Wildcard weekend was a long boring journey through Snoresville, Blowout Town, and Not This Againburgh, but thankfully our final destination was Awesome Shootout Into Overtime Heights. The Cardinals and Packers put up a record 96 combined points and helped restore my faith that there could be exciting football. No, I don’t have to have a lot of scoring to like a game, but some question as to the outcome does help pique my interest!
The Cardinals move on to face the Saints in a game that could break 100! The Jets travel to San Diego to try out Rex Ryan’s “If you say it, it will happen” philosophy. The Ravens take their running game sans passing game to Indianapolis. And the Cowboys travel to the recirculated climes of the Metrodome to take on the Favres.
Kurt Warner: He had more touchdown passes than incompletions. That my friends, is what we like to call in the business, amazing. He’s getting old, has a crazy Stepford Wife, and may sometimes get a little too high on his Jesus horse, but going 29 for 33, for 379 yards and five touchdowns in the playoffs after taking his team to the Super Bowl the previous year has cemented his ticket to the Hall, but of course now he’ll need a jackhammer to get it out.
Aaron Rodgers: His first playoff game started horribly and ended horribly, but in between he threw for 422 yards, ran for a touchdown, and threw for four more. He was the best fantasy QB in the league this year and will be leading the charge of yet another great crop of QB’s next year (giving us no reason to draft one in the first round). That’s two years as a starting QB and twice that he’s been one of the top 2 fantasy QB’s. Gotta love those rushing TD’s!
Jermichael Finley: The Cardinals had no answer for Finley (what was the question again?) and they allowed him 6 catches for 159 yards. He finished the season strong and there is no reason to think he can’t be a top 5 TE next season. Jeremychael can only get better with a great young QB throwing to him.
Steve Breaston: Matt Leinart’s favorite named receiver had a field day with Boldin on the bench. He only caught one of Warner’s five TD passes, but did accumulate 7 receptions and 125 yards.
Early Doucet: He did his best Anquan Boldin tribute which may allow him to just take over his job completely next year; think Mark Wahlberg in Rock Star. His 2 touchdowns and 77 yards might be his high for the playoffs if Boldin comes back, but Early will be on some fantasy teams sooner or later.
Larry Fitzgerald: He continues his insane playoff statistical run with 2 touchdowns and 82 yards and a fumble which we don’t have to talk about. He did pretty blatantly run over Charles Woodson twice before catching both touchdowns, but it ain’t a foul unless you get flagged or kill someone.
Greg Jennings: He finished the season strong, and got on the shootout train in the playoffs for 8 receptions, 130 yards and a touchdown. He ended up as the 20th wide receiver in fantasy and it’s hard not to see him upping his numbers next season, but of course we thought he wouldn’t suck this season. The Packers still need to improve their pass blocking, but Jennings has skills.
Joe Flacco: The sophomore QB led his team to a decisive 33-14 victory over the Patriots in Foxboro. Well, when I say led, I may be overstating a bit. Handed off to might be the better wordage. Flacco finished with 4 completions, 5 if you count his interception, and 34 yards.
Ray Rice: He had a day’s worth of stats after the first play of the game. Rice is, how do you say in English, superstartastic. There’s a chance McGahee won’t be back next season and I could easily see him drafted #3 overall with room to spare. He ended the day with 159 yards and 2 touchdowns and will get plenty of use in Indianapolis next week.
Tom Brady: 3 interceptions, 2 touchdowns and 154 yards on 42 pass attempts is about right for the Pats quarterback who never looked right with Randy Moss taken out the game. Moss’ knees weren’t 100%, Brady’s ribs were broken, Welker was gone, and a host of excuses that are probably just that, helped in making the Patriots look human-like. The Patriots aren’t the same team and it’s starting to look like they might not be again.
Julian Edelman: He looked like he was also hurting for a lot of the game, but he also looked like he would amputate pieces of his body just to stay in the game. The guy was scrappy, but a skilled kind of scrappy, skillpy, scrapilled? He got into the endzone twice and made some good punt returns. Welker won’t be back at the beginning of the season and Julian will be a factor in fantasy next year.
Mark Sanchez: He had been a liability for much of the season, but miraculously poise-gutted himself into a solid rookie playoff performance going 12 for 15 for 182 yards and a touchdown. Thankfully, for the Jets, he didn’t have to win the game for them because Carson Palmer and Shonn Greene tag teamed to do that.
Shonn Greene: Speaking of Mr. Greene, his 135 yards and a touchdown was the driving force for the Jets on Saturday and even though I’m sure I’ll have to eat my words like every time I say Tom Jones is done, I think Greene will lead the Jets in rushing attempts next season.
Braylon Edwards: If you are on Twitter it’s always a little amusing to see the Edward’s tweets explode every time he drops a pass, which happens as much as you think. After dropping a sure touchdown bomb Sanchez smartly stayed away from him for the rest of the game.
Dustin Keller: If you drafted Keller with the hopes that he wouldn’t suck, his huge game against the Bengals didn’t help you in any way possible. He only had 3 receptions, but went for 99 yards and a touchdown.
Carson Palmer: In his passing matchups article, Mark speculated that Palmer might be hiding an injury. If he isn’t, then he just plain sucks, but either way, he was not on target against the Jets, completing just 50 percent of his passes for 146 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Cedric Benson: Benson showed on Saturday that his success isn’t just the product of superior offensive line play. He looked quick and powerful and even though I loathe giving him a good projected draft slot for next season, he may have won me over.
Chad Johnson: He was stranded on Revis Island all day and I still don’t think anybody has gone looking for him.
Felix Jones: Marion Barber didn’t “feel right,” which may be code for, “I was outplayed so badly by Felix the Great that I need to come up with an excuse,” but I have been wrong before. Jones and Choice looked like the duo that needed to be out there anyway. As long as Jones is healthy he is an elite talent, but the guy is a bit brittle.
Donovan McNabb: He ended up with 230 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the Eagles second humiliating loss in a row to their rival. Reid says McNabb will be back and I believe he will be. He will continue to be a good upside fantasy option if he can stay healthy.
Jeremy Maclin: Really the only bright spot for the Eagles, Maclin had 146 yards and a touchdown. DJax and Maclin should help the Eagles remain contenders next season in Reid’s pass happy, no Super Bowl winning, offense.