Tuck: Will NFL Playoffs Be As Predictable As They Appear?
The Seahawks have humiliated the 49ers and the Saints at home now, and are just 2 wins away from insuring they won’t have to leave there for the playoffs.
The Broncos beat Kansas City twice in three weeks, and despite blowing a 24-0 lead at New England, don’t appear to be at risk of losing either their division, or their grip on the top seed in the AFC.
Is there any reason to think these won’t be the teams playing in the Super Bowl?
Seattle hasn’t lost at home since 2011, pre-Russell Wilson. Who is beating them? They’ve beaten San Francisco, New Orleans, Carolina, and Arizona already. One “disadvantage” for them is that the 49ers will end up as the 5 or 6 seed and be favored to win their game at NFC East or North winner, meaning that there is a good chance Seattle may need to beat the Niners in the 2nd round and then the Saints/Panthers in the NFC Title game. But does having to beat any combination of teams make their job that much tougher? Would you not still pick them regardless the order?
As for the Broncos, perhaps if a couple of those NFC teams swapped conferences this might look different. Sure, they’ve lost games to both the Pats and Colts. But they lost both times on the road. They only need to beat Tennessee, San Diego, @ Houston, and @ Oakland to wrap up the top spot and be home for the playoffs. The only way they should lose one of those games is if they are resting players because they don’t need to win. They’ve destroyed Baltimore and beat KC twice. Do you think teams like Pittsburgh or Miami are threats? Perhaps the Bengals, yes Cincinnati, could be the fly in the ointment? That didn’t seem right typing it. Many of you may think the Patriots can and perhaps will beat Manning and Denver. I just don’t see it. I think it’s just as possible New England loses to one of the other AFC teams before playing the Broncos.
While everyone is aware Wilson is 14-0 at home, Manning being 13-1 at home is less talked about. What we all remember however is that he and the Broncos lost last year in the playoffs at home.
Perhaps that is the hope. After all, Peyton Manning is a mere 9-11 career in the playoffs, many times being upset. Perhaps we hold out hope that the stronger NFC will give the Seahawks a test that even 137 decibels can’t overcome.
As we sit, a month from the regular season ending, I just can’t ignore the obvious. The always surprising NFL looks utterly predictable.