You Talkin 'Bout Playoffs?
How time flies. It seems like only yesterday football fans were ecstatic about September and the return of football season. But that was, in fact, 17 weeks ago, and the regular season has now ended.
The ending of the NFL regular season is a particularly somber occasion this year because no one is sure when it will return. As ESPN's Adam Schefter somberly pointed out yesterday via Twitter, "Enjoy what could be the final Sunday of a full slate of NFL games for eight-plus months -- and maybe longer." Andrew Brandt, president of the National Football Post, points out that this morning marks "63% of NFL players (20 of 32 teams) now on indefinite vacation, awaiting CBA negotiation updates." The threat of a lockout looms in the National Football League, and even more attention to the issues at stake will be examined when the season is totally said and done in the days and weeks following the Super Bowl. For now, we know that the lockout is a possibility and we'll hope it doesn't happen.
Now on to happier topics---the playoffs!
After a rough opening week for my teams, the Eagles and the Colts have both made it to the playoffs. Hallelujah! It was a season full of surprises, one that had me thinking the reverse of what I ever thought I would say: I expected the Eagles to be in the playoffs but was extremely nervous about the Colts. The Eagles yesterday ended their season in a less-than-spectacular fashion, resting their starters and losing to the Dallas Cowboys 14-13. The Colts, however, go into the playoffs with incredible momentum--they have won their last 4 games and secured an AFC South title yesterday with a 23-20 win over the Tennessee Titans.
The NFL scheduling gods have heard my cries and scheduled the Colts and Eagles games on different days. The Colts are up first, playing the New York Jets on Saturday, January 8 at 8 pm on NBC. The Eagles face off with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at 4:30 pm on Fox. Both games are exciting matchups and are sure to make for exciting watching. Rex Ryan has been loud (is he ever anything but?) about his desire to beat Peyton Manning. The Colts and the fight they have exhibited this season will, I believe, prove louder and result in a win. The Eagles-Green Bay game is a rematch of Week 1, where the fate of the Eagles 2010 season changed for good with Kolb's concussion and Vick impressing his boss enough to take over the starting position. Seeing Mike Vick and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers go head to head, and seeing the defenses of the Eagles and Packers trying to overcome and outsmart both, will be incredible to witness.
For the full playoff schedule, go here.