PLAYOFF WATCH 2017: Wild-card round was mostly dreadful

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs tduring the second half of an AFC Wild Card NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (26) runs during the second half of an AFC Wild Card NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Good morning! This is Playoff Watch 2017, the early buzz on NFL playoffs.

After the mostly dreadful wild-card round, the NFL playoffs are now down to the final eight teams.

In the NFC, No. 2 seed Falcons will host No. 3 seed Seahawks at 4:35 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome. No. 1 seed Cowboys will host No. 4 seed Packers at 4:40 p.m. Sunday.

In the AFC, No. 1 seed Patriots will host No. 6 seed Texans at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. No. 2 seed Chiefs will host No. 3 seed Steelers at 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

The winners advance to the NFC championship game which is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22  and to the AFC title game which is set for 6:40 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22.  The highest remaining seed in each conference will host the game.

Super Bowl LI is set for 6:05 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 in Houston, Texas.

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Thomas Rawls #34 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates scoring a 4-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, WA – JANUARY 07: Thomas Rawls #34 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates scoring a 4-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card game at CenturyLink Field on January 7, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The wild-card round presented three boring games and a one spectacular showing by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a 38-13 victory over the New York Giants.

Seattle steamrolled Detroit 26-6 behind 161 yards rushing from running back Thomas Rawls on 27 carries. He didn’t play when Seattle beat Atlanta 26-24 on Oct. 16.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz wants to know if the mixed official crew will call pass interference this time. 

While the Seahawks will have Rawls and a rushing attack, the Falcons insist they are a better version of the team that blew a 24-23 fourth-quarter lead in Seattle.

The Houston and Oakland game was dreadful. Oakland quarterback Connor Cook, who was making his first NFL start because of injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin, was over-matched. The Texans won 27-14 to delay for a week what some contend will be the end of the Bill O’Brien era in Lone Star State.

Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell led the way to a 30-12 win over Miami and backup quarterback Matt Moore. Bell rushed 29 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a late-game injury, but vows to play against the Chiefs.

For some reason, Roethlisberger remained in the game with the Steelers up 30-12 with under five minutes to play.  On third-and-9 from the Miami’s 44-yard line, Roethlisberger was dragged down as he threw what would he his final pass — an interception by Dolphins corner Xavien Howard. He was seen in a walking boot after the game.

The New York Giants dominated early before Rodgers get rolling late in the second quarter. The Giants had to settle for two early field goals before Rodgers tossed two touchdown passes late in the second quarter, including a Hail Mary to Randall Cobb at the halftime buzzer. Cobb ended up with three touchdown catches as Rodgers passed for 362 yards and four touchdowns.

It was a costly win for the Packers who lost wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who suffered a rib injury after a hit by New York Giants cornerback Leon Hall. Later running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery left the game with a right leg injury, but he returned.

Silverstein is a beat reporter for The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The Falcons are four-point favorites over the Seahawks.

Playoff Watch 2017 will appear Monday through Friday mornings.

Thomas Rawls rushed for a franchise playoff-record 161 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks handled the Lions, 26-6. Head coach Pete Carroll spoke following the wild-card win.

RECAP OF THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2016 REGULAR SEASON

GAME 16: Falcons 38, Saints 32

5 things we learned from the Falcons win over the Saints

Falcons defense sags late but hangs on vs. Brees

Julio Jones says bye week will be ‘great for me’ with sore toe

GAME 15: Falcons 33, Panthers 16

5 things we learned from the Falcons win over the Panthers

NFL playoffs: Falcons clinch NFC South title

Third-and-21, no problem for Coleman

What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Panthers

GAME 14: Falcons 41, 49ers 13

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the 49ers

What Matt Ryan had to say about the win over the 49ers

PHOTOS: Falcons win over the 49ers

GAME 13: Falcons 42, Rams 14

REPORT CARD: Falcons handled their business against woeful Rams

GAME 12: Chiefs 29, Falcons 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Chiefs

