not a closer margin.
And they have the over/under at 47. Hmmm. Do I think this will be a shootout so I bet the over? Or am I predicting some great defensive plays which keep it a low scoring game? Hmmm again.
Ultimately it comes down to one simple question: Are Rodgers and Wilson the two most important players in this game? The “Keys,” if you will. Or will the outcome hinge on someone else?
It was a long season for both teams. Both the Eagles and the Seahawks had been injured throughout the season. The Eagles, however, despite inconsistent play earlier in the season, were able to put together a strong run at the end of the season to make it to the playoffs.
The Seahawks, despite injuries as well, we’re able to put together a strong season behind quarterback Russell Wilson. They also had a very late-season addition to the team in running back Marshawn Lynch to help bolster a running back corps that was depleted due to injury.