Saturday Wild-Card Open Discussion

New England Patriots ER Deatrich Wise Jr.
New England Patriots ER Deatrich Wise Jr.
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Wild Card - The playoffs kick off with Las Vegas (10-7) at Cincinnati (10-7), then New England (10-7) visits Buffalo (11-6) in the night game. Use this thread to discuss them both.


140 comments, Last at 17 Jan 2022, 10:05pm

1 If I were to channel my…

If I were to channel my inner RJ, I would say Raiders all the wsy. 

But I do think it will be close and fun.

3 I see the Bengals coming out…

I see the Bengals coming out fired up. First playoffs since 2015 doncha know.

I do think it'll lead to some early fireworks, with Burrow and company putting up 150 yards in the first quarter. I don't think they'll come away with more than a couple FGs though.

The second quarter will probably get each team a td, since the Raiders aren't just going to roll over. I think a 13-10 halftime score sounds right.

I'm expecting the Bengals to pull away in the 3rd quarter and finish it 34-17, which is too bad because the Raiders don't deserve to be remembered as quite that outclassed.

4 It's win or go home for all…

It's win or go home for all the marbles in post-season FO gameday chat!  Join an august collection of longtime FO readers for live words about football

5 Raiders have the worst red…

Raiders have the worst red zone defense ever, allowing a td on 81% of opponent possessions, so of course the bengals score a td. 

6 But then the rare stop followed by awful ST play

Bengals settle for FG, I believe stat is Raiders worst red zone defense in 30 years.

Follow up with awful mistake on special teams on kick near sideline, player does not establish himself out of bounds and goes out at 2, instead of getting ball at 40.

Quarters ends with huge 3 rd down play to start quarter 2.

EDIT:  Red zone defense not a reliable stat, Raiders could be blown away, but two RZ stops for FG’s and its only 13-3 despite total Bengal domination.

7 Weird.  LV had three…

Weird.  LV had three consecutive snaps inside their own 5 and didn't call a QB sneak on any of them.  Of course, the second of those was a false start, which they might have avoided if they weren't going the hyper-aggressive route of trying to run a draw play.

Edit: and on third down Carr gets sacked on his half-yard line and somewhere Joe Judge is yelling "See! I told you!!"

8 Carr push

Sure looked like Chase pushed off on that long reception. (I have no rooting interest, just enjoying watching a game)

9 On a die roll, I'd say that…

In reply to by young curmudgeon

On a die roll, I'd say that one gets called OPI on a 1 or a 2 and gets ignored on a 3 through 6.  Modify the roll by between -1 and +1 based on the tendencies of that particular official.

10 First big 4th-and-1…

First big 4th-and-1 situation and CIN goes for it at the LV 31.

I hate the play call - slow developing pitch end around to Chase which would be blown up if any of about 5 defenders beats his block - but all the blockers do their job and they convert.

11 I just replayed the TD

Clearly a whistle blew when ball was in the air.  

EDIT:  Now the NBC crew agrees that should not have been a TD

14 Tough to coach players to…

Tough to coach players to stop on the whistle if you're going to allow scores to count when they're made after the whistle blew.  I'm not 100% certain that the DB on coverage would have been able to break up the pass if the whistle doesn't blow, but it's clear he stops trying to make a play when the whistle sounds, as does the DB coming in the other direction (who also likely wouldn't have been able to break it up, but pulls up and doesn't even try).

EDIT: watched it again from a different angle and there's no way the DB coming from the other direction is close enough to lay a hit on the receiver, he's way too far away.  Also, the DB in coverage is definitely beat, too, so I don't think the whistle affected anything and it would have been a TD regardless.  It's still a really dangerous precedent for the league to set, though, allowing a play to continue after a clear whistle on the field.

19 your observation is wrong

The ball was inches away from the receiver's hands when the whistle blew. It is impossible for a human being to react that fast-- in fact, even if it was 5 feet away, it likely would have been impossible for the defender to react-- and he was more than an arms length away anyway...

