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Top Five Takeaways From the 2016 NFL Championship Weekend

A Look at the Top Five Takeaways From This Weekend in the NFL

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And just like that, there were two. The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are off to Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50. It’s going to be a battle between the league’s number one scoring offense and number one overall defense and I can’t wait to watch. Now, because I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath, we’re going to take a look at the top five takeaways from NFL Championship Weekend 2016. 

 

Top Five Takeaways From the 2016 NFL Championship Weekend

USA TODAY Sports

1. Peyton Manning is the greatest of all time. 

Quashing his demons one last time, Manning won what will likely be his last dance with Tom Brady (and yes, this week’s Sports Illustrated cover will be hanging on the wall in my house soon), becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to take multiple teams to the Super Bowl multiple times. Is he the #18 of ten years ago when he won his first ring? No. Can he do it one more time? I say yes. 

 

2. The Arizona Cardinals have to learn to follow through. 

For two years running, Bruce Arians’s Cardinals have been right in the thick of the playoff race, then lost badly when it matters most. If this team wants to prove that it’s truly deserving of a Super Bowl berth, follow through is critical. Most of the blame lies squarely on Carson Palmer’s shoulders, but there’s certainly room for postseason improvement across the board. 

 

3. It’s time to start taking the Carolina Panthers seriously.

I know, I know. The Panthers had a great season, but their schedule was easy and their wins were messy. It’s been tough to take them really seriously until they routed both the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs. They’ll have their work cut out for them against Von Miller and Denver’s D on February 7, though. It should be one for the ages. 

 

4. Von Miller is a beast.

I adore Miller (and his spectacles) and I figured he’d have a big game yesterday. What he ended up doing, though, was legendary. Miller (and his teammates, to be fair) laid the smack down on Tom Brady, leading their team to a berth in the biggest game of the century. I’d say Denver’s D has its swag back. 

 

5. The New England Patriots got through a playoff game without a scandal. 

…and they lost. This is more a reflection of the Broncos’ ability to get to Tom Brady (and to catch his passes), but it is a bit telling in the wake of Deflategate. With the league cracking down on ball inflation and other issues, it’ll be interesting to see how the Pats fare in future postseason contests. Just an observation. 

 

Honorable Mention: Bank of America Field needs higher railings (apparently). 

If you were rooting for the Arizona Cardinals yesterday like we were in my house (sorry, Cam), the best  part of the game was watching a fan fall head over heels onto the field while trying to high five Luke Kuechly. If you missed it, go look it up. You’ll need to clear about fifteen minutes so you can watch it on repeat 75 times. Fair warning. 

 

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