NFL fans couldn’t have hoped for a more exciting conclusion to the regular season. Sunday featured plenty of down to the wire, win-or-go-home showdowns for the remaining playoff spots; monumental, longstanding records were within reach; and some of the game's nascent stars rose to the occasion en route to leading their once-written-off squads to the Promised Land. Now that the dust has settled, the Denver Broncos (13-3) and New England Patriots (12-4) earned the AFC byes and await this weekend’s AFC Wildcard winners, while the Atlanta Falcons (13-3) and San Francisco 49ers (11-4) earned byes in the NFC and are hoping their rested routes help them reach Super Bowl XLVII. Here’s a quick look at the sensational Wildcard games set for this weekend.
It’s a tale of two opposite streaks coming into this matchup. On one hand, the Bengals (10-6) are blazing into this game and full of momentum, having won eight of their previous nine games. The sensational play of QB Andy Dalton, who threw for 3,669 yards and 27 TDs on the season, and WR A.J. Green, who amassed 1,350 yards and 11 TDs, have made the Bengals a must-see team all season.
On the other hand, the Texans (12-4) were one of the most dominant teams all season, led by RB Arian Foster (1,424 yards, 15 TDs) and Andre Johnson (1,598 yards, 4 TDs), but have lost three out of four games coming into the playoffs and lost the AFC's No. 1 seed. These squads are in for a rematch of last season’s wildcard game, when Houston wrangled the Bengals 31-10. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January. 5th at Reliant Stadium. We’ve got plenty of Cincinnati Bengals playoff tickets and Houston Texans playoff tickets for you to see them this week and then the winner in the next round.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for both squads this season. The Ravens (10-6) continued their solid play, but lost team leader Ray Lewis to a torn triceps, while the Colts (11-5) lost Peyton Manning, drafted QB Andrew Luck first overall, played without Coach Chuck Pagano as he underwent leukemia treatment, saw Bruce Arians coach them towards the playoffs, and sealed the deal with Pagano coaching the final game. This team went from no chance to playoffs overnight, and not enough can be said about Luck, who threw for 4,374 yards and 23 TDs, and WR Reggie Wayne (1,355 yards, 5 TDs). Certainly, #chuckstrong has had a positive effect on the organization.
Luck hasn't been on the Ravens' side, as they have lost four of their last five games. However, Coach John Harbaugh knows what he has in QB Joe Flacco (3,817 yards, 22 TDs) and RB Ray Rice (1,143 yards, 9 TDs), and will have his squad ready. Game time is 1 p.m. ET at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, January 6th, and you can find excellent Baltimore Ravens playoff tickets and Indianapolis Colts playoff tickets to see the once and former Colts battle it out live this Sunday.
These NFC squads will meet for the second time in two weeks, but after last weekend’s entertainment, no one is complaining. Last weekend, Vikings (10-6) RB Adrian Peterson fell short of Eric Dickerson’s 1984 mark of 2,105 rushing yards in a season by just nine yards. However, he still rushed for 199 yards, taking him to over 2,097 yards for the year, and he blasted the Vikes into the playoffs with a 37-34 over Green Bay (11-5). It’s safe to say that he will be the focal point of Green Bay's defense as the matchup shifts to Lambeau Field.
The Packers will be in for revenge, and have their own superstar playing at the top of his game, as QB Aaron Rodgers (4,295 yards, 39 TDS) is coming off of a four touchdown game in Minnesota. And to top things off, he should have his full complement of stellar receivers, so this should be a true Lambeau epic. Be sure to check out our Green Bay Packers playoffs tickets and Minnesota Vikings playoff tickets to visit Lambeau in playoff season, and you can follow the winner as they progress in the playoffs. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 5th.
2012 has been the Year of the Rookie Quarterback, and this game pits two of the best against one another with the season on the line. Seattle’s (11-5) Russell Wilson has made all the right moves to lead the Seahawks back to glory. The rookie has thrown for 3,118 yards and 26 TDs, but much credit deserves to go to Marshawn Lynch (1,590 yards, 11 TDs) and a fearless Seattle defense that’s smothered some many white-hot offenses.
Likewise, the magic that Redskins (10-6) QB Robert Griffin III has been able to conjure in Washington is becoming legendary. RG3 has thrown 3,200 yards and 20 TDs, but more impressively, the Skins currently ride a seven-game win streak into the game, which includes last weekend’s NFC East clincher against Dallas. And what can be said about fellow rookie RB Alfred Morris, who’s rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 TDs. Witness these Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates live by browsing our Washington Redskins playoff tickets and Seattle Seahawks playoff tickets now. The game is set to start at 4:30 p.m. ET at FedEx Field on Sunday, January 6th.