While the majority of the games this weekend left a good bit to be desired regarding competition, it made me start to wonder about the storylines centered around the NFL playoffs this season. Let's take a brief glimpse at the four teams remaining and their storylines.
The team Cleveland HATES: Cruising along and undefeated, the Colts kickstarted the Jets rise to the playoffs by opening a can of quit in a game they were leading. Head Coach Jim Caldwell and the team did earn this right. Whether the call was correct remains to be seen. Their decision eventually led to the demise of the Texans playoff chances for this season. Had they won that game, they may be lining up against the team from Houston this weekend, which, like the Chargers typically accomplish (and did so again yesterday), would figure out a way to give the game away even when they outplay their opponent. This is the real reason the Texans did not earn their first playoff berth in team history. Back to Indy: Caldwell and Co. better win the Superbowl this season or the second guessers and Monday morning QB's will pound them into unrecognizable specs of humanity.
Storyline: was benching starters the right call? So far so good...a Superbowl win is a must or the decision will prove to be boneheaded from top to bottom.
J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets: Coach Rex Ryan essentially guaranteed the Jets were going deep into the post season. To make that assumption and place it squarely on the shoulders of your rookie QB may not seem like the smartest idea. But the Jets are one of the loosest teams remaining, with a vaunted rushing attack and stellar clampdown corners. When they get a lead and force you to go towards your favorite receiving target, Darrelle Revis is lying in wait, and you will probably make a mistake that could cost you the game. I cannot believe the Jets are playing for the AFC Championship. It literally boggles the mind. There is no denying that the Chargers feel pressure in the playoffs a bit more than other teams...or perhaps correctly stated, they deal with the pressure in a poorer fashion. Coach Turner, Hunter Lawrence is available if you need him as is Dr. Phil.
Storyline: The Coach's prediction with a rookie QB. Nothing to lose right? Only the future will tell.
Who Dat?: Flying out of the gate at 13-0, the Saints limped into the playoffs finishing the season 0-3 and seemingly fell apart against the Cowboys in a game which they were dominated. Facing the Cards and arguably HOF bound Kurt Warner, the Saints dismantled the more experienced and defending NFC champions. Behind the arm of Austin's own Drew Brees, coupled with the return of the real Reggie Bush, and playing with a spirited defense, the Saints are in position to advance to their first Superbowl in team history.
Storyline: limped into the playoffs, never been there before, and they have the weight of a city on their shoulders (if you think N'awlins has recovered from Katrina, I suggest you take a trip to the famed Crescent City and judge for yourself).
NFL Teams with Fight Songs are Annoying Beyond Compare: "Skol, Vikings! Let's win this game. Skol, Vikings! Honor your name. Go get that first down, then get a touchdown, Rock 'em, sock 'em, fight, fight, fight, fight!
Skol, Vikings! Run out the score; You'll hear us yell for more. V-I-K-I-N-G-S! Skol, Vikings, let's go!" This should be the lead story as to why the Vikings cannot seem to win the big one. My first experience with a gaggle of Vikings fans was this weekend in Orlando while watching the National Championships for College Cheer and Dance (daughter of GF is now a National Champion). OK...on to the obvious: Brett Favre. Coach Brad Childress put all of his eggs into this basket. The 40 year old gunslinger (tired and overused phrase, but it fits) blew off the vastly overrated training camp and could be playing the best football of his career. Combined with Jared Allen, Sydney Rice, and Adrian "if I would have gone to Texas I would be a champion" Peterson, Favre and company are poised to provide the Saints their most difficult test to date it would appear. But, that is why they play the games...at least in the NFL they do. Storyline: Can Brett Favre become the oldest QB to lead his team to a Superbowl victory while simultaneously sending the entire state of Wisconsin to the psychiatric ward at the local hospital? Green Bay may never recover from this were it to occur.
Next weekend should be quite fun and entertaining...to say the least.