NFL teams will start with a clean slate in the 2012 playoffs.
One shouldn’t shy away from predicting a franchise to win the Super Bowl just because it barely made it to the postseason.
Last year, the New York Giants won it all after just sneaking in as a sixth seed. This season, there are a handful of talented teams on the bubble that are capable of equaling the G-Men’s efforts, and here they are:
Chicago has flashes of brilliance. On a three-game losing streak, though, it hasn’t had one in a while.
If the Bears beat the odds and find their way into the postseason, they’re talented enough to take the NFC. Brian Urlacher should be able to suit up by then, and he’d lead a Top-five defense into battle. On the other side of the football, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte form an explosive offensive trio.
But, of course, those three can only thrive if their offensive line gives them time.
With two Super Bowl victories under his belt, Ben Roethlisberger knows how to win in December and January better than almost any quarterback in the NFL. Sure, he’s struggled the past two weeks to return to form, but his resume should make fans confident that he’ll be able to lead the Steelers to a strong finish.
Pittsburgh’s defense is also still a top-notch stop unit. By the time the playoffs roll around, the beaten up James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and Keenan Lewis could be 100 percent, and Ike Taylor could be back in action.
They won in 2006 as a sixth seed.
1. New York Giants
As previously mentioned, the Giants also won as a sixth seed in 2012.
Remember Rex Grossman? Well, he led the Washington Redskins to a 23-10 triumph over the Giants in Week 15 last year. New York’s effort against the Atlanta Falcons was a disappointment, but its season is far from over.
The Giants’ defense always takes it up a notch in the playoffs. And they still have that Eli Manning guy, who, like Big Ben, has two Super Bowl rings.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.