The 2012 NFL playoffs won’t have a defending champion slithering through either side of the bracket. The 2011 New York Giants showed the value of getting hot heading into the postseason, but they didn’t make it to the dance this time around.
New York was eliminated from playoff contention in Week 17, opening the door for six different NFC representatives to vie for the Super Bowl crown. Three of them are playing at a level reminiscent of a team ready to peak in the postseason, potentially high enough to knock off whoever happens to be standing on the other sideline.
There are also two AFC teams led by veteran quarterbacks who are playing as if they can beat anyone, rounding out the top five most dangerous playoff teams entering the NFL postseason.