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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Can I get some drama, please?

For the past two weekends, I’ve met up with friends to watch the NFL playoffs.

What we’ve seen has been utterly disappointing.

(Then again, betting — if it were legal, of course — would make things easier to watch. There would probably be no feeling like predicting a punt return for a touchdown in the Cardinals-Saints game and then watching Reggie Bush take one to the house, the only special teams score so far in these playoffs. Just saying.)

The first eight games resulted in six duds, one decent game (Jets-Chargers) and a you’ll-remember-where-you-watched it matchup (Packers-Cardinals).

And let’s be honest, had I not picked the Jets to win Sunday, I probably wouldn’t have had as much interest in the game as I did.

They had four-straight three-and-outs to start the game, and Jets coach Rex Ryan’s play-calling often resembled former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin in The Swamp — just keep it close and pray your defense can stand tall. Except it worked.

The average margin in this year’s playoffs has been 17.1 points. Take out the Jets-Chargers and Packers-Cardinals, and it jumps to 21.3.

The first two rounds of last year’s playoffs had an average margin of victory of 11 points, with only two games decided by a gap of two touchdowns or more.

It’s a similar story when looking at the first two weekends of the playoffs in 2006 (7.3-point average margin) and 2007 (10.6 points).

Sure, there has been a certain satisfaction from going 7-1 in my picks so far (I’d be perfect if only Aaron Rodgers could’ve hit a wide-open Greg Jennings in overtime!), especially after my lackluster (read: last-place) effort in our college football picks column in the fall, but it almost feels as tainted as when Florida schedules games against Football Championship Subdivision teams.

This weekend doesn’t exactly promise memorable matchups.

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Vikings-Saints could be good, but Jets-Colts? I’ve seen that already — Indianapolis beat a one-dimensional Baltimore team 20-3 (and it wasn’t as close as the score indicated).

New York won on Sunday with Mark Sanchez throwing for 100 yards. Why wouldn’t Indy force Sanchez to win the game?

I realize that was probably the game plan for Cincinnati and San Diego, but I have to believe the Jets can’t catch lightning in a bottle for a third-straight time.

The Jets wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if the Colts hadn’t sat their starters for most of the second half during New York’s 29-15, playoff-saving win in Week 16.

That decision sparked controversy, so here’s to hoping there will be as much on-field drama as there was off the field after their most recent meeting.

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