15 Just disappointing

The whistle almost certainly blew (very late) because a ref thought the qb was out of bounds.  Which was clearly not the case 


So because of an official error in judgment the official then blows the whistle and the offense would be penalized due to compounding officiating errors.  

I know Raiders fans are likely upset.  But I am ok with the outcome.  And yes I know why the rule is in place.  


Praise the heavens

Also Bengals rested last week but doesn't look like rust. Ooops, throw momentum out the window

13 Big end of H1 TD drive by LV…

Big end of H1 TD drive by LV to make this a one score game going into half (unless CIN does something with the 13 seconds left on the clock).

16 Stupidity

Why are these clowns (former coaches/former officials) so stupid?  "Officials can't ignore rules"-- Dungy said.  sure they can when the whistle blew a millisecond before the ball hit the receiver's hands. At the point when no one could possibly have reacted in time-- and of course the nearest defender wasn't even arms length away. That "call" if enforced would have been one of the worst in the history of the league.

17 NBC broadcast

is dreadful.  Tirico seems confused on what is happening play to play.  Love Brees but he is super dull.  All the camera work seems a step slow.  I would expect this from the fourth string ESPN crew covering a nothing college bowl game.  Not these guys.  Geez 

18 Raiders survive

The turnover letting CIN get ball at 15 and only get a FG and the terrible ST gaffe leading to a punt from the 1 only leading to a FG. along with Raiders end of half TD with their extra first half possession from receiving opening kickoff, thats a lot to have happen to save this game and only be down 20-13 at half.

20 agreed

In reply to by jheidelberg

one stop and/or one TO and Raiders are really in this. Of course they may not get either

22 Bengals defense gets a little better

And you're looking at a Rodgers-like era of 8-10 straight years of playoffs/contention  Burrow is that good

Which is why I think Mayfield is gone in CLEV-- they can't afford to have an average (At best) QB in that division

24 Let’s be honest about that early whistle

Boyd was wide open, the ball was already on its way past the defender, and the play should have been a touchdown. If the worst thing the refs do in this game is blow a bad whistle a fraction of a second before a wide-open touchdown that then stands, this is a win for the NFL. 

25 OK timeout LV

Where was the whistle stopping that play?

35 Stupid time out

Five yard penalty wouldn’t hinder the field goal. Save the time out, let the clock expire, move back five yards, and get the same three points. 

36 The WORST play in football

Bengals should be forced to forfeit. Cowards. 

And it was leaning go for it. But it was a toss up so just go with whatever and don't waste the timeout. 

42 Man...

Teams still spiking in these situations?

Just a waste of a down that you very well might need.

Welp...guess I wanted Cincy to win anyway. 

44 Phew.

Congrats Bengals


49 Ended the game with a lot of…

Ended the game with a lot of time left on the clock. It's one thing if you are going to mix in a run or throw short or something but they were going for the end zone every time, didn't need the extra time.

50 Yep

Teams really overestimate their play calling in that situation. As was shown. Just gives the defense time for their "perfect" play too. Try to catch them on their heels. 

87 Everyone remembers the…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Everyone remembers the Marino fake spike for a reason.  Do not understand why teams have stopped doing it.

124 The 49ers really went…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The 49ers really went against norms last week on last 2 minute drives by throwing over the middle and quickly attacking the next play. Going against convention is something the NFL could use more of

135 Should be the norm

Catch the defense winded because they get the benefits of the timeout too. For some reason, teams think it's a one way street. 

46 Oohhh that roughing the…

Oohhh that roughing the passer call on the final drive of the game looked brutal based on the replay angles shown in TV.  Wonder if there was anything there from other angles?

Bit of a sloppy game, lots of FGs, a few too many bad officiating moments ... and still a great finish to the game and great start to wildcard weekend.  



