The Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch the playoffs last week and look like they are the best NFC team. They look like they could be headed for their first Super Bowl since XLVIII, but there will be a few tough teams in their way. Here are the 6 teams that could upset them in the playoffs.
1. San Francisco 49ers (9-4)
The 49ers played poorly in the beginning of the season, but they have greatly improved their play. In Week 14 (last week), the 49ers became the only NFC team to beat Seattle when they beat the Seahawks 19-17 in what was one of the best games of the season. Both of these evenly matched teams have a stingy defense, great coach, top offensive line, exciting running backs, and up-and-coming young quarterbacks. San Francisco has not done well against the Seahawks in Seattle, where they lost 29-3 earlier in the season. Still, the 49ers are the biggest opponent for the Seahawks.
2. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
The New Orleans Saints have the 2nd best record in the NFC (behind the Seahawks), but were manhandled by the Seahawks earlier in the year (final score was 34-7, Seattle). Drew Brees and the Saints would be more than happy to show that this game was a rare fluke. While the Saints have the best record besides the Seahawks, it would be tough for them to go into Seattle and pull out a win.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (8-5)
Chip Kelly has turned the Eagles around and have made them the best offensive team in the NFC. LeSean McCoy has been the best running back this year and Nick Foles has become a great quarterback that perfectly fits Kelly's system. The defense hasn't done well, but have not had an opponent score more than 21 points in a game since September. Since the "Birds" have not battled against each other, nobody really knows how the Seattle defense would play against Philadelphia's fast paced offense. If the Eagles win the NFC East, they could play Seattle in what would definitely be an entertaining game.
4. Carolina Panthers
After a 1-3 start, Carolina won 8 games in a row, a franchise record, to put them in the playoff picture. But in Week 14, they lost badly to their division rivals, the Saints, 31-13. The defense is one of the best in the league and the Panthers have a dangerous rushing offense, even though they lost Jonathan Stewart. It is quite impressive that Carolina has beaten New England and San Francisco, but will need a victory at home against the Saints in Week 16 to prove that they could be a serious threat to the Seahawks.
5. Detroit Lions (7-6)
It is hard to find a more inconsistent team in the NFC than the Detroit Lions. The Lions have never had a winning streak of over 2 games or a losing streak over 2 games. Detroit is tied for the NFC North lead, but have the advantage because they beat Chicago twice earlier in the season. Calvin Johnson, who had 329 yards against the Cowboys, is nearly unstoppable and could make a nightmare match up against the injured Seattle secondary. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell form a dangerous running duo, and the defense has improved over the last few seasons. It would take a miracle for the Lions to beat the Seahawks, but anything is possible when you have Megatron.
6. Arizona Cardinals (8-5)
Bruce Arians has quietly brought Arizona into playoff contention, and the Seahawks are at their weakest against division rivals. The Cardinals have a great defense and two elite receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, not to mention an underrated running back in rookie Andre Ellington. Arizona has been so-so against good teams, losing to the 49ers, Seahawks, Saints, and Eagles but winning against the Colts, Panthers, and Lions. Slipping into the playoffs will be a hard enough task for the Cards, especially because they have Seattle and the 49ers in their last two weeks.
NFLRUSH Kid Reporter