This whole playoff thing is simple. For the Jets and Ravens to make it they just need to win, and for the Broncos to win, all that has to happen is for about a million different things to happen and there are scenarios in which they can lose and still make it. Ok, so maybe we don’t have this thing down, but it is really just way too complicated to bother talking about. Check ESPN if you want a real breakdown of the scenarios, but all i know is that when they line it up on Sunday, several teams are alive, but if the Jets and Ravens win then it is all set.
And for those of you wondering, I am passing on commenting on the whole Colts 16-0 thing for now. I need to see how the team responds in Buffalo before I decide if Caldwell misread his players or if it was purely tactical. I just don’t know yet. I think that the city of Indianapolis wants to tear Bill Polian limb from limb, but he helped get us where we are and I turust him 100%. No comment on the 16-0 thing for now but I definitely will in the upcoming weeks.
To be honest, I dislike all the talk about the different scenarios. Granted, I have it good with the Colts and have not been in a difficult scenario, but who can really memorize all those scenarios? If your team wins, know you have a shot and leave it that. I know the Broncos have scenarios where they lose, but really, just know that if your team wins they have a shot and leave it at that. Let’s move on though, that gets old fast.
The Colts are locked in as the #1 seed and the Chargers are locked in as the #2 seed. If the Patriots beat the Texans,
then they get the #3 seed and the Bengals will be the #4 seed unless the Patriots lose and they win. I think it is fairly safe to pencil these teams into their current slot which leads us to the Wild Card spot. Do you think any of the Wild Card teams has a shot at contending? I know I don’t even though Baltimore and Pittsburgh seem dangerous. I think both those teams can compete with the Patriots or Bengals but I give them no shot against either the Chargers or Colts due to their tendency to give up big plays. So despite what happens, I think you can generally discount the AFC’s Wild Card teams. We will get to picks in a bit, but if you have the attention span of a 5 year old you can scroll to the bottom.
The Saints are the #1 seed, this much we know for sure. The Eagles control their own destiny for the #2 seed, but my inner psychic tells me they will lose to the Cowboys this week. This would give the #2 seed to the sliding Vikings, assuming they can beat the equally sliding Giants. I would personally pencil the Vikings into the #2 seed, but I am not sure it will matter. The Cardinals will probably be the #3 or #4 seed depending on what happens on Sunday, but the more important thing is that they play the Packers this week. That makes two juicy matchups within the NFC playoff teams this week with both technically having a shot at being first round matchups. When watching the games, keep this in mind because you will see nothing too interesting out of either team from not wanting to give anything away to their opponent. The Eagles and Cowboys will slug it out because they do not like each other, but do not be surprised to see heavy doses of Ryan Grant and Beanie Wells and perhaps also a rare Matt Leinart sighting. It will not be a very interesting game if both teams play it close to the vest, but in the playoff matchup, I like the streaking Packers. No team is hotter than them right now and they have patched up their holes. At least we all know who the teams involved will be.
So we do not know the exact teams involved, but we can take a look at the teams to watch and what to watch in them.
Colts- The best team in football assuming they can play a good half against the Bills. A great offense, a better than advertised defense and a guy playing quarterback who wears #18.
Chargers- Scary good right now and nearly unstoppable on offense. Rivers is easily one of the top 5 QBs in the league,Vincent Jackson is phenomenally underrated and the defense can hold its own with most teams.
Patriots- The offense is always potent, but their defense leaves a lot to be desired. I would never bet against Belichick in the playoffs, but they will need to step it up on D to contend.
Bengals- Not the high-flying team that last made the playoffs, but a hard-nosed defensive team who will bludgeon you then work you over through the air with Ocho and Coles. I really like them but if they get into a shootout, I am not sure they can keep up.
Wild Card 1 & 2- The Ravens and Steelers could cause the Pats and Bengals problems, but I would not bet on either to make a serious run. Neither team is bad, but both are too inconsistent to beat the Colts or Chargers should they win their first round matchup.
Saints- The high-flying offense has been stuck in the bayou mud lately and that home loss to TB hurt. They NEED a win this week or they will be out quicker than you can say “Who Dat”.
Eagles– They may not be the #2 seed, but they are clearly better than the Vikings right now. This Cowboys-Eagles game will be huge. The loser has to figure things out going into Wild Card week, and the other gets to ride the momentum into the playoffs.
Vikings- Few teams have looked sicker over the past few weeks and all those things about Favre being bad in December look pretty legitimate despite his comeback against the Bears. I wouldn’t like their chances in the playoffs if they had to play an outdoor game (like in Philly) but as it is, it looks like a 50-50 chance they will have to. If they don’t win this week they will be cooked.
Cardinals- Always a tough team to defend and the defense has been playing well, but it looks like they are going to have a buzzsaw on their hands regardless of if they play the Packers or Cowboys in the first round. I like their team, but not their chances.
Cowboys- I cannot hype the Eagles-Cowboys game enough, but all that December talk has dissipated faster tha
n the Roy Williams in Dallas hype. Their three-headed rushing attack is among the best in the game and they are built for the playoffs.
Packers- All their early season problems are suddenly gone and Rodgers is putting up numbers that few QBs in theleague are capable of. The offensive line is looking more like cheddar than swiss lately and the Cheesehead faithful have got to be loving their team’s chances. If only Al Harris and Aaron Kampman were healthy id consider putting them on the list of Super Bowl contenders.
How it will go down
The Colts and Chargers are the only real teams to watch in the AFC, as far as I can tell and I sadly see the Chargers once again getting the best of the Colts and making it to the Super Bowl. As a Colts fan I hate the Chargers and I hate their punk QB Philip Rivers, but as a football fan I am scared to death of that offense and their excellent QB, not to mention their history against the Colts. HOWEVER, watch out for the “Everyone’s Pick” backlash. If too many people start to pick them they will inevitably fail.
In the NFC, I cannot like the Saints or Vikings chances given their recent struggles, so I will go in another direction. Whoever wins the Eagles-Cowboys game this Sunday is Miami-bound for the Super Bowl. Sorry Cardinals and Packers fans, I like both your teams, but it won’t happen.
I am not sure who is going to win that key Sunday game but I feel the Eagles are a little better suited for a playoff run, so I will take them in the NFC.
Early Super Bowl Prediction
Eagles 27, Chargers 23
But frankly, who really knows? Don’t be surprised to see a Cardinals-Bengals Super Bowl, but that is why we love the playoffs: They are unpredictable.