Well I didn’t see this coming. After being bored to death by the first three Wild Card games this weekend, the Cardinals and Packers made sure to treat us to a real game before we moved onto the Divisional round. It didn’t seem that way at first, causing me to wonder if I was watching a repeat of the Patriots/Ravens game. However, the Packers came back in the second half and made it very interesting. It’s too bad I missed overtime, but I can’t see them all.
Although my pick ’em league is finished, I submitted my picks this week anyway, just for fun. I went with all higher seeds, and well….let’s just say the AFC didn’t appreciate my choice. I was really surprised by New England’s loss, but the Dallas win was expected, especially since they beat Philly last week as well. The win by Dallas guaranteed that they would play the Vikings, regardless of the Cardinals/Packers game, but it doesn’t really matter to me who would be coming to the Metrodome. I consider all three of these teams to be equally matched, though I’d probably fear the Cardinals the most after dismantling the Vikes a few weeks ago. I’m sure it will be a very exciting, interesting game next weekend. Despite being a 1 seed vs. 6 seed game between Indianapolis and Baltimore, I expect this to be a very good game as well.
One thing I would like to mini-rant about is the issue with how well wild card teams have played. I can’t name anyone off the top of my head, but apparently some people don’t like that the wild card teams have been able to get deep into the playoffs (this applies to MLB as well). Excuse me, but even though these teams are the lowest seeds in the playoffs, they’re still above average in terms to the rest of the league. In the NFL, the wild cards make up the 9th-12th best teams out of 32, and they’re given one game in each round to beat a higher seed. In MLB, they’re the 5th and 6th best out of 30, and although they have a tougher challenge by having to win more games in each round, they still aren’t ranked as far down as the NFL wild cards.
In other words, the talent levels don’t have as big of a difference as they do in something like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament* and even the NHL and NBA. The lowest seed always has to face the top one, and the difference between a #1 and #8 (or #16) is much more significant than the difference between a #3 and #6 or #1 and #4. I am pleased to know that this isn’t a serious topic of discussion (in the sense that changes will be made in the near future), but I still think that those that are opposed to the lower seeds having success should realize that these teams are actually pretty good teams, regardless of their postseason ranking.
* Can’t wait for a #16 to finally break through!
Finally, here is the updated playoff bracket, presented to you in as dull of a fashion as I can possibly provide.