NFL Playoff Contenders: How Did They Get Here?
Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have to go down as the most suspect runaway conference champion ever. It can be argued that they won a lot of their games because their opponents expected them to kinda suck more than they did. If they win a playoff game (just one), those thoughts will fade quickly.
Green Bay Packers. Like a lot of teams the Pack have battled injuries all season long. Unlike any other team, they have a phenomenal QB that many thought was having an "off year" by his standards. All Aaron Rodgers has done is throw 35 touchdowns and only 8 picks for a QB rating of 106.2. He's the reason they are where they are. He's in for a brawl in Minnesota this coming Sunday. The question is, how much does Green Bay want that #2 seed?
San Francisco 49ers. They beat the Packers at Green Bay and New England at New England, which looks good on any resume. They've had their low points too. And there's not a team out there that doesn't want to wallop ultra-arrogant coach Jim Harbaugh.
Washington Redskins. RG III. Alfred Morris and a good D has helped, but Robert Griffin III has been the difference from day one. It's amazing to think that they could still miss the playoffs. If they're in, is there any team that wants to play them?
Seattle Seahawks. If you win every single game at home you have a very good chance of making the playoffs. Those replacement refs and that Russell Wilson guy were pretty influential too.
Minnesota Vikings. NFL MVP Adrian Peterson. The guy has done it all. Question is, does he have one last big game in the tank? Vikes beat the Pack on Sunday and they're in. A loss and they'll need a whole lot more than Purple Jesus to make the playoffs.
Chicago Bears. The Bears have managed to win nine games despite having Mike Tice as an offensive coordinator. In that way they are pure magic. A Vikes loss and Chicago win against Detroit (no given) and they are in.
Dallas Cowboys. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have been huge, but are they enough to make up for Tony Romo in a must-win game in late December?
New York Giants. The Giants are already filling out their organ donor cards. Funny thing is, if they manage to beat Philadelphia (a big "if") they could still sneak in with losses by Minnesota, Dallas, and Chicago. The reasons they are where they are many: lackluster pass rush, erratic Eli, nicked-up Nicks, grounded ground game, poor play-calling, the list goes on and on.
Enjoy Week 17, all!