Of course, the Jags’ defense is their biggest calling card, which was on display once again when they completely shut down the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round. Jalen Ramsey has ascended from promising rookie to legitimate superstar, sealing last week’s win with a brilliant diving interception. The Jags are loaded with playmakers all over defense — from Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in the secondary, to Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue up front.
Just a few yards behind, in the first few rows of the stands, fans in Philadelphia gear—the same fans whose presence made it impossible to tell which was the home team and which was the away team—looked on with pained expressions. There was one young man in the first row wearing a Wentz jersey, mouthing something that could be assumed to be a desperate prayer or call of encouragement, while holding up his cell phone as if he were waiting, and hoping, to take a picture of his team’s quarterback emerging from the tent, ready to go back in.
Wentz did emerge a few minutes later. Except instead of picking up his helmet, he started the long walk back to the locker room, baseball cap on, towel draped over his head. The Eagles were one quarter away from beating the resurgent Rams and winning the NFC East, but suddenly, with the news that Wentz had been ruled out of the game—and possibly the rest of the season—with a knee injury, the city of Philadelphia had been sent into a panic.
The Saints obviously relished knocking an NFC South rival, the Panthers, out of the playoffs in the Wild Card Round this year. And their fans despise the Falcons and the Buccaneers. But the Vikings bring up a whole lot of painful memories for Saints diehards.
It reached a fever pitch the last time these teams met in the postseason: the NFC Championship Game following the 2009 season. Only three current players — Drew Brees and punter Thomas Morstead for the Saints, and defensive end Brian Robison for the Vikings — even played in that game. But as the two teams get ready to face off in Minnesota in the Divisional Round this weekend, it’s all very fresh in both fan bases’ minds.
Here’s a brief history of the animosity between these two teams.
The secret seems to finally be out on Mike Daniels. It seems bananas that after five NFL seasons, and the signing of a four-year, $42 million contract two years ago, he still doesn’t have a Pro Bowl selection to his name. Performances like Week 1, when the Seahawks had no answer for Daniels in Green Bay’s 17-9 win, should help change that.