It’s about that time in sports when the NFL starts its Playoff games. With the NFC & AFC teams being solidified and the rounds are going to be under way. It was a great season, a season in which many milestones were achieved.
The New York Football Giants had a pair of 1,000 yard rushers for only the 4th time in NFL history. The Detroit Lions gained the title of the only team in NFL history to lose 16 games in a season. Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens broke his own NFL held record for longest interception return with a 108 yarder against the Eagles. And then the near miss at NFL greatness by Drew Brees who fell only 16 yards short of the most yards thrown for in an NFL season held by none other then the great Dan Marino. (insert Pick of Dan Marino side by side with Drew Brees) But only 12 teams made it to the Playoff Plateau and from here a true champion will be crowned.
The NFC this year was the conference that stood out the most. With the World Champion New York Giants (12-4) taking hold over the number 1 seed and solidifying home field advantage throughout the entire playoffs, and the Carolina Panthers (12-4) grabbing hold of the number 2 seed to get a first round bye. However, the trend between these two top tier NFC teams was the imposing ground attacks both displayed. The Giants have the Earth, Wind and Fire Trio (Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw, respectively) that absolutely dominated other opposing teams run defenses. Jacobs used his brute strength and devastating hits to really soften up the defense and then Ward with his great field vision, speed and great hands to catch defenses off guard and Bradshaw was supplemented in from time to time to really go for the “home run” against teams who just couldn’t catch there breathe. Now the Panthers had the Smash & Dash combo of Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to basically do the same. Where Williams chewed up defenses with his ability to turn plays to the outside and his elite speed to leave defenders tackling air. Where as Stewart is the prototypical goal line back who will never be denied from within the 5 yard line. Also these two teams have stingy defenses who absolutely take over games and make the life of opposing quarterbacks hell.
Also a part of the NFC playoffs picture are the Red Hot Atlanta Falcons (11-5) who being led by Rookie of the Year Matt Ryan have been making there place among the NFC elite known this year. Also WR Roddy White has made a name for himself this year leaving many people thinking he is a top 5 wide receiver in the league. The Falcons who are In a wild card match up against the Arizona Cardinals (9-7) who have one of the top receiving corps with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin with sure handed slot receiver Steve Breaston rounding them out, are just absolutely carving up defensive secondaries. Also finely aged QB Kurt Warner makes this team a high flying thrill ride that could very well upset the Falcons if they are all on point.
Then Finally you have the Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1) who have caught fire as of late after the 44-6 dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles have one of the best quarterbacks under center in Donovan Mcnabb and one of the best running backs when healthy out of Brian Westbrook. When these 2 are on top of there games they form the one of the best tandems in football. With rookie WR Desean Jackson as a top receiving threat on the Eagles Roster they could very well have found there swagger. However, the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) will try to put some water on the Eagles fire. The Vikings have the best running back in football in Adrian Petersen who can run, cut, catch, block and if they really needed him to I bet he could throw a couple of passes. The guy is the best back bar none in football and his yards he has put up the last two years bolsters this opinion. With a guy like Petersen toting the rock anything is possible and he could be the x-factor that pushes the Vikings to victory. Also with an emergence out of the receiving end of things comes Bernard Berrian and his fantastic speed up the sideline also Visanthe Shiancoe has sprung out of nowhere to become a formidable TE.
My personal opinion is that the Falcons lay waste to the Cardinals and the Eagles have a hard fought battle against the Vikings. Then the Panthers take it to the Falcons in the second round and go on to the NFC title Game. The Giants have a great game against the Eagles and emerge as the winner to play the Panthers. Now in the NFC championship game and a repeat of the amazing week 16 match up the Giants and Panthers, beat each other up and the Giants however take home the NFC crown thanks to the HOME CROWD help.
The AFC was rather unusual this year with the teams that came out on top. The Tennessee Titans (13-3) make a case as the best team in football behind one of the best Defenses around. With veterans like Keith Bulluck and Albert Haynesworth stuffing the run harder than a turkey on thanksgiving, not many teams could handle the punishment these guys dished out. Cortland Finnegan totally shutting down opposing teams number one receivers they have proven to be maybe the top defensive team in football. However the Titans have a well rounded set of Running Backs. Chris Johnson the rookie sensation is just showing how he could possibly be the fastest running back in the NFL with his supreme field awareness he is a total asset to the titans success. Lendale White has established himself as one of the best Goal line Vultures in the NFL by racking up touchdown after touchdown in the red-zone.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) without a doubt are the best defensive team in the NFL with the titans close behind. With Troy Polamalu as the safety who hits people with reckless abandonment and also has some of the stickiest hands for a defensive back makes the Steelers have that amazing aura of your not tougher than us. Also with Linebackers such as James Harrison and Lamar Woodley gobbling up Quarterbacks like its nothing puts an absolute fear in the opposing team’s offensive lines and QB’s. However there Offense is just as capable with Roethlisberger slinging the pigskin and Hines Ward Receiving you never know when this team will go off on a tear.
Also for the first round of wildcard match ups you have the Indianapolis Colts (12-4) who have the best quarterback in football out of Peyton Manning just taking it to opposing teams. Manning is the best thing going for the colts on offense but with a wideout like Reggie Wayne and TE like Dallas Clark, a stigma for greatness is easily obtained. The colts are Okay on the Defense when Bob Sanders isn’t there but when Sanders is heathly they are really good. Sanders adds run support that no other safety in the league can. With two book ends out of Dwight Freeney and Rashean Mathis you never know how many sacks this defense could have in a day. They are up against the San Diego Chargers (8-8) who should not even be in the playoffs and I’m leaving it at that.
In the other matchup you have the Baltimore Ravens (11-5) who have a solid rookie qb out of Joe “Cool” Flacco and a nice running back by committee out of Willis Mcgahee and Leron McClain as well as Ray Rice. But the Ravens Dazzle on defense as always. With Ray Lewis, Haoli Ngata and Ed Reed they just lay waste to any and all offensive attacks. They are matched up against the Miami Dolphins (11-5). They are the Diamond in the Rough this playoff and will be a force. Chad Pennington has revived his career and is a true leader on the gridiron. With Ronnie Brown running the “wildcat” offense he can explode at any time and Anthony Fasano just making it look easy at TE makes teams wonder what they are really capable of. Joey Porter anchors the Miami Defense and Porter just makes offensive lines look stupid as he racks up sack after sack after sack. My personal opinion is that the Colts oust the Chargers sending them packing and Tomlinson can watch the rest of the playoffs on his vizio.
Then the Dolphins continue there streak behind defensive minded coach Tony Sparano and give Flacco headaches. Then I think the Colts play a tough battle against a stingy Titans team but pull out a win. And the Dolphins lose this game to the Steelers who turn the Wildcat into a Kitten. Then the Colts clash with the Steelers and lose on the power and presence of Peyton Manning and Co.
Overall, The Superbowl will be a “MANNING EVENT” and the two teams beat the ever loving crap out of each other just in time for little brother Eli to step out of Peyton’s shadow and capture his 2nd ring in as many years. I would love to hear some comments on this post and your own personal opinions. Let me know what you think by commenting below this post.