NFL Playoff Rundown: Who Win’s It All, and Why?

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Published: January 2, 2012

Super-Bowl-2012

NFL Playoff Preview:

Who’s Got Enough to Win the Super Bowl? 

It’s time to break down the NFL playoff teams and discuss what will be their route toward victory or what will ultimately be their downfall. Some might seem obvious, others maybe not so much, but here is NFL Playoff Rundown to each team that could make a run toward the Lombardi trophy.

AFC

 

New EnglandNew England Patriots

  • They win because . . . Tom Brady stays healthy and the passing game stays as lethal as it has been for the entire season. No team – maybe in the history of the league – utilizes the tight end better than the Patriots have this season and you still have Wes Welker to worry about.
  • They lose because . . . The defense stinks. True they have not given up as many points as some other teams, but offenses have gone up and down the field on them all season. If they get into a game where Brady and company are slowed down even a little, they could be in for a short playoff run.

BaltimoreBaltimore Ravens

  • They win because . . . They are allowed to play Ravens football. Although the defense doesn’t get the headlines of a few years ago, it is still pretty good. Like third in the league good. That Ray Rice guy is pretty good too. They have tried to even things out the last few years, but this team is still built on defense and running the ball. They are allowed to do that, they win.
  • They lose because . . . They have to play out of character. If they have to play from behind or if they turn the ball over they will have to put the game on Joe Flacco’s shoulders. Flacco has gotten better every year, but the Ravens lose when Rice is not the most effective offensive player on the Ravens. Take the running game out of the offense and the Ravens fall.

HoustonHouston Texans

  • They win because . . . They play like the Ravens. They play great defense and pound with the running game. The Texans have the best one two running back duo in the league and a defense that ranks second in the league in yards allowed.
  • They lose because . . . They get poor quarterback play. Week 17 Yates was hurt early, nothing serious, but enough to force the Texans to insert Jake Delhomme into the game. Either it’ll be lack of experience from Yates or lack of ability from Delhomme, one way or another this team has a weak link.

DenverDenver Broncos

  • They win because . . . They play outstanding defense and the opponent’s offense doesn’t show up. If they have great games running the ball, and the defense plays like it has most of the season, they’ll have a chance.
  • They lose because . . . Not to state the obvious, but because of the caliber of quarterback. Tim Tebow has been a great story and John Fox should win Coach of the Year for how he was able to get this team to the playoffs, but this offense can’t score enough points to succeed in the playoffs.

PittsburghPittsburgh Steelers

  • They win because . . . Their defense dominates the way it can and Big Ben is healthy enough to be effective. They have been solid throwing the ball all season.
  • They lose because . . . They can’t stay healthy on offense. The running game is going to take a step back with the loss of Rashard Mendenhall. The passing game could be fragile as well with as beat up Roethlisberger has been – one big hit and the offense is crippled.

CincinnatiCincinnati Bengals

  • They win because . . . I hate to sound like a broken record, but they win if their defense can keep them in the game. The Bengal defense has played well all year. If they can keep them in the game and allow the offense to run the ball and take some pressure off rookie Andy Dalton, they can advance.
  • They lose because . . . They fall behind or turn the ball over. As much praise as Dalton and fellow rookie A.J. Green have deservedly received this year, the fact is outside of Denver they have the least effective offense in the AFC field. This offense is not ready to consistently comeback against top teams.

NFC

Green BayGreen Bay Packers

  • They win because . . . The offense keeps humming right along. For my money Aaron Rodgers has had the best season of any quarterback this year. Most years that would be a no brainer, but a couple other guys have had ridiculous years too. That being said the Packers offense has been slowed down once this whole year, I don’t see it happening a second time.
  • They lose because . . . Before the Lions’ game I was going to say if Rodgers goes down, but Matt Flynn made me put that logic to bed. The real reason the Pack lose is the defense. There has been many games that have proved that there are holes against explosive offensive opponents.

San FranciscoSan Francisco 49er's

  • They win because . . . The defense continues to dominate and Alex Smith continues to play within himself. Smith has made great strides this year, but if he tries to do too much, or if the defense slips up just a little, the offenses in this field will kill you.
  • They lose because . . . The offense can’t control the clock with the running game and the defense is not dominating. A team like the 49ers needs to play solid in all phases. Even a sub-par special teams game will doom the team by the Bay.

New OrleansNew Orleans Saints

  • They win because . . . Not to state the obvious, but they simply out score you. If Drew Brees is allowed to pick apart even a top defense he will. They have shown this season that they have no remorse and will pound you into submission if you can’t stop them.
  • They lose because . . . The offense can’t keep up its pace. Weather could be a big factor for the Saints. They will have to go into possibly windy San Francisco and then potentially cold and snowy Green Bay. If they can deal with the elements, The Saints could end up in the Super Bowl.

New York

  • They win because . . . Eli Manning continues to play at a high level. The defense has played well for stretches this season. The running game has had its moments, but the whole team has been inconsistent this year. The one steadying factor has been Manning.
  • They lose because . . . The defense can’t do enough to keep them in the game. Manning has brought his team back in the fourth quarter a lot this year, but that won’t last long in the playoffs, especially on the road where they will have to play the majority of their games.

AtlantaAtlanta Falcons

  • They win because . . . They realize they need to rely on Matt Ryan and the passing game to support, not supersede Michael Turner and the running game. While improved, the passing game can’t keep up with the other offenses in this field. The Falcon defense certainly can’t.

 

  • They lose because . . . They can’t keep the scoreboard under control. They might not have the offense to win a shoot out against the Giants, much less the Saints or Packers. They fall behind and are forced to abandon the running game, they are in trouble.

DetroitDetroit Lions

  • They win because . . . Their young stars play like it’s a regular season game with the pressure of winning it all. If Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the young Lions stay poised, they have the talent to win a few games in the playoffs.
  • They lose because . . . They show their immaturity. This team is not beyond shooting itself in the foot with stupid penalties. They are a quickly rising team in the NFC, but they are a few pieces away if they don’t control themselves. If they eliminate the stupid penalties they have the talent to hang with anyone in this field.
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