Sunday Wild-Card Open Discussion
The playoffs continue as Philadelphia (9-8) visits Tampa Bay (13-4), San Francisco (10-7) visits Dallas (12-5) and Pittsburgh (9-7-1) visits Kansas City (12-5). Use this thread to discuss them all.
215 comments, Last at 17 Jan 2022, 3:11pm
#7 by Cythammer // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:07pm
I hated the NFL expanding to seven playoff teams per conference. The 7. seed is going to be some mediocrity that doesn't deserve the playoffs nine times out of ten. The Eagles and Steelers this season being a case in point.
#17 by jheidelberg // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:46pm
I hate it too, last year we had Chi and INDY, so in small sample 1 in 4 deserved playoffs, last year INDY in odd AFC season gets number 7 at 11-5. Its about having 2 more playoff games to make extra money and fans rooting for their team to make playoffs to keep interest in their regular season. Go ATL!!! Aww, just short.
Some day we will get excellent 7 seed with a Rodgers, Mahomes, Brady type player injury in regular season, then come back for playoffs.
#23 by Cythammer // Jan 16, 2022 - 3:14pm
What I hate maybe even more that is reduces the reward for actually being one of the top teams in the league by reducing the teams getting a bye by half. That's another step toward making the regular season less meaningful, which is the problem that plagues all the other North American sports leagues.
One way to look at is that all this change does is mean we will occasionally see a 2. seed get upset by a 7. seed. I know that the average fan would thing a result like that is evidence FOR letting the 7. seed in, but it's actually the opposite. Expanding to seven just reduces the chances the best teams are left playing in the later rounds of the playoffs. The romance around upsets is often short-sighted. A mediocre team that gets an upset win usually just means a worse game the next week.
#26 by jgov // Jan 16, 2022 - 3:36pm
This game is exhibit A against the expansion to 14 teams. Would much rather see the Bucs with a bye and the Eagles sitting at home. I assume even Eagles fans would prefer finishing out the season with a winning record and missing the playoffs to getting embarrassed like this?
#32 by jheidelberg // Jan 16, 2022 - 4:32pm
I totally agree with that reason also for no number 7 seed. If we did not have an awful TB-PHL game today, we would likely see an awful GB-PHL next week. Being number 7 of 16 is not special, being number 2 is and TB’s reward is getting Tristan Wirfs hurt.
#45 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 16, 2022 - 6:10pm
What this means is that we introduce two new races: a real race for the top seed, and a race for the seventh. Home-field advantage is very pronounced in the second round, and it’s better for the league if only the top seed in each conference has that advantage.
#27 by Kaepernicus // Jan 16, 2022 - 3:42pm
We were really close to getting LAC and NO in there. I think those teams would have made for great 2-7 match ups. We just ended up with some really awful match up luck. Pats-Bengals would have been really good. Buffalo vs. Chargers could have been fun too. Swap the Bears for the Cardinals last year and it would have been much more interesting as well. It is going to be a mixed bag going forward. I am honestly fine with it because it kills off the second bye week. The loss of that other bye is really going mix it up over time and cause some variance in the championship games.
#28 by Cythammer // Jan 16, 2022 - 3:51pm
Variance in championship games sounds like a bad thing to me. Why would I want to watch mediocre teams at the business end of the playoffs rather than the top teams battling it out?
I think the only one of the three teams you mention that is decent are the Chargers. I don't think the Bengals are more than mediocre. Barely beating the Raiders at home with a week of rest was evidence towards that. New Orleans isn't very good either.
#9 by JS // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:21pm
Do not understand Philly offensive game plan. Got to play faster and more vertical. Running the clock all the way down almost every play, running and passing east-west against the TB linebackers. Abysmal so far. Ridiculous.
#10 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:29pm
Somehow they haven't even targeted DeVonta Smith yet (okay, there's one, on a screen). And the announcers highlighted how TB was giving him almost a 20-yard cushion, and instead they sent him on some stupid shallow cross. Baffling.
#16 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 16, 2022 - 2:36pm
Oh my god, that pick. Just when the Eagles finally sort of had a little thing going. Great play by Edwards; I agree with Aikman that Hurts did the right thing trying to hit Smith with a bullet after he juked the CB so hard he fell down. Just bad luck for the Eagles, basically.
I did think Edwards went out past the pylon, so shouldn't the ball be at the 1 not the 20?
Regardless, the Eagles eat the TB offense alive and force the punt. Not a coincidence that the Eagles can suddenly get pressure, and TB can't do anything on offense, now that Wirfs is hurt/out. Not that it matters unless the offense can start to string more than two successful plays together in a single drive...
#35 by Pat // Jan 16, 2022 - 4:52pm
I agree with Aikman that Hurts did the right thing trying to hit Smith with a bullet after he juked the CB so hard he fell down. Just bad luck for the Eagles, basically.
No, it really wasn't. He needed the ball to be out basically right after the CB fell down, but because he was rolling to the left, he needed to set his feet and that was way too long.
Was just a super bad decision.
#24 by Cythammer // Jan 16, 2022 - 3:16pm
I would put Gardner Minshew in. If Hurts is better at all than Minshew, it's because of his running ability. That's not of much value when you are down 24 in the second half. Of course, it's entirely academic, there's no hope either way.
#30 by Kaepernicus // Jan 16, 2022 - 4:14pm
Deebo goes off in the running game putting SF up early before a Jimmy G interception leads to a Dallas TD. Comes down to the final possession and the homer in me says SF wins. Aaron Rodgers gets another chance to exorcise his demons against the 49ers.
28-3 at halftime followed by a bunch of crap in the second half and 30 hand offs by the Chiefs. Fans win with another Bills-Chiefs playoff match up.
Stafford hits Kupp for a game winner after throwing a pick 6 in the first half and TB ends up with their worst case scenario divisional match up.
I just hope this SF-Dallas game is good because the last 2 playoff games have been dumpster fires.
#199 by Kaepernicus // Jan 17, 2022 - 12:41am
Yeah I was actually amazed at how dominant the 49ers were early. Also the Steelers jumped out. Bad divisions make bad analytics on FO. I am super interested in what KC does against Buffalo next week. The tough divisions were in the West this year and it made them dominant.
#37 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 16, 2022 - 4:56pm
Well, for about a quarter and a half, the Eagles played them more or less to a standstill: slimmest of silver linings to a disappointingly dull game. TB obviously came out strong, but once Wirfs went out the Eagles were able to get consistent pressure and stops, and but for a few critical mistakes (an end-zone interception here, a muffed punt there) they might have evened and made it a real game during that span. Shame that it took a serious injury to even get to that point.
The Eagles actually played the Bucs relatively close earlier in the year (remember that lol), and that was with the Bucs having a couple more healthy/non-insane receivers and Hurts kind of stinking, so this one being a total blowout was a boring surprise to me.
#39 by Pat // Jan 16, 2022 - 5:13pm
so this one being a total blowout was a boring surprise to me.
There were a bunch of high-leverage mistakes by the Eagles. The shanked punt, the "roughing the passer" (which, OK, wasn't really a mistake, just a bad call), the Reagor muff (which I think was also a gunner screwup), and the idiot pick by Hurts.
They actually weren't being outplayed that badly (although they were being outplayed) but that was like 14-17 points of stupidity right there.
#41 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 16, 2022 - 5:34pm
Amazon's broadcasting Niners-Cowboys, which I think makes Storm-Kremer the first all-women broadcast booth for a playoff game. I just wish we could have chosen between them and Buck-Aikman instead of Romo-Nantz.
