2014 NFL Playoffs: 5 Things We Learned From the Wild Card Round

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5 Things We Learned From Wild Card Round

NFL
Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Postseason started this past weekend and it’s hard to think of a better way to commence the action.

The Wild Card Round was as exciting as it could have been and after a whole weekend of football, four teams were able to advance to the next round of the postseason that puts them one step closer to a Super Bowl appearance.

On Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts hosted the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints traveled to the Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. On Sunday, it was the time of the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the San Diego Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

There were some shocking results, stellar individual performances and outings that can really make us wonder if a franchise has effectively chosen the right path to get to sustained success. As expected, several angles and takeaways can be taken out of what happened during this past weekend, as there were notable stories in each game.

There are only eight teams now left in the postseason and the four that advanced in this Wild Card round can clearly make a case the rest of the way. Sometimes momentum can be key when playing an elimination game and there’s no secret that the teams that won this past weekend have enough weapons to pull an upset during the Divisional Round.

Without further ado, please join me through this slideshow as we check five things that can be taken away from the Wild Card Round.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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Andy Dalton Is Not the Answer For Bengals

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Andrew Weber – USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton boasts a poor playoff record: three postseason appearances, only one TD pass and six interceptions. With his two picks and a lost fumble against the San Diego Chargers, it was clear that Andy Dalton is not the franchise QB the Cincinnati Bengals need to be a winning franchise in the future.

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Andrew Luck Is An Elite QB

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Andrew Weber – USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, Andrew Luck made the necessary adjustments and led the Indianapolis Colts to a huge comeback win against the Kansas City Chiefs. Luck showed elite play-calling skills and executed his throws perfectly, showing the growth expected from him during a year where he appears to be ready to take the next step with his Colts.

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Chargers Will Be Tough Opponent For Broncos

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Chris Humphreys – USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers were a machine on both sides of the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals and if they can keep this level of play up, they will be a tough matchup for the Denver Broncos. In fact, the only loss Peyton Manning and co. suffered at Mile High Stadium was against San Diego and if they don’t play better, the same result could end up happening this weekend.

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Colin Kaepernick Is Clutch

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Jeff Hanisch - USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick was heavily criticized during the regular season, but if his game against the Green Bay Packers taught us anything, it is he can make things happen right when he needs to. Kaepernick was a threat in the passing and was very effective rushing as well, and if he continues this level of play, the San Francisco 49ers could go a long way during the playoffs.

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New Orleans Saints Showed They Can Win On Road

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Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints finally got their first win on the road in a postseason contest and although it wasn’t the prettiest win, it showed that New Orleans can definitively win games on the road when it needs to. Its next opponent is the Seattle Seahawks, but if Drew Brees and co. already won, they could pull another upset against one of the top teams in the NFL.


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