FanPost

The Playoffs Muddy Crystal Ball

Winter is now upon us like days of sunlight scattered in the wind, replaced with distant memories of warmer times.    So too are the days of the regular season, as the NFL's ultimate challenge starts this weekend.  The Playoffs.  Let's cue up the voice of John Facenda, sprinkle in some bad weather and get ready for some football.  .    Life in the NFL is a funny thing, one second you are out of the playoffs and praying for a miracle to get back in, than by some crazy turn fate winks her eye and you are in the big dance.  Here are my observations for the AFC.   The Colts walked a fine line between winning and losing's all year long and still got their custom 12 to 13 wins.  While teetering with perfection they spit in the face of the 72 Dolphins and tossed history to the curb for individual awards.  But here is the thing; anytime you have "Cut that meat" Manning leading your team into battle, be sure that you always have a chance to win it all.  On the flip side, with roughly three weeks layoff in between their first real test, the Colts in the past have fared horribly when presented with such a luxury.   Welcome to Catch-22 Bill Polian, hope it was worth it.  The Chargers were discounted in the beginning of the season for their lackluster play and were left for dead.  But like a burning phoenix rising from lethargy, they have torn up the NFL behind the rocket arm of Phillip Rivers and a revived defense.  As much as the Colts are the number one seed, it surely feels like the Chargers are the top dog. With the Chargers being Manning and the Colts kryptonite the past couple of years, it is fair to say that the road to the Super Bowl clearly goes through San Diego.   The Patriots fall in line next with the number three seed.  They have been battling inconsistency all year and are constantly reminded and compared to the 2007 team.  Let's start by saying that they are nowhere near that team, period.  I am glad they are not that team, 18-1 with no Super Bowl is not a recipe for success.  I would have rather them go in like the 2001 team and grind games out and bring home the Super Bowl, than have a flashy offense with gaudy numbers but with nothing to show but a stupid 16-0 banner. The Pats are still struggling to find their identity and with Brady's security blanket gone, aka Wes Welker, the Patriots must try to morph into a more balanced team and lean on the running game, or should I say lack of.  With the presence of Belichick, Brady and Moss still lurking on the sideline, this team is still dangerous, but not like the teams from years past that we have come accustomed to.  Next up, the Bengals.  Let's hope for all you "Who Dat" fans out there, that Sunday's night game against the Jets was simply an anomaly, a hiccup along the way to Lombardy's trophy.  We have seen all year that the Bengals have a nasty defense that can produce turnovers in bunches along with a grind it out running offense led by Cedric Benson.  If the Bengals hope to advance past their first round, they need to step up their game and show the world that these are not the Bungles from old.  With two teams left, let's go with the Ravens.  This is a dangerous team that can grind out the football and play suffocating defense.  The one question on everyone's mind is which Ravens team are we going to see?   The one that beat the Chargers in week two and started out 3-0 or the team that struggled with consistency all year never able to make the big play.  This is a different Ravens defense than what we are used too.  The corners are no-names, the linebackers have lost a step and Ed Reed has battled injuries.  That being said, the Ravens were in every game this year including almost beating Indy.  Last but not least, the J-E-T-S.  It's funny; I am surprised how excited the Jets players and their fans are about getting into the playoffs to get a chance at winning the Super Bowl.  According to Bart Scott, Kerry Rhodes and Kris Jenkins, back in week two they won their Super Bowl by beating the Patriots?  The Jets motto should change from Just End The Season to Just End The Speeches; we are all tired of hearing from Rex. 

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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