With all the wildness that allowed the Chargers and Eagles to crash the playoff party, one has to wonder who really has what it takes to see their season through and get that Lombardi Trophy confetti shine. Playoff predictions on Friday, but for now, here’s my top five.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Yeah I know this will raise eyebrows, but nine straight is nine straight regardless of who you’ve played. Forget all that Matt Ryan MVP talk because Peyton and Adrian Peterson are 1 and 1a in my opinion. Before the season, just mark the Colts down for 12-4. Right now the Colts are the most consistent team in football based on their season success. They still have Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, so haters fall back.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m digging Mike Tomlin. If he and his staff can pay attention to detail the rest of the way, I don’t see anyone stopping the Steelers. Their defense is just too good and this is the time of year where defenses should be put on blast. Big Ben isn’t as muffed up as his little trip on the stretcher indicated, but even if he is out, Bryon Leftwich is most definitely a capable back up because he doesn’t throw the ball to the other team. Baltimore’s D is nice and Ed Reed is incredible, but I’ll take Blitzburgh’s linebacker corps over any time any place.
3. New York Giants
The Champs are an interesting study because they are so close knit. Plax is on the sideline and is dearly missed, but Tom Coughlin has managed to keep this team backstroking without worrying about all the sharks ready to munch. The Giants are not higher because of questions surrounding their running game. If Brandon Jacobs is healthy, watch the hell out. If not, they just aren’t the same team. Eli isn’t an offensive force to carry this squad by making nickle backs look silly. What he’s good at is making sure his coach’s philosophy is in place and running smoothly. I have to say that if the Giants do repeat, I’ll be shocked.
4. Carolina Panthers
DeAngelo Williams has 20 touchdowns. Twenty. He and Jonathan Stewart are murder on defenses. Similar to the Giants, it’s not just about talent. It’s about bruising defenses into submission on 4th quarter drives when cats ain’t trying to make tackles. Williams should receive MVP votes. Stewart will run over your vote and stomp on your face as he monsters into the end zone. If Jake doesn’t play catch with the other team, this team is at least going to the NFC Championship.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
All around, the Eagles are the most explosive team left but that really is immaterial. Yeah they can put up points in bunches and do the same on defense, but do they have the cajones to show and prove to the world they have what it do in the fourth quarter? Miami could be in this spot and so could Baltimore or the Titans but until the Eagles go out and stink up the place, they belong right here.