1. The only home team to win was the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks.
Really? Who would have predicted that to happen? Sure it was a possibility that no teams would win at home given the fact that each game featured the better team on the road but to have Seattle be the only team that won, are you kidding me? This was the first time a team under .500 won a playoff game in the history of the National Football League. Not only did they win, but they outgunned the New Orleans Saints, the defending Superbowl champions, perhaps the most potent offense in the NFC. Matt Hasselbeck threw for twice as many touchdowns as Drew Brees. The Seahawks had almost double the amount of rushing yards as the Saints. The Saints extended the streak of defending Superbowl champions not able to win a playoff game to 5 years. Now Seattle heads to Soldier Field to face the Bears and there is one thing I guarantee won't happen, 400 yards of offense by the Seahawks for two straight weeks.
2. Green Bay had a 100 yard rushing game from a running back for only the second time all season.
Green Bay was supposed to be a one dimensional offensive football team. The Packers had only had a running back rush for over 100 yards once all season (Week 5 versus Washington in a loss), that is until yesterday. Welcome to the NFL James Starks! Who is James Starks? Starks is a rookie running back from the University of Buffalo (I didn't even know that was a college) who before yesterday had only 29 rushing attempts all season. On Sunday, Starks got the ball 23 times and rushed for 123 yards against an Eagles defense who had only given up 100 yards to a running back twice all season (Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte). If Starks continues to rush the ball as he did yesterday, this Packers team becomes a whole lot more dangerous for the rest of the playoffs.
3. After losing to the Jets, Peyton Manning's career playoff record is now 9-10.
Some experts consider Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback of all time. Almost everyone considers him in the top five of all time. After Saturday's loss to the Jets, Manning now has a less than .500 record in the playoffs, not a record I would consider the greatest quarterback of all time to hold. Manning has been in the playoffs 11 of his 13 seasons and has failed to win a playoff game 7 of those 11 times. The year that Manning won the Superbowl he had 4 more interceptions than touchdown passes and a 70.5 quarterback rating, not exactly a great post season performance. Not only is Peyton Manning not the greatest quarterback of all time, he isn't even the best quarterback in the NFL right now. Tom Brady has been in the playoffs 7 times in his career, 4 less than Manning but yet has only one less touchdown pass. Brady has only failed to win a playoff game in 1 of his 7 trips to the post season and has won 3 Superbowls to Manning's 1. Oh, and by the way, Brady's career playoff record is 14-4 which is slightly higher than .500.
4. The Ravens only gave up 25 yards of offense in the second half against the Chiefs.
The Ravens defense stepped up on Sunday against the Chiefs and showed the entire country what a championship defense looks like in the playoffs. The Ravens held the Chiefs to 161 yards of total offense. They held Matt Cassel to 70 yards through the air and caused him to throw 3 interceptions. In the second half, the Chiefs only had one possession that lasted longer than one minute and it only gained 31 yards and they turned the ball over on downs. The other 5 possessions lasted a combined 15 plays and gained negative 6 yards. The Ravens defense also caused 5 turnovers, 3 interceptions and two fumbles. This is the Ravens defense everyone remembers and the defense that helped them win their only Superbowl. The difference this year is they actually have a very good offense.
5. In all four games, the team that won outrushed their opponent by an average of 60 yards.
There is a famous quote by Ben Franklin that states "but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." In the NFL, my theory states, the only thing certain is if you win the rushing battle you will win the game. Wild card weekend proved my theory correct as all four teams that won also outrushed their opponent. It is a simple formula, if you run the ball you control the clock and you wear down the opposing teams defense. If you run the ball effectively you open up your passing game which in turn will help you rush the ball even more effectively. Control the ball, control the clock, control the game. Don't believe my theory? Check this weekend's games and the rushing stats afterwards, the four teams left battling for a chance to make an appearance in the Superbowl will have outrushed their opponents, guaranteed.
I also want to do a quick recap of my picks. I went 3-1 last week against the spread with my only loss being the Eagles game which I wasn't very confident in to begin with. Make sure to check out my weekly NFL picks video at www.moleandmeares.com and check back on Thursday for my NFL divisional playoff round picks.