In part II of out NFL Playoff coverage, we look at the NFC and the match-ups that are coming your way this month as the NFL speeds towards the SuperBowl in February.
New Orleans Saints (13-3)
Much like the Colts, the Saints ran through their opponents (a lot of whom were very tough teams) and won 13 straight games. The Saints largely didn’t show up in their final three games of the year (all losses), partly because they had already clinched home field advantage, partly because their team, particularly their defense, has been stricken by the injury bug. Although they finished first in scoring, they finished just 20th in points allowed per game. The Saints can definitely win…if they can outscore every playoff team.
Minnesota Vikings (12-4)
Coming off a blowout win over the Giants, the Vikings not only have a bye week but an MVP caliber Brett Favre, an MVP caliber Adrian Peterson, and a total of nine Pro Bowlers this year, on both sides of the ball. Call me crazy but the Vikings’ top 10 in the NFL defense and second best offense has a great chance to win it all.
Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
Dallas is probably the most well rounded team in the playoffs right now. Tony Romo keeps silencing the critics and the Cowboys have already defeated their first round opponent, the Eagles, twice but they’ve also beaten the Saints.
Dallas finished second in total offense and allowed the second fewest amount of points in the NFL.
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
They’ve got a solid offense, an average defense, a hurt running back, and they lost to their first round opponent, the Cowboys, twice this season. Aside from one Super Bowl run, this is a team that has not won any big games in the post season over the past decade.
Green Bay Packers (11-5)
Though no one focused much on the small town Packers, Green Bay scored the third-most points in the NFL and second in total defense in the league. Don’t be surprised if Aaron Rodgers (fourth in passing yards and fewest interceptions among all starting quarterbacks) leads this Wild Card a lot farther than they were “supposed to” go.
Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
Not a high level of expectation from the Cards. Arizona is going into the playoffs banged up and they’ve only beaten one playoff team all year. Just like two other games, the Cardinals’ are in a rematch against their week 17 opponent, the Packers.
Philadelphia Eagles at the Dallas Cowboys – Saturday at 8 PM
Green Bay Packers at the Arizona Cardinals – Sunday at 4:40 PM
New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings – Bye Week