Monday, January 2, 2017

Why Your Team Won't Make The Super Bowl

            The NFL playoffs are here and the match-ups are set, so let the excitement commence!!! Just remember that your team isn't a shoo-in to make the Super Bowl (that goes for you as well, Patriot and Cowboy fans). Here's a list of why your team isn't going to make it to Houston.


New York Giants:
No Offense... Seriously.
            New York averaged 19.4 points per game of offense during the regular season. Only Houston averaged fewer points per game than the Giants this year. While the Giants have one of the best defenses in the NFL, it won't mean a thing if they can't score. Odell Beckham Jr. (1,367 receiving yards) has been an exciting part to the offense at least. However, he can't be the only part of that offense that functions. Considering that the NFC is plastered with high-flying offenses like Dallas and Atlanta, that could pose a problem for New York if they can't score. 
Detroit Lions:
They're Lacking in All-Around Talent.
           Name me one solid player on the Lions right now. You got Matt Prater, who is a solid kicker, and a solid punter in Sam Martin. But nobody knows those two. You got Matt Stafford, who's led the Lions to eight comeback wins this season and has looked like an MVP candidate. However, Stafford has thrown three touchdowns and five interceptions in his past four games. Calvin's gone and all of their running backs are injured. The offense runs on Stafford and the defense wilts in the second half. While Seattle might be missing Earl Thomas, the lack of a deep threat will hurt the Lions immensely.
Green Bay Packers:
Get Ready For A Shootout.
             Green Bay is the hottest team in the NFL right now, having won six straight. However, that doesn't mean that they can't be beat. The Packers were 19th in the regular season in opponent's first downs, allowing 329 first downs. Granted, Green Bay does very well in the give/take ratio department (+8). But for the most part, that's because their offense doesn't turn the ball over a whole lot. Beating Green Bay means that you exploit their passive secondary as well; the Packers were next-to-last in passing yards, allowing 4,308 yards. Basically, if you got an offense, you can hang with Green Bay.
Dallas Cowboys:
Passing Through "Big D"
           Like the Packers, the Cowboys are prone to a solid passing game. While the Cowboys are slightly more bearable with their coverage, it's not by a whole lot. They ranked 26th in the regular season, allowing 4,167 yards through the air. At least Green Bay picked the ball off, getting 17 interceptions compared to Dallas's nine. You won't get past Dallas on the ground (league-best 1,336 rushing yards yielded), but you can beat them through the air.
Seattle Seahawks:
Too Many Injuries.
            Losing safety Earl Thomas for the season has hurt the Seahawks quite a bit. They were in the driver's seat for a first-round bye, but ultimately fell to the third seed with a home loss to the Cardinals and nearly fell to the fourth seed against lowly San Francisco. Injuries have been a big narrative for Seattle this season, with players like Thomas Rawls and Russell Wilson being banged up from start to finish. As for the Earl Thomas injury, his absence leaves Seattle exposed to the deep ball, meaning that the likes of Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers can easily exploit Thomas's absence at will.
Atlanta Falcons:
Air Or Ground?
            Atlanta has the scariest offensive set-up among the playoff teams. But they're more likely to get involved in a shootout since they can't stop anybody. The Falcons ranked 25th in total defense with 5,939 total yards allowed. If you can go point for point with the Falcons with a few defensive stops of your own, you can possibly beat the Falcons.
New England Patriots:
No Gronk, No Problem?
            The Patriots do look unbeatable from a glance. They're better defensively and Tom Brady is back after missing the first four games of the regular season due to the Deflategate suspension. However, that doesn't mean they're immortal. Rob Gronkowski's absence means that the Patriots don't have a big body to throw to in specific situations. This leaves teams like Houston and Kansas City to breathe a sigh of relief with regards to their defensive plans.
Houston Texans:
The Quarterback Problem.
             Tom Savage suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to the Titans, which means the Houston QB situation is muddled once again. Whether it'd be overpaid Brock Osweiler or Savage, the Texans will need to find a solution quickly. Considering that they can't generate anything with the ball, they'll be hard-pressed looking for any luck.
Miami Dolphins:
In Matt Moore We Trust?
            The Texans aren't the only team facing quarterback troubles. Miami has to go with Matt Moore against Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger versus Matt Moore? Doesn't seem like a fair comparison to me. Granted, Miami does more damage on the ground than they do in the air (25th in passing yards with 3,500 yards compared to being ninth in rushing yards with 1,824 yards). However, the Dolphins will have to go with Jay Ajayi almost the entire game against the Steelers, leaving Pittsburgh to plan for Ajayi. 
Pittsburgh Steelers:
They're Just Too Average
             Pittsburgh has one of the most exciting QB-to-WR duos in the NFL in Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. However, the Steelers are just average in every other department, with the exception of punting (bad). There is one detriment to the Pittsburgh QB name, though. While the Steelers don't fumble the ball away often (three fumbles in the regular season), Steeler quarterbacks have thrown 15 interceptions in the regular season. Pittsburgh should have an fairly easy time with the Dolphins and are historically good against the Chiefs in the playoffs. But they'll have a hard time with the Patriots if the AFC Championship rolls around... if they get there.
Oakland Raiders:
Carr Trouble.
            When the Raiders lost Derek Carr to a leg injury, what looked like a promising season turned into one that was lost. Now their back-up quarterback Matt McGloin is questionable for Saturday's game against Houston with a shoulder injury. On top of that, they have to go up against one of the best defensive teams in the Texans. If that wasn't enough, there's a good chance the Raiders will have to go to Foxboro if they win. 
Kansas City Chiefs:
Third Time's The Charm?
            Kansas City is one of the sleeper teams in the AFC playoff picture (considering that nearly everyone is picking New England to win) and rightfully so. They have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and the best linebacker core in the game. However, it won't help these units a whole lot if the offense can't convert on third down. Kansas City ranked 23rd in converted first downs with 305. Considering that the run game hasn't been what it was in recent Chiefs memory, this could pose a problem.

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