Christmas Is Over, Super Bowl Contenders Need New Year's "Solutions"

Todd HayekCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 19:  Fans of the New Orleans Saints react during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at the Louisiana Superdome on December 19, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The NFL Playoffs are starting in two weeks. As the New Year approaches, teams need to focus on "Solutions" instead of "Resolutions".

The New Orleans Saints were on a mission for the better part of the season. They had been dominant in most of their games and looked unbeatable.

Reality sucks sometimes.

When Superman first realized he had a weakness to that stupid little green rock, it must have been quite a shock. Bullets, speeding locomotives, tall buildings, even time, can be overcome by the Man of Steel, but a little piece of Kryptonite was all it took to bring him down.

The Saints' loss to the Cowboys is acceptable, since they are one of the most talented teams in the NFC, but to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers?


The Saints' Christmas stockings must have been filled with little green rocks instead of little black lumps of coal. Yes, bad little boys.

The knowledge of being immortal can be a dangerous piece of information.

Like Superman, the Saints got a wake up call. It's time for them to shed the Kryptonite chained around their necks and save the world, or at least their fans' season.

The New Year brings new hope, new aspirations, new beginnings, and new resolve. The Saints need to re-solve their winning attitude; overcome the injuries, focus on the defense and the running game, and strike often with the big play.

Speaking of Superman, Brett Favre is a pro-bowler at 40 years old.

The Vikings also need re-solutions to get back to their winning ways. They have lost three of their last four games.

The Vikings are talented enough to do some damage in the playoffs, but they are not mentally focused on the overall goal. There is too much focus on the Childress-Favre incident, the Favre-player personel on the field issue, the injuries, and the Adrian Peterson averaging-three-yards-per-carry issue.

The Packers, Cowboys, Cardinals, and Eagles suddenly look better than the two teams in the NFC that have been dominant all season. The Vikings and Saints need to find solutions instead of making resolutions for the new year.

The rest of the teams hope to have a pocket full of Kryptonite.

In the AFC, the Colts are no longer undefeated, thanks to an idiotic coaching decision to rest the entire team midway through the third quarter in last week's loss to the Jets.

The Chargers are looking electric.

The Jets received a nice Christmas gift, getting the Colts after they had clinched home field.

The Patriots are sporadic.

The Bengals look flat.

The Ravens' defense in now offensive.

The Steelers, Broncos, Dolphins and Texans are pretty much living on a prayer thanks to the Colts' tank job.

It starts in two weeks and in the immortal words of Jim Mora; "Playoffs? You're talking about the playoffs?"

Yes, the playoffs. They are right around the corner, and here is a New Year's "Solution" for each of the potential invitees that could get them to the title game.

1) Indianapolis Colts

Play your starters. If Peyton Manning is on the field for the whole 60 minutes each game they should be favored to win it all.

2) New Orleans Saints

The Best Show on Turf, Part II. Air it out, damnit.  You have Brees and Colston and Meacham and Bush and Henderson and Moore and Bell and...

Odds of winning it all: 70/30, since all roads in the NFC run through Louisiana.

3) San Diego Chargers

Keep letting opponents think LT is still the LT of Auld Lang Syne and let Rivers, Gates, Jackson and Sproles do their thing. They may be the most dangerous team in the playoffs and have just as good a chance to win the big one as any team.

4) Minnesota Vikings

The "Jim Zorn" treatment needs to be layed down on Brad Childress.  If he was such a great coach, why did he need to recruit Favre out of retirement? 

Take away his play calling as it's evident that Favre has a better idea of how to make the team successful than Childress does. Childress saved his job by getting Favre to lead the team, but still thinks he's the maniacal genius. His coaching worked so well without Favre last year?

Brad, check your ego at the door and let the Legend lead your team in the playoffs. Oh yeah, and run Peterson outside the tackles. 

Odds of winning it all: slightly better than even.

5) Philadelphia Eagles

Stop TRYING to win the Super Bowl and just do it!

How many times have they made it to the NFC Championship?

Just ride Jackson and McNabb to the title and hope the return of Westbrook ignites a spark similar to fireworks going off at midnight on December 31st.

Odds of winning it all: pretty good if they can just win the NFC Championship game.

6) New England Patriots

Here's the story of man named Brady. Re-solve your Super Bowl woes by riding the chosen one to a final Swan Song of the decade. Sure, Moss and Welker are instrumental, but Tom carries the magic that makes the machine go "Click, Click, Boom".

Odds of winning it all: pretty good considering all the focus is on the Chargers and Colts.  When least expected, they could surprise.

7) Cincinatti Bengals

Stop thinking about Chris Henry. The team's solution and salvation is to keep the "us against the world" attitude that got them where they are. Henry wasn't going to help with a broken arm and he can't help now. Keep him in memory and let Benson and Ochenta y Cinco take you all the way.

Odds of winning it all: IMPOSSIBLE! (see how that works well with the "us-against-the-world" analogy?)

8) Dallas Cowboys

A quick and easy solution is to win a game in the playoffs. Talk about Kryptonite. Shed the moniker of not winning in the post season and ride the momentum to the promised land.

Odds of winning it all: the same as winning one game in the playoffs.

9) Arizona Cardinals

Re-activate the magic from last year's playoff run to take a shot at another Super Bowl appearance. The solution is as easy as Larry Fitzgerald making the big plays he did last year. That will open it up for Boldin and Beanie and Hightower. Look for Warner to retire soon, so this might be his last chance at a Super New Year's Resolution.

Odds of winning it all: pretty good as long as they're an underdog the whole way.

10) Green Bay Packers

Motley Crue may have summed it up best when they crooned; "Don't go away mad, just go away." Favre did and they found their New Year's Solution for the next decade or two in Aaron Rogers. He's a stud, and the Pack doesn't even remember Favre, right?

Just keep "Buck Rodgers", Jennings, Driver, and Grant on the downhill slope and nobody will want to face them.

Odds of winning it all: not good since few have ridden the Inter-Galactic Wild Card to the Super Bowl.

11) New York Jets

Re-solve to find a way to get their playoff opponents to rest their starters for one and half quarters and they have a chance. The Jets shouldn't be in the playoffs, but they might make it regardless of a tough schedule and a rookie quarterback.

Odds of winning it all: the same as teams resting their starters in the playoffs—Zero!

12) Denver Broncos

Maybe their solution would be to not go 6-0 to start the season. They may be the only team to not make the playoffs when performing such a feat. Their real solution is to add another threat to their offense besides Brandon Marshall. Where is Eddie Money when you need him? Oops, I meant Eddie Royal. He probably can be found where his performance level has been all season: on the "Royal" throne.

Odds of winning it all: less likely than their odds of making it to the playoffs!

13) Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins

Resolution, Schmesolutions!

If getting to the playoffs is a monumental struggle, getting through the playoffs is like "challenging a Sicilian to a wager when death is on the line: inconceivable!" Sorry, fans of these teams, no cake can be baked starting the process without flour and eggs.

Odds of... never mind.

The solutions are there. Resolutions are for us normal folk who work real jobs. However, both are about as realistic. We like to imagine the improbable, but few actually take the steps to achieve it.


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