89 Yep

Imagine if an inadvertent (and bad) whistle had taken away a touchdown that was about two or three feet from the open receiver. 

51 Wow!

Thought that was a throwaway.  

52 MVP-candidate Josh Allen…

MVP-candidate Josh Allen shows up on the first Bills' drive, aided by Judon and Hightower whiffs on two big Allen runs and capped by a beautiful touch pass to the back corner of the end zone that would have doubled as a throw away if not for the great catch by the TE.

58 Annnnnnnnnddd..... That's…

Annnnnnnnnddd..... That's all she wrote.  Pats actively make things easier for Buffalo when the Bills weren't even on schedule.  Hard to imagine things turning out better when Buffalo's plays go as planned.  

40-13 here we come. 

59 McDaniels has clearly done his homework

Frazier and McDermott will have to make some adjustments. Defensive line also needs to seal the deal once they get to Jones. Offense is clicking so far, though. 

62 New England doesn’t want to turn this into a track meet

But if they come up empty on Buffalo’s next drive, they might not have much choice. It’s becoming clear that the Patriots still have no answers on that side of the ball, because they still have no answers for Josh Allen. 

64 27/Jackson

playing for NE stuns me given his weak 8ss effort to tackle the back on that play to get inside the 5.  

65 New England is close to being toast

They have played a mix of man-to-man and some against Buffalo, and it hasn’t mattered at all. Any idea when the Pats last got a sack, got a turnover, or forced a punt against the Bills? Because I think it’s going on seven quarters now. 

Edit: I looked it up. As Buffalo takes over with 3:33 left in the second, the Patriots haven’t sacked Allen in a game and a half, haven’t forced a punt in nearly eight full quarters, and haven’t forced a turnover since Matt Breida’s fumble in the first quarter of the MNF game. 

137 when russel wilson came in…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

when russel wilson came in to the league (in the super-loaded 2012 draft), he graded as the top prospect in the draft (in fact, the top qb prospect FO metrics had ever measured at the time), but because he was only 5'11 and not expected to go highly in the draft, they hedged their expectations for him (their formula only counted guys who are graded as 1st or 2nd round prospects), so his nickname on this site for his first few years was 'the asterisk'- sorta the guy who broke the system.  FO were low on Josh Allen coming out of the draft (but, then, just about everybody in sports media was- hell of a job Buffalo's coaching staff has done turning raw potential into outstanding play), so presumably he's another guy who 'broke the system' in a different way

75 Belichick

I looked up his worst playoff loss as Patriots coach earlier today and then told some friends that with Buffalo’s game plan and New England’s injuries, I felt the 19-point margin was in play. I’ll admit that I didn’t think they’d clear it with 23 minutes and blast well past it by halftime. By the end of the night, Josh Allen will own the biggest regular-season win against Belichick and should own the biggest playoff win against him as well. 

131 Not quite

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

Drew Bledsoe and the 03 Bills have the biggest regular season win with the 31-0 season opener. Allen has the 2nd biggest 

140 Worst *playoff* loss

In reply to by muscle417

It was the 33-14 beat down by the Ravens. Now it’s the 47-17 Annihilation by the Bills!

77 Quarterbacks

The lesson, as always: Never bring a Mac to a Josh fight. 

85 If the Bills can play like…

If the Bills can play like this in the weeks to come, look out!

*not that beating the Pats are a yardstick of greatness*

86 The Bills haven’t just slain the dragon

They’ve beheaded it, chopped it up, and grilled it, and now they’re getting ready to serve dragon burgers to all the Pats fans out there. Oh, and Boston media, too. Those guys said they wanted the bull; hope they’re enjoying the horns!

88 Fun isn't something one…

Fun isn't something one considers when trying to balance the NFL, but this.... this does put a smile on my face.

93 Memetastic

I want someone to edit this video clip, put Josh's face on Vision's, change "Age of Ultron" to "Age of Allen," and put Belichick's face on Thanos:

94 With a 37-point lead and…

With a 37-point lead and under nine minutes to go, the Bills starters should be on the sideline. Every play they're out there in the cold is just another opportunity to get hurt.

