The new flavor of the month for the fickle fans. All the same people who, in the first half of the season, were absolutely positive the Ravens were going to smash everyone in the AFC, have switched ships to Denver, not because of an improved Bronco play, but because its obvious the Ravens will do no such thing.
Here are a few indisputable facts:
The Broncos play in the most pathetic division in the NFL. The three teams in the AFC West that aren't Denver have a combined record of 11 and 31.
The Chargers are 5 and 9.
Oakland is 4 and 10.
Kansas City is 2 and 12.
If Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers were in the AFC West they would have about five billion yards and ten thousand touchdown passes on the season. The AFC West is like shooting fish in a barrel. Manning playing lights out quarterback this year? Please.
Fact #2: Everytime the Broncos have played a real contender this season, the kind of contender they'll see in the play offs, they've been squashed. Now all of a sudden they're going to come out of the laughable AFC West and run a post season gauntlet against everyone? Please.
Fact #3: Whether you love him or not, there is no denying that Peyon Manning's stats in the post season have ALWAYS been a joke. He is a known choker in big games against big teams. Even the year he won the Superbowl he threw, in the play offs and Superbowl, a total of three touchdown passes and SEVEN interceptions. He's been throwing some of the most wobbly, ugly, high school looking spirals I've seen in the NFL this season and if he was anywhere but the AFC West he would have about 20 interceptions throwing that garbage around the field.
Denver can't hang with New England and Denver can't hang with Texas. Both teams are the end of the road for Denver. FACT.
T-O-T-A-L F-R-A-U-D-S. This is the worst 9 win team in the AFC. It was said last season that their window for a Superbowl was closing. It was true. It's closed. Nobody in their right mind believes this Raven team is going to go into the play offs and beat anyone outside of the bottom feeders like the Steelers or the Jets or whoever might find their way into the tournament. The Colts are more dangerous than the Ravens.
COLTS, STEELERS, JETS, BENGELS, etc:
If you're not playing Baltimore, which is your only hope to extend your season, I have three words for you.
ONE AND DONE.
TEXAS and NEW ENGLAND:
No reason to go into it because it would just be redundant. We know who both teams are. We know they're the best teams in the AFC. We know, outside of some catastrophic injury or the flukiest game in post season history, one of these teams is representing the AFC in the Superbowl. Based on what we saw two weeks ago, that team is probably going to be the Patriots.
Are they even going to make it? This team has no rival when it comes to giving its fanbase a false sense of hope. Teams they should beat they routinely keep in the game for a nail bitter finish, one way or the other. Ultimately, who cares if the Cowboys make the play offs? I think we can all agree they're just going to get thrashed once there? I think we can all agree the Cowboys aren't remotely close to being on the level of real NFC contenders and if the Packers or 49'ers were to play them it would be a bloodbath, complete with a Tony Romo choke and multiple turn overs set to Benny Hill music? I think we can all agree they're a stepping stone?
Redskins are sort of interesting as a play off team. On one hand I look at RG3's style and wonder if he'll eventually be the second coming of Michael Vick, have a few highlight reels, take one too many hits, and fade into irrelevancy. On the other, he's right now an impressive play maker. Redskins aren't winning the NFC Championship but they're a potential spoiler for someone who otherwise might have.
This is the new New York Giants. This is going to be the team that the Packers and the 49'ers are each going to hope the OTHER has to play. This is the monkey-wrench team for the NFC tournament bracket. The disruptor. The rain on your parade. The spit in your eye. This is the team that can knock one of the two NFC favorites our of the play offs and leave a real sour taste in the mouth of a fan base for the off season. This is a team that isn't going to win the Superbowl and yet nobody is going to want to play.
Show us you can actually win a play off game and we'll take your regular season record seriously.
The Packers have had a transformation this season. This was a team that was spoiled by the media, over hyped, over praised, bought in to all of it, and had a sense of entitlement as if just showing up to a game meant the other team was supposed to lay down and allow themselves to be rolled over while bowing to a knee to pay homage to Rodgers 2011 quarterback rating. They got punched in the mouth early in the season, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and now feel like a much more hardened football contender that won't take anything for granted.
I expect Rodgers to play some of his best football ever this post season. The man is dangerous. I would take him over any quarterback in the league with the SOLE exception of Tom Brady. If his receivers don't get stone hands and butterfingers this year, there's no reason why this newly renewed Packers team isn't in the NFC Championship game. I suspect redemption is going to drive Green Bay to play inspired football against anyone in the NFC.
If Green Bay loses it'll probably be the fault of their offensive line.
I don't think the 49'ers will want to play New England again this season, that's for sure. If they do, they'll have to play better, for longer, because in any second encounter it's highly improbable they'll have anything remotely similar to a 28 point cushion going into the half and Tom Brady blew their whole world up in the second half of that football game.
That said... they are a tall order this year. That team is a big, intimidating, powerful, old-school grid iron, smash you in the mouth and make you bleed football team. This is a team that can run a post season gauntlet to get to the Superbowl. The 49'ers aren't going to need one particular thing to work perfectly for them to win a football game. They're solid enough in every aspect of the game to get it done against anyone. They're a boulder. Going to be interesting to see how Rodgers and the Packers hold up against them should they meet in the NFC Championship.