5 NFL Players & Teams We Just Can't Trust in the Playoffs
There have been 13 weeks played so far in the 2012 NFL season, and the playoff picture is beginning to come into focus.
As we inch closer and closer to the beginning of football's second season, there are some players and teams, such as the New England Patriots and quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants, that we expect to do well in the postseason.
They've been there and done that.
However, there are also some teams and players to whom the playoffs have not been so kind, and for fans of those teams, there's going to be a lot more wincing and watching football through fingers come January.
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After a midseason stumble that saw them lose four straight games, the Cincinnati Bengals have righted the ship, reeling off four wins in a row to insert themselves squarely into the AFC playoff picture at 7-5.
The Bengals have plenty of talent in players such as quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver A.J. Green and defensive tackle Geno Atkins, but the team also has a long history of futility in the playoffs.
Cincinnati hasn't won a postseason game since 1990, and with the Bengals all but certain to be playing on the road even if they do make the playoffs, the odds of the team bucking that trend this year aren't good.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
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This is by no means meant to be an indictment of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck's skills, as what the first overall pick in April's draft has been able to accomplish in helping lead a two-win Indianapolis Colts team from last year to an 8-4 record this season is remarkable.
With that said, however, we are talking about a rookie quarterback who has already thrown 16 interceptions this season.
On the road, in the playoffs, turnovers are the kiss of death, and while Luck may well hoist the Lombardi Trophy one day, it's not going to be in February 2013.
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It may seem strange that I would bemoan the Seattle Seahawks' inability to win on the road at this particular juncture, especially after the team just pulled out a huge overtime win in Chicago against the Bears on Sunday.
However, as big as that win was, it still only boosted Seattle's record away from home in 2012 to 2-5, and given that if the Seahawks do make the playoffs, it will all but surely be as a Wild Card team that's inability to win games outside the Pacific Northwest portends a one-game playoff experience.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
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No doubt there will be much consternation expressed about this selection, especially since quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens came very close to advancing to the Super Bowl last year.
However, Flacco is also a wildly inconsistent quarterback who has barely averaged 200 passing yards a game with only four touchdowns in six road starts so far this season.
Is that really the player you see going into New England or Houston and winning a playoff game?
Did you see the game between the Ravens and Texans in Houston earlier this year?
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If saying that Joe Flacco can't be trusted in the playoffs raised some eyebrows, then saying the same about the 11-1 Atlanta Falcons should really get a rise out of folks.
There's no denying that the Falcons have had a phenomenal season to this point, and barring a complete collapse, the Falcons are going to be the top seed in the NFC when the playoffs begin.
However, as well as the Falcons have played, they haven't shown much in the way of "killer instinct," continually allowing opponents to hang around in games, and being the NFC's top seed didn't stop the Falcons from getting throttled by the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round two years ago.