Throughout last Sunday's game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings, fans and commentators were chuckling about how Chicago Bears fans were, very temporarily, rooting for the Green and Gold to evict the Vikings from the NFC playoffs. Unfortunately for them, but to the benefit of the sport, Minnesota won and the Bears, along with their moody quarterback Jay Cutler, will have an extended off-season.
Those interested in watching exciting football will be much better off with Minnesota in the postseason than Chicago. The Bears started the season 7-1 and received a lot of fanfare before losing five of their final eight. On Monday, coach Lovie Smith was fired. Also eliminated from the playoffs thanks to Sunday's action were the New York Giants and Eli Manning, who, like Cutler and the Bears, were considered to be among the league's elite just a couple months ago.
So instead of those large-market franchises with traditional drop-back passing offenses, the first weekend of the NFC playoffs will feature offenses that rely heavily on the running game and mobile quarterbacks, changing perceptions of how pro offenses operate.
Most notably, former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson's play in Seattle has earned him serious consideration for rookie-of-the-year honors. Wilson is deadly accurate, completing over 64% of his passes. But he has also run the ball 94 times this year, averaging over five yards per carry. As good as Wilson has been, Washington's Robert Griffin III has been better, completing over 65% of his passes and averaging 6.8 yards on 120 carries. They'll play each other Sunday afternoon at 3:30 in the weekend's second-most-anticipated game.