Aaron Rodgers knows the embarrassment of being the top seed in the NFC playoffs and fluffing his lines. It happened to the 15-1 Green Bay Packers following the 2011 NFL season, when the New York Giants left Lambeau Field with a 37-20 victory, en route to a second Super Bowl title in four years.
So, on the eve of Super Wildcard Weekend, what can the Seahawks do to ensure that they beat the Rams and move on and stay in the dance?
Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears' defense have already shut down some useful offenses en route to a surprising 5-1 start this season. They stopped Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5 before stifling Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina Panthers last week.
Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead continued to live up to his reputation as one of the most aggressive team builders in the contemporary NFL, rivalled only by his counterpart Howie Roseman in Philadelphia for his willingness to engage in blockbuster trades.
At first glance the trade of All Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday evening seems like a win-win for both franchises. However, the trade may indicate further issues for both teams, especially as they move forward with championship aspirations in their respective conferences.
Following Jalen Ramsey’s public outburst on the sidelines during the Jaguars defeat to divisional rivals Houston Texans in week 2, it seemed the writing was on the wall. Soon after this display, the rather inevitable trade request landed at the door of GM Dave Caldwell.
It should be mentioned this is, of course, all coach talk. There still so much promise that must be delivered upon. With the lingering concerns on the defensive front, it may just prevent this team from hitting their full potential quick enough. But in what is now a wide open division, no one team can be ruled out. It certainly will be one to watch with much intrigue and mystery surrounding it.
Two years ago the Jaguars were on the periphery of greatness, but a questionable ref call and the excellence of Tom Brady denied the Jaguars their first Super Bowl appearance.Blake Bortles was resigned to a new contract, and their defence was expected to improve. In reality the Jaguars took a major step back last year, finishing 5-11 amid player disharmony and dispute. Since then, the Bortles experiment is finished and the Nick Foles era has begun.
Indianapolis Colts dominated the AFC South last season, making a surprise playoff run. Texans, Jaguars and Titans have a lot of catching up to do.
The final NFL London game of the season sees the Eagles face the Jags.
Will the South be the best division in the AFC?