It is just a sport and everyone knows the rules in advance, but we still find it difficult to accept that the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks will have to play the first weekend of the playoffs as tourists in Philadelphia.
The Seahawks finished the regular season with a record of 11 – 5, while Philadelphia concluded with 9 – 7, but that .563 percentage was good enough to win the NFC Eastern Division, where the Dallas Cowboys were 8 – 8 and the other two teams in the division were worse than worthless.
Seattle’s necessity of touring was simply the result of playing in the NFC Western Division, where the San Francisco 49ers won the division with a 13 – 3 record.
On the positive side, there are typically two or more examples of this fault of the NFL’s 12-team playoff format.
The American Conference had three of the four divisions won by teams that won at least 12 games. Only the Houston Texans won the AFC South with a 10 – 6 record that has eliminated some clubs in past years.
Second place finishers in the same division Tennessee Titans got into the post-season with an identical record that the Philadelphia club used to win the division and have home ground for the first round.
The Seahawks versus Eagles game is Sunday (Monday ADT) and as is just, the Seahawks are favoured, but only by 1.5 points.
The first round of the NFL playoffs is a feast for gridiron footy fans. There are four games spread over the weekend, with eight teams trying to advance to play the clubs that have the first weekend byes from finishing at the top of their conferences.
Playoff upsets in the NFL are not rare, but it will take something exceptional for teams in the American conference to get past New England Patriots (12 – 4), Kansas City Chiefs (12 – 4) and Baltimore Ravens (14 – 2).
In the National conference, the New Orleans Saints (13 – 3), the Green Bay Packers (13 – 3) and San Francisco 49ers (13 – 3) will supply one of the Super Bowl teams.
The Super Bowl we want, not necessarily the one we will get, is Baltimore Ravens versus New Orleans Saints.