Big NFL Weekend
Congratulations if your team advanced in the NFL playoffs. But don’t act as if it was any fun for the rest of us to watch.
First, however, a pat on the back. For me. From me (OK, self-praise stinks, so hold your nose for moment). Check the Friday blog – your humble typist went four-for-four on his playoff picks. You may stop pinching your nostrils now.
Or maybe not.
These games were not particularly inspiring. The home teams all won, and dominated. No wild card survived the first round. NFL.com notes that the four games had a total scoring differential of 76 points (19 per game), the highest since the 1981 wild-card round. Your road teams scored a grand total of 45 points. Feh.
Winners: Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers. Every one of them goes on the road next weekend – the Texans to meet the New England Patriots, the Seahawks to play the Atlanta Falcons, the Steelers to play the Kansas City Chiefs and the Packers to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. Each one is a rematch of a regular-season game.
Some highlights: Aaron Rodgers sparked the Packers by throwing four touchdown passes, including a Hail Mary TD of 42 yards to Randall Cobb at the end of the first half against the New York Giants; Seattle running back Thomas Rawls ran for a club playoff record 161 yards and Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell did the same for his team (167 yards); Houston held the Oakland Raiders to 203 total yards.
Justin Thomas won the SBS Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, earning his third PGA Tour victory…There will likely be a new No. 1 in men’s basketball after Villanova suffered its first defeat of the season last week. The Associated Press poll is released on Monday. There will also be a new No. 25 after Cal nipped the current occupant of the bottom rung, USC, 74-73 on Sunday night. No 20 Purdue upset No. 13 Wisconsin 66-55…In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins won their fifth straight, knocking off the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman