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LAist NFL Playoff Guide

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With the regular season of the NFL coming to an end, what have we truly learned?

1. Perfection is Possible! The New England Patriots join the ranks of the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 1942 and 1934 Chicago Bears teams. However they are the first to do this with a 16 game schedule (the other teams did it on a 14, 11 and 13 game schedules respectively). It may be tempting to call this Patriots team the greatest team ever, but if they do not complete the perfection and win the Superbowl they will be just as remembered as the 1934 and 1942 Chicago Bears teams that lost the NFL Championship games.

2. Joe Gibbs really hasn’t lost it. When Sean Taylor tragically died, that seemed to mark the end of the Washington Redskins season. Especially the mistakes made that weekend in their game against the Buffalo Bills (calling two consecutive times out) did nothing to comfort anyone in our Capitol district. But then they started to win. And these weren’t flukey wins by any chance. These were definitive wins.

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Joe Gibbs somehow found a way to get to his team to come together like he hasn’t done since he returned to coaching in 2004. And they are scary. They remind me a lot of the Pittsburgh Steelers team of a couple of seasons ago that laid waste to everyone they played in the playoffs to become the first sixth seed to win the Superbowl.

3. Parity is a myth. I hear that word all the time. Parity. The football season is exciting because of parity. Bullshit.

If parity truly existed we would have a ton of teams that are hovering around .500. But we just witnessed a season that featured a team that went 16-0 and one that was a pussy-assed call away from being 0-16.That’s not parity.

Playoff Predictions!!! AFC Version

Here are the seeds for the AFC:

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1. New England Patriots
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. San Diego Chargers
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
6. Tennessee Titans

Wild Card Weekend

Tennessee Titans vs. San Diego Chargers - Here are two teams that feature a killer defense, great running games and a quarterback that bugs the shit out of me. They played a very close game in Nashville several weeks ago that ended up resembling a M.A.S.H. unit in which the Chargers eked out a win.

While the Chargers have home field this time around, we have to take into account karma. The Chargers sacked their head coach after going a league-best 14-2 last season because he couldn't win a playoff game (and because the GM couldn't get along with him, but that's a whole another matter). In fact, the Chargers have been horrible to their head coaches since Bobby Ross took them to their only Superbowl berth. The Titans on the other hand have kept their head coach through thick and thin since they were the Houston Oilers. So I think the Chargers playoff losing streak will continue based on karma alone. Tennessee over San Diego in a close one 24-23.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Pittsburgh Steelers - This is another game that I think karma will have a role. The football gods will seek retribution against the Steelers for the bad calls that helped them win Superbowl XL. Plus, the Steelers haven't looked really dominant since they looked like a bunch of ballerinas in the game against the Patriots. Jacksonville though have looked like a juggernaut throughout the season. They did steamroll the Steelers in Pittsburgh during bad weather a few weeks ago. I know it's hard to beat a team twice, but I think Jacksonville will find a way to pull it out. Jacksonville over Pittsburgh 38-21.

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Divisional Weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts - I can say a lot on how the Jaguars look great, but all this game comes down to is the fact the Jaguars can't beat the Colts. Period. I don't see it happening. Plus the Colts want to have their final game ever at the RCA dome to be a great sendoff. Indianapolis over Jacksonville 42-10.

Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots - It's the New England motherfucking Patriots! The Titans are a good story, but it's the New England motherfucking Patriots! There is no way Bill Belichick will not have his team prepared. New England routs Tennessee 41-0.

AFC Championship

Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots - When they met in that rat hole of a stadium in Indianapolis, New England barely got the win. And in recent years, Peyton Manning has proved he can win a game in the shrubbery that is Gillette Stadium. So what happens here? A really brilliant game as the last several have been. In the end, the Patriots are the stronger team and will come from behind for their trip to the Superbowl. New England over Indy 31-28.

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Playoff Predictions!!! NFC Version

Here are the seeds for the NFC:

1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5. New York Giants
6. Washington Redskins

Wild Card Weekend

New York Giants vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - You know, the NFC really looks like an exercise in futility. Here are two teams about as consistent as a bowl of grits. Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia hasn't thrown a pass in a month, and the football Giants just came off of the best regular season game played this season. I just did a coin flip and the Giants won it. So why not? New York over Tampa Bay 17-13.

Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks - Did you see what the Redskins did to the Vikings and Cowboys on consecutive weeks? They turned those teams to a bunch of crying five-year olds. Seattle are coming in to the playoffs losing to Atlanta. Even though it was their second-team playing, it's Atlanta! It doesn't bode well for the Seahawks. Washington over Seattle 25-17.

Divisional Weekend

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys - So since Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell went down to injury, the Redskins have won every game. That's probably going to damage the psyche of Campbell a little bit. But I'm sure the Dallas offense's psyche is a bit damaged after that game in Washington. To call the Redskins defense swarming is an understatement. They are playing with a resoluteness about them I haven't seen since they beat the Broncos in Superbowl XXII after the 1987 season. My head says Dallas should win, but I just have a hunch the Redskins will win. Washington over Dallas 22-16.

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers - Here's a weather prediction for this game. It's going to be 9°F with snow flurries and swirling winds at 20MPH. Doesn't it always seem that way at Lambeau Field in the playoffs? Giants QB Eli Manning won't know what to do with that. The defense also won't know what to do with five receiver sets that Green Bay throws out. What will happen is the Giants will be stuck frozen in the turf of Lambeau Field. We won't see them until the spring thaw. How tragic. Green Bay over New York 35-23.

NFC Championship

Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers - Those poor Giants. Now they will be tromped on by their division-mates the Redskins. But I don't think the Redskins will fare any better. The Green Bay defense will keep running backs Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts in check. And have you seen the Green Bay offense lately? Granted they had a let down against my Bears, but I don't see that happening to them again. Green Bay over Washington 21-13.


Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots - Ah. A rematch of the strangely unerotic Superbowl XXXI where the Packers stepped on the throats of the Patriots. Although the Packers are a very good team, the fact is the Patriots are the best team ever. And I'm not exaggerating. I don't see how the Patriots will lose this game. They have too many weapons on offense, and their defense is just good enough to stop teams in crucial situations. New England over Green Bay 45-31.

Well that's how I think things are going to go down. Whatever happens, the NFL Playoffs always proves to be exciting despite how lackluster the matchups might appear to be.

Flickr photo by bearklektor