It was a busy weekend in the NFL, as the first round of the playoffs delivered four compelling games.
Two of the four games went into extra time and all four games were competitive until the death.
Three of the four games produced upset wins, based on the pre-tournament seedings, with touring teams winning in hostile environments.
Due to the intricacies of the NFL playoff system, where a division winner with a poorer regular season record can host, the Seattle Seahawks (11 – 5) went to Philadelphia to play the Eagles (9 – 7) and win 17 – 9. Justice served.
The eight-point margin by which Seattle won was the largest of any of the games played on the first weekend.
In the other National Football Conference game, the sixth seeded Minnesota Vikings shocked the New Orleans Saints with an overtime 26 – 20 win.
The Saints go marching out. They have a playoff curse three years running now.
The first American Football Conference game went to home team Houston Texans over Buffalo Bills in overtime, with the final score of 22 – 19. Both teams concluded 10 – 6 in regular season action, but Houston was the winner of a weak division, while Buffalo traveled because they are in the same division as New England Patriots.
Tennessee Titans traveled to New England and won 30 – 13, inciting speculation that New England quarterback Tom Brady’s days with the club are done, as he is now off contract.
It is hard to imagine any club offering Brady much, but in defense of the 42-year-old legend, he had no receivers this season beyond Julian Edelman. Edelman is a battler is the truest sense of the word, but without a deep threat at wide receiver and with Rob Gronkowski retired, the Patriots used smoke and mirrors to get through the regular season at 13 – 3. They relied on a dominant defense that failed in the playoff game, where they allowed Tennessee running back Derrick Henry to run freely up and down the field for over 200 scrimmage yards.