Welcome back to the “spring” semester, Terriers!
While you are enjoying the cold weather of Boston, it is time to take a look at the NFL playoff picture after the divisional round. The Arizona Cardinals scored a hard-fought but well-deserved victory over the Green Bay Packers. The Carolina Panthers only played 30 minutes to beat the Seattle Seahawks. The New England Patriots won against the Kansas City Chiefs as people expected, and the Denver Broncos nearly stopped their pace by the Steelers. It seems that all the star quarterbacks gave their best performances except Peyton Manning, who had trouble with mid-range and long-range throws. Nevertheless, the Broncos won the game with their defense.
What we have now is a classic Brady versus Manning and an unpredictable match up between the newly
rising Panthers and the steady Cardinals. I am very surprised that the Cardinals are still in the playoff at this moment. In all perspectives, the Cardinals have been a less-dominating team for the last few years. No matter how these two games play out, they are worthy to watch.
New England Patriots versus Denver Broncos
It is just mundane to see that the NFL’s promotions for this game are still focusing on the “Brady versus Manning” theme. The dispute of the better quarterback between the two was over a long time ago. Now that Manning has passed his prime, it is safe to say that Brady is the better quarterback.
From the past 16 face-offs, Brady has the 10-5 edge over Manning. That does not, however, guarantee a win for the Patriots. The Broncos scored a victory over the Patriots just six weeks ago. Some might argue that the absence of Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman resulted in Patriot’s loss, but Manning did not play that game either. Brock Osweiler, the Broncos’ quarterback during that game, had to rely on the defense to win the game.
The Broncos do not have the best offensive line in the league anymore, but fans seem to still linger on that title. If you have been following the Broncos like I do, you should have noticed that the Broncos’ defense played a huge role during the regular season. Many times, it was the turnovers and interceptions that saved the team.
On the other side, Tom Brady has all of his weapons back in action. Julian Edelman returned to the lineup, which gives Brady a lot more options. Remember that Edelman quarterback play against the Baltimore Ravens? The Patriots are the more dominant team in the matchup. However, it is football. You will never know the winner until the game is over.
Carolina Panthers versus Arizona Cardinals
The Panthers did not stand out in the league until eight weeks into the regular season. The team finished with a striking record of 15-1, meaning they secured wins against formidable opponents like the Seahawks, the Packers and the Texans. The Panthers’ star quarterback Cam Newton was awarded MVP of the season Wednesday by the Professional Football Writers Association. This accolade might not be the last for Newton this season, but I am sure there’s nothing on his mind right now besides beating the Cardinals.
The Cardinals moved up the ladder quietly this season. Without the trash talk and media noise, the Cardinals kept their minds focused on moving the ball forward and taking injuries strategically. This attitude earned them the top ranked offense for this season. However, the offense and defense rankings do not mean much in the playoffs since all the teams are willing to do risky plays to get themselves closer to the 2016 Super Bowl.
Cardinals have implemented some old-school plays lately. From shovel passes to double blocks, these classic plays worked for Cardinals surprisingly well. It is definitely something the Panthers should take note of ahead of this weekend’s matchup.