Falcons still control their playoff destiny

PHOTOS: Falcons have a bad day at the office

Matt Ryan tormented by Berry’s big interceptions

Beasley becomes a double-digit sacker

GAME 11: Falcons 38, Cardinals 19

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Cardinals

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons keep getting better as they go

Julio Jones gets calls this time

Taylor Gabriel continues scoring streak in win over Cardinals

Coleman scores TD in return from injury

Falcons’ offensive line ‘stepped up to the task’

GAME 10: Eagles 24, Falcons 15

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Eagles

Ryan, offense slowed down to a crawl

Perkins stalls key drive with costly penalty

Defense gets blown of the line of scrimmage

Keanu Neal can expect fine but Falcons’ biggest issue is injuries (Trufant and Tamme)

Falcons go into bye week wrong way — beat up by Eagles

What Dan Quinn had to say after the loss to the Eagles

What Matt Ryan had to say after the loss to the Eagles

What the Falcons had to say after the loss to the Eagles

PHOTOS: Falcons fall to the Eagles

GAME NINE: Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ rout of the Bucs

GAME EIGHT: Falcons 33, Packers 32
 

GAME SEVEN: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 in OT

5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Chargers

Dan Quinn’s gamble with house-money backfires

6 penalties ‘unacceptable’ for Falcons offensive line

Philip Rivers confounds Falcons with short passes: ‘He picked us apart’

Matt Ryan’s late-game interception leads to overtime loss

PHOTOS: Chargers rally to beat Falcons

GAME SIX: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons loss to the Seahawks

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons didn’t win, but they made one guy believe (me)

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons got jobbed but did themselves proud

Matt Ryan’s turnovers were costly

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Seattle slows down Falcons’ running backs Freeman, Coleman

Ryan Schraeder, offensive line rebounds in second half

Julio Jones: ‘It was just a missed call’

What the Falcons had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 26-24 loss to Seattle

Richard Sherman non-commital on pass interference non-call

PHOTOS: Falcons at Seahawks in Seattle

GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16

5 things we learned from the Falcons upset of Super Bowl champs

MARK BRADLEY: The Falcons rock a rookie in the Rockies

What Dan Quinn have to say after the win over Denver

Coleman amassed 163 yards to power the offense

Vic Beasley has breakout game with 3.5 sacks

Kemal Ishmael moved to linebacker, led team in tackles

What the Falcons had to say after the win over the Broncos

Photos: Falcons battle the Broncos

GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 48-33 win over the Panthers

Tweetcap: Falcons 48, Panthers 33

Old pro Freeney shows new trick with Falcons

Falcons’ rookie Neal holds on vs. Olsen

What Julio Jones had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 48-33 win over the Panthers

Alford battled; Collins to return

Early view in NFC South isn’t what most expected; Falcons on top

GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ 45-32 win over the Saints

Falcons, Saints protest with unity circle before game

REPORT CARD: Falcons earned high marks for drubbing Saints

What Dan Quinn had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What Matt Ryan had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

What the Falcons had to say after the 45-32 win over the Saints

Keanu Neal makes strong debut for Falcons

Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home

AJC POWER RANKINGS: Falcons best in NFC South?

GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ win over the Raiders

Trufant’s heads-up play saves the day

Tight ends help to power offense

Weatherspoon plays strong in first start since 2013

Matthews, Schraeder held Mack sack-less

JEFF SCHULTZ: Falcons put on offensive show and win

What Matt Ryan had to say after beating the Raiders

What Dan Quinn had to say after the win over the Raiders

GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24

5 things we learned from the Falcons’ loss to the Bucs

No sacks for new-look Falcons pass rush

Julio Jones not worried about his ankle injury

Falcons have a case of the “no-huddle” blues

REPORT CARD: Falcons can’t ‘gift’ opponents 17 points

FILM REVIEW: Beasley missing in action

AJC’S NFL POWER RANKINGS: Where are the Falcons?

Hageman charged is domestic violence case

 


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