I'm not surprised the Niners are winning, but I am surprised how dominant they've been so far. Although Dallas has managed to hold them to FGs on long drives (I kind of can't believe the Niners didn't go for it on 4th and 1 just now), so they could get back in it quickly if the offense ever figures anything out. Looks like they're going to run and try to slow down the pass rush - maybe not the worst idea this early in the game, if it opens up some longer plays to Lamb or Cooper in time. Like that one! It's a game now, for the time being.
#49 by bochner // Jan 16, 2022 - 6:37pm
The seven-team playoffs was a big mistake. Gives way too great an advantage to one team in each conference.
Buccaneers could have named their score. Amazing that they could lose two of their top three receivers, then today their best offensive lineman and have their starting defense together only one game the whole season and they are still in the hunt.
The Eagles still have a long road back from mediocrity. They played hard but are way too one-dimensional. JH does not see the field well and takes way to long in the pocket. Moreover, he is not accurate. I imagine he can improve but I don't see a very high ceiling. Not a franchise quarterback.
#59 by Pat // Jan 16, 2022 - 7:18pm
Buccaneers could have named their score.
No, the Bills could have named their score. Bucs offense/Eagles defense was way more of a contest, except Eagles special teams handed them field position multiple times, combined with Hurts's two interceptions.
#54 by Kaepernicus // Jan 16, 2022 - 6:59pm
Man watching the 49ers pass rush still dominate after Bosa went down has been incredible. The NFC West is just a better division than the East by a wide margin. I am amazed at how much the 49ers have dominated the trenches.
#56 by Q // Jan 16, 2022 - 7:03pm
I know a 2 game sample size is basically nothing (plus DAL could still comeback an win) but this playoffs so far has not been kind to the "Destroy Awful Teams to build a Giant DVOA"/Beat basically nobody of any note" type teams (Patriots/Cowboys).
The Bills at least smoked KC during the year.
#62 by Cythammer // Jan 16, 2022 - 7:21pm
I'm sure Prescott will get all the credit if the Cowboys come back since it's the NFL and the QB would somehow get all the glory in a game that ended 2-0, but it's the Cowboys defense improving in the second half that's been the difference.
#64 by Cythammer // Jan 16, 2022 - 7:28pm
I'll lose my mind if they punt here.
EDIT: What the hell. With a first you are maybe 15 yards from a FG which would just about seal it. Not to mention more clock being burned. Failing would only gives Dallas 30 or 40 yards of field position.
#112 by turbohappy // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:21pm
Yeah there was time that was just oddly poor execution there. You can't just spot the ball yourself at any level above touch in the backyard, that's a surprising mental mistake to make in that situation.
#118 by Kaepernicus // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:33pm
Honestly they never should have had the chance anyway. If Dallas won this game it would be a travesty considering how bad they were outplayed. ST and Jimmy G almost killed the 49ers. If Bosa stays in this game it is a blowout. Tough divisions with good PD seem to always beat bad divisions with high PD that don't get the bye week.as
#102 by colonialbob // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:02pm
the bad part was in not knowing he has to find the ref and hand him the ball. Kinda like they waited too long to swap the offense with the punt team after the fake, leading to the delay of game. Those little details make a difference.
#108 by dmb // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:10pm
You make a good point that everything in that situation is low-percentage, so you might as well be creative.
That said... I think a QB draw has a significantly lower chance of becoming a TD than any throw to the end zone. Based on the fact that Prescott slid, it doesn't seem like they were really trying to make it to the end zone on that play.
So in that case... Does a gain of 10-15 yards really double the odds of a scoring play if they get another snap? I can't imagine that trade-off of yards-for-end-zone-attempts is worth it even if they were guaranteed to get another play off.
That said, the Cowboys' playcalling on the final drive up to that point was tremendous.
#125 by Kaepernicus // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:50pm
Fire McCarthy and promote Moore. Don't let another Payton get away. He came up with some incredible play calls while the 49ers were dominating them. They made the most out of being an obvious worse team. the 49ers killed them in the trenches. If Bosa stayed in that was probably a 3 score game.
