They are those sneaky, evil teams who pounce on the unsuspecting and leave their season, hopes and dreams in shambles. They are that team you do not want to face when your season is on the brink, teeter-tottering between a home-bound January or a playoff birth and potential trip to the Super Bowl.
They are the spoilers.
With three weeks left in the 2010 NFL regular season, the NFL playoffs are far from decided. The lone team with a playoff birth clinched thus far is the New England Patriots; another victory would lock up the AFC East for Brady and the Pats. Unfortunately for the rest, they are still vying for those coveted spots. Even if a playoff birth is certain, the divisional race hangs in the balance and will likely be a battle for most division leaders until the final week.
Standing in their way are the envious fan’s beloved favorites: the struggling and usually underachieving spoilers. For the fan of those teams eliminated from the playoffs, there’s nothing more they enjoy than watching their rival get bounced out of the playoffs by a lowly team like the Carolina Panthers helped do in 2009 to the New York Giants, whose massive second-half collapse in 2009 reached its peak in a 41-9 loss to the Panthers.
These are the games fans look at on the schedule and grin assuming they have a solid W in the books. You know what they say about assuming, don’t you?
Here are the five most dangerous spoilers heading into this last three-week stretch of the 2010 regular season: