A Betting Recap of the 2016 Divisional Round
Now that the divisional round of the NFL playoffs is in the books, let’s take a look at some of the best and worst moments from the games.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 19, 2016
Denver 23, Pittsburgh 16
If you think about it, this game should not have been anywhere near this close. Ben Roethlisberger had a torn-up shoulder after Vontaze Burfict drove him into the ground — and out of the wild card game until Roethlisberger argued his way back in and threw short passes to send the Steelers down the field for the game-winning field goal (aided by two moronic penalties from the Bengals). It’s pretty easy to argue that if Burfict had stayed in the locker room after that late interception, the Bengals would be heading to New England for the AFC Championship this weekend.
But that’s not how it turned out. Roethlisberger didn’t have his best receiver in Antonio Brown, but the Steelers almost won anyway, because the Broncos kept giving his wide receivers the giant cushions they needed for Roethlisberger to complete short passes and the Steeler receivers to run all over the field. Manning did lead a couple of big drives at the end, but the Steelers were much closer than they should have been.
Carolina 31, Seattle 24
During the halftime show, Terry Bradshaw made the comment that there was “no way” the Seahawks could make this a competitive game, down 31-0 at the intermission. Then the Seahawks scored, and the Seahawks scored again. It was tight all the way down the wire, and Pete Carroll said after the game that the matchup was a microcosm for the entire season. If you think about it, he was right. The Seahawks started 2-4 before finishing 8-2 for a 10-6 season. If the onside kick had gone the other way, there could have been an overtime game. Carolina needs to find a way to stay focused for an entire game — something they haven’t shown a penchant for in well over a month.
Arizona 26, Green Bay 20 (OT)
The football gods were clearly trying to help both teams win, as Carson Palmer completed a touchdown pass off a carom — and then Aaron Rodgers threw not one but two Hail Mary passes in the final drive, completing a 60-yard bomb on 4th and 20 from deep in his own territory and then a touchdown pass as time expired to time the games. They went 96 yards in 70 seconds on that drive, without any time outs and without any big-name receivers on the field. It was Jeff Janis who hauled in both passes — and the Cardinals didn’t decide that he needed tight coverage either time. Then, though, Larry Fitzgerald took over the overtime period to show us why he is so clutch. Arizona will need to play a little tighter in the secondary against Carolina.
New England 27, Kansas City 20
Tom Brady has appeared in 30 playoff games (the most ever) and he has 17 career playoff games with multiple touchdown passes. The Patriots are in their fifth straight conference championship games, tying the Oakland Raiders (1973-77). Even so, the Chiefs drove for a late touchdown, and would have had time for another drive if Andy Reid hadn’t done his usual nonsense with the clock. There doesn’t seem to be anything stopping the Patriots from taking the field in Super Bowl 50.