NFC Wild Card Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

The NFC Wild Card weekend was a grandiose display of offenses.  Quarterback Drew Brees and his New Orleans Saints thumped the Detroit Lions 45-28.  The Lions could not handle the unadulterated offensive firepower of the Saints.  On the other side, the New York Giants Eli Manning played exceptionally well against the stifled Atlanta Falcons.  The Giants won handsomely 24-2 over the Falcons with the Atlanta Falcons unable to generate any significant offense.

Here are the top 10 things we learned about the NFC Wild Card playoffs:

  1. Atlanta Falcons Coach Mike Smith and the Playoffs Don’t Mix. Three playoff losses from his 2008 season is beginning to sound like a trend.  On the bright side (or not), the Atlanta Falcons has become the Philadelphia Eagles of the South.
  2. New Orleans Saints Drew Brees is the Man. Saints quarterback Drew Brees was spectacular as he had 466 passing yards, touchdowns and a 134.4 quarterback rating in his game against the Detroit Lions.  Currently, he’s the top quarterback in both rating and passing yards in the playoffs, and he’s the man to beat.
  3. Atlanta Falcons Need to Work on Their Fourth-and-Inches.  It does not bode well when a team can’t get inches to a first down.  Seriously.
  4. Who Needs Peyton Manning When We Have Eli?  Giants quarterback Eli Manning performed admirably against the hapless Atlanta Falcons.  He had 277 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and a 129.3 quarterback rating, second only to Drew Brees in the playoffs.
  5. The Running Back Tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are Dangerous. Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are ranked third and fifth respectively in the playoffs in terms of rushing yardage.
  6. Detroit Lions Wideout Calvin Johnson is Megatron.  With 211 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in his game against the New Orleans Saints, Calvin Johnson still remains the beast.  Now he’s just a beast without the playoffs…
  7. Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford Performed Well Despite the Loss.  Despite his two interceptions, Matthew Stafford performed well with a 97.0 quarterback rating in his game against the New Orleans Saints.
  8. The New York Giants Receiving Corps Are a Threat. Giants wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are passing threats, and just in time…
  9. The New Orleans Saints Receiving Corps Are a Threat. The New Orleans Saints receiving corps of Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem should make the San Francisco 49ers defense shake in their boots.
  10. The Running Back Tandem of Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas Are Dangerous. Not only do the Saints have weapons in the air, they have weapons on the ground in Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.  Both are capable of breaking tackles, and both assist this high-powered offense.

The New Orleans Saints top-ranked offense will come head-to-head with San Francisco 49ers fourth-ranked defense. It will be harder for Drew Brees and company to overcome, but nothing a little Orleans magic won’t cure. Meanwhile, the New York Giants have a tougher hill to climb as they are facing Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers. With the top-ranked Aaron Rodgers in terms of quarterback rating of 122.5, his 45 passing touchdowns and his third-ranked offense during the regular season, can the New York Giants beat this Goliath?  It’s going to be bare-knuckle fight, that’s for certain.

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