What an interesting weekend of football this was. If you saw a Bears-Seahawks rematch coming, you're a ballsier man than I. Let's see what happened:
Seahawks 41, Saints 36
The Saints' defense had had it's ups and downs all year, but it was hard to see this coming. Their secondary just fell apart. I haven't seen so many blown coverages since Thomas Smith was still wearing a Bears uniform. They're going to have to work hard this year to upgrade a very old defense and get some kind of pass rush going. If they're going to play the 4-3 they can't constantly rely on the blitz for all of their pressure. As for the Seahawks? Well, I'd have to believe the Bears are a much better and smarter team than the one that lost 23-20 earlier this year while Mike Martz continued to ignore the very existence of Matt Forte. The Seahawks defense played terribly as well, so that ought to give even more hope to Bears fans. This is probably the best possible matchup they could have gotten for this round, but damned if I don't hate the fact that it came at the cost of a Green Bay win.
Jets 17, Colts 16
I'm torn in two by this. On the one hand I'm glad to see Manning fail in the playoffs again, but I'm also sad because I feel the Colts would have had a better chance at upsetting the Patriots. I don't expect another 45-3 massacre, but I have a hard time seeing how the Jets can top the Patriots in Foxborough.
Ravens 30, Chiefs 7
Sigh. Another Chiefs playoff appearance undermined by the overrated caretaker they have under center. Whether it's Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Steve DeBerg, or Matt Cassel, the Chiefs are the best in the NFL at getting to the playoffs and not having a quarterback who is even remotely a threat against a top-flight NFL defense. The Ravens took away the Chiefs' running game quickly (made even easier by Todd Haley's continued refusal to ride Jamaal Charles as far as he can go) and dared Cassel to beat them with his arm. The result? 70 yards, 3 ints. Our reward is yet another entertaining Steelers-Ravens matchup.
Packers 21, Eagles 16
Two of my favorite excuse-making fanbases met up, and the Packers walked away. A lot of Bears fans are happy about this because it brings Seattle to Chicago, but I still think the best thing for everyone is for Green Bay to exit these playoffs as quickly as possible. Either way, the Bears won't make it to the Superbowl unless they're capable of beating the best, so I suppose it doesn't matter. But dammit, I loathe Green Bay. That said, I was a little shocked that the Packers played so conservatively against a rather spongy Eagles defense. James Starks was a surprise, but I still think the Packers offense' biggest weakness is a lack of balance. We'll see if it costs them in Atlanta for a second time this year or if, (assuming the Bears take care of business) we'll see the first postseason game between the Packers and Bears since 1941.
That's it for now. Sorry I've been rather quiet during this bye week, but I'm always antsy during the long wait. Y'all stop in next weekend as I plan on SKOscasting all four divisional matchups.