97 Belichick

Still waiting for that super-secret defensive game plan he’s gonna unveil to stop 17. Maybe he’s saving it for next year. 

106 Maybe it should include "don…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

Maybe it should include "don't allow the other guy to score a touchdown on EVERY DRIVE."

The bills didn't even settle for a FG.  End of Half and End of Game were the only "stops".


98 The big man touchdown just…

The big man touchdown just makes all this even better and it was pretty great already.

I think part of why this blowout is so good is that NE isn't playing horribly. It's because Buffalo is playing so good it doesn't matter. I enjoy well executed football a lot more than sloppy and a lot of blowouts are because one team is just executing like crap. NE looks like they are having an average game execution wise. Buffalo is just on another level tonight.

114 Agreed.  From the first BUF…

Agreed.  From the first BUF drive with Allen playing lights out and the first NE drive with Hyde making that great INT, the entire BUF team was at the top of their game.

Now the question is can they sustain it for 3 more games?  Or will their next game be a let down after today's emotional win against their historic bully?

125 Buffalo was on fire tonight,…

Buffalo was on fire tonight, and the ultimate nail in the coffin was the big man TD. But part of me wonders why the Bills would blow that trick play right now, when it could have scored them a touchdown in any of the remaining playoff games. Was it worth it to have another +7 on the Pats?

127 It’s no big loss

Every team has this play in its goal-line arsenal, and the Bills have already used it at least once this season. (They actually tried to get Dawkins a touchdown against the Jets.) It’s nothing special, and nothing an opponent wouldn’t prepare for after having watched film of McDermott and Daboll over the last few years. 

100 After that big man touchdown…

After that big man touchdown I feel like I was given an entire chocolate cake for my birthday and decided to eat all of it; it was great, but I'm bloated on sweets and butter now

116 If weighted DVOA only took…

If weighted DVOA only took the last 4 games, it likely would've looked quite different.  NE's best games, I believe, were in the middle of the season.  They were middle-of-the-road to start and end the season.  BUF has been playing better recently, I think.  In any event, BUF certainly played extremely well today.

120 Some thoughts on weighted vs…

Some thoughts on weighted vs full season DVOA
It may have changed but weighted DVOA (as listed on the team DVOA page) wasn't really any more predictive of playoff success than full DVOA. The playoff odds say they use weighted DVOA, but what they really use is weighted DVOA + select manual adjustments. The odds page doesn't have it anymore but at one point the DVOA for GB on the odds page was like 8 points higher than the weighted DVOA on the team stats page (which is higher than full season DVOA) mostly because of the Jordan Love game vs KC getting discounted or removed from the offensive calculations. I don't know if there were adjustments made for NE or BUF that might change the playoff odds DVOA vs weighted DVOA. BUF had better odds in all the playoff categories Conference Appearance 27.2% vs 25.5%, Win Conference 17.9% vs 12.8% and SB win 8.9% vs 6.5%. While the 3 seed would help them get an easier path sometimes in the simulations it seems like whatever DVOA was being used for both teams was pretty close still. I don't know what if any HFA is being used this year for the playoff simulations either.

I do need to look and see if weighted has been better in the playoffs recently I really haven't paid attention to that for years now so maybe it's got a slightly better correlation now than in the past when they were basically the same.

