Peter Schmuck

In ironic NFL divisional round of playoffs, no surprises and maximum entertainment

Every favorite won over the weekend, but there was nothing ho-hum about the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Maybe the first game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs was less than dynamic, but even a workmanlike victory by Tom Brady and the Patriots couldn't let the air out of Saturday's playoff doubleheader.


See what I did there.

Brady has his detractors in the wake of "Deflategate," but the Patriots were the better team and the win set up what might be the last showdown between Brady and Peyton Manning, who engineered the Broncos' exciting victory over the Steelers on Sunday.


Of course, the Broncos' win wasn't nearly as exciting as the Cardinals' overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers, which would not have gone to overtime if Aaron Rodgers had not completed his second Hail Mary pass of the season with a seemingly impossible throw.

The overtime period started with the officials having to flip the coin twice because it didn't flip the first time, and Carson Palmer hooked up with Larry Fitzgerald on another crazy throw-and-catch to set up the winning touchdown on the first possession. That, of course, set up a showdown with Cam Newton and the Panthers in Carolina this coming weekend.

Sunday's games were just as intriguing if not as heart-stopping. The Panthers appeared to be crushing the Seahawks and went into halftime with a 31-0 lead, but the NFL doesn't do 60-0 games.

The momentum shifted at halftime and the Seahawks threatened to come all the way back in the second half before falling one score short. They outscored the winningest team in football, 24-0, in the second half. How does that happen?

And Ravens fans are probably chuckling a bit at the fumble by former Ravens running back Fitzgerald Toussaint that handed the ball over to Manning for the Broncos'  go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

We wouldn't be that petty, would we?