However, even though all of the attention is focused on the NFC, it’s the AFC where things are really wrong. So, in honour of all the people crying that the regular season should matter more and that changes have to be made when the end result isn’t what we want, I have taken the liberty of re-seeding the AFC so that an emphasis is placed on regular season results and so it’s fair. You’re welcome.
Since it’s Wild Card Weekend, let’s start with those wild cards, the Chiefs and the Chargers. Chiefs, you’re good. Chargers, we all know the only reason you’re in is because you got a bogus non-call (which the league admitted to) to win your week 17 game. Now, I was about to say that the league should retroactively take away that victory, but since the beneficiary team would be the Steelers, and the referee in question was Bill Leavy, I say retribution is a dish best served extremely cold, so suck it, Steelers. Chargers, you’re good too, and Mike Tomlin, use the extra time to learn the subtleties of not wandering on to the field while the players are, you know, playing.
The Denver Broncos earned the top seed based on their 13-3 record. Sorry, not good enough. I mean, it’s not really fair that the Broncos finish ahead of the Patriots, since the Pats beat them in Week 12. So, let’s swap them. Then, of course, there’s the matter of the Bengals. They beat the Pats, and they also beat AFC South champs the Colts, who also beat the Broncos. Regular season results should count, right? Congratulations, Cincy, you’re number one now. That leaves the Pats at two, Colts at three, and Broncs at four.
That’s much better, right?
I’ve read some pretty interesting takes on what’s wrong with the playoff seeding format this week. I’m not going to link to any of them; these guys get enough attention as it is, and I’m not giving them any more free advertising. My take, which I touched on last week: it is what it is. If you listened to the experts, the NFL would have a format completely based on won-lost records, or with the caveat thrown in that division winners automatically get a playoff berth, but then get seeded based on their record. So, the 49ers and Saints playing home games this weekend would be justice, but the 10-6 Cardinals making it over the 8-7-1 Packers would not? See, this is the thing that gets me about the media whining about playoff seeding EVERY YEAR; unless you can come up with a perfect solution, it’s probably better if you leave things as they are.
When I look at the Green Bay Packers, this year’s “problem,” I see a team that:
- Was 5-2 after Week 8
- Had Aaron Rodgers suffer a broken clavicle in a Week 9 loss against division-rival Chicago
- Went 2-4-1 over their next seven games without the best QB in the NFL
- Won a winner-take-all finale against the Bears with Rodgers playing for the first time since his injury
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not too broken up over Green Bay, and Rodgers, being in the playoffs, or even hosting a game. If you look at the Packers, they’re clearly better than their record.
Tinker with the playoff seeding format if you want. You’ll never make everyone happy. More importantly, the media will always find something to complain about. Don’t believe the hype.
Oh, and the playoffs are going to be awesome again. Just like every year.
Chiefs at Colts
With LB Justin Houston expected to make his return, the Chiefs’ pass rush should be better than the one that Andrew Luck faced two weeks ago in KC. LB Tamba Hali will not play, however, which should make Houston easier to handle. The Colts defence seems to have returned to its early-season form as the secondary has gotten healthier. Since the Chiefs have no real big-play threat at receiver, this will make it easier for the Colts to focus on stopping Jamaal Charles. That should be the difference in what should be a competitive game. Winner: Colts
Saints at Eagles
It’s easy to say that I should pick the Eagles because the Saints are playing on the road, outside, in the cold. So that’s exactly what I’m saying; I’m picking the Eagles because the Saints are playing on the road, outside, in the cold. As long as Eagles’ QB NickFoleon Dynamite doesn’t experience an “Ohmygod I’m in the playoffs!”-Spaz Attack, Philly should be able to outpoint Drew Brees and company. Winner: Eagles
Chargers at Bengals
Congratulations San Diego! Now, meet your destroyer. For me, this game comes down to the fact that, while both teams can score tons on offence, the Chargers’ defence is not very good, and the Bengals’ defence is. As long as Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton doesn’t experience an “Ohmygod I’m in the playoffs!”-Spaz Attack, Cincy should be fine. Winner: Bengals
49ers at Packers
This one’s easy, right? What, haven’t you heard? The 49ers are much better than the Packers. The 49ers own the Packers. The only thing that gives the Packers a chance is the cold. Seriously though, that 49ers defence is awfully good. In the bitter cold, that’s a huge advantage. Still, I’m going to act like the huge Rodgers fanboy that I am and pick the Green Bay. The Packers’ secondary just might be healthy enough to allow their defence to focus on taking care of business up front. Plus, we all know that, if the ‘niners’ defence does have a weakness, it’s in the secondary. Winner: Packers