Some thoughts on this single game DVOA
Clearly either version of DVOA, regular which had this as the closest match-up of the weekend in favor of BUF by 4.3% or weighted which would be the 2nd closest match-up this time in favor of NE by 5.0% didn't expect this result.  (LV-CIN was the closest weighted match-up at 4.2% diff vs the regular diff of 5.2%). So yeah I expect a huge single game DVOA. But watching the game if BUF didn't always have nearly flawless execution and a little luck they may not have gotten the 2 INT. I think those would have both just been incomplete passes. Hyde made a great play but the NE receiver wasn't going to catch that. The 2nd INT the BUF defender did a great job tipping it up in coverage but the other BUF defender catching it was still lucky. I don't think NE was ever going to stop the BUF offense but they played well enough that this could have been a 47-24 or 27 game. A huge win still but not quite as dominating as 47 - 10 (+7 against the back-ups). It's a data point against DVOA sure, but it's not like a smoking gun or anything. Lots of blowouts are way bigger than DVOA would expect, football happens and teams playing as well as BUF did for a whole game is not common. It was pretty awesome.

Breaking down the game and my guesstimates at DVOA.
BUF offensive DVOA should be through the roof. Over 100% easily. A 9.7% (full, 11.3% weighted) offense scoring a TD on every drive that DVOA will measure (since it removes end of half and end of game kneeldowns) that went 6-7 on 3rd downs and averaged 9.5 yards per play (if you remove the kneeldowns) against a -12.8% (full, 14.8% weighted) DVOA defense. Yeah that's going to be a monster awesome rating.

I'm not sure what the defensive DVOA will be in part because I never factor INT into DVOA correctly. I also am not sure how much garbage time will impact things. I think DVOA needs it to be a 21 point lead (so the entire 2nd half) but may still only limit it to the 4th quarter. Still even before the last meaningless TD drive* NE was 5-10 on 3rd downs and 2-2 of on 4th and averaging 5.4 yards a play. That seems pretty reasonable against a team with -18.1% (full, -15.0% weighted) DVOA by a team with a 10.5% (full, 16.5% weighted) offense. The 2 INT are likely to help a lot but BUF ending with a defensive DVOA near their season average wouldn't surprise me at all. But the unknowns could still give them a big rating.

Special teams again I don't know how much 2 missed extra points will cost. The Hyde scramble drill return will help and NE kick returns were nothing special. So I'm guessing ST will be close to 0

*meaningless to the game I fully supported give Mac Jones another offensive series in a playoff game

132 Wait, wut?

Hyde made a great play but the NE receiver wasn't going to catch that.

I think you've seen too many Agholor memes. That ball was a good throw, and Hyde snatched it out of the air before it dropped in Agholor's bread basket. That's a TD 98% of the time.


133 You know what, you're right…

In reply to by muscle417

You know what, you're right. The game angle and the one live replay at full speed made it look like the throw was going to land about 3 feet short, but I hunted for some replays and slowed them down and yep that throw was right on target. Thank you for calling that out so I could look again.

102 I'm a bears fan, but I have…

I'm a bears fan, but I have a bills fan friend who invited me to watch with him at the one bills bar in Chicago, and holy crap was that fun. Congrats, bills fans, and savor this no matter what happens the rest of the postseason. 

103 The Bills

When they are on their game, they are the best team in the league. They’re unstoppable on offense, and they have the league’s best defense, which is chock full of players who have been playing in the same system for years now. Not having Tre might get them beat at some point, but this was never gonna be that week. 

110 Yes, the Pats may have been…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

Yes, the Pats may have been overrated (and had some injuries), but Buffalo would beat anybody the way they played today. Absolutely dominating.

I am especially encouraged by the revitalized running game, and how well the offensive line has been playing for the last 4 weeks or so. What looked like a weakness for a lot of the season is now a strength.

104 The following talking points need to be retired

  1. New England still owns the division.
  2. Bill Belichick has a single clue as to how to stop Josh Allen.
  3. JC Jackson can hang with Stefon Diggs.
  4. Josh Allen can’t play in the cold.
  5. Josh Allen can be beaten by [insert defensive game plan du jour here].
  6. The Patriots have a better coaching staff than the Bills do.

That is all!

107 Buffalo wing (drumstick) headgear

As it happens my family and I were eating Buffalo wings while the game was on.  That headgear is very clever, an upstate answer to the Packers cheesehead.  How long has it been a thing?


