Quick Hits Before the NFL Playoffs


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Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, in a game against the Washington Redskins on December 8, 2019. (image via WikiMedia Commons)

By Eric Jensen, Sports Writer


The NFL playoffs are here. So let’s take a look around the league and categorize the teams that have made the NFL postseason.

The Favorites: Teams that Should Win it All

Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints.

The Chiefs are perhaps the most loaded offense in the NFL. They have scorers that can beat you at every position and a QB that again almost effortlessly put up a 38 touchdown season. Patrick Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes and threw only six interceptions. The Chiefs defense is also humming right now. The last time all the starters played, they racked up sacks in Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons. Frank Clark and Chris Jones are one of the most terrifying pass rush duos in the entire dance. Sure, the AFC has the high-flying Bills and Ravens, but this conference still belongs to the Chiefs until someone knocks them out.

The Packers have Aaron Rodgers. That is all they need. He is the no-doubt MVP, All-Pro, and best QB in the entire league. A man who can simply not be stopped right now. It is far too easy for the Packers’ offense right now. Who exactly is going to stop them? I don’t see a single team that can stop this high-flying passing attack. X factor- rookie RB AJ Dillon who exploded in Week 16 and looks like a truly difference-making back. The Packers have the coach in Matt LaFleur and an endless supply of weapons.

The Saints are in this category simply because of the fight they have put up the past month. Despite a banged up Drew Brees and losing Alvin Kamara (potentially in the wild card round) to COVID-19, they have racked up yards and points down the stretch. Not to mention they probably boast the best defense in the entire dance right now. This is it for Drew Brees, reports have said as much, now is the time for Saints’ head coach Sean Payton to coach past the heartbreaking finishes of playoff years past. The Saint’s time to win is now.

The Berserkers: Wildcard Teams that Can Make Deep Runs

Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bills finished their season on a massive hot streak. With the defense coming into its own and the offense averaging 40 points per game over the final five games of the season. Let’s look at what could hold Buffalo back: a lack of playoffs experience for Josh Allen, who has only played in one playoff game in his career thus far. That and the fact the Bills don’t really have a running game. Former Ute Zack Moss has just not clicked in that system yet, despite the occasional flash, he can not be counted on as a weapon. That’s it as far as weaknesses go, though.

The Ravens enter the playoffs hot as well. The running game is moving again. In fact, they put up an NFL record 404 yards on the ground in their Week 17 matchup. They have the ingredients to beat the Chiefs and the Bills, a high-quality clock-killing offense. Not to mention that despite a lack of passing weapons, Lamar Jackson has been pinpoint accurate over the final stretch of the season. Jackson boasts 44-66 passes completed through the final three games of the regular season: a 66 percent completion percentage and among the best in the league.

The Buccaneers are a team on offensive fire. That is what all berserkers have in common, they can win a shoot out with anyone and this is especially true of ageless wonder Tom Brady. Not to mention Rob Gronkowski has played out of his mind as well over the past month and a half at tight end.

The Coin Flips: Teams that Could Win it All or Go Down in Flames

Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

What could go well for the Titans: The offense continues to look like one of the best in the NFL hands down. Derrick Henry keeps opposing offenses off the field, and Ryan Tannehill beats teams in shootouts on a run to the AFC Championship game.

What could go wrong: The defense could continue to be the worst in the NFL and completely crumble in every situation they face against high-quality AFC offenses like the Bills, Ravens, and Chiefs.

What could go well for the Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could regain his arm strength. The running game could get going and the Steeler’s incredible wideouts could stop dropping passes. The defense could get it together and stop teams from gashing them on the ground, and TJ Watt could continue to perform like a defensive all-pro at linebacker.

What could go wrong: The exact opposite of everything just written, which has been happening for the past month and a half.

What could go well for the Seahawks: Russell Wilson could wake up and so could offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. They could both remember Wilson is one of the greatest QB talents of the past ten years. They could once again let him throw the ball, and the Seahawks could lean on an improved defense to make a run to the Super Bowl.

What could go wrong: The offensive line could completely break down as it has over the past two months of the season. DK Metcalf could keep getting double teamed at wide receiver and continue to be held down every week despite an all-star start. Russell Wilson is simply not immune to criticism at QB he has not been an aggressive enough passer over the past two months. The Seahawks are wasting the prime of an all-time great. They need to get it figured out and fast.

The Underdogs: Scrappy Wild Card Teams that Could Win a Game or Two

Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts

Browns: In the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. COVID-19 has wrecked them though as they will be without guard Joel Bitonio and will not be coached by Kevin Stefanski, their head coach has also been put on the COVID list.

Rams: QB Jared Goff has not been good this year, and he is not fully expected to play this weekend. Despite a good team, the Rams lack a QB.

Colts: QB Philip Rivers last run. Paired with a defense playing at the height of its powers, look out this could be the NFL’s Cinderella story this year.

The Unfortunates: Just Here for a Good Time

These teams are probably going to dip out after wild card weekend and spend more time with their families. The Chicago Bears and Washington Football teams are in the playoffs, one, because the playoffs are expanded to seven teams this year and two because someone had to win the abysmal NFC East. See you next year.

Jensen’s Conference Title and Super Bowl Picks

AFC: Ravens 38 Chiefs 35

NFC: Packers 31 Saints 21

Super Bowl: Packers 41 Ravens 28


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