Daily Dr. Roto—January 6, 2020
NFC Wild Card Recap
Minnesota Vikings (26) @ New Orleans Saints (20)
Be honest—how many of you either bet or would have bet the ranch on the Saints winning this game? This was supposed to be the Saints’ year. The defense was playing well, Michael Thomas broke the receptions record, and the entire team was motivated after two horrific playoff losses in the last two seasons. So, what happened? The Saints simply did not have enough firepower. RB Alvin Kamara was held in check by the tough Vikings’ run defense, and the Vikings did whatever they could to neutralize WR Michael Thomas’ effectiveness. Once the Saints’ top two offensive players were in check, they didn’t have any other people to turn to. WR Ted Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith appeared to be left out of the team’s game plan. The Saints needed to anticipate that the Vikings were going to play that type of defense and think about ways to integrate other players (Deonte Harris?) into their offense. That didn’t happen, and once again the Saints were left on the outside looking in on the playoffs.
Let’s just agree on one thing—TE Kyle Rudolph absolutely pushed off in the end zone when he made that catch. That said, I think it was a good no-call by the refs. Playoff football is always tough, aggressive football and for the Saints to think that play was going to be overturned was a bit naïve. What did the Vikings do right? They fed the football to their best two players. RB Dalvin Cook was a monster after missing the previous three games. He found holes that were barely visible and showed what kind of impact player he can be. Also, they threw the ball to WR Adam Thielen. Thielen had missed most of the season with injuries, but this week he looked like his old self and dominated. I know that WR Stefon Diggs was upset that he was used as a decoy, but how upset can he be when his team comes out victorious? Most of all, QB Kirk Cousins performed well in the critical moments of the game and showed that he could handle the pressure of playing (and winning) on the road in the playoffs.
Seattle Seahawks (17) vs Philadelphia Eagles (9)
Sadly, we could easily argue that this game was over as soon as Eagles QB Carson Wentz went down with a concussion. The Eagles had to revamp their offense and turned to journeyman QB Josh McCown who did his best but who was overmatched. The Eagles ran the ball well with RB Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, but their lack of a passing attack was evident. TE Zach Ertz seemed to be used more as a decoy than as a receiver, and if it wasn’t for TE Dallas Goedert, their passing attack would have been non-existent. It’s hard to blame the Eagles for their performance. In fact, I think we should commend them. How many teams would have made it this far with so many players who were injured? It seems shocking that the Cowboys could not win the division considering that all their players were healthy.
As for the Seahawks, the Eagles were a bad matchup for them. The Eagles run defense is one of the best in the league, and it was obvious that the Seahawks had to change their entire offensive attack to win this game. Luckily, they had the best player on the field, QB Russell Wilson, playing for them. Wilson threw short, deep, and ran the ball when needed. Two other things that made me happy to see were: 1) WR DK Metcalf looking like a young Julio Jones and dominating the Eagles secondary, and 2) RB Marshawn Lynch running with drive and purpose which bodes well for the Divisional round game vs. Green Bay. Seattle was clearly the better team but the truth is that the scoreboard was closer than it should have been.