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NFL AM/PM NFC Wildcard Round Observations: Seahawks Survive

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Seahawks 10, Vikings 9

Initial Impressions

The Minnesota Vikings might not have won the game against the Seattle Seahawks, but they did win some respect.  For the first time in a long time, it seems as though Minnesota is set up for future success with a nice, young roster and a very good head coach.

As for the Seahawks, they shouldn’t have won the game and their lack of production had more to do with the climate and the environment than any real issues.  There’s no reason why they can’t look like a completely different, more effective team offensively next week at Carolina.

Seattle

  • Michael Bennett might be the best player, among the great players on their defense.  Bennett was simply unblockable Sunday afternoon and they wouldn’t have won without him.
  • The play of the game wasn’t Blair Walsh’s missed field goal, it was Russell Wilson making the most out of the snap that went over his head.  That jumpstarted the offense and it was a huge momentum shift.
  • Doug Baldwin has turned into one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.  He’s probably the best slot receiver and he has consistently made big plays over the last few years.
  • Kam Chancellor looks like the weak link of the secondary.  The Vikings didn’t take advantage of him nearly enough in coverage against Kyle Rudolph.

Minnesota

  • Popular sentiment says that it isn’t Blair Walsh’s fault that the Vikings lost the game, but let’s be real.  It’s a 27-yard field goal and it’s his job to make those…every time.
  • Adrian Peterson disappeared in another big game.  He didn’t completely disappear, he did have the fumble which Seattle used to take the lead and eventually win.  The Vikings need to make a decision on AD in the offseason.  He’s a great running back, but even the best in the NFL isn’t worth that kind of money.
  • Teddy Bridgewater made big plays on the final drive when he had to and played well enough to win the game.  They should begin to open up the offense more next season.
  • Norv Turner called a really good game.  He gave Bridgewater easy throws to build his confidence and made sure he didn’t lose the game against a great defense.
  • Minnesota has done a really nice job of drafting in recent years.  They have a good, young defense that is going to get even better and a complementary offense.

Packers 35, Redskins 18

Initial Impressions

The Redskins don’t have anything to hang their heads about, they just played a superior team with much more recent playoff experience.

It took about a quarter and a half, but the Packers offense started clicking and they never looked back.  This may have been a product of the matchup against a weak Redskins secondary, but this should give Green Bay some much needed confidence entering next week’s matchup with Arizona.

Green Bay

  • Aaron Rodgers was seeing ghosts in the pocket early on, and as the protection got better he looked like the league MVP that we all know.
  • Left tackle J.C. Tretter had a tough start, but played really well for the final three quarters.  He’s never going to be a Pro Bowler, but he’s good enough to get them what they need in this run.
  • Eddie Lacy looked active for the first time in a long time.  Perhaps it was some bad run fits by the Redskins, but Lacy looked like something closer to what we saw as a rookie.
  • Casey Hayward had a nice game at cornerback.  He will have a much tougher test next week with the Cardinals stable of weapons.
  • This may sound crazy with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers may want to try to play some ball control, keep away next week as Arizona is a superior offensive team.

Washington

  • Kirk Cousins isn’t quite there yet.  The moment didn’t seem too big for him, but at the end of the game he showed poor pocket awareness and could have had multiple turnovers.  I wouldn’t say it was a step back for him, but a learning experience.
  • Jordan Reed is going to be an elite tight end sooner rather than later.  He shook off an early drop to have a really solid game.
  • Washington still needs to be a run-first offense. Whether it’s Alfred Morris or Matt Jones or even Chris Thompson, they aren’t ready for Cousins to chuck it 50 times a game and have success.
  • The Redskins need help all over the secondary if they’re going to compete.
  • Preston Smith could be an elite pass rusher sooner rather than later.
  • The team is in pretty good hands with Scot McCloughan.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.