111 I felt a great disturbance…

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of Patriot voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

112 So what shall we call this game?

“Bills’ Porn” seems to fit.

I hope they didn’t shoot their wad, to torture the metaphor. Very impressive. Perfect match of effort and execution. Just flying around like crazy. You Bills’ fans in here must have been ecstatic. That kind of game as a fan if you attend especially brings lots of memories.

There sure were a lot of fake story lines pre-game. “Poor circulation”, receivers going to drop the cold hard thrown balls, etc.

115 It wasn’t quite 51-3

But it was close. Five touchdown passes versus four incompletions. No third down with more than four yards to go. Might legitimately be the best offensive game of all time. Just a fantastic night, especially after twenty years of Patriots dominance/cheating/nonsense.

Edit: Aaron Schatz tweeted that this might be the best offensive game of all time, so I’m curious to see how all that shakes out. 

121 I have a bad feeling about…

I have a bad feeling about this, as if  in ten years I'll be pointing to this game as when I started getting sick of the Bills as a Jets fan.  For now though, I love the schadenfreude even if the team I root for didn't do it.

122 Thank you NFL for a very…

Thank you NFL for a very entertaining Saturday afternoon and evening. The LV-CIN game was sloppy at times and had some controversy*. But it was competitive and fun for a fan that has no rooting interest for either team. 

The NE-BUF game was just a thing of beauty. As I've said earlier in the thread seeing BUF just be so lights out on everything except extra points was fun and it stopped right at the point where it was going to get sad. NE made mistakes yes, but honestly they didn't look like they made any more unforced mistakes than the other 3 games I've seen them in this year. They looked like NE playing decently but not being able to do anything against a team that was doing damn near everything exactly like you hope they will when you plan a game. That kept me interested. If NE was completely inept and BUF just playing OK and the score was what it was the game would have gotten boring for me I think. But since NE wasn't just shooting themselves in the foot play after play but playing like NE and BUF was doing something you just don't get to see very often it was awesome.

Actually I may have had some rooting interest. Like every non Pats fan I probably was getting a little more out of it because I'm tired of the Pats. I also have a soft spot for Josh Allen because I get Favre vibes from him and Favre provided me so many years of fun. I also still root for Micah Hyde so seeing him do some great stuff was probably more fun than if it had been Poyer who made those plays. But it's still a small factor.


Anyway, felt like a great start to a playoffs that going into them felt like everyone but PHI, LV, and PIT had a least a punchers chance of doing something. (Comment 5 here if you care more about my thoughts on each team). If tomorrow can give us 2 games as entertaining the other 2 can be snoozers and it's still a first weekend big win.


* I actually didn't understand all of that at first since I was watching it muted I thought the replays were just trying to make sure Burrow was inbounds before he threw it wasn't until after that I realized it was because of the whistle, which turned what looked like an awesome play into a mess.

128 Beware the Mid to Late Season DVOA Crowning

Patriots were nowhere near an elite team.. Unless Buffalo is head and shoulders the best team in the NFL... Which they might be, but I doubt it.  Mac Jones is an ordinary QB--- barring the construction of a Ravens-like defense by an aging Belichick, that means the days of SB appearances are over....

129 If the 49ers beat up on the…

If the 49ers beat up on the Cowboys tomorrow are you going to take a long hard look at your weighting for blow outs over three scores? Top DVOA has been losing for about 2 decades now and it seems to tie directly into the blowouts getting too much love. You are missing style differences. The 49ers for example tend to step off when up a lot with Kyle. GB and KC do the same. Dallas, Buffalo, and NE run up scores against shitty opponents. I think this is a big problem for the rating even if Dallas wins tomorrow. SF could have hung 50 on the Jaguars but didn't. Also the furious garbage time comebacks are overrated as well. Seems like DVOA could benefit from a bit of weighting adjustments. Open source an old version of the algorithm and the data and we can start cracking the code