By Derek Lofland.
The NFL playoffs are set an one of the remaining 12 teams will earn the title of Super Bowl Champion.
Here is a team-by-team look at the 12 playoff teams and who I believe will win the Super Bowl in Miami.
Scoring Offense: 510 points (1st)
Scoring Defense: 341 points (20th)
Yardage Offense: 403.8 yards (1st)
Yardage Defense: 357.8 yards (25th)
Why they will win the Super Bowl: The Saints were the most explosive offense in the NFL, outscoring the second ranked Minnesota Vikings by 40 points on the season. QB Drew Brees completed 70.6 percent of his passes and led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 109.6.
The Saints have good balance, ranking sixth in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns. The defense also forced a lot of turnovers with 26 interceptions, ranking third in the NFL. Safety Darren Sharper tied for the league lead with nine interceptions. This team plays very well at home and beat good teams there, such as the New England Patriots 38-17. Playing at home with the No.1 seed gives them a big advantage to represent the NFC in Miami.
Why they will not make the Super Bowl: The defense is a big problem for this team. They rank 20th in scoring defense and 25th in yardage defense. Rarely will a team win a Super Bowl with rankings like that, as the only team to win a Super Bowl with that kind of scoring and yardage defense was the 2006 Indianapolis Colts.
The Saints are 26th in passing yards allowed and 21st in rushing teams allowed. Furthermore, there are three 4,000-yard quarterbacks in the NFC playoffs (Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Tony Romo) and two 1,000-yard rushers (Ryan Grant and Adrian Peterson). If one of those high-powered offenses can maintain balance, it could give the Saints defense fits and put a lot of pressure on the offense to pull out the game, something they did not do well with to close the season.
Fantasy Player to Watch: For those of you that need to pick players for the various fantasy postseason games, the player to watch is still Brees. He had 34 touchdown passes this season and when he is on, he put up huge numbers. The Packers and Vikings have had some issues in their secondaries this year, so if he can play hot against those teams, he could have a postseason to remember.
2) Minnesota Vikings
Scoring Offense: 470 points (2nd)
Scoring Defense: 312 points (10th)
Yardage Offense: 379.6 (5th)
Yardage Defense: 305.5 (6th)
Why they will win the Super Bowl: You could argue this is the most complete team in the NFC. RB Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 18 and QB Brett Favre tied Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning for second in the NFL in passing touchdowns with 33.
That makes them a difficult offense to stop, something they showed by scoring 74 points in their final six quarters of the NFL season. This team gets after the quarterback, leading the NFL with 48 sacks and stops the run well, ranking second in the NFL. It is a very hard team to comeback against, because of their balance and they are always in the game with their Hall of Fame Signal Caller.
Why they will not make the Super Bowl: After starting 10-1 they were exposed going 2-3 down the stretch. The Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears combined for 816 yards passing and 10 touchdowns against them. Their defense did not play very well down the stretch and when the team falls behind, they do not have the ability to run play action passing and become one-dimensional in the passing game. That was one reason why Favre started playing like an average QB after Week 11 and only regained his swagger in the final six quarters of the season.
When the team is playing well, they are unstoppable, but if the high-powered offenses in this conference can jump out to leads, the Vikings can be exposed. While the Vikings were 8-0 at home, they were only 4-4 on the road, which is a big advantage for the Saints if they host the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. The advantage for the Vikings is they are 10-0 on turf this year and the Saints do play in a dome.
Fantasy Player to Watch: This team goes as far as Favre can take them, he has thrown six touchdowns and over 500 yards in his last two games, so expect the Vikings to rely on his arm as teams concentrate on Peterson with eight in the box...