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Braylon Edwards Flips to Celebrate Jets Win Over Patriots (Video)

The Jets beat the Patriots convincingly on Sunday, 28-21. The score shows it was a seven-point game, but the Jets seized control at 14-3 before halftime and maintained it. Because of all the trash talk during the week, they were elated to pull off the victory at New England and showed it in their celebration. Braylon Edwards, who muscled his way to a touchdown in the second quarter, did a forward handspring and flip to celebrate the win. Several of his teammates broke out with arms spread like airplanes, zooming around the field. Nothing topped what Braylon did though:

The Jets certainly take after their coach when it comes to attitude, and that’s likely why they felt free to celebrate at Gillette Stadium. For Braylon, it wasn’t the first time he insulted the Pats with a celebration.

Wes Welker Benched by Bill Belichick to Start Patriots-Jets Playoff Game

The NFL sent out a reminder to teams to make sure the hatred build up during the week because of trash talk didn’t result in illegal contact during games. They weren’t curbing the fun so much as they were putting teams (ahem, Pats/Jets) on notice.

The Jets went heavy with their words against the Pats in anticipation of their playoff game, starting with Rex Ryan’s unprompted comments that Peyton Manning prepares better than Tom Brady. Rexy later asserted the matchup between the teams was a personal battle between himself and Bill Belichick, a notion that Belichick predictably dismissed. His comments were nothing compared to Antonio Cromartie, who threw profanity towards Tom Brady.

All the while the Jets were doing their talking, the Pats kept quiet, except for receiver Wes Welker. Welker, in the most sly fashion, mixed about 10 “feet” references into his press conference during the week, using generic cliches. Word spread of Welker’s trick, and it obviously pissed off coach Bill Belichick who didn’t want his players engaging in the head games with New York. As a result, Welker was punished to start the Jets-Patriots playoff game.

Though Welker received the opening punt from the Jets, he was sidelined for New England’s first offensive series, being replaced by Julian Edelman. Welker was out there for the team’s next drive, registering his first catch. Regardless of how subtle his antics were, he learned the hard way not to disobey Belichick’s wishes in the future.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Aaron Rodgers Is Owning the Playoffs

The sixth-seeded Green Bay Packers have been the story of the NFL playoffs thus far, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road last weekend and knocking off the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played lights out ball, throwing for six touchdowns and no interceptions while rushing for a score.

The former Cal Bear was in elite form against Atlanta, completing 31/36 passes for 366 yards resulting in a 136.8 passer rating. Realistically, Rodgers’ game was near perfect, and it shows how whacked the passer rating system is that Rodgers was so far from the 158.3 perfect rating.

Rodgers showed incredible pocket awareness, only taking two sacks against the Falcons. He avoided the pressure from Atlanta, rolling out and using his mobility constantly. Though Rodgers only rushed twice for 13 yards, he was able to extend plays and drives with his quickness. The sixth-year pro has now thrown for 10 touchdowns and only one interception in three career playoff games, showing that he’s a big-time player.

After the Packers’ 48-21 win over the Falcons in the Georgia Dome, Aaron Rodgers was all smiles. His grin was wider than B.J. Raji’s backside, and it’s because he knew he nailed his performance with a nearly perfect game. He was effusive in his praise of his coaches, raving about how well prepared they had the team.

Green Bay is now only a game away from the Super Bowl and you have to like their chances. As the six seed, they face the winner of the Seahawks-Bears game on the road. They split with Chicago during the regular season and would likely crush the Seahawks. A rematch with the Bears would not be easy if it were to come, but the Packers have to be the favorite at this point.

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Foot Bowl: Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick, Doc and Del Playoff Picks


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JETS AT PATRIOTS, SUN 4:30PM ET, CBS

Doc’s Pick: Not even the finest trash talking and distractions from Rex Ryan will be able to save the Jets in this one. This won’t be a repeat of the 45-3 drubbing week 13, but the Pats are undefeated at home this year, playing stellar ball, and extremely focused. New York’s defense looked good against Indy and should be able to keep New England in check somewhat, but they won’t be able to keep up with the Pats who have scored at least 31 points in each of their past eight games. Patriots 27 Jets 20

Del’s Pick: I have no idea what the Jets think they have to gain by insulting Tom Brady all week, but we’ll see on Sunday.  If Brady has normal human emotions, he has to feel disrespected.  That might spell trouble for the Jets.  Like the Doc, I don’t see this being another blowout.  The Jets will try to keep Brady off the field and control the clock by establishing the run early.  That will also help them keep Mark Sanchez away from trouble.  On the flip side, New England will look to speed up the tempo and jump out to an early lead, forcing Mark Sanchez to beat them.  It would be tough to imagine New York beating a pissed off Tom Brady in Foxboro. Patriots 28 Jets 14

PACKERS AT FALCONS, SAT 8:00PM ET, FOX

Doc’s Pick: Another rematch, the Falcons got the better end of things in the week 12 meeting in Atlanta, winning 20-17. I know the Falcons are the top seed and that Matt Ryan has only lost twice at home in his career, but that doesn’t matter to me. Did you see this team Monday night against the Saints? Despite all their big names on offense, this team has not been moving the ball with ease. They’ve gotten turnovers on defense, as well as special teams and defensive scores in order to win games and blow opponents out, but their offense has been quite ordinary. They’ll struggle against Green Bay’s excellent defense. Contarily, the Packers’ offense looked great against Philadelphia. Mix in Green Bay’s newly found rushing attack, and they’ve become the team to beat. I picked Green Bay the first time these teams met and I think they’ll get it done this time. Packers 23 Falcons 17

Del’s Pick: Del picked the Packers as his NFC Champion before the season began, and at the moment there isn’t any need to go back on that prediction.  That being said, this will be the toughest test for Green Bay on their road to Dallas.  A few unfortunate plays resulted in the Packers losing 20-17 at the Georgia Dome week 12, but Green Bay could have easily won that game.  These two teams are matched pretty evenly on offense, but the Packers have the edge on defense with their stingy secondary.  If James Starks can run the ball the way he did against Philadelphia and off-set Michael “The Burner” Turner, Green Bay will be at a huge advantage.  A big play by Charles Woodson and the Packers secondary will be the difference in this one.
Packers 24 Falcons 21

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Reggie Wayne Frustrated About Lack of Looks from Peyton Manning in Colts Loss

Five-time Pro Bowl receiver, including this season, Reggie Wayne caught just one pass for one yard in the Colts’ 17-16 Wild Card loss to the Jets on Saturday, and he’s not happy about it. The worst part is that he caught every ball thrown his way. That’s right, Wayne — who was second in the NFL this season with 111 receptions and third in receiving yards with 1355 — was targeted just one time.

“I shouldn’t have even suited up,” Wayne told The Indianapolis Star. “I should have watched the game like everybody else. I was irrelevant.” The fact that Wayne even said anything speaks to the magnitude of the issue. It’s out of character for him — or anyone else on that team, to vent any frustration publicly — especially when it could be perceived as being aimed at quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning’s performance has been questioned this season, but not from inside the organization.

An obvious reason why Wayne saw only one ball is because he was being covered by fellow-Pro Bowler, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, but that’s a ridiculous excuse. Wayne is too good and the game was too big for him to be targeted once. In contrast, Blair White and Jacob Tamme had eight catches each. I get the idea that Revis’ focus on Wayne opened up the field for those two, along with Pierre Garcon, but again, that’s an excuse.

When you’ve got a weapon like Wayne, you have to find a way to get him the ball. You move him around, run screens, whatever it takes.  He’s going to get open. Instead, Manning essentially ignored one of the game’s premier receivers and the Colts’ season ended as a result. Wayne has every right to be frustrated and I bet Manning looks his way a little more next time. At least he should.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy

David Akers Misses Two Costly Field Goals, Eagles Lose by Five

The Philadelphia Eagles lost at home to the Green Bay Packers on Wild Card Weekend Sunday 21-16. The Packers dominated the game much more than the margin would indicate. They out-rushed Philly, were penalized less, and found the end zone more frequently. Also, James Jones dropped a sure touchdown right before halftime that could have put the Packers up 21-3. But while we mention missed opportunities for Green Bay, the same must be said for the Eagles.

Kicker David Akers, who was named to his fifth Pro Bowl this season, went 1-for-3 on his field goal attempts, costing the Eagles six points. They lost by five. Akers missed from 41 yards out in the first quarter, keeping the Eagles from jumping out to a lead. He did connect on a 29-yard field goal in the second quarter but he missed a critical 34-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter. In a playoff game as close as this one, and against a team that seemed to be better, Philadelphia couldn’t afford to miss any opportunities. Akers, who was 30-35 on field goals in his career entering the game, cost them greatly when he hooked those two attempts.

Philadelphia did not play its best game, and Michael Vick was shut down by Green Bay, but they still had enough chances to pull out the win. Packers fans know where they should direct their thank you notes.

James Starks a Difference-Maker for Packers Against Eagles

The first time we wrote about James Starks, we cautioned fantasy owners not to get too excited about adding him. That was after the rookie running back broke out with 73 yards on 18 carries in week 13 against the 49ers. Turned out we were right, as Starks only had eight yards on six carries the following week. The next two weeks he was inactive due to a lack of preparation, but he played in the regular season finale against the Bears. Whatever issues kept Starks inactive towards the end of the season have clearly been overcome.

The undrafted rookie out of Buffalo was a difference-maker for the Packers in their Wild Card playoff game against the Eagles Sunday. On their second drive, he busted out with a 27-yard run that established his presence. The typically pass-heavy offense for Green Bay handed the ball to Starks four times on the drive and passed to him twice. They wound up with a touchdown on the drive and Starks ended up with 123 rushing yards in the game.

The Packers did something they haven’t done since losing Ryan Grant the first week of the season — hand the ball off consistently to a workhorse back. Starks’ emergence gives Green Bay another weapon and dimension the rest of the playoffs, and at least a complementary back to Ryan Grant when he returns next season.

Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images