#104 by dmb // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:05pm
What exactly could the Umpire have done differently there? If he tries to go wide of the Center and QB when they're getting set, it would take more time off the clock. I think Romo had it right that the only way they could've gotten another play off is if Prescott had handed the ball off, but even then, it would take another second to get the ball set.
#110 by Wifan6562 // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:15pm
Yeah, it’s on the Cowboys. The ref was very fast doing his job. That was a questionable play call, terribly executed. And it was part of a 4th quarter which was basically just two teams trying to lose with inexplicable mental errors. It was pretty entertaining!
#115 by oaktoon // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:28pm
McCarthy's lack of discipline vs Jimmy G choking in every which way was fun to watch.... if you're a GB fan... Well, it may just come down to Brady at Lambeau again, partic. if Bosa is out next week.... If Niners had a QB they could trust, they could easily win Saturday (I assume Rams/Cardinal winner will get a Sunday game) they still have a shot, of course, but Garoppolo was ridiculously bad in those final 17 mins... The worst being the penalty which was totally his fault on the QB sneak
#122 by dank067 // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:42pm
I think extremely highly of Kyle Shanahan's offense, but I don't think you can underestimate Jimmy G. It's not that you can't win playoff games with him, but he just commits way too many unforced errors. There's a reason they're moving on from him.
#128 by Wifan6562 // Jan 16, 2022 - 9:03pm
Yeah, the end was brutal for Jimmy G. And it’s not new or surprising. 5 pre snap penalties by the offense… in the 4th quarter. The interception. The dropped interception. It was a masterclass choke job, and was met in kind.
#200 by dmb // Jan 17, 2022 - 12:42am
They had more offensive success in the second half than they did in the first, so I find it surprising that you think they should've stuck with what they were doing in the first half.
Also, what Wifan6562 said.
#154 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 16, 2022 - 10:22pm
The Rams-Cards winner will play on Sunday, and the AFC and NFC will get one game each day, with the Packers and Titans playing on separate days. So I expect Saturday to be Niners at Packers (probably at 4:35, depending on network obligations) and Bills at Chiefs (at 8:15), followed by Bengals at Titans in the first game on Sunday (at 3:05), followed by Rams or Cards at Bucs (at 6:40) to close out the weekend.
Pretty sure I read that those priors are correct, in which case the only guesses here are which games go into each slot on the two days.
Edit: The league is definitely planning to have one NFC and one AFC game per day, as you can see here:
Since we know that Rams/Cards at Bucs will take place on Sunday, that leaves Niners at Packers for Saturday. I'm confident that the article at The Buffalo News said the league wouldn't put both #1 seeds on the same day, which would force Bills-Chiefs to Saturday and Bengals-Titans to Sunday. If that's not the case, then it's possible the league could put Bills-Chiefs on Sunday and Bengals-Titans on Saturday.
Second edit: I just found the original TBN article, and it doesn't say anything about the #1 seeds being unable to play on the same day, so the only things guaranteed now are (1) Rams/Cards winner at Tampa Bay on Sunday, (2) the other three matchups, and (3) an AFC game will take the other Sunday slot.
#120 by dank067 // Jan 16, 2022 - 8:38pm
The Cowboys complained a lot in the past month or so about all the flags they've been getting, but they sure spent a lot of time today committing unnecessary, undisciplined penalties and totally lacking attention to detail in crucial moments. Meanwhile, the 49ers left way too much meat on the bone with their 4th down decision making throughout most of the game, but it's hard to blame them when their quarterback only reinforces their conservative decision-making by making a bunch of unforced errors. A dramatic finish, but you just end up feeling angry at both teams for not being as good as they should be.
#155 by Wifan6562 // Jan 16, 2022 - 10:23pm
I’m interested to see the Packers after they return 23 players from injury. If it gives Joe Barry enough competent bodies to get back into scheming defense to use his players strengths, then that’s the best team in the NFL. If not, same outcome different year.