Considering the chaos that ensued in this past weekend’s matchups, Wild Card weekend has to be the most apt name of a playoff round in all the major sports. The NFC, in particular, provided plenty of fireworks as fans around the country saw the revival of one of the league’s most feared offenses join forces with a locked-in defensive unit to stomp their way into the next round, as well as a battle between two of the league’s most promising rookie quarterbacks, though only one would emerge unscathed. We've still got plenty of NFL playoffs tickets as the games get set to head into the Divisional round this weekend, so here’s a recap of the thrilling action you might have missed last weekend, as well as a glimpse of the sure-fire excitement on the horizon this weekend, to get you ready for what's to come.
No. 2 San Francisco 49ers vs. No. 3 Green Bay Packers
The legend of Aaron Rodgers grew once again as the Packers (12-5) defeated the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) in Saturday night’s Wild Card game. Assisted by the return of pro-bowl defensive back Charles Woodson, whose presence allowed Green Bay to unleash their blitz packages freely and often, the pro bowl quarterback led the way en route to setting an NFL playoff record by connecting with 10 different receivers in Green Bay’s 24-10 rout that avenged their season-finale loss.
The Packers were finally able to get a grip on Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and reminded the world what a force they can be when they’re healthy. They held the Vikings’ uncanny MVP candidate to just 99 yards on the ground, which is something considering that he exploded for 409 yards in their previous two matchups. In the process, the Packers ended a two-game home playoff losing skid, Rogers claimed his first playoff victory at Lambeau Field, and the team earned the right to avenge another painful loss; this time to the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers.
San Francisco (11-4-1) earned a first round bye and have been resting up while the opposition weeded themselves out in the Wild Card round. When the dust settled, football fans’ mouths began watering with the knowledge that this longstanding playoff rivalry was about to add another chapter to the duel. The 49ers flexed their muscles in their season opening 30-22 victory at Lambeau Field, but this time they’ll meet a red-hot Packers squad that’s firing on all cylinders and out for revenge.
Also, in this game the 49ers are expected to start QB Colin Kaepernick in place of Alex Smith once again, so Green Bay’s re-emergent defense will have to adjust to his dual-threat style. In the season finale versus Arizona, Kaepernick tossed a career-best 276 yards and two touchdowns, with WR Michael Crabtree hauling in 172 yards and both scores. With both QBs on fire, this one should live up to expectations. Play is set to kickoff at Candlestick Park on Saturday, January 12th at 8 p.m. ET, so get your San Francisco 49ers playoff tickets and Green Bay Packers playoff tickets now to witness this epic showdown.
No. 1 Atlanta Falcons vs. No. 5 Seattle Seahawks
The angle that captivated the masses after Sunday night’s Wild Card playoff game was Washington Redskins’ QB Robert Griffin III going down with an unsightly knee injury when he should have been pulled from the game, but by focusing on his injury many are missing the emergence of one of the league’s brightest young signal callers blooming before our very eyes. Seattle Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson excelled in gutsy fashion in his playoff debut, leading the Seahawks to a 24-14 comeback victory after finding his squad scratching from the pit of a 14-0 first quarter deficit.
Wilson completed 15 passes and a touchdown to go along with plenty of support from a staunch defense that gave up only 203 yards. The beast known as Marshawn Lynch did his usual damage, gaining 132 yards on the ground. Wilson has Seattle riding high on a six game winning streak and fans around the league are taking note that the Seahawks are legit contenders, rookie QB or not, and that truth should serve them well as they travel to Atlanta for the Divisional round.
There’s always pressure on the No.1 seed to succeed, but considering that the combination of quarterback Matt Ryan and Coach Mike Smith are 0-3 in the playoffs together all time, it’s a bit heavier for the Atlanta Falcons this year. If there’s ever a season for the duo to reverse their conjoined fate it’s now, after a remarkable 13-3 season that saw Ryan emerge as an MVP candidate earned the Falcons a first round bye and the right to host the Seahawks at the Georgia Dome this Sunday. Atlanta has won the past three meetings between the teams, including the most recent in 2011 when Atlanta prevailed 30-28. Of course, Russell Wilson was still tossing passes for the Wisconsin Badgers back then.
The good news for Dirty Bird fans is that Matty Ice is 33-6 at home, and he’ll be able to sling passes to the dynamic duo of wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. Seattle fans will be very interested in seeing which reciever breakout DB Richard Sherman handles in the matchup, and to see if Wilson can join Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez as the only rookies to win two playoff games. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 12th, and we’ve got all the Atlanta Falcons playoff tickets and Seattle Seahawks playoff tickets you need to get inside the Georgia Dome and witness this shootout live.