Today, I was 2 for 2, so I'm 3 for 4 in my prognostications overall so far. Not too bad. Today's winners are the Ravens and the Eagles. Now that the Wild Card games are finished, the "predicting" gets even harder.
Ravens at Dolphins -- The Ravens' defense played just the way I thought they would, making life miserable for Dolphins' quarterback Chad Pennington while Baltimore posted a 27-9 win this afternoon in Miami. Pennington was 25 of 38 for 252 yards and a touchdown, but the relentless wrecking crew that is the Ravens' defense picked Pennington four times, a Miami post-season record, one of which picks was returned for a touchdown by Baltimore defensive stalwart safety Ed Reed. Pennington also was sacked three times. As an indication of just how well the Ravens' defense played, the Dolphins won time of possession (33:26 to 26:34) and first downs (18 to 16) and still were overwhelmed. Miami had a combined 21 carries for 52 yards in the game. The Dolphins managed one touchdown on a 2-yard Pennington pass to running back Ronnie Brown in the fourth quarter. A 19-yard Dan Carpenter field goal in the first quarter accounted for the remainder of Miami's scoring. Pennington threw to seven different players, including running back Patrick Cobbs, who had four catches for 55 yards. Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco was 9 of 23 for 135 yards, with no interceptions, and also had a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Flacco was not sacked in the game. Matt Stover had two field goals and Le'Ron McClain added an 8-yard rushing touchdown to round out the Ravens' scoring. Five Ravens combined for 33 carries for 151 yards. To the credit of the Dolphins, the team never gave up. Congratulations to the team and their management for turning around a 1-15 season just last year into an 11-5 year ending in a playoff appearance. And congrats to the Ravens, who move on to play the Titans next week in Tennessee.
Eagles at Vikings -- Through most of this game, it felt like the Vikings would keep it close, then win it in the fourth quarter. The score was 16-14 Philadelphia heading into the fourth quarter. Neither team had scored in the third quarter. Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Eagles' running back Brian Westbrook, who had not been effective up to this point in the game, broke a long run after a short pass from Donovan McNabb, scampering 71 yards to paydirt. That made the score 23-14. In the last minutes of the quarter, Eagles' kicker David Akers would notch his fourth field of the game to cap the scoring and put the exclamation point on a 26-14 victory for the Eagles. McNabb was 23 of 34 for 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception. McNabb threw to eight different players. The Vikings' defense sacked McNabb three times, but could not stop him from piling up the yards. Eagles' cornerback Asante Samuel accounted for the team's other touchdown on a 44-yard interception return. Vikings' quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was 15 of 35 for 164 yards and the interception. Running back Adrian Peterson accounted for all of Minnesota's scoring with touchdown runs of 40 yards and three yards. Peterson had 20 carries for 83 yards, and running back Chester Taylor had 12 carries for 48 yards. Jackson threw to six different players. He was sacked once. Congratulations to the Vikings, who finished strong after a tough season. And congrats to the Eagles, who move on to play the Giants next week.
Around the NFL . . .
Next weekend's playoff matchups
P.S. Thanks to fellow blogger iamyo for reminding me about the reseeding. It's a pain in the butt and confusing, but I guess it makes sense.