Sunday, January 2, 2011


It's that time of year again.  All the match-ups for the 2011 NFL Playoffs are set (except for one, but as will be discussed later, that is irrelevant).  As such, I'm going to give my take on the most overrated and underrated teams in each conference as well as my round one picks and some ramblings of a madman.

Overrated - Da Bears.  They play strong defense, and Cutler has been very good this year, but something in the back of my head keeps telling me they aren't the second best team in the conference.  Maybe it's because Cutler is a rich man's Rex Grossman; good Jay/bad Jay?  Maybe it's because I saw the defense get shredded by New England?  Perhaps (and most likely), it's because I saw Buffalo hang with them for 60 minutes.  Whatever it is, I don't see da Bears making it out of the NFC field (or even to the NFC Championship game).

Honorable Mention - Rams/Seahawks.  I don't care which team wins the NFC West, they are overrated.  In fact, whenever any of the teams from this division wear an NFL logo, they are overrated.  Potential 7-9 division winner?  C'mon man!

Underrated - New Orleans.  It's hard to call the defending Super Bowl champs underrated, but this selection is a study in "process of elimination."  Can't call the first seed underrated.  Perhaps it's because I see Eagles fans wherever I look, and thus, I hear a lot of hype.  They are definitely a solid team, and they may go far, but I don't see them as underrated.  That brings us to the Packers.  All day, I've heard about how they're a dangerous team that nobody wants to face...They're the best number six seed, yada yada yada.  So, that brings us to the Saints.  Haven't heard much about them.  That may be because they have had a solid (11-5) season, but compared to last year's flirtation with perfection, this season has been ho-hum for them.  Don't sleep on them.  They're a VERY dangerous team still.

Honorable Mention - Philly.  I assume that elsewhere in the country, the hype machine isn't as well oiled, so I'll assume they may not be overhyped everywhere in the lower 48.

Overrated - Indianapolis.  This is my hands down choice.  Everyone always seems to assume that Peyton Manning can do it all by himself and can never be counted out.  He's shown that is true to an extent throughout his career, but that defense can still get pushed around, the WRs are banged up, and there is no running game.  The thing that's protected the Indy D in the past is that they were generally playing with a lead. That plays to the defensive strength: speed.  However, with the disappearing act of a running game, there is no offensive balance.  That makes it very difficult to keep defenses honest to get a lead for your fast, but undersized defense.  Are they dangerous still?  Absolutely...They have Peyton.  Are they overrated?  You bet.

Honorable Mention - Pittsburgh.  They're clearly very talented and experienced, but man, are they hyped.  Perhaps that comes from their record six Lobardi Trophies, but I see this as a team that could lose to any team in the AFC field without a major imaginative stretch.  It's worth noting that they would be the fifth seed if Stevie Johnson was a little more serious.

Underrated - Baltimore.  I again could be wrong, but I just get the impression that this team is very capable of coming out and smashing teams right in the jaw.  Ray Rice is a match-up nightmare for any defensive coordinator, and there are some wily vets at WR who just know how to get open.  Add in that Ed Reed is coming on strongly of late, and you get a recipe for a dangerous team.  They haven't received the hype because everyone's always lining up to kiss the Steelers' arses, and they haven't shown the killer instinct we're accustomed to seeing (think back to last year's wildcard round).  If they find that, they'll make a deep run.

Honorable Mention - Kansas City.  I'm not picking them to do much (in large part because of their first round draw...they'd be my upset pick if they'd been facing Indy or the Jets), and that fact weighs heavily into my decision.  This team can run on anyone, and they play some pretty solid defense most of the time.  They'll be a very tough team as the young players gain more experience, but for now, I'm sticking with underrated.  They'll be a handful, and they've got nothing to lose.

Saints at Rams/Seahawks - Saints, and as noted above, there is no correlation between my choice and the first round opponent.  They have the experience edge and the talent's not close in either category.

Jets at Colts - Jets.  They match up against the Colts very well (although I bet the Colts are happy that San Diego didn't make the cut).  They will run the ball, and their corners will make for slim pickin's for Peyton.  If the Jets play up to their talent level, they win this game.

Ravens at Chiefs - Ravens.  I wouldn't want to go to KC for round one, but I'd rather do that than sit at home (my team makes me die a little inside every year).  I like this to be a good game (possibly the second best of the weekend), and it will be played in the style I love to watch: smash mouth football.  Can't wait to watch it, but in the end, I think the Chiefs are still a year or two away.

Packers at Eagles - Packers.  This is far and away the most difficult one to choose, and I hope you (you know who you are) can forgive me for this pick.  I know that Vick set Green Bay ablaze earlier this year after Kolb was knocked silly.  However, the Packers are no joke, and now, they'll be game planning for Vick.  This will however be an incredible game to watch, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Philly move on.

Last Notes 

- I'm sitting here torn trying to decide for whom to root tonight.  As much as I hate that little dweeb cheerleader, Pete Carroll, it would be fun to see a 7-9 division winner.  Either way, it's a blessing for both the Rams and the Seahawks that whoever moves on will have a home game...It would be very cramped on the short bus these teams would undoubtedly be taking to a road game.

- If the Super Bowl winds up being played by both number two seeds, I'll give up red meat and bacon for a month.



  1. These St. Louis receivers couldn't catch the plague in 14th century Europe. If I'm Sam Bradford, I use the off-season to put flaming bags of dog poop on their front porches.


  2. Remember that they were so bad, Mark Clayton was an upgrade. Mark Clayton was one of the worst starting WRs in the NFL last year. Still it's always nice to see history. The Seattle Seahawks may stand tall as the only 7-9 division champions for quite some time, especially if we go 18 game schedule.

  3. Those comments on Clayton sound like they come from a Baltimore fan...someone with intimate knowledge of his skills and weaknesses.

    The 7-9 thing makes me wonder whether that division is capable of a 6-10 division champ next year. I give it a 1% chance.


  4. If you told me I'd have gotten three picks correct, I wouldn't have guessed that the one I got wrong would be the Saints/Seahawks game.