Wildcard Weekend lived up to it's name

The good, bad and ugly from NFL Wildcard Weekend

Kiel Leggere, Philadelphia Eagles website

Wildcard weekend in the NFL always brings something extra. Whether it's both wildcard teams advancing in the AFC, or unexpected play, decisions, or injuries. Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

-Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is going to get PAID! Foles has taken the backup role the past two seasons to new heights. Last year, he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win after Carson Wentz got hurt. This season, he's taken over and done a great job again. He's managed to get them to a Divisional Round matchup against the Saints next weekend after they were left for dead. His performance against that Bears defense makes you believe he may be able to pull off the same magic he did last year.

-In the Sunday games, Chargers/Ravens and Eagles/Bears, there were no touchdowns scored in the first half. While some of you may consider this a bad thing, I happen to think the opposite. All four teams have good defenses. Sure there may have been missed opportunities by the offenses, but those good defenses contributed to that.

-The Cowboys had a 100-yard rusher (Ezekial Elliot) and receiver (Amari Cooper) in a playoff win for the first time since 1995 (Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin). 1995 was also the last year they won a Super Bowl. Is this a sign of things to come?

The Bad

-Eagles Corner Crevon LeBlanc stripped Bears receiver Anthony Miller of the ball. It was ruled an incompletion. Upon review, it was ruled a catch and fumble. However, because NOBODY recovered the ball, it was called incomplete and the Bears got the ball back at the previous spot, which led to a field goal before halftime.

-Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson had a bad game. He went 14/29 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was also harassed constantly by the Chargers pass rush to the tune of seven sacks that lost 55 yards. A bad game for sure, but I fully expect to him do big things in the future.

-Eagles rookie corner Avonte Maddox was taken advantage of three times on huge plays, two of them on the Bears touchdown drive to take the lead in the fourth quarter. He bit badly on double moves like any young and overly-aggressive corner usually does. Luckily, it didn't cost them the game.

The Ugly

-Cowboys receiver Allen Hurns suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the first quarter. He had to be carted off the field and immediately went in for surgery to correct the injury. He could be seen gripping the hand of head coach Jason Garrett in the moments before being carted off. Shame bell for those of you posting videos of the injury.

-Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski may have played his final football game after badly pulling his hamstring on a 57-yard field goal attempt just before halftime. The Seahawks didn't attempt a kick in the second half and failed miserably on an onside kick in the fourth quarter. It's sad considering this was the fifth playoff appearance in his 19-year career.

-Bears kicker Cody Parkey hit the uprights four times earlier this year in a single game. Kicking the potential game-winner against the Eagles, he hit the upright, then the crossbar, and the ball bounced outside the crossbar for a miss. What an awful way to lose a playoff game!

Wow! What a Wildcard Weekend! There were so many good performances and some bad ones too. Only one home team/favorite (Cowboys) won their games this weekend. The AFC had the five and six seeds win their games. Herm Edwards said it best. If you're a football fan and you didn't like this weekend's games, might want to check your pulse.

Slow to make big moves hasn't equaled a drop in potential for Texans

Texans are better despite slow free agency

The Texans are better today than when the season ended. It isn't a huge improvement, and there is room for far more improvement, but they're better.

Despite some people's frustration with the Texans not making moves they really haven't missed out on much, the draft is where they will truly improve, and people aren't remembering how good, or bad, they were last season.

Tyrann Mathieu is not $20 million better than Tashaun Gipson. I don't even believe Mathieu was the right type of safety for the Texans. He was a mismatch problem on bigger players, specifically tight ends where Gipson thrives. Mathieu was the third best safety on the team last season not playing as well as Kareem Jackson when he was at safety or the total body of Justin Reid who impressed in his rookie season. While the leadership aspect can't be denied, the Texans praised repeatedly the locker room personality Mathieu brought, the team doesn't lack for leaders.

Gipson has had more success in recent years statistically than Mathieu and plays a different style. You'll notice far less tackles and no sacks to Gipson's stat line. He will be asked to cover more than Mathieu was and his success in recent seasons shows he can do that well. He hasn't had to clean up a lot of messes in the Jaguars secondary, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye held their own, his experience playing deep will hopefully help handle the lack of top talent at cornerback for the Texans.

Speaking of cornerback, if that is where Kareem Jackson was going to play for the Texans in 2019 then there is no loss whatsoever in seeing him leave. He was not good as a corner last year after a really solid start to the year as a safety. Bradley Roby is more physically gifted and took a prove-it deal to try to hit the market with more buzz than this year. I would have preferred Jackson sticking around as a safety but alas the Texans didn't seem to see his value there.

Wholesale changes on the offensive line did almost nothing to improve it last season so I am not sure why some fans and media have desired that again. Yes, they shouldn't have been outbid on Roger Saffold (Titans) by a division rival who has invested greatly in their offensive line. No, Trent Brown (Raiders) and his bloated contract wasn't the answer at left tackle. Matt Paradis is coming off a broken leg at the center spot though he would have been an upgrade at center.

It is clear help on the line is coming via the draft, a deep one along the line might I add. With three picks in the top two rounds there will be opportunities to find players to push Nick Martin, Senio Kelemete, and Julién Davenport and it isn't out of the question. Seantrell Henderson despite his new contract is pushed by a rookie as well. This is a fine plan as only Nick Martin was a top round pick of any of the Texans current offensive linemen.

Also, this team won 11 games last season. Don't let a disappointing playoff performance skew how this team played. Deshaun Watson is going to improve and that is the most important thing about this team. He won't take as many hits as he did last season with draft investment and improvement of players on the roster. The rookie tight ends have a year of seasoning under their belt. D'Onta Foreman and Keke Coutee should be healthy and eventually Will Fuller will return. The defense returns or has replaced key figures.

Acting like this is a team that had to spend money just because they had cap space isn't a smart way to look at this team. Typically a team sucks when they have this much cap space, the Texans didn't fall into that category. Is there still room for improvement? No doubt. There's also room to find multiple bargains, be a destination for a trade post-draft, and pay Clowney. Relax, this is a long offseason. The Texans are better today than last week.

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