Read an opposing argument from Sports Geek.
Ah yes, the NFL playoffs are here! Finally!! After a ho-hum Sunday in which many teams sat starters (Cardinals, Colts) and other teams choked (Eagles, Broncos), the playoffs begin Saturday. Interestingly, of the four playoff games, three of them are rematches from Week 17. As far as the playoffs go, I think it is wide open, especially in the NFC. I think you can make a case for all six teams in the NFC to make a deep playoff run. Sports Geek will argue that Indianapolis has the easiest road to the Super Bowl. I, on the other hand, feel that the New Orleans Saints, despite the swoon at the end of the season, still have the easiest road in the playoffs.
Obviously, one good thing the Saints have going for them is home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. It is pretty common knowledge that it gets relatively loud at the Superdome when things are going well. Granted, the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won in New Orleans late in the season, but the playoffs are a new ball game. The regular season goes out the window in football terms.
The Saints are built to be an indoor team, obviously. With the high-powered offense (at least through the first 13 games) being built around the passing game, it is essential for the Saints to play in a climate-controlled environment. Playing at Lambeau Field or Lincoln Financial Field does not qualify as climate-controlled. Playing at the Metrodome against the Vikings would is indoors, but it would obviously be as the road team. With their conference playoff games in New Orleans, the team will not have to change anything with its offense, meaning Brees and Co. can air it out. I am not sure the team would have been successful playing in frigid temperatures. As the whole world has seen, the Saints are not exactly a strong running team, and would have had to run the ball for sure on the road.
Sports Geek is arguing in favor of the Colts, but I think the Saints have less competition than the Colts. The Vikings and Cardinals have struggled some lately. The Eagles were playing well before laying an egg yesterday in Big D. Dallas is playing very well right now, including a win over the Saints back in December. But, the lack of postseason success for Dallas in recent years is well documented. It has been since 1996 the ‘Boys last won a postseason game. Ouch!
Meanwhile, if I am a Colts fan, I am tickled to death that I have home field advantage, but I also realize that I am likely going to have to play the Chargers. The Chargers beat the Colts in the playoffs last season and have had success against the Colts this decade. The Chargers are also on fire, arguably playing better than any other team. I know many experts are counting out the Patriots, especially after the loss of Wes Welker, but they are still New England …and New England cannot be discounted in January.
It is going to be an exciting postseason! I really am excited! The yellow brick road goes through New Orleans!