For anyone who read the previous iteration of this idea I had, you know I took the 6 best teams in each conference that didn’t make the playoffs and pitted them against each other in a runner’s up NIT style tournament. Unfortunately, I did this a week or so before being informed about the fantastic What if Sports. In version 1.0, I picked all the games myself – and as we all know, I have a tendency to be a bit daft at times. So, without further ado here is what would have REALLY happened in the 2007 NFL NIT Tournament.
First off, let’s take a look at the seeds:
The first part of this series will detail the Wild Card games. As stated before, all games will be simulated using http://whatifsports.com and normal NFL playoff seeding/home field advantage rules. Standing injuries from the end of the season and who was starting will be taken into account (e.g.: unfortunately for the Ravens, Troy Smith will be leading them at QB through the tournament). Also, I took a look at the average temperature in the given home cities during January and rolled dice for precipitation (1, 3, meant there was precipitation with 1 being light, 3 moderate and factored in wind with the given precipitation… I’m a dork, I know this).
(6) Baltimore @ (3) Buffalo (25 degrees, clear skies)
The first game of the NFL NIT playoffs proved to be a thrilling one, with overtime needed to decide a victor. With less than six minutes to go in the 4 th quarter and Troy Smith bowing out of the game with an injury, Kyle Boller led his team 53 yards for a touchdown as well as the 2 point conversion to tie it at 21. Baltimore’s defense couldn’t hold Buffalo in overtime though, allowing a 29 yarder by Ryan Lindell to catapult the Bills into the NIT Divisional round with a 24-21 victory.
Player of the game: Trent Edwards 20/29 298 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
(5) Detroit @ (4) Carolina (40 degrees, clear skies)
Although this game got off to a slow start in the first half the second half could go down as perhaps the best in the NFL NIT history. Down 10-6 at the half, Carolina stormed right out the gate, quickly making it 13-10. Each team would go back and forth scoring on each consecutive drive. At the 1:30 minute mark, Detroit was up 31-10. Veteran Vinny Testaverde (filling in for an injured Matt Moore) would have none of that – marching the team down field and allowing John Kasay to knock through a 42 yarder to send the Panthers into the next round.
Player of the game: Vinny Testaverde 19/28 267 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT
(6) Chicago @ (3) Arizona (70 degrees, clear skies)
Although they were only up 10-3 at halftime, the Cardinals wasted no time in the second half cushioning their lead. Two unanswered touchdowns and a field goal later, the score was 27-3 and although the Bears mounted somewhat of a comeback, scoring 10 more points of their own, they were never really in it. Both Kurt Warner and Edgerrin James had great days and it seemed they could score at will. The Cardinals won this one without too much difficulty 30-13.
Player of the game: Anquan Boldin 8 receptions 165 yards, 2 TDs
(5) Denver @ (4) Cincinnati (25 degrees, flurries, light wind)
Although rallying to within 3 points after being down by 18 with less than eight minutes left, the Denver Broncos just couldn’t get the ball back at the end of the game to tie it up. Cincinnati appeared to have the game in hand 31-13 at the eight minute mark of the fourth quarter, trying to cruise through the rest of the game. The Bengals almost let the Broncos back in it, although in the end, they were too much for Mike Shanahan’s team. The Bengals complete the Wild Card round favorites sweep 31-28.
Player of the game: Carson Palmer 21/35 289 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
NFL NIT Divisional Round Matchups:
(4) Cincinnati @ (1) Cleveland
(3) Buffalo @ (2) Houston
(4) Carolina @ (1) Philadelphia
(3) Arizona @ (2) Minnesota