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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NFL 10 Take Tuesday Wild Card Edition

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NFL 10 Take Tuesday Wild Card Edition
By Wild on Sports Analyst Billy Ball

Each week I give you my 10 takes from the weekend that was in the NFL

A day late this week but hey, Happy New Year everyone!

1. Did anyone really want the AFC 6 seed? Miami had two cracks at it, lost both. Baltimore (yes, the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens) did as well. Pittsburgh wanted it so badly that they started the season losing 6 of their first 8 games. San Diego, well we know their troubled past in the closing weeks of seasons. Seriously, how many games were lost in the closing weeks that would have locked up the final playoff spot? Its embarrassing really.

2. The Pittsburgh Steelers got screwed. With 8 seconds remaining in regulation Kansas City kicker Ryan Succup had a 41 yard field goal to win the game for the Chiefs and send the Chargers home to watch the playoffs from their couches. He missed the kick, but worse the refs missed a blatant penalty, "a rule of emphasis" in the 2013 NFL. The Chargers had seven players on the line of scrimmage at the snap. A new rule in place for this season limits it to 6. Yes Succup missed what normally is automatic for him, but he should have been given a second crack at it and from a little closer in. He makes the kick, the Steelers make the playoffs. Sorry Steelcity.

3. Watch out for the Green Bay Packers. The Packers got both Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb back after long term injuries and the two hooked up on 4th and 8 late in the game to clinch the NFL North and a trip to the playoffs. It was an improbable series of events that got the Pack into the playoffs. They won three of their last four, two of which with their 3rd QB of the season. Two guys written off for done come back and spark a comeback victory against their division rival to get in. They are flying high and as hot as anyone coming in. I would want no part of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers if I were an NFC team.

4. As long as Jerry Jones continues to act as Cowboys GM bad things are going to continue to happen to their team. Its karma really. Micromanaging to the umpth degree. Its time for Jerry to step away. We know you love your team. You want to win so bad it hurts. We get it. But please for the love of humanity give it up. It was Kyle Orton this time, not Tony Romo (out with injury) who gave up a late back breaking interception but in reality this is was just Jerry once again getting what he had coming to him. Jerry, if you are reading this PLEASE, PLEASE hire a GM. Then go lock yourself in your booth, unplug the phone, don't talk to the press until after the season and just then you might win something.

5. The Browns firing Rob Chudzinski is a slap in the face to Browns fans. If you are a head coaching candidate out there why in the world would you want to go to Cleveland? Chudzinski had been on the job less than a year, had his star running-back traded away just a couple games in, lost three QB's to injury and was told by the GM that the team was "building towards 2014" only to get a pink slip before the calendar even hit 2014. Why would anyone want to go there knowing that is how the new management conducts their business. Sorry Browns fans, it might be another 20 years before you see another contender.

6. Houston had the worst record in the NFL in 2013 but will be a playoff team in 2014. Houston was a playoff team in 2012. They have one of the best running-backs in the NFL (when healthy) and a defense that can just be down right nasty at times. They are going to finally get a QB in this year's draft. Most believe it will be Teddy Bridgewater. I think a lot of fans hope it will be local favorite Johnny Manziel. Either way it will be a much improved Texans team in 2014.

7. The #1 seed really isn't that important. In the past 19 season only once have the top seeds advanced to the Super Bowl (2009 - Saints/Colts). Yes -- that stat is correct -- go check for yourself. Mind blowing really, but a testament to how deep the NFL really is. How many times have we seen a team sneak in and get hot as a wild card team and ride that to a Super Bowl. Just ask last year's Ravens how that works.

8. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen in the AFC. Can Manning win in the cold? Are the Patriots just too injured? Which Andy Dalton are we getting -- the 33 TD's or the 20 INT's? The Colts aren't at the level yet, right? Can KC regain that early season shut down defense? Do we really trust Philip Rivers with a late season game on the line? Too many questions.

9. The Seattle Sehawks are the best team in the NFC. Will they win the Super Bowl? Maybe. But that one thing I can say is they are clearly the class of the NFC. They are strong at every aspect of the game. They are playing at home, a place where they are unbeatable. I just don't see them losing under those circumstances. 

10. The NFL playoffs will once again show why the NFL is the most watch sport in America. They never fail to amaze us. The "OMG" moments will be around at every turn. This weekend we get Drew Brees, Jamaal Charles, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck. Next week it will be two of those names with Manning, Brady, Newton and Wilson. Its going to be a fun ride. I for one can't wait.

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