Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NFL Playoffs...

The NFC teams are set in stone even though only the top seeded Saints know who their opponent will be in the first round (they locked up a bye in case you aren't quick enough to keep up). The Eagles currently hold the #2 spot and control their own destiny with that but could wind up as low as the 6th seed with a loss to Dallas this weekend and a couple other teams winning. No need to go into all those scenarios as I am only giving my opinion at the moment. Since all 6 teams are locked in for the NFC, we'll jump right into the AFC mess which reminds me of the NFC wild-card race from last season...

The Ravens & Jets control their fates heading into week 17 and I have to say I like both to win and sneak in as the Jets face the Bengals who have nothing to play for and the Ravens face the Raiders who are very beatable. I know the Raiders have had a couple of good wins this season but I think Johnny Harbaugh will have his troops fired up for this one and will take care of business rather easily. The Jets will face a Bengal team that doesn't really do much for me. Sure they won their division after dispatching the Steelers & Ravens but that seems like such a long time ago and I just don't see them beating anyone in the playoffs and that includes the Ravens. I'm not saying I think the Ravens are a great team and that they are about to make a playoff run but something about the Bengals team relying on defense and running the ball when they have Carson Palmer and Ochocinco doesn't make much sense to me...they just aren't aggressive enough to hang with the big dogs in January.

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that the Patriots & Ravens make it out of the wild-card round in the AFC assuming they don't play each other (again not messing with all the scenarios right now) and then both get discarded in the divisional round so that everyone gets to see the matchup everyone should want to see...Chargers versus Indy in the conference championship. I know the Chargers are something like 4-1 in their last 5 meetings with the Cots and that they took them out of the playoffs last year but I think Peyton pulls it out this time and takes his team back to the Superbowl...I know, call me crazy! Honestly though, I really don't see a 5th or 6th seed going far in the AFC this year. The only "darkhorse" I could see making it would be the Patriots if all is clicking on their offense and the defense can do just enough to slow down the Chargers or Colts. I just hope that doesn't happen as I've seen enough of Tom frickin Brady in the Superbowl.

Flipping over to the NFC, this thing seemed like it was a 2 horse race between the Saints and Vikings only a few short weeks ago, with the Cowgirls seemingly on the brink of another December meltdown and the Cardinals needing everything they had in the tank to beat the Lions, but now the Eagles are flying high, Packers look very tough on both sides of the ball, Tony Romo is playing the best he has ever played this late in the year, the Saints don't look perfect and the Vikings are shitting the bed. At this point, I don't know what to expect so I am going to get crazy here and pick a wild card team to represent the NFC...the Green Bay Packers. I know they may have to win every game on the road to get there, but they just seem to have the best mix of defense, QB play and running game of the 6 teams going to the dance. The Saints could very well get their act together during the bye week and come out looking more like the team that made the Patriots look average on MNF earlier in the year but my gut says if I'm the coach of one of the other NFC playoff teams, the Packers are the one team I'd least like to see in a do or die game right now. I know as an Eagles fan, that's the last team I want to see the Eagles playing right now, including the Saints who would be next on that list.

Given the uncertainty of all the seedings in the NFC until after week 17, I will just rank the teams I feel are most likely to face off against the Colts in the Superbowl. This could all change in a week depending on what happens this Sunday but here it goes...

1. Packers

2. Saints

3. Eagles

4. Cowgirls (I really hope that doesn't happen)

5. Vikings

6. Cardinals

If the Pack make it to the Superbowl, I think they shoot themselves in the foot as one of the most penalized teams in the league and Peyton makes them pay for it...Colts 27, Pack 20...let's see if any of this changes after week 17 but that's what I'm going with for now. I'll run down all the matchups next week once they are set. Happy New Year to all!


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