Friday, January 6, 2012

Postseason Preview: Wildcard Edition

Playoff Overview
     This year's postseason is as much up for grabs as any in the past few years. Each team that earned a first-round bye has a problem that could have them put out before they get to the conference finals. The front-running Green Bay Packers have not been as dominate as of late, The Patriots have a horrible defense, the 49ers have a game manager at quarterback, and the Ravens are wildly inconsistent, with wins against the Steelers and Texans, but losses to the Jaguars and Seahawks. There is no one way to predict who will win the Super Bowl, but simple analysis does reveal one fact: Super Bowl Teams have Pro Bowl Quarterbacks. Since the new millenium began, each quarterback that has won the Super Bowl has, at some point in their career, been voted to the Pro Bowl. Although not all took the trip to Hawaii before their first championship, these players have separated themselves from the pack.

2000: Kurt Warner (4 time Pro Bowler)
2001: Trent Dilfer (1 time Pro Bowler)
2002: Tom Brady (7 time Pro Bowler)
2003: Brad Johnson (2 time Pro Bowler)
2004: Tom Brady
2005: Tom Brady
2006: Ben Roethlisberger (2 time Pro Bowler)
2007: Peyton Manning (11 time Pro Bowler)
2008: Eli Manning (2 time Pro Bowler)
2009: Ben Roethlisberger
2010: Drew Brees (6 time Pro Bowler)
2011: Aaron Rodgers (2 time Pro Bowler)

Going by this logic, there are 6 teams that can win the Super Bowl: Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, New York, and Atlanta. The others may put up a good effort, but will ultimately fall short.

Cincinatti Bengals at Houston Texans
     The Houston Texans have experienced major troubles lately. They finished the season on a three game losing streak, and at times look like a team that should be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. However, these performances are an anomaly, and I fully expect the Texans to come back with a vengeance. Andre Johnson is healthy. Arian Foster and Ben Tate are primed for a big day against a Bengals defense that allowed 191 rushing yards to Ray Rice last week. Texans win this one, 27-17. 

Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
     The New Orleans Saints look like the hottest team in the league coming into these playoffs. Drew Brees is playing the best he's ever played. Colston and Graham are the biggest and baddest receiving tandem in the NFC. Even the running backs have chipped in with more than 160 yards per game over the last 4 weeks. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are poised to have big days against this porous defense, but they are not enough to overwhelm Brees' army. Saints take it, 41-24.

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants
     The New York Giants have the star power to keep up with any team in the league. Superbowl-winning Quarterback? Check. Legitimate number one Wide Receiver? Check. And Check. Top-Tier pass rusher? Check. The Falcons are a great team, with unlimited potential. However, whether it is the fault of the coach or the player, Matt Ryan has never won a playoff game, and I do not expect that to change this year. Giants pull it out, 27-13.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
     The Pittsburgh Steelers have been to the Superbowl 3 times in the past 6 years, but this year it just does not have the same feeling. Roethlisberger has an ankle sprain. Mendenhall just tore his ACL. Ryan Clark's illness does not allow him to compete against the Broncos. Things just look like they are going in a different direction this year. However, they caught a break with this one. Tebow Time has been off-air for the past three weeks, and reality is starting to set in. John Elway was right, we can not be sold on him just yet. Steelers win, 17-10.

No comments:

Post a Comment