What the NFL Divisional playoffs told us

Another great week of football has been wrapped up. This week, we have been reminded of how scary good the Patriots are in the playoffs, how experience can sometimes beat home field advantage, and how age is truly nothing but a number.

AFC Match-ups

1. Indianapolis Colts, 22.   New England Patriots, 43.

The New England fans went crazy as two unexpected heroes combined for a whopping 218 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns.  Running back Legarette Blount scored not one, not two, not three, but four touchdowns against the Colts this past Saturday. Averaging 6.9 yards per carry , Blount and the Patriots offensive line controlled the game.

Indianapolis’ pre-game plan  probably did not involve a lot about run defense. The Patriots gave them a big surprise in return, showing the versatility of this team. In addition, Blount was not the only one destroying the Colts’ defense. Another running back by the name of Stevan Ridley ran for 2 touchdowns and 52 yards. New England’s two headed monster seemed to be unstoppable throughout the game.

With the running game going as well as it was, all Tom Brady had to do was complete a number of passes to keep the defense on its toes.

For the Indianapolis Colts, turnovers were their Achilles heel.  While Andrew Luck did throw for over 300 yards, he threw 4 interceptions. The Patriots were able to capitalize off of those turnovers, and it made things that much harder for the Colts. In spite of all the bad plays, they were able to muster up 22 points. Nevertheless, the Colts had a great season and a playoff run.

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2. San Diego Chargers, 17. Denver Broncos, 24.

Both teams entered the game having played each other twice already this season, splitting the series 1-1. The Broncos played outstanding defense throughout the game. On the very first series , the Broncos had 2 sacks, forcing the Chargers to punt.

From that point, the Broncos were able to have true control of the game. Peyton Manning broke the single season  touchdown record, throwing his 55th touchdown (reg. season and playoffs).  The Broncos  took their time moving down the field, taking slightly over 7 minutes to score their first touchdown. The Broncos would then move on to lead the Chargers by 17 entering into the fourth quarter.

The Chargers did make a very Charger-like final run from there. The Chargers were able to get within 1 touchdown, but with only 4 minutes left, Manning and the Broncos were able to milk the clock all the way to the end. Next week, the Broncos will host the Patriots for the AFC Championship.

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NFC Match-ups:

1. New Orleans Saints, 15. Seattle Seahawks, 23.

There is nothing like playing against a crowd in Seattle. The Saints were yet another team to go through that experience and come out beaten.

The Seahawks’ defense was on their ‘A’  game, and when that happens, the Seahawks are almost impossible to beat. The New Orleans Saints’ high-powered offense was held scoreless for the first three quarters of the game.

With the crowd deafening them, the Saints had a ton of trouble moving the ball down the field. With that being said , the Saints were close to pulling off a miracle. They scored a touchdown with a little less than a minute to bring the score within 8 points. They then recovered an on-side kick to regain possession. Unfortunately , they were not able to score another touchdown.

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2. San Francisco 49ers, 23. Carolina Panthers, 10.

The game began with the 49ers moving down the field, but being unable to score a touchdown on two drives. During the 2nd quarter, Cam Newton connected with Steve Smith for a 31-yard touchdown pass. This is when momentum began to move towards Carolina. Carolina was able to move down the field once again, but they had to settle for a field goal, and Carolina wouldn’t score a single point after that.

At the very end of the 2nd quarter , Colin Kaepernick threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. During the 3rd quarter, Kaepernick did it with his legs, scoring off of a 4-yard run. The Carolina Panthers simply did not have enough offense to keep up the with 49ers.

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Will the 49ers be able to overcome the raucous Seattle crowd? Can Peyton get his second ring? Will Brady and Belichick return to the Super Bowl for the millionth time or will Seattle make its first trip there since 2005?

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