The winner of Wildcard Weekend - Rex Ryan.
Rexy's tattoo featuring his wife in a Mark Sanchez jersey and nothing else will be this season's highpoint - depending on how far the Patriots advance in the playoffs.
Just when we thought things could not get any more ridiculous and absurd with the Jets. They once again out-Red-Soxed the Red Sox. Ryan has opened himself to a life-time of nickle-and-dime psychoanalysis Lucy-style thanks to that unsettling image. Some believe it shows Mrs. Ryan "Tebowing" but no one remembers Timmy Tebowing without pants. It appears Mrs. Ryan is styling more an early 1950 pin-up/nude Marilyn Monroe pose. The Super Bowl champion Giants missed the playoffs but the only thing that matters to football fans in New York is which one of Ryan's ample butt cheeks features a tattoo of Tim Tebow's face on Mrs. Ryan's nude body.
Rexy's tattoo was a natural cover story for the New York Daily News, which might want consider a retraction on this one from 10 months ago:
Now it's up to the New York Post to nail that exclusive photo of the tattoo displaying Mrs. Ryan wearing a Tom Brady jersey and nothing else that is inked on her right foot.
Wonder what tattoos Bill Belichick might have hidden underneath that hoodie? Perhaps he's got his first wife wearing an Eli Manning jersey and nothing else inked on his lower back. If that image doesn't leave you disturbed for the rest of the day - you've passed the first step in Navy SEAL training and are mentally prepared in case the Patriots lose next week to the Texans or in two weeks to the Broncos.
Rexy's tattoo fiasco has already set up next season and the playoffs haven't even started yet. The Jets have a legit QB crisis on their hands and have already said Ryan will be their coach next season no matter what after firing their general manager. The Jets have also reportedly told their GM, whomever he or she will be, that they must keep Ryan on as coach. Now Red Sox fans can get a taste of how the Boston Haters in New York and elsewhere revel in our malaise - drooling over each/next misstep by the team, level of dysfunction in the clubhouse or "you won't believe this" breaking news story on or off the field.
Enough schadenfreude - for this week.
Now, it's on to the playoffs.
The Patriots have a bye week and announced some sad news on Friday - the death of former offensive guard Jack Davis. He was 80. Davis, an original member of the Boston Patriots in 1960, died on Jan. 1 in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Rest in peace.
Otherwise, the team had a quiet week. Rob Ninkovich returned to practice this week after his injury/scare against the Dolphins last weekend and was naturally keeping with the Patriot Way by not saying any more about his status. How many among us guessed the Ninkovich would be the most important "Rob" on the Patriots' roster heading into the playoffs this season? Although Rob Gronkowski demonstrated Sunday what you can do to the Dolphins with one arm and Brady as your QB.
There are two games each day this Wildcard Weekend - here's our breakdown:
Bengals at Texans, 4:30 p.m. (NBC)
Line: Bengals -4.5; Over-under: 43.5
What to watch for: The Bengals are back in the playoffs for the second straight season for the first time since the Reagan administration. They haven't won a playoff game since George H.W. Bush was president (Jan. 6, 1991 against the Houston Oilers) and the late Gen. Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf was gearing up for the start of the Gulf War 11 days later. The 22-season-playoff-victory drought is the longest in the NFL. The Lions are perpetually closing at 21 seasons. The Bengals 60-minute playoff run last year ended courtesy of a 31-10 rout by the Texans. Arian Foster and the Texans' ground game should be as effective against the Bengals this time as Schwarzkopf's was against the Iraqi army. While the Patriots' had their way with J.J. Watt and the Texans' pass rush, QB Andy Dalton won't be so fortunate. But Cincinnati can probably at least count on BenJarvus Green-Ellis holding onto the ball. Law Firm acquitted himself nicely this season, rushing for 1,094 yards and six TDs on 278 carries.
Vikings at Packers, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Line: Packers -7.5; Over-under: 46
What to watch for: Minnesota running Adrian Peterson capped his a spectacular comeback season just 324 inches short of breaking Eric Dickerson's all-time single-season rushing record. Often we get lost in stats or off-the-field incidents or mistakes. The ever-cynical world of fandom often fails to appreciate a truly spectacular athlete like Peterson. What makes his season even more compelling - beyond the fact that he had ACL surgery just nine months ago - is that Peterson's accomplished it all this Christian Ponder as his QB. Opposing defenses have been gearing up to stop Peterson and failing all season. The Vikings - led by Peterson's Ironman 34-carry, 199-yard effort - rallied to beat the Packers last week so they could play the Packers this week. Peterson compiled 409 yards on 55 carries in Minnesota's two games against Green Bay in December for nearly 20 percent of his season total (2,097). “We aren’t giving up 200 again,” LB Clay Matthews promised this week. "AD" will have to run all day and then some for the Vikings to beat Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay two weeks in a row, this time at a chilly Lambeau Field.
Colts at Ravens, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Line: Ravens -7; Over-under 47
What to watch for: Speaking of great athletes, Ray Lewis announced he'll be retiring after 17 years in the NFL. Seventeen NFL seasons playing middle linebacker can be murder on the strongest of men. There's no denying his accomplishments on the field or his dynamic personality (he's reportedly set to jump to ESPN once the Ravens' season is complete) but his star is forever tarnished by his connection to the killings of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker and the subsequent trial, which ended with the acquittal of two defendants. Let's be clear. Lewis is not a killer. And neither was Casey Anthony or O.J. Simpson in the minds of the jurors from Pinellas and Los Angeles counties. Lewis testified against both defendants in the botched 2000 prosecution after coping a plea to misdemeanor obstruction of justice charges. We've made passing reference to this case, in the weekly power rankings and elsewhere on several occasions. That apparently was more than most media outlets could muster this week when lauding Lewis' career. The fact that commissioner Roger Goodell wants Lewis to serve as an informal adviser is a testament to both the power of redemption and the NFL's ability to ignore anything it so chooses. As far as the game goes, the Colts are returning to Baltimore for the playoffs, which would make a great storyline on its own if we didn't have: Chuck Pagano's ability to come back from a bout with leukemia in time to coach his team in the playoffs; the rise of rookie QB Andrew Luck; and the ability to 11-5 Colts to go from 2-14 sans-Peyton Manning Bridge Year to playoffs in just one offseason. The Red Sox can draw inspiration from that fact, as soon as they add Luck to the rotation. As much at we'd love to see the Colts win this one, the Ravens and their "Really Over The Hill Gang" defense will be too much to Luck to handle on the road.
Seahawks at Redskins, 4:30 p.m. (Fox)
Line: Seattle -3; Over-under: 45.5
What to watch for: Matchup of the weekend. The rookie quarterbacks from Washington have been making history all season - whether it's Washington state (Russell Wilson) or Washington, D.C. (RGIII). The are the first two QBs to finish their rookie seasons with a passer rating of 100 or more. Each play a similar wide-open style and can go mobile on virtually any play. Wilson has the slight edge as passer but RGIII has a greater flair for the dramatic. Teams have ignored the Redskins and Seahawks' running games at their own peril. Sunday's wildcard game also features the two best running backs on the planet this season not named Adrian Peterson. Rookie Alfred Morris out of Sunshine State power Florida Atlantic gained 1,613 yards this season and scored 13 TDs, averaging 6.8 yards on 335 carries. That includes a 200-yard performance in the NFC East championship game last Sunday night. The Patriots held Marshawn Lynch to a season-low 41 yards in their 23-21 loss to the Seahawks in Week 6. He gained 1,549 yards against the rest of the league and overall averaged 5.0 yards and ran for 11 TDs on a total of 315 carries. Both defenses will be depleted at the end of this game and the winner should be easy pickings for either the Falcons or 49ers in the Divisional Playoffs next week.
That's when things should really get interesting.
Unless Rex Ryan gets another tattoo.
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