December 29th, 2013
The New Orleans Saints suffered a disappointing loss to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Yet they still have a chance to avoid being the Wild Card and win the division. Recent history has shown that Wild Card teams have had success in the playoffs and have even won the Super Bowl including the 2010 Packers and 2007 Patriots. So that raises the question, are teams better off being the surprise Wild Card team? And which playoff teams will show up and surprise people by making it to MetLife Stadium?
Cincinnati Bengals -- This team has had their struggles especially on the road this year but at home there are very dangerous team. Andy Dalton has been putting up good numbers with a career high 33 touchdowns, and AJ Green is still very productive. The defense is also playing at a high level despite some key injuries. This week they have a crucial match up to wrap up the regular season up versus the Ravens. They need to win and have New England lose to the Buffalo Bills. If that happens they will be the #2 seed and for the first time in a while get a first round bye. They would also have home field advantage in the divisional round of the playoffs. Teams would not want that because of their dominance at home. Despite bad performances on the road earlier in the season, they've improved that and look ready for tough playoff games. So a warning to Denver...Watch out for Cincinnati.
Philadelphia Eagles -- In Week 1 when the Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Redskins we thought the Eagles were for real. The next couple weeks we lost trust as we learned the Redskins defense was getting worse and the Eagles offense was over-rated. But by the middle of the season they showed the team we saw in Week 1 -- a high power offense with an improving defense. It all starts with Nick Foles. Towards the middle of the season he started to turn it on and looked like Peyton Manning. He began to look like a franchise quarterback. He even tied the most touchdowns in a game next to Peyton Manning with 7. And not only the has the passing game been great but they also have the league's leading rusher, LeSean McCoy. He makes plays all over the field and has the speed to break away in pass coverage. This week they have a winner take all game versus Dallas for the division. They're coming off a blowout win against Chicago so they should be prepared especially because of the injuries to the Cowboys. If they get into the playoffs and combine both their top passing and rushing abilities, they have to be considered as a dangerous team.
Both teams are depending on other teams to decide their fate but also need wins too. If that happens, it opens the door for a playoff run and maybe